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The title always seemed like the most reasonable baseball advice I ever heard. Since I was a lousy ballplayer, maybe I can apply that advice to a blog.
Rating: 3 votes, 3.67 average.

Shutouts Maybe, But No Shutdowns

Posted 05-14-2009 at 02:30 PM by tebman

Six shutouts in 33 games. I put those words right out front to remind me why, in answer to a question last night, I told a friend that I didn't know when the next Sox game was scheduled.

But that was the malaise talking. Of course I knew when the next game was and who the Sox were playing. It's just that I find myself drifting in an arid stupor somewhere between anger and resignation after watching my team look like pigeons out there. And all I can do is feed the birds and hope they decide to fly again.

I know, I know -- it's a long season, a marathon and not a sprint, and battles are lost to win wars. Yeah, and the sheep's in the meadow and the cow's in the corn, too. I've heard all those old chestnuts and I'm still hungry.

Shutouts happen and I know that, but a shutout every sixth game? There's a quote attributed to Vince Lombardi that says, "It's not whether you get knocked down, it's whether you get up." So get up already, gentlemen.

The only thing the proprietors offer you when you buy a ticket is that a game will be played. They can't guarantee your team will win. But it's not unreasonable to expect there to be an actual contest between two teams, a competition in which both clubs give their best effort. I don't expect the White Sox to win every game but I expect them to compete in every game.

I'm not naive. I know the players want to win. But when pitchers are usually behind in the count, when runners are usually left in scoring position, and when they usually can't lay down a bunt, I get unusually frosted. I'd like to blame umpires, the weather, the stars, or anything else, but I can't. As a fan, my relationship to the team is as if I had a brother who did dumb things and often made me crazy, but in the end he's still my brother. And because of that I'm willing to tell him he needs to remove his head from that distasteful position and do what he has to do. Go down swinging! Take that extra base! Back those hitters off the plate! Do what you know you have to do, and if you lose, you know you made them earn it.

When the Sox are looking at what might be their next shutout, I wish they all had Dylan Thomas's words etched in the brim of their caps:

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

That's all I want. Night will come, but by God, we'll all rage at the dying of the light.
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