Friday, November 03, 2006

In the Line of Fire: Brian Anderson

A babe in the woods, a basket amongst the reeds, a child who would be king...Kenny Williams tried to tell us this new kid was the answer. He tried to tell us that OUR center fielder was expendable because HIS center fielder was ready. He said this kid would make us forget the human crash test dummy with White Sox logo tattooed right next to the Bears tattoo over his heart. He said number 44 would make us forget number 33, and that after the next world series we'd long forget the fearless bulldog because of the graceful condor.

A year later after no playoff appearance to speak of, the graceful condor is shipped off to winter ball in Venezuela to get more seasoning, to learn the strike zone, to develop more power as Kenny Williams now looks for his next center fielder via free agency or trade scenarios. The experiment has failed for a season.

At the start of the 2006 season Brian N. Anderson will be called the golden child, the goldy-locked kid with the gifted future, the White Sox center fielder for the next decade. At the end of the season a .225 batting average with 90 strikeouts and only 30 walks in 365 at bats will have the hell hounds on his tail. He'll drive in only 33 runs and steal only four bases for the defending world champs, and doubters will be out in force. White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen, his biggest doubter, will sacrifice defense for offense more times than not since Brian will stay below the Mendoza line for most of the first half of the season. And then even his forte, his defense, will take a hit in 2006 as he struggles occasionally on balls hit near the wall in the outfield and his arm will prove a little more erratic than advertised.

Now comes word that some Venezulean version of Montezuma's revenge has sapped Brian's strength. He's lost 20 pounds in two weeks and was slugging just .211 in 19 games, and he's gone home. Maybe Ozzie is sitting somewhere right now smiling, maybe Kenny Williams is frantically blowing up the Tampa Bay telephone circuits, maybe a slight grimace of justifiable sarcasm is stealing across the bludgeoned face of Aaron Rowand.

Rumors around the clubhouse had Brian being a cocky young lad, a kid with a sense of entitlement, a prodigy without an ear to listen. It's been whispered that along with the free-swinging Juan Uribe, Brian Anderson was the one kid who would not be taught, who would not take instruction from Greg Walker or Harold Baines. Such acts of insubordiantion normally get a player run out of the clubhouse in Chicago, but too much was invested in Brian. A fan favorite was shipped out of town for his benefit, a proven playoff team with outstanding defense was placed in his hands, a lot was riding on his success. And he reacated with the overconfidence of a scared bully -- fake and insincere.

Well, Brian N. Anderson, I'm here to tell you that, if you're still around -- and I'm sure Kenny will give you one more chance -- you'd better shape up this spring training. You better come in with a spirit of humble resolution to compete. You better have your head screwed on straight with all the yes sir, no sir, thank you sir attitudes of a new cadet in OTC training because if you don't, you'll turn into the next Billy Beane (the baseball player, not GM). And don't let me get started on how the fans at the Cell will treat you. Or maybe you'd like the White Sox to ship you off to Philadelphia where they eat Santa Claus for Christmas dinner if he doesn't bring them the correct gifts. How'd you like to play there? Your nonchalant attitude won't get you far there.

You have it pretty easy here in Chicago, even with Ozzie and his throw his best friend under the bus treatment of players. You will miss the South Side, Brian, but we won't miss you. So from now and thru spring training, you are in the line of fire. Look out.


Blogger Soxually Repressed said...

At least you aren't bitter...

10:49 AM, November 03, 2006  
Blogger DickdaStick said...

thought this entry was one of your best ever renderings.....

...keep up the good stuff !

1:10 PM, November 03, 2006  
Blogger jamesmnordbergjr said...

Thanks, Dickie, I appreciate the's easy to editorialize when you've spent a season closely scrutinizing every bobble, whiff and off day closer than any previous season you can remember.

I guess the time spent in Jeeves' house helped.

1:39 PM, November 03, 2006  
Blogger Soxually Repressed said...

Hope that wasn't an overshare.

2:35 PM, November 03, 2006  
Blogger Jeeves said...

I believe the term is "The House that Jeeves (and friends) Built" ;)

5:46 PM, November 04, 2006  
Blogger Soxually Repressed said...

Amish by chance?

12:05 PM, November 06, 2006  

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