Jim & Bob's Palatial Baseball Blog

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

It Would Be Funny If It Weren't So Pathetic

Shorter Mike Downey: Boo-hoo! The White Sox are in second place, and no one loves them as much as they love the Cubs! Boo-hoo! Life is so unfair!

This is standard-issue nuttery from Downey. I try not to mock stuff like this (because it's like shooting fish in a Dixie cup), but there was one particular passage that made me laugh and laugh. The ridiculousness of it just begged for a whuppin'.

After blathering about how the Sox started the week merely a game out of first place, and about all the good young talent on the team, and some self-pitying mewling about how nobody loves his heroes, Downey comes back with this:

For a team that has been in first or second place for most of this season, the Sox have not been the talk of the league. They aren't even the talk of their own town.

Cubs, Cubs and More Cubs—that's what you hear here.

A day doesn't go by without somebody gushing about how great the Cubs look. (Whereas the last time I looked in the standings, the Cubs were only 1 1/2 games ahead of the so-so Houston Astros and 4 1/2 up on the p.u. Pittsburgh Pirates.)

And this is the point at which Downey's logic collapses like the house of cards it is.

No, not because I think the White Sox stink. Rather, it's because the facts have a pro-Cubs bias.

Downey's facts are right about the Cubs' lead over divisional rivals Houston and Pittsburgh. But Downey is disingenuous presenting this information, because he doesn't actually tell you what the teams' records actually are.

Heading into today's action, here's the NL Central standings:

Chicago 23-15 ---
Saint Louis 23-17 1
Houston 22-17 1.5
Milwaukee 19-19 4
Pittsburgh 18-20 5
Cincinnati 16-23 7.5

Meanwhile, the White Sox -- the team Downey refers to as a "nice surprise" and deserves a "standing ovation" for being a game out of first place, is 18-19.

You read that correctly. Mike Downey says that a .500 team is a "nice suprise."

Eagle-eyed readers may also notice that those so-so Astros would be three games up in the standings on the Pale Hose. And the "p.u." Pirates -- merely a half-game behind.

And that's the team Downey is telling the rubes they should be cheering for. Not those no-good, rotten, over-rated Cubs.

The White Sox have an interesting team this year, which is more than I could say about last year's version. But right now, they're a .500 team with decent pitching and a middling offense. If Cleveland and Detroit continue to fritter away their seasons, that could be enough to keep them in contention all year. You know, pretty much the same scenario that last year's Cubs squad took advantage of.

Downey's an admitted White Sox partisan, so it's not surprising that he should make this little trip in the waaaaaaaaah-mbulance. The truly sad thing -- a guy who is honored with a Hall of Fame ballot cannot advance the discourse about our National Pastime more than this.

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