White Sox players and coaches aren’t the only ones who are thinking ahead. Everyone in the organization has probably spent the last two months or so thinking about the 2008 season when they get to start with a clean slate.
The advertisement appeared on the Jumbotron at U.S. Cellular Field during the top of the seventh inning Friday night:
“SoxFest, January 2008.” Tickets are still available.
So, apparently the White Sox players and coaches aren’t the only ones who are thinking ahead. Everyone in the organization has probably spent the last two months or so thinking about the 2008 season when they get to start with a clean slate.
Lord knows it’s more positive to think about than reflecting on 2007.
“I know I will contend next year. Yes. I know I will contend next year,” manager Ozzie Guillen asserted before the Sox’s 5-2 win over the Detroit Tigers. “Yes. I know that. I have an idea what we need, I know what we can bring; I know those players.”
It’s these players; the ones who are in Chicago now, whom Guillen thinks will determine the Sox’s fate in 2008. Forget about the free agents, acquiring someone via trade or calling guys up. If the players on the Sox roster fail to perform again, then even the upbeat Guillen admits the Sox will be in for another long season.
“Listen, it doesn’t matter who you bring in -- the free agents, trades, anything. The guys (that are) going to do it, the guys, they are here,” the manager said.
“The guys under contract here, if we can bring Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle, Roberto Clemente and these guys have the same year they did this year, we’re wasting our money then. It’s what we have here, the base that we have here, that’s the team we’re going to have.
“Depending on how the guys play next year, the guys we have here, that’s how we’re going to play. It don’t matter how much money you’re going to spend, you have a base here. If that base don’t play good, you’re going to collapse.”
The Sox will wait a few weeks after the season comes to an end to hold their annual winter meetings. Then they’ll get together and plan out a strategy and pick targets for what they hope is a rebound season.
“Right now I don’t know (what they’re going to do) because we fail on so many different ways, it’s hard to say, ‘We got to find this, we got to find that,’” Guillen said. “I can’t do that. I can’t say that because we have to see what’s going on, we have to see what we got. What (do) we need with speed when you can’t hit? What (do) we need (with) a reliever when you can’t start?”
Starting wasn’t an issue Friday, as one of the few positives in this season continued to roll.
Javier Vazquez (15-8) allowed two runs on seven hits in 7 2/3 innings. He struck out nine, bringing his season total to 213, the sixth-highest single-season total in club history and the highest total by a Sox pitcher since Gary Peters stuck out 215 in 1967.
When Bobby Jenks closed out the ninth for his 40th save -- the first time a Sox pitcher has recorded at least that many in back-to-back seasons -- Vazquez improved to 12-3 with a 3.32 ERA over his last 18 starts.
Paul Konerko provided what little support Vazquez needed with a three-run homer in the third, breaking a 1-1 tie. Jim Thome’s solo shot in the seventh -- the 506th long ball of his career -- gave the Sox a 5-1 edge.
But with two more games remaining, the score at this point is pretty much moot. It’s 2008 that’s on the mind.
“This meeting,” Guillen said of the October get-together, “is going to be one of the funnest meetings we’ve had in four years that I’ve been running this ballclub.”
-- The Daily Southtown