Thursday, June 23, 2011
Save the date; White Sox may have key moment
By Doug Padilla
CHICAGO – It isn’t quite the early 1970s Oakland A’s, but perhaps the White Sox have finally found an identity as the team that wins while agreeing to disagree.
Now that’s a group that we can get behind.
Jake Peavy promised in April that when he came back he would bring fire and energy. Pretty tall order for a guy who performs once every six days and has taken the field just six times this season.
So what happened Wednesday? Even without his best stuff, Peavy competed against the Cubs well enough to win. Then he really dropped the hammer.
Peavy’s on-field issue with catcher A.J. Pierzynski was extremely unconventional, but it was raw, it was from the heart and it seemed to have a point, even if it was a little vague.
Nobody has yet to confess what the disagreement was about and why it couldn’t have waited until the two were back in the clubhouse. Maybe it was Peavy wanting to show White Sox fans how much passion he has, especially in a game those fans want more than most this season.
“I had a tough time coming off the mound, you guys saw,” Peavy said. “I had a tough time swallowing the way my start went. Like I said, boys will be boys. We are going to say stuff to each other at times that may not sit well with the other. Talk through it and get it straight.
“Like I said, I love A.J. Pierzynski to death. He competes his rear end off and has for many years. He won a World Series here. I would like to do that again with him.”
That’s nice. But hold on a second.
If Peavy is just pushing to get the most out of himself and his teammates there’s probably a better way of doing it than potentially alienating the person he has to trust the most each time he takes the field.
If this is about Pierzynski’s inability to throw out base stealers, challenging him somewhat derisively on the field probably isn’t the best approach. If this was about pitch selection, shake the guy off or call him out to the mound and get real face to face.
Maybe this was about Peavy telling Pierzynski, not so eloquently, to bear down and help the next guy on the mound more than he was helped.
Whatever the case, we now have a moment to point back to.
If the White Sox can catch fire now perhaps Peavy’s passion is cited as a spark. He wanted to make an impact but players don’t feel they have a voice when on the disabled list. Taking the field for just the sixth time in the team’s 76th game, we’ll chalk it up to Peavy’s attempt to make up for lost time.
And if it all goes south now, maybe this was just a fragile White Sox team that couldn’t handle the slightest bit of adversity anyway.
“Every loss feels like three or four,” manager Ozzie Guillen lamented to ESPNChicago.com’s Michael Wilbon after Monday’s defeat to the Cubs. “We don't relax. We've got to stop that. Every loss seems like the end of the world. I tell them, 'It's not the way you start, it's the way you finish. The talent is out there, so don't panic.’”
Did Peavy just panic? Or was it the exact opposite? Was he trying to get aggressive instead of letting things veer off into anxiousness?
Who knows, maybe Pierzynski was the instigator in all of this, but it was Peavy who brought it to the forefront so this is his pet project now.
But you have to admit, there is a more of an edge to this White Sox club than there was a few days ago.
We have found a vocal leader for better or worse and with a 37-39 team it was a long time coming. Will the players affected by such a thing run and hide or will their consciousness be heightened to be that much more accountable?