Your Detroit Tigers enter their first road trip of the season 5-1 and could very easily be 6-0 if Justin Verlander wouldn’t have had a brain fart in the 9th inning on Wednesday. And if you are like Lynn Henning and blame Miguel Cabrera for the loss, you are grounded from reading DNR for one week and must submit a report to me on the thought process of mLive commenters when they hear Ryan Raburn's name.
Friday brings us our first matchup with an AL Central foe. It’s the dreaded Ozzie-less Chicago White Sox, the bastard little brother of the Cubs in the Second City. The Pale Hose were one of the AL’s eight charter franchises and were originally known as the Chicago White Stockings. However, “Stockings” was too difficult for many Chicagoans to spell, thus the shortening to “Sox”.
Here’s the important things you need to know about the White Sox.
FACE OF THE FRANCHISE
Paul Konerko-Five time All-Star
-2004 AL Comeback Player of the Year
-2005 ALCS MVP
-White Sox team captain since 2006
-396 career home runs
-Was a catcher in high school
-Last opposing player to hit a homer at old Yankee Stadium
-1st round pick of the Dodgers in 1994 and was traded four years later to the Reds with Dennys Reyes for Jeff Shaw
-Four months later, traded to the White Sox for Mike Cameron
-GM Ken Williams admitted to having considered making Konerko the player/manager after the departure of Ozzie Guillen in the offseason.
-Nice looking wife and dogs
I’d like to talk trash about Konerko, but I can’t. I have too much respect for the guy. He had big shoes to fill taking over for Frank Thomas and he did it. The guy’s tough, too. In 2010, enemy of Detroit Carl Pavano hit Konerko in the face with a pitch. On his very next at bat, Konerko took Pavano deep on Carl's first offering. Bad ass.
Like Tampa, Chicago is all about their starting rotation. However, they’re not as well off as the Rays are. Danks, Floyd, Humber, Peavy, and Sale are all capable of being dominant. However, they’re all just as capable of having disaster games, here and there. I look at them as a staff of Max Scherzers.
No players. However…
-Ken Williams, General Manager (Tigers OF in 1989-1990)
-Mark Parent, Bench Coach (Tigers C in 1996)
-Mark Salas, Bullpen Catcher (Tigers C in 1990-1991)
Do not be fooled by AJ Pierzynski being funny, charming, and actually likable as an analyst for FOX during the playoffs last year. I admit to enjoying him, but I think much of that was due to my disgust with the rest of the FOX team. No, AJ is one of the most hated players in baseball by fans and players alike for a reason. Because he’s a prick.
-In January 2005, after Pierzynski signed with the White Sox, the San Francisco Chronicle ran a story claiming that the catcher had kneed Giants trainer Stan Conte in the groin during a spring training game in 2004.
-On May 20, 2006, was punched in the face by Chicago Cubs catcher Michael Barrett after AJ took Barrett out at home plate.
-On May 28, 2007, in a game versus the Minnesota Twins, Pierzynski twice ran down the first base line with his feet on the inside of the base, possibly nipping Twins first baseman Justin Morneau with his spikes. Twins manager Ron Gardenhire was furious.
-Ozzie Guillen once said of AJ, "If you play against him, you hate him. If you play with him, you hate him a little less." This is coming from a man that admits to liking Fidel Castro.
-In 153 career games vs Detroit, Pierzynski has hit .282/.325/.438 with 14 homers and 65 RBI. 3 of his 14 homers have come against Justin Verlander.
-vs Nate Robertson: 11/29 (.379), 2 2B, 1 HR, 5 RBI
***Dishonorable mention to insufferable White Sox color commentator Hawk Harrelson, quite possibly the only person calling MLB games to make Tim McCarver look decent.
-Chicagoans that don’t drink enough to be Cubs fans
-Wannabes that also own Starter Bulls and Raiders coats
Obviously, they’re not going to be as fun without Ozzie around. Robin Ventura might be a nice guy, but he’s only famous because Nolan Ryan beat the shit out of him in one of the most famous highlights in baseball history.
The rest of the team doesn’t appear to be as good, either. Out are Juan Pierre, Carlos Quentin, Omar Vizquel, Mark Teahan, and Sergio Santos. In are Kosuke Fukudome and a bunch of guys most people have never heard of. Also, Adam Dunn and Jesse Crain did not have fatal snowboarding accidents in the offseason.
In other words, they look terrible. Be sure to thank Kenny Williams, the worst GM in baseball, for dismantling what was a pretty good team. Being that I enjoy seeing the Tigers beat the White Sox more than any other team not named the Yankees (or maybe the Twins), I hope they keep Kenny around forever.