Successful season for White Sox? Not even close
White Sox manager Robin Ventura reacts Sunday as he watches his team fall for the 10th time in the last 12 games.
Sorry, but Paul Konerko's assertion was suspect in spring training and downright wrong Sunday.
The White Sox' first baseman said then and repeated for six months that this could be a successful season even if the Sox didn't make the playoffs.
"For tons of reasons," Konerko said before the Sox' 6-2 loss to Tampa Bay in Comiskey Park.
Primary among them, the story goes, is the new and supposedly improved attitude on and around the club due to the transition in managers from Ozzie Guillen to Robin Ventura.
Accept Konerko's reasoning if you want. I can't. Assuming the Sox don't overcome a 3-game deficit to first-place Detroit with three games to play, they blew a terrific opportunity.
Konerko's observation had some merit back in March, when forecasts had the Tigers recording 95 to 100 victories. Instead, they won't reach 90 even by winning out.
Another reason the Sox weren't expected to win the division is that Adam Dunn, Alex Rios and Jake Peavy weren't much in 2011.
But this year Dunn has hit 41 home runs, Rios has had an all-around outstanding season, and Peavy has remained healthy enough to throw 211 innings.
The Sox went into last season as division favorites and won only 79 games in great part to those three players letting them down. My contention — not shared by many — is that their comeback performances should have translated into at least 90 victories.
The best the Sox can do is win 86. Right now they're the eighth best team in the 14-team American League.
To settle for that and insist this is a successful season is, well, pure poppycock.
The Sox suffered some injuries and assorted other adversities, but so did the Tigers and just about every other team in the major leagues. And don't overlook the pleasant surprises like the emergence of Chris Sale and Jose Quintana.
So rather than give the Sox credit for staying in the AL Central race we should be figuring out whom to blame for not winning it.
Maybe it's Ventura if general manager Kenny Williams gave him enough talent to win those 90 games.
Maybe it's Williams if he didn't give Ventura enough quality players despite acquiring reinforcements at midseason.
Maybe it's the marketing department for not attracting enough fans to give Williams enough money to give Ventura enough quality players to win enough games.
Maybe it's Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf for perpetuating marketing strategies that don't build attendance so Williams has the finances to acquire enough quality players for Ventura to win enough games.
Look, there's a trickle-up problem here or a trickle-down problem or a trickle sideways problem.
Something is wrong if the White Sox don't wind up winning their division in a season when three glaring question marks are answered positively and the eventual winner is about 10 games worse than expected.
Whoever is at fault — somebody or everybody — the truth is the Sox squandered their chance to win an eminently winnable division.
Go ahead if you want to accept a decent season with a few meaningful September games, some cheap thrills, 10 losses in 12 games when it counted and generally contending instead of winning.
Disappointing and disappointed home crowds indicate the Sox' faithful was justified in never believing this team was going to be all it should be.
If the 2012 White Sox represent success, it's frightening to think what unsuccessful looks like.
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