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updated: 9/11/2012 11:14 PM

White Sox, Tigers don't seem to see big opportunity

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If only the White Sox could play like they recognized the potential treasure ahead.

The same could be said of the Tigers, but who cares about them?

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If either team were good enough to separate atop the American League Central, it could begin peeking ahead toward what is shaping up as an appealing bigger picture.

Instead each hacks away at the other, herky-jerking through a tepid pennant race from day to day, reluctant to look beyond the next pitch.

Tuesday night's final pitch completed the Tigers' 5-3 victory, leaving the Sox with a precarious 2-game lead in the American League Central.

The Sox and Tigers have 1 victory apiece halfway through this big series in Comiskey Park and they haven't stopped to ponder what might be next. What's next is a vast universe out there begging to be conquered next month.

Check out this answer from White Sox manager Robin Ventura late Tuesday afternoon: "Not lately."

The question was though the focus is on the division race, do you take time to survey the rest of the league to see who's doing what to whom?

"I'm worried about today before worrying about anything else," Ventura said.

That's how sports are supposed to be. Managers, coaches and players are supposed to concentrate on the task at hand instead of looking ahead.

But in this case it's like a shallow man looking for a wife and focusing on the body and bankbook instead of beyond to the heart and soul.

More to the point, it's like these two teams can't see a relatively smooth route toward the World Series for whichever qualifies for the playoffs.

So allow me to spell out for Ventura, the Sox and the Tigers how immense the moment, the stakes and the possibilities are the rest of this month:

G-I-G-A-N-T-I-C!!!

These are two teams that have played recently like they have no chance to get to the World Series, but in the American League the unlikely is likely to have a long run this postseason.

Oh, you say neither the Sox nor Tigers are good enough? So what? What's being good enough have to do with it these days?

The Cardinals weren't good enough to win the World Series last year, but they went ahead and did so anyway.

That sort of stuff happens. It happens a lot. The days are over when the best teams play for the championship and one of them wins it.

Now the mediocre sneak into the playoffs and once there, as often is said, anything can happen.

The American League especially is winnable because the Yankees aren't what the Yankees usually are and the Red Sox are barely what the Cubs usually are.

The window for the two-time defending AL champion Rangers isn't shut yet but is only about half open. Is anybody afraid of the A's, Orioles or Rays? Only the Angels have the potential to be formidable in the postseason and they might not even get in.

This year's playoff format puts the two wild cards at a distinct disadvantage compared to division winners and either the White Sox or Tigers will be one of those division winners.

So as a step toward the postseason -- for one of these teams anyway -- this series looms large.

If only the White Sox would take it upon themselves to embrace the opportunity in September to do something special in October.

mimrem@dailyherald.com

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