Thursday, June 3, 201012:43 PM
By Chuck GarfienCSNChicago.com
Frank Thomas hasnt picked up a bat in 20 months. I learned this the other day when I half-jokingly asked him if he would join the Comcast SportsNet softball team.
Hows that for a ringer?
But the greatest hitter in White Sox history laughed at my idea, admitting Id probably break my back.
And yet, wherever the Big Hurt goes in Chicago, he hears the same plea from anxious, desperate White Sox fans.
Frank, we need you!
Unfortunately, this team doesnt need Frank. It needs something that has yet to be invented.
A time machine.
(If anyone sees Doc Brown roaming around a vacant shopping mall parkinglot with his 1985 DeLorean and furry dog Einstein, please have himreport to U.S. Cellular Field immediately)
The White Sox slow, baffling start has left many to long for those bright and sunny days of yesteryear when all seemed right in the world. Like April 5, 2010. Opening Day.
A lot has changed since then.
Two months into the season, this hasnt exactly been a Hollywood masterpiece. Kevin Costners 1995 flop "Waterworld" is probably more like it.
Doing whatever he can to prevent the Sox ship from sinking further, pitching coach Don Cooper offered these deep thoughts before Wednesdays second straight loss to the Rangers:
You swim in confidence, you drown in negativity.
But if the Sox struggles continue, there wont be enough life preservers to save everyone. Its a boat the Big Hurt has been on before.
At this point in the season, you need to be as positive as ever, because if not, the negativity is close, Thomas said Wednesday on White Sox Pregame Live, when I shared with him Coopers message.
Cooper feels it, Thomas said. He knows the media is going to be on everyone, he knows whats going to happen if they dont start winning ballgames.
And Frank, who has been one of the teams biggest supporters -- if not personal cheerleaders -- in 2010 could not ignore the reality if the Sox dont turn it around soon.
Something is going to happen with this ballclub.
Something as in big changes?
At this point in the season, you need to be as positive as ever, because if not, the negativity is close.-- Frank Thomas on the importance of positive thinking during team strugglesThats the only way I see it.
It is possible for the White Sox to save their season, with or without a Kenny Williams overhaul. History proves they can.
Remember 2005? On July 25, the Cleveland Indians trailed the first-place White Sox by 15 games in the Central Division, only to go on a blistering two-month hot streak to cut the lead to 1 12 games by late September. The Indians didnt end up catching the Sox, but it certainly makes the Twins' current 8 12-game advantage sound a lot more appealing.
But then again, that Indians team had C.C. Sabathia and Cliff Lee, not to mention a healthy Grady Sizemore and Travis Hafner.
The 2003 Florida Marlins (with Ozzie Guillen as their third-base coach) were 10 games under .500 on May 22. They went on to make the playoffs, and beat the Giants, Cubs and Yankees for the World Series title.
Helping the Marlins' cause that year was a 20-year-old phenom named Miguel Cabrera, who was called up midseason. Any chance the Tigers let us borrow Miguel for the next four months?
Both of those teams found magic midsummer. So far, the White Sox have been doing a disappearing act in the Central Division, watching their hopes gradually vanish.
Its left us pondering the same old questions.
Do these 2010 White Sox actually have a run in them? Can they play the kind of Ozzie Ball we thought they could on Opening Day? Will the starting rotation, projected to be one of the best in the game, finally start pitching like it?
I want to believe yes. But the Sox keep proving no.
When I asked Cooper to sum up the teams situation in one word, he said, Important. Not critical, but important.
Maybe. But if the Sox dont start winning soon, it will likely be anchors away for some big-time stars (you know the names).
Sink or swim.
Chuck Garfien hosts White Sox Pregame and Postgame Live on Comcast SportsNet with former Sox slugger Bill Melton. Follow Chuck @ChuckGarfien on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Sox news and views.