How White Sox fans can still do the 'splits'
I always try to avoid looking for meaning and depth in the White Sox' annual slogan, just because they are hatched by a nameless advertising agency and have little or nothing to do with what's actually happening down on the field.
We'll make an exception this year.
The Sox are going with "Appreciate the Game," which is a nice thought. It is also a complete reversal of "All In," which was last year's tagline, and subtly suggests the White Sox are not going to be competitive this season.
Why the White Sox would want to pay an ad firm good money for a motto like "Appreciate the Game" is beyond me, but let's try to work with it.
If the Sox are going to be as bad as advertised, there are ways to salvage the season and appreciate the game, so to speak.
Here are a few ideas:
In my opinion, Baseball Reference (baseballreference.com) is the best website out there, and you can find much more than usual statistics like batting average, home runs, RBI, wins, losses and ERA.
Check out the splits.
Splits give you a deeper look into team and individual stats.
Splits tell you how well Paul Konerko has hit against the Tigers at Comerica Park, or how poorly John Danks has pitched against the Indians at U.S. Cellular Field.
Splits break down performance by the month, season and career.
I like splits because they are not numerical projections spit out by a computer. They are actual track records, and you can use the numbers to gain perspective and make your own projections.
Justin Verlander and the Tigers are coming to the South Side, and you want to make out your own lineup.
Head back to Baseball Reference or a national baseball site and discover how White Sox hitters have fared against the American League's defending Cy Young Award winner during the season or over their careers.
Type in Verlander's name and find the vs. batter prompt. Type in White Sox and soak up the information.
Do the same to see how Gavin Floyd has fared against Twins hitters, or any other team of your choice.
Fortunately, major-league baseball is not dealing with the concussion epidemic sweeping through football and hockey.
But make no doubt about it, baseball is a sport that rewards fearless players, and you will often see physical contact.
I would suggest keeping a close eye on second base when there is a runner on first and less than two outs.
Few players are tougher than Konerko, but he almost always runs out of the baseline instead of sliding in hard at second. Of course, Konerko is one of the game's slowest players, so why even bother busting it from first base to second on an infield groundball?
Watch A.J. Pierzynski go from first to second and break up a double play. He always goes in hard and tries to destroy the pivot man.
Carlos Quentin went first to second with a vengeance when he was healthy, which was not often.
When he played for the Sox from 2000-03, utility infielder Tony Graffanino became chairman Jerry Reinsdorf's favorite player in part because he always barreled hard into second base.
Baseball is a grind, a marathon.
Keeping up is a challenge in an increasingly hectic world, but Twitter helps you stay on top of things.
You can follow me at @scotgregor for pertinent information throughout the season and off-season.
For an inside view of the White Sox, sorry, new manager Robin Ventura is not a tweeter like Ozzie Guillen. In retrospect, that's probably a good thing.
You can follow several White Sox players: @gordonbeckham, @JakePeavy_44, @JesseCrain, @areed38 (Addison Reed), @BSLillibridge (Brent Lillibridge), @Philip_Humber and @TFlowers17 (Tyler Flowers).
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