GLENDALE, Ariz. -- While the sun might be shining at the White Sox spring training facility, the forecast for what lies ahead in 2012 has been quite different.
Ask most fans or media about this White Sox team and they see storm clouds pushing in, with a third or fourth place finish in the division.
But on the day that Paul Konerko made news by saying 2012 could be a very successful year without making the playoffs, leave it to the Chairman to send a message to White Sox fans to not count them out.
Dont write us off, Jerry Reinsdorf said in an interview Tuesday with Comcast SportsNet. Nobody thought wed win the World Series in 2005, but we did. There are years when we think were great and were bad. I mean the funny thing about this game is that you cant figure it out.
How else do you explain Adam Dunn, for instance, seeing his home run total drop in one season from 38 to 11? His RBIs go from 103 to 42? Or his batting average drop more than 100 points from .260 to .159?
All you have is the games history, in which Reinsdorf is an expert.
If you take a look at what used to be the Baseball Encyclopedia, and you look at the stats of the players who have played eight, 10, 12 years, if they have a really great year they almost always come back to what they were. If they have a bad year, they almost always come back to what they were. Aberrational years are just that. Babe Ruth had a year here or there where he had just awful years, and then he would bounce back and be Babe Ruth the next year.
I checked it out. Reinsdorf is right.
In 1922 and 1925, Ruth had two of the worst seasons of his career, mainly due to injuries. But even while healthy, he wasnt the same player in those bad seasons. Take 1925. In 98 games, Ruth had 25 homers, 66 RBIs, and batted .290. Not exactly Ruthian numbers. The next season, however, Ruth played in 152 games, finished with 47 homers, 146 RBIs and raised his batting average 87 points to .372.
If Dunn can get close to his lifetime average of 3895.243, through simple inertia, a lot more runs will cross the plate.
Tuesday, Reinsdorf was in the clubhouse as new manager Robin Ventura addressed the entire team for the very first time. When I asked the Chairman about Venturas speech, he joked, it wasnt anything terribly inspiring, then added, Im convinced that Robin is just going to be a wonderful manager, and just a leader of men.
Did Reinsdorf have any words for the team?
All the staff people introduced themselves and said what they did, so I introduced myself, and just said, I sign the checks.
So does the man who signs the checks think the White Sox will surprise people this season?
Yes, he said. We would have won the division in my opinion last year if everybody just had normal average year. That goes the same this year. If people have their normal average year, we should be able to contend.