If you would have talked to me a week ago, I would have told you that the White Sox season was All Dunn. No, that was not one of my many spelling errors. It was a clever play on words, or in this case, a promising yet unfulfilled ad campaign. The Sox charged into Spring Training with the slogan “We’ve All In”, after signing off-season acquisition Adam Dunn, and retaining both Paul Konerko and A.J. Pierzynski for the upcoming season. But the baseball gods are fickle, and a dominating season was not to be, as it very soon became apparent that this White Sox team, and in particular Mr. Dunn, were just terrible.
Adam Dunn is not just having a bad year, he is having a career ending year, or I guess he would be except that he just signed a four-year, gazillion dollar contract that will keep him in a White Sox uniform through the 2014 season. His stats are so bad that Steven Colbert has called on Major League Baseball to investigate him for use of performance diminishing drugs. Dunn’s average is way below the Mendoza line, topping out on a good day at 165. Against left-handed pitchers, he bats a measly 035, and the only thing keeping his slugging percentage above 300 is that on occasion he will smack a home run. Usually in the bottom of the ninth, with two out and the Sox losing by 7 or 8 runs.
A long, long time ago, in a grade school not that far away, I was taught about something called Indian Summer. With all of the political correctness of today, I have a feeling it is not mentioned in grade school too much anymore. The one thing I always remember is that almost every teacher had a particular cartoon like drawing of an older man and what I took to be his grandson staring out into the fields after the corn had been harvested, and then a second drawing of the same two figures looking out over the same field at dusk, and it has been mystically changed into a Native American celebration. I don’t know anything about the political correctness of it all, but Indian Summer basically was that time of year, usually in late September or October, when Summer would make one more push and give us a few warm days before Fall stepped in to ready us for Winter. I have a feeling the White Sox are getting ready to give us their version of an Indian Summer.
After losing six straight games at home against the Red Sox and the Yankees, the White Sox have now won four in a row over the Twins and the Orioles. Now, I do not find this all that impressive. These are games that should be won. Minnesota is having an Adam Dunn year themselves, and Baltimore is currently the second worst team in all baseball. The Sox are in what is statistically the worst division in baseball this season, and although they are still two games below 500, they are only 5 games behind Detroit, and just one game behind the Cleveland Indians. (There is that political incorrectness again). Feeling a bit like a Cub fan with my eternal optimism (although Cubs fans seem to be waning), I still think they have a shot. They still have 32 games left against division teams, and six against Detroit. I know the odds are not good, but there still is that hope that in some alternate universe somewhere, there is the Anti Adam Dunn just waiting to emerge, and that the Sox can get a few breaks and catch fire in September.
I know it is all an illusion. I know the Sox season is pretty much done, and that even if they somehow manage to make it close, in the end they just didn’t have it this year. But much like the Indian Summer, I can’t help but enjoy it. Who doesn’t like that unexpected warm day, when one more bike ride or walk or possibly even a swim in the lake reminds us of what summer was all about. For me, baseball is summer, and if I can hold onto it a little longer than I should, then I will. Like every year, summer has gone too fast. The kids will be back in school soon, and then Labor Day will seal our fate. Once that happens, all we have left is the hope for a little bit of Indian Summer. And the possibility, no mater how slight, of October baseball.
Now someone needs to remind me of all this crap in September as I am pissing and moaning about how bad this team is playing.