White Sox

Random News of the Day: Blood in the Water

Random News of the Day: Blood in the Water

Tuesday, July 13, 2010
12:50 PM

By Joe Collins
CSNChicago.com

I caught up with a group of friends a few days ago at the World's Largest Block Party in Chicago's West Loop. It's a Windy City midsummer tradition: spend 40, drink a few beverages, inhale a funnel cake or two, listen to a few bands and go home. And according to legend (or really savvy word-of-mouth marketing), singles are supposed to meet their soulmate at this street festival and then go on to get married at St. Patrick's Church -- the same church that happens to sponsor the fest. Isn't that nice? Most of the fest-hoppers in our group are in committed relationships anyway. I'm one of them. The "soulmate search" is a moot point. So the entertainment portion of the night usually revolves around people-watching. And let me tell you ... it is pure comedy. Cringing, trainwreck, pure comedy.

The World's Largest Block Party is eHarmony on steroids: too many people trying way too hard to make a positive impression on others (hey, I was also one of those people way back when). What's interesting is that you can spot the single people a mile away. They all stand together in groups, with their heads on a swivel like Charles Tillman dropping into a Cover-2 defense, planning to swarm Mr. or Ms. Right. By the time we saw the 1,000th girl with embalming-style makeup, choked on somebody's Axe Body Spray and heard the 1,000th "So, you come to this fest every year?" pickup line, we pretty much agreed that the people at the World's Largest Block Party -- and maybe the fest itself -- had jumped the shark.

(Note: I'm sure that most of you know what the term "Jump The Shark" means. It can be defined as, "the exact point when a person, place, thing or activity becomes uncool and loses all credibility and popularity and turns into a running joke." The term "Jump The Shark" came about from the TV sitcom "Happy Days", when Fonzie literally jumped over a shark in an episode. The show, arguably, had lost all credibility and was doomed from that point forward.)

LeBron James jumped the shark on Thursday. He tried too hard to make an impression and ended up looking ridiculous in the process. Miraculously, he jumped again over the weekend with Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade in that dry heave of a welcoming party. It was badly choreographed, mockable, tacky and reeked of Limburger. Seriously, the three of them walkingdancing on that catwalk looked like a bad Falco video.

But it's not the first time that an athlete has completely jumped the shark. When did your favorite athlete or hero jump the shark? Was it something they said? Something they did? Personobject that they dated? I came up with a short list of athletes that, at one point or another, have done something so completely ridiculous that they lost every shred of credibility. They went from being liked to hated ... or from liked to pitied. Or even tolerated to hatedpitied.

Such as:

Terrell Owens (doing situps in his driveway)
Roger Clemens (leaving the Red Soxthrowing a bat at Mike Piazza)
Barry Bonds (any press conference from 2003-2008)
Roberto Alomar (the spit)
Ryan Leaf (Day 1)
Shani Davis (any interview from the 2006 Olympics)
Tonya Harding (the planned attack on Nancy Kerrigan)
Dennis Rodman (anything from the first hair change to today)
Milton Bradley ("What else you got?")
Adam Morrison (crying on the court)
Ricky Williams ("finding himself")
Joe Namath (either the 1974 pantyhose ad or the "I wanna kiss you!" comment does it)
Fuzzy Zoeller (comments about Tiger Woods)
Chris Pronger (to me, it was any postgame interview during the 2010 Stanley Cup Final)
Brett Favre (every summer for the past several years)
Bobby Knight (I know ... not an athlete per se, but once you throw a chair, you qualify)
John Rocker (the New York comments)
Allen Iverson ("talking 'bout ... practice")
Ron Artest (applying for a job at Circuit City trumps the Palace Brawl incident for me)
Shaquille O'Neal (the movie "Kazaam")
Mike Tyson (pick a moment, any moment)
Carlos Zambrano (see: Mike Tyson)
Sammy Sosa (the corked bat)
Any athlete that has admitted using a performance-enhancing drug
Any athlete that has run afoul with the law more than once (hey ... we all make mistakes, right?)

And that's an extremely short list. I could have put down a Fortune 500 list of crazy if I had the time.

Unfortunately, because of the TMZ'ified world we live in, all a player has to do is breathe improperly and they get branded as "shark jumpers." It's the price that they pay for living in the spotlight. We love building people up and love tearing 'em down.

