CHICAGO (AP) -- On what might have been the final day of baseball
at Comiskey Park this season, Jon Garland pitched his best game,
shortly after Chicago chairman Jerry Reinsdorf criticized players
for lack of effort.
And many fans, perhaps preparing for another work stoppage that
could begin Friday, stayed away as the White Sox beat the Toronto Blue Jays 8-0 Wednesday.
Of the 12,972 who did show up on a gorgeous afternoon, some in
the right field bleachers draped a sign over the wall.
Before the game, Reinsdorf met with his team, which was expected
to be a contender this season. Player rep Jeff Liefer said
Reinsdorf criticized his players' lack of effort and discipline,
calling the kind of season they've had embarrassing.
"I believe him when he said he was going to have the meeting at
the end of the year, but because of the possibility of the strike,
he wanted to make sure he voiced his opinion about this year,''
Pitcher Mark Buehrle said Reinsdorf told his players he was also
upset that many of them didn't stand on the front of the dugout
steps during the National Anthem and promised there would be
changes next season.
But what about this season? Players were hoping for a
breakthrough, but were ready to go out if an agreement isn't
reached by Friday.
"There's a chance anything can happen right now,'' Blue Jays
player representative Vernon Wells said.
"The thing that brings it home is the lack of people in the
stands,'' Chicago reliever Kelly Wunsch said.
"It's a drag to see people already showing frustration and
anger. It will definitely be in the forefront of our minds
Chicago has an off-day Thursday and is scheduled to travel to
Detroit on Friday for the start of a three-game series.
Toronto opens a series at home Thursday against the New York
Garland (9-10) pitched a six-hitter for his first career
complete game and Magglio Ordonez homered twice for the White sox,
who are 63-70.
"Even if I had a bad game, I still want to continue pitching,''
"It's frustrating when you don't know what is going to
happen,'' said Ordonez, who has reached 30 homers and 100 RBI four
Liefer said the White Sox are 100 percent committed to walking
off if needed Friday.
"If the owners are in debt as far as they say they are, I don't
think they can hold off too well without having revenue coming
in,'' he said.
"Obviously as players, we'd like to get our last couple of
checks, too, especially the younger guys who don't really have a
lot of money put away.''
Garland, making his 56th career start, struck out nine and
walked one, allowing just three runners past first base and one
past second. He had been 0-4 in seven starts since July 14.
Ordonez hit a three-run homer in the third inning off Steve
Parris (5-5) and a two-run homer in the fifth, raising his season
total to 31.
Parris gave up six runs and eight hits in four-plus innings,
dropping to 0-4 in four starts since beating Baltimore on Aug. 5.
"You can't pitch like that to major league hitters and not
expect to see what happen today,'' said Parris.
Carlos Lee hit his 22nd homer in the second, and Liefer had a
two-run single in the seventh to make it 8-0.
Chicago 1B Paul Konerko missed his second straight game
with a sore foot. He is day to day. Konerko said if there is a
strike, there's always the possibility it would last just a couple
of days and not wipe out the rest of the season as many predict.
... With a losing record in August, it marked Toronto's fourth
losing month this season. ... Ordonez has four multihomer games
this season and 12 in his career. ... Parris has allowed a home run
in each of his last six starts. He has allowed a total of 10 home
runs during the span.