Thursday, October 16, 2008

White Sox Put the "Knee" in "Needy"

One of my favorite Pierzynski stories of all time involves A.J. taking a pitch to the groin, and kneeing Schneider in the groin when asked how it felt. Well, it seems knees in general are a big problem for this team. At least, this week.

First, let me mention Griffey. He apparently just had surgery on his knee. [The Story According to CWS] There were supposed problems with his power, and clearly it affected his mobility. Yet the Sox insisted on sticking him in the outfield. Let’s not go back to that. Hopefully, that chapter of our lives is over.

But, then there’s this guy. The oh-so-handsome man who I not so fondly called Booger for the past year and a half. Third Basement (not baseman by any means) Josh Fields also had some knee surgery. He hopes he’ll be more flexible, steal some bases, get some range on third base. Now, part of me is upset because all this attention they’re giving Booger more than likely means that they’re definitely going to keep him as a third baseman basement next year and that means something very sad for me in terms of my favorite player, Joe Crede. The other part of me wonders if maybe, just maybe, Josh Fields and his agent aren’t twisting the story the same way Crede and his agent were accused of twisting the story. Does anyone really believe Fields was ever a good third baseman? Does anyone believe Fields will ever be a good third baseman? He might be a decent hitter if you squint, tilt your head, mess with the contrast on your television, and pretend he’s… Jerry Owens and you’re not expecting much from him anyway- but he’s certainly not a good third baseman. And not because of his lack of flexibility, but his lack of range in general. Not just this year.

If we keep glorifying Josh Fields’ successes in 2007, why not analyze it? 100 games. 373 at bats, and a whopping 23 home runs. [Applause, please] Oh yeah. And 125 strikeouts. That’s 34 more than his 91 hits. Good for you, Josh Fields. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate his .308 OBP, but a .244 average is nothing to be proud of. He’s had decent minor league numbers, but who hasn’t, really? In fact, even in the minors, he’s been striking out more than he’s been getting on base. And then, let’s move on to some fielding. His first year in the minors, he had 11 errors in just 58 games, then 24 the next year. He had 16 in 2005 and 8 in just 23 games in 2007. He had 11 this year in just 75 games at Charlotte. (Alright, Joe Crede’s numbers were atrocious, too, but I don’t have a personal vendetta against him, so why would we even make that comparison?)

However, every now and then, between the arrogant pearls of wisdom Fields dissipates to his loyal fans, or whoever it is he addresses his messages to, Fields says something… not wise, not clever. I guess the word I’m looking for is “DUH!” Fields says getting little singles really helps your average. “DUH!” Granted, he understands this basic mathematical fact, but does anyone think he’ll be able to contain himself when the glory of fireworks is looming just one fastball away? Let me answer my own question this way: has Brian Anderson all season? [No]

As for stealing bases, that really seems like something that shouldn’t be a commodity in a player, but rather something that is a given. For years, I’ve been wondering why some of these guys don’t steal bases. And if you give me the, “he’s old,” song and dance, you’re na├»ve. Look at Paul Konerko. He’s leading the team in stolen bases. Okay, he’s not. But he has 2. He can do it. He’s not slow, he just doesn’t. Doesn't steal, doesn't run. The only man this excuses works for is Toby Hall. [Have you seen him run? Not to sound like a 13-year-old girl sending an instant message to her friends, but "LOL" comes to mind.] Maybe Jim Thome. Certainly not the Joe Crede [That is of course, B.B.- before his back], Juan Uribe, A.J. Pierzynskis. Look at Carlos Quentin. Before his injury sat him down, he had more stolen bases than Dewayne Wise. O.C. did it so much it pissed off the other players. I do not digress. I’m just saying that if Josh Fields comes back next year- God forbid, as a starter, and he is able to steal a base, it is no value added. It’s something he should do.

And you may ask yourself, “Wow, it just sounds like he’s been in pain this year. Why are you so darn mean to poor Josh?” I’m sure he’s a nice young man, worthy of wearing Scott Podsednik’s number and kicking Joe Crede out the door. But then again, I’m also the person who just suggested that Paul Konerko should steal more bases. Here's a deal: if Paul Konerko steals 20 bases next year, I will accept Josh Fields. I will not complain that our team doesn't have Casey Blake or Alex Gordon, and won't even wear my Crede jersey to games as a sign of protest. The ball is in your court, Paul Konerko.

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