A lot of people say that Michael Jordan jumped the shark ... repeatedly. He switched from basketball to baseball ... and back, he joined the Wizards and surlied his way through a Hall of Fame speech. But the vast majority of sports fans still love Michael Jordan. And that's the beauty of sports. Unlike TV shows, athletes can jump the shark multiple times. We're all suckers. We pay big bucks to see them in person. We put up with their attempts at music. We buy their jerseys. They dump us a few times. Or many times. But we come back. We always do. Being a fan of a sports team usually outlasts anything. It's for life. And watching what happens post shark-jump is just as entertaining as what happened beforehand.

Makes me wonder if the waters around South Beach are shark infested.

Or something like that.

Joe Collins is an assignment desk editor for Comcast SportsNet and contributor to CSNChicago.com.

White Sox Talk Podcast: Manny Machado Mania

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USA TODAY

White Sox Talk Podcast: Manny Machado Mania

Manny Machado to the White Sox?? It's been the dream for many White Sox fans for months.

With Machado in town to the play the White Sox, Chuck Garfien and Vinnie Duber discuss the White Sox chances of signing the soon-to-be-free agent.

Garfien also talks with Nicky Delmonico who played with Machado and fellow free agent to be Bryce Harper on the U.S.A. 18-under national team.

Listen to the full episode at this link or in the embedded player below:

Rick Renteria issues another benching after Welington Castillo doesn't hustle on popup

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USA TODAY

Rick Renteria issues another benching after Welington Castillo doesn't hustle on popup

One thing you better do if you play for Rick Renteria is run to first base.

Yet again, Renteria benched one of his players Monday for the sin of not hustling down the line.

Welington Castillo, a veteran, not a developing player in need of ample “learning experiences,” popped up to first base with two runners on and nobody out in the sixth inning of Monday’s eventual 3-2 loss to the visiting Baltimore Orioles. He did not run down to first, instead staying at home plate.

So when the inning ended and the White Sox took the field, Castillo stayed in the dugout.

Ricky’s boys don’t quit, or so the slogan goes. But what happens when a player doesn’t live up to that mantra? What happens when they don’t play their absolute hardest for all 27 outs, as the T-shirts preach? This is what happens. A benching.

“It was towering fly ball in the infield at first, probably had 15, 20 seconds of hangtime,” Renteria explained after the game. “I assumed the dropped ball. It has occurred. He could, at minimum, at least start moving that way.

“That’s uncharacteristic of him, to be honest, it truly is. Maybe he was just frustrated in that he had the fly ball and just stayed at the plate, but there was no movement toward first at all. And you guys have heard me talk to all the guys about at least giving an opportunity to move in that particular direction.

“Everybody says, ‘Well, 99 out of (100) times he’s going to catch that ball.’ And then that one time that he doesn’t, what would I do if the ball had been dropped? Would it have made it easier to pull him? Well, it was just as easy because you expect not the best, but the worst.

“That is uncharacteristic of that young man. I had a quick conversation with him on the bench, and he knew and that was it.”

It might seem a little overdramatic, a little nutty, even, to sit down a veteran catcher brought in this offseason to provide some offense and to do it in a one-run game. But this rebuild is about more than just waiting around for the minor league talent to make its way to the South Side. It’s about developing an organizational culture, too. And Renteria feels that if he lets this kind of thing slide at the big league level, that won’t send the right message to those precious prospects who will one day fill out this lineup.

“There’s one way to do it, you get your action, you start moving toward that direction in which you’ve got to go,” Renteria said. “What would’ve happened if everybody’s watching it — and I’m setting the tone for not only here, our club, (but also for) everybody in the minor leagues — and they’re saying, ‘Well, at the top, they said they’re going to do this and then they don’t do it.’

“It’s really simple. And people might like it, not like it. I’ve got to do this, do that so everybody understands what we’re trying to do here. We’re not done with what we’re trying to do.”

This isn’t the first time this has happened in 2018. Avisail Garcia was taken out of a game during spring training for not giving maximum effort. Leury Garcia was removed from a game earlier this month for not busting it down the first-base line on a weak grounder that went right to the first baseman.

It’s become a somewhat common tactic for Renteria, and while it might strike some as taking things a little too seriously, what good is this developmental season if a culture goes undeveloped? The White Sox have placed their bright future, in part, in Renteria’s hands, and they’ve talked glowingly about how the players have bought into his style and how the team played last season under his leadership.

If Renteria truly is the right man for the rebuild, things like this are how he’s going to establish his culture. And it will, he hopes, impact how all those prospects play when they’re no longer prospects and the White Sox are contending for championships.