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Thursday, October 6

David Schoenfield: Well, E, I gotta admit, I've been a bit of a hater. Believed the small-ball hype was ridiculous and wrong. Believed Ozzie Guillen was more crazy than crazy genius. Believed Jose Contreras' late-season hot streak was overplayed -- his last seven starts came against the 99-pound weakling offenses of Seattle, Detroit, Kansas City and Minnesota. Thought the White Sox's lack of plate discipline (only Paul Konerko drew even 50 walks) was being ignored. Believed the whole Scott Podsednik hype had gone completely out of control back at the All-Star break. I didn't believe in this team.

But now ... well, now I believe. I love the way Ozzie believes in Bobby Jenks and especially loved the way he was willing to use him for two innings in Game 2. But I also loved the way he had Neal Cotts warming up behind Jenks, in case Big Papi got to the plate. Cotts had no saves during the regular season, but Ozzie was willing to have him come in to close out the game. I always say you have to manage differently in the postseason and Ozzie showed he'll do that. I believe in Contreras. He does look like a No. 1 guy right now. I believe in Mark Buehrle. And I know you do too. And now they come back with Freddy Garcia and Jon Garland in Game 3 and 4. Besides Jenks, Ozzie can use Cliff Politte, Dustin Hermanson, Luis Vizcaino or Damaso Marte from the pen, capable hurlers all. And they're hitting. Like the 2002 Angels, they're looking like an offense that is clicking on all cylinders at the right time.

Hey, I know you believe. You told everyone to jump on the bandwagon before the playoffs begin. Tell me I'm not too late to the party. Tell me I can second-guess myself for not thinking this team could win it all.

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Eric Neel: Oh you're definitely too late, D. This is southside Chicago stuff. I'm too late, too. If you weren't down with these guys since the La Marr Hoyt era, you're too late. The question is, why were you wrong about them? Why were so many so wrong about them coming into the playoffs?

Theory One: We're a sadistic bunch. We get a certain sick thrill out of a team collapsing. There was something fun about watching the White Sox swoon in September and something in us wanted it to continue, wanted it to approach historic depths and conjure images of Gene Mauch and such.

What else? Why did we miss on these guys? Why are we surprised they're up 2-0 on Boston?

David: Because we don't pay attention to history. We think what matters in September matters more than what you accomplish over 162 games. The White Sox got cold, compared to their hot April and May, so we wrote them off. Thing is, I do pay attention to history, I did the research, which showed that your September record is completely meaningless as a playoff predictor, and yet I still ignored that and said this is a team that was lucky the first half and found its true center after the All-Star break.



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