Monday, July 10, 2006

What the Fuck, White Sox?

I've been on hiatus for a variety of reasons, but the slumping White Sox have brought my hibernation to a premature end with a thud.

What

the

fuck?

Suddenly, Mark Buehrle is not only getting hit hard, but the majority of those hits are absolute scorchers on the very first pitch. It's like batting practice.

Freddy Garcia looks like a dude who really was smoking pot all winter after all.

Listen, I'm starting to worry. Losing five of six to fellow contenders like the Red Sox and Yankees is a surefire way to get yourself on the shit list real quick. The entire pitching staff, with the exception of Bobby Jenks, has been crap, and getting worse. Maybe they were overworked in the run to last year's World Series win. Maybe they're merely in a slump and will snap out of it. Maybe they became fat and lazy after the success of 2005. Whatever it is, you can forget all of the talk about the White Sox having the best starting rotation in baseball, which we have heard rampantly by so many pundits. That may have been the case up until a month or two ago, but it's far, far from the truth these days.

The Pale Hose begin a huge series in Detroit on Tuesday and they better show something. Fast.

*****

Italy wins the World Cup and the Unknown Column is reduced to eating his words. Which is fine. To be honest, my hand is extended to the Italians in a gesture of both apology and congratulations. They won and my hat is off to them. I can't help it if they fall down and grab their ankles in a portrayal of fake agony.

Of course, the Italians were still assholes. They dove and feigned injury more than anyone other than Portugal (and that was mostly the doing of Christiano Ronaldo) and whined to the refs more than a little girl crying about her bratty brother taking her dolls. Before the semifinal with Germany, the Italians sent FIFA the videotape of Torsten Frings putting his hand to the face of an Argentine player, which in turn had Frings, one of Germany's most important players, suspended from the match with Italy. Tattle tale sissies. (Of course, the Italians denied this, but when have the match-fixing Italians been known for being truthful?) In the final, Materazzi coaxed Zinedine Zidane's now infamous head butt by allegedly calling him a "terrorist", or some other equaly racist slur. Gee, racist taunts coming from an Italian. I'm shocked. (No, I'm not.) Afterwards, Materazzi played off the allegations by portraying himself as a simpleton and calling himself "ignorant". Yeah, I bet he was.

Dumbass.

Worst of all, Gattusso jaunted around in his underwear in the postgame celebration. This should not have happened. Ever. I can't help the feeling Gattusso signs his fat AC Milan paychecks with a simple X.

But like I said, I'm all about being gracious, so I'll keep it positive...

Andreo Pirlo was suberb. For my money, he should have been earned the Golden Ball as the tourney's best player. He provided goals, assists, leadership in midfield, and he even cried less than the typical Italian player. He almost seemed - gulp! - classy, which is an almost impossible quality in a member of the Azzuri. The general consensus was that Cannavaro was Italy's best player, and while we was certainly awesome, I have a hard time placing a single Italian defender on such a pedestal as defending as a group is what Italy does best. So why single out Cannavaro, especially when the likes of Grosso, Zambrotto, and Materazzi also conributed to the wall that was the Italian defense while each also came forward and contributed to the attack with more productivity?

I was truly shocked in the semifinal with Germany when Lippi's three substitutions were all offensive moves. Del Piero, Gilardino and Iaquinta were all brought on. Forwards, all of them. When Italy is going offensive late in a game it's not trailing, something in the universe is amiss. The agrressive substitutions flew in the face of everything I've ever know about Italian soccer, and surely, it was a once in a lifetime deal. It was nice to see and made for one of the better games of the World Cup.

And that's as much nice stuff I say about the Italians without feeling dirty. Australia was cheated.

Congrats.

*********

I can't speak for anyone else, but I like Zinedine Zidane as much as I did before his headbutt heard 'round the world. Maybe it's because he took out an Italian, which somehow made it seem understandable, acceptabe, and quite hilarious.

By the way, Zidane's moment of insanity was great for soccer in America as, for reasons perhaps we don't want to know about, a random, massive flash of violence registered here to the point that we Americans discussed the incident to death and are still discussing it more than a week later. So thanks, Zizou.

Maybe what MLS needs is some NHL-like fights.

*********

Not that I watch much women's golf or anything (honest), but this past Saturday I caught about five minutes of some women's tournament and Natalie Gulbis and Paula Creamer were in the lead. That's some quality television viewing right there. I can get into this, you know, just in case the LPGA would maybe like to encourage the wearing of bikinis (weather provided) and further venture into the market of male pigs.

Now, I'm all for Michelle Wie playing in men's tournaments if that's her thing. Whatever. More props to her. It's all good. But I couldn't help the feeling that she should have been right there alongside Gulbis and Creamer making the Unknown Column a very happy man. Oh, and maybe sending the women's game over the top as far as a surge in popularity goes. I mean, I may have watched for more than five minutes.

As for Wie dropping out of a men's tournament from heat exhaustion, perhaps the phrase "If you can't take the heat get out of the kitchen" may have never been more applicable.

**********

Last, and least importantly - very unimportantly, in fact, as clowns and doofuses normally are - Jay Mariotti is still on "vacation". It's been weeks now. It looks likes the Sun Times may have come to its senses and realized that they've been giving a regular paycheck to a slimy, blowhard hack. Or so we can hope. Maybe "vacation" can morph into "Don't let the door hit you on the way out."

It turns out one of the creators of the JaytheJoke.com site is the son of Chicago radio legend and all-around hilarios dude, Steve Dahl - Pat Dahl. Hilarious. Not quite Disco Demolition Night at Comsiskey Park, but a step in the right direction for the dude.

2 Comments:

Blogger exileonpatrickstreet said...

i was going to get up on my high horse about you accusing materazzi of racism - despite zidane's own refution of said allegations - and then aiming all kinds of racially-based slurs at greaseball wops - sorry, the italians. but then i realised you're american, so i decided it wasn't worth it.

11:36 AM  
Anonymous priest, they called me said...

Dear Unknown Column,

Nice to have you back...I was beginning to think that the Sun Times sent YOU on "vacation". As a Sox fan I can't say i'm standing on the ledge just yet, but I am starting to get curious as to what the view would be like. Wish I could have watched more world cup than I did, but enjoyed the matches I saw, including both semi's and the final. I would love to hear your thoughts on John Paxson's continued overhaul of Los Toros and how much punisment a young Darrin Baker could withstand as his fathers human critisizem shield in the face of the Cubs most recent meltdown (speaking of ledges, are there any buildings tall enough in Wrigleyville?).

3:44 PM  

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