Is It Going to Be a SucksFest?
By Benjy Lipsman in News on Jan 23, 2008 4:10PM
A week after their North Side counterparts held their annual convention, the White Sox will hold their SoxFest this upcoming weekend at the Palmer House Hilton. While Cubs fans were concerned about the future of the Cubs ownership and fate of Wrigley Field, at least when it came to the players on the field there was near unanimous optimism.
But at this year's SoxFest, there's little reason for cheerfulness, from the price gouging just to attend the event to the roster GM Kenny Williams has assembled to questions about the ownership's ability to maintain a competitive organization.
The new ticket policies to attend the fest have angered many, because one can no longer purchase a one-day pass. Instead, fans must pony up $75 for two days. And the Friday night kick off? This year, that's open only to those Sox fans who also booked rooms at the Palmer House. This all makes for a very expensive wake.
And then there's the roster...
The scene is expected to be rather dour, as Williams seems to have done more re-arranging of deck chairs than filling the life rafts following last year's 72-90 debacle. Williams missed out on Torii Hunter, Aaron Rowand, Andruw Jones and Kosuke Fukudome before trading for Nick Swisher. He traded solid starting pitcher Jon Garland in order to upgrade at shortstop, but now has two starting shortshops on the roster. And with this week's signing of Joe Crede, he's also got a logjam at third base. But who's going to play left field?
The pitching's also an area of concern still. This week's signing of set-up man Octavio Dotel does help bolster the bullpen, as did adding Scott Linebrink. But did William overpay in order to improve the bullpen?
Perhaps not given the question marks in the rotation. Last off season, they traded Freddy Garcia and Brandon McCarthy. This year, they traded Garland. They're now left with Mark Buehrle, Javier Vasquez, the aging Jose Contreras and a handful of youngsters. The Sox might be calling to the pen early and often in '08.
At least Kenny Williams realizes that this year's SoxFest isn't going to be the love-in it was two years ago. While throwing out that he feels this team can compete as-is -- has he taken a look at Detroit's roster? -- he says he's not done yet. When asked about facing the fans in person, he said he was not looking forward to the tough questions, but "People have questions, and they deserve answers. And I'll give it to them straight."
Chicagoist wants to know how a team with the sixth highest payroll in baseball can look so uncompetitive? And how long is it going to take them to undo this mess and build a team that can compete again? Because we've already written off 2008...