Amid the familiar carnage of a typical loss to the Minnesota Twins, Chuck Garfien dropped this tweet:
Every player in Sox starting lineup tonight was at Kevin Hickey's funeral today. Wake was yesterday. Been tough couple days.— Chuck Garfien (@ChuckGarfien) May 23, 2012
Garfien went on to quote Paul Konerko, who said the team burned up a lot of mental energy prior to the game, and it only got worse from there.
When you read the obituaries delivered by Don Cooper and A.J. Pierzynski at Hickey's funeral earlier on Tuesday, there's probably a lot of truth to what Konerko and Garfien are saying. I think it's fair to give the Sox a mulligan.
However, it's troubling when it takes a little bit of time to consider whether mourning played a part. We've seen this particular loss before many, many times, especially in this particular location. The Twins are 18-5 against the Sox over their last 23 games in Chicago, and the Sox have been as prepared as possible for nearly all of those games. When a grieving Sox team looks no different from healthy and rested Sox, it makes it rather difficult to give them any benefit of the doubt.
It makes sense to back off in this instance, but they really have an uphill climb if they want to be supported at home before the wins start rolling in.
Robin Ventura didn't hide behind the emotions, saying, "We got our ass kicked."
- A Quarter for your thoughts? - South Side Sox
- Reliever-to-Starter Conversions Update - South Side Sox
- Is Nate Jones for Real?* - South Side Sox
Since a lot of people might miss what's being written on the right rail, I'd like to direct your attention to these three fine Fanposts.
Nate Jones is one of the eight rookie relievers examined by Nathaniel Stoltz, who says that Jones' arsenal is impressive, even if his command is lagging. He's getting by on fastball velocity and life alone much of the time. Hey, if you've got it, flaunt it.
Josh Hamilton is the best hitter in baseball right now, even though he's swinging at a ton of pitches out of the zone. This article reminded me of Jones' first strikeout, and how he attacked Hamilton with changeup after changeup until Hamilton finally swung and missed.
Nestor Molina isn't ready for the big leagues, but neither is Sergio Santos. He's been on the DL since April 21 with shoulder inflammation, and it seems like the Blue Jays are prepared to go at least another three weeks without his services.
Orlando Hudson has arrived, and he's saying all the right things -- probably because he's saying a lot of things, so he can't help but cover all topics. He's ready to play third, noting that much better middle infielders had to move over in the twilight of their careers. He also said he picked the Sox because he knows and respects Jesse Crain and Alex Rios as teammates, and he shares an agent with Adam Dunn.
Hudson can also talk himself out of towns apparently. He didn't hit well enough to support his mouth in San Diego, and now the Minnesota media speaks out about it.
But Jim Souhan's story will sound familiar. He's a baseball beat writer-turned-columnist who recently got into trouble for grossly misrepresenting one Minnesota state politician during the Vikings' stadium debate. His baseball opinions don't appear to be much sounder, and searching his name at Twinkie Town reveals similar sentiments.
At any rate, after Hudson was introduced as an official member of the White Sox, Souhan tweeted:
Orlando Hudson signing with White Sox is official. This is the one thing that could get the Twins out of last place in the AL Central.— Jim Souhan (@SouhanStrib) May 22, 2012
Of course, the Twins won 94 games and the AL Central when Hudson played second for them in 2010. They won just 63 without him last year. If this is the kind of reasoning he exhibits in his columns, I think we've figured out the problem.
Man, what is it about infielders named Orlando that makes Minnesota-based columnists so bitter? On second thought, don't answer that.