Who is to blame for the White Sox's poor start? It's you, Teddy Greenstein. By looking at the records of teams you've covered over the years, it's obvious that you are a one serious jinx. Notre Dame's football record slid from 8-3 to 7-6 under your watch in 1996-1997. Your first Sox years in 1998 and 1999 saw stinky seasons of 80-82 and 75-86. Only after you switched to cover the North Siders did the Sox emerge from under your spell to win the 2000 Division Championship at 95-67. That same year, you saddled the Cubs with a dismal 65-97 season. You taunted them in 2001 with an 88-74 campaign, only to be bested by the Cardinals at 93-69. The Greenstein Jinx slapped the Cubs around again in 2002, as they fell to 67-95. This year, the unfettered Cubs are in first place, while the White Sox struggle under the weight of your mocking prediction that they'll win the AL Central. When will it end, Teddy? (I suggest you switch jobs with Royals manager Tony Pena.) --Pete Scales, Chicago
Since you took the time to do all that research (are they not keeping you busy enough at work?) I decided to do some of my own. Here's a breakdown of the winning percentages of the teams I have covered compared with Paul Sullivan:
YEAR TG PS
1998 80-82 (Sox) 90-73 (Cubs)
1999 75-86 (Sox) 67-95 (Cubs)
2000 65-97 (Cubs) 95-67 (Sox)
2001 88-74 (Cubs) 83-79 (Sox)
2002 67-95 (Cubs) 81-81 (Sox)
2003 33-38 (Sox) 39-31 (Cubs)
TOTALS: 408-472 (.464) 455-426 (.505)So Sully's got me by 36½ games entering Thursday. I can make it up in a month.
Teddy, I have repeatedly heard rumors that Paul Konerko's problems this year have been caused by a degenerative hip condition. If this is true, it would be devastating news - particularly in light of the big contract the Sox gave him in the off-season. Any truth to the rumor? --Michael Foley, Downers Grover, Ill.
I asked Konerko about this. He says all his body parts are intact, thank you very much.
Teddy, once again, White Sox attendance is near the bottom of the league, with an average of less than 17,000 per game. This is about half of the Cubs' average. I think an excellent way to increase fan interest is for people to become fans of the players while they (the players) are still in the minors. This brings up the Class A Kane County Cougars. They are a very successful team and have had several major-league affiliations. Why not the Sox? In addition to building a fan base from the bottom up, the move would be cost effective as well--close to home for scouting, etc. and rehab assignments for injured players. I can't see a downside to such a move, can you? --Rich Nowak, Alpharetta, Ga.
Nope. Makes a lot of sense, which is probably why it hasn't happened yet. A lot of teams have their Triple-A affiliates in driving distance (Kansas City/Omaha, St. Louis/Memphis, New York/Columbus - OK, maybe not).
What happened to Bartolo Colon's 100 mph fastball? I didn't see anything above 95 against the Dodgers on 6/7/03. I realize that he won the game 4-1, and that's all that matters, but is the fact that his velocity is down from the 96-98 mph range to 91-94 mph a cause for concern? Is it just a change in style or is he battling through an injury of some kind? --Rich Conboy, New York
Maybe he's saving it for his next team. Colon has been in the high 90s on occasion, which should be good enough to get an out or two. But like Billy Koch, he hasn't unleashed his trademark heater. It's a little mysterious, I agree. But Colon wouldn't be throwing 98 if he were hurt.
Teddy, the other night on Baseball Tonight, Harold Reynolds suggested that this team needs to be blown up. Gammons and others agreed. There's no defense, no situational hitting and definitely no fire in the bellies. So what's your take, you watch them every day? Are they as bad as they look and if so, wouldn't it make sense to bring in a different GM so the same mistakes aren't made again? --Matt Harris, Los Angeles
C'mon, we all know the talent is there. The Sox's rotation is tied for the AL lead in quality starts, the bullpen has Koch, Gordon and Marte and the offense is loaded with right-handed pop. It's not a perfect group, by any means, but if the players perform up to their expectations, it's a 90-win team.
Could you please ask the Tribune if they would stop reporting on the White Sox? I can't get myself to stay away from your Web site but it is too depressing to read about them. --Michael J. Kowalkowski, St. Louis
I hear you, Michael. Maybe the paper can do some kind of cross-promotion with Prozac.
Hi, Frank Thomas is hitting about 30 points higher in QuesTec equipped stadiums than in those not so equipped (.288 vs .250). When will US Cellular Field get this innovation? --JJ Hantsch, Cary, N.C.
Probably next year. JJ, did you do your own research on this? You want to work for me?
Last weekend Sox starters did not walk a batter. When was the last time that that happened in a three or four game series? --Dan Bowman, Marlette, Mich.
Sorry, but my crack research staff is on vacation. JJ, you free?
Dear, Teddy, being out here on the left coast means that I don't catch every box score, but it appeared that Daubach's pinch hit double on June 4 may have been the Sox's first pinch hit! What is the current batting average of Sox pinch-hitters? --Ronald Reichman, Los Angeles
Sox pinch-hitters are batting a putrid .135 (5 for 37). Opponents are 7 for 31 (.226).
My question centers on the contract status of Bartolo Colon and Esteban Loaiza. Do these two pitchers have options for next year or are they free agents? And do the Sox expect second-round draft pick Ryan Sweeney as a pitcher or outfielder? --Scott Reimers, Springfield, Ill.
The Sox hold a club option on Loaiza for $3.5 million. Colon can go free. The Sox see Sweeney as an outfielder.
As an Iowan and avid Sox fan, I am curious as to why Red Faber's (Cascade, Iowa) number does not appear with the other retired numbers posted at US Cellular Field. The guy had a Hall of Fame career, yet the last time I was at the park, I don't recall seeing his name up there with the other greats. Do you know why? --Aaron Telecky, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Who? Just kidding. Sure, Red Faber. Pitched for the Sox from 1914-33. Made their All-Century team. Went 254-212 with a 3.15 ERA. Good numbers, but the only Sox pitchers with their unis retired are Ted Lyons and Billy Pierce. Faber had better numbers than Lyons (260-230, 3.67 ERA) and pitched in a similar era, so feel free to gripe.
Hey Teddy, remember me? I am the guy who got you all bent out of shape when I told the truth about Mark Grace a couple years back. You guys must have had a ball out in Arizona this past week. How many bars you two close? I was wondering -- if you asked your drinking buddy how it feels to be backing up a bad player on a bad team. Or how such an egomaniac feels about never driving in 100 runs during the juiced ball era. Good to see he is still worried about getting his face on camera even though he is a scrub on an awful team. --Mike D., Chicago
Why the anger, Mike D.? You jealous of the fact that Grace has a championship ring -- or that he's one of the most popular guys in the game? And by the way, Mike D., don't be afraid to give us your full name next time.