What interests me is that last night I was watching the end of the game (it went into extra innings) and the TV showed the results of a poll that asked "Did the White Sox exceed your expectations in 2005?" And the answer was...
66% of the people said no, 34% said yes
That just shows how people lose perspective. The White Sox finished with the BEST RECORD IN THE AL. Was this everyone's "expectation" at the beginning of the year? Are they all crazy?
Let's go back in time to before the season started...
- We traded away Carlos Lee, our most productive hitter, who went on to have a big season with the Milwaukee Brewers. We did get Scott Podsednik, the speedy lead-off man, in return, but trading away a bona-fide big league cleanup hitter is a big deal
- We lost a guy who challenged for MVP, Magglio Ordonez, and basically got nothing in return (he got injured most of the year and played for the Tigers)
- We knew that Frank Thomas, our oft-injured slugger, might not be ready for the season, and sure enough, he got hurt and didn't contribute very much in 2005
- We picked up a sometimes-OK reliever from the Padres, Hermanson
- We picked up an oft-injured outfielder / slugger, Jermaine Dye
- We re-signed (what, for the tenth time :) ) oft-nuts Carl Everett
- We picked up Contreras, the pitcher, who was wildly streaky and at a big discount
- We picked up Hernandez, another pitcher, at a big discount
- We bet on Garland, who never seemed to get his act together to match his talent
- We picked up AJ Pierzynski, who was deried as a "bad chemistry" guy from SF
Does this sound like the formula for the Best Record in the AL, a league which features the high-spending Red Sox and Yankee franchises? And don't forget the Angels, which won the world series not too long ago?
It didn't to me, and those people who said it matched expectations are either lying or nuts.
What probably happened is that when they played 30 games over .500 at the All Star break and then played closer to .500 ball after the All Star break, people became disenchanted. But NO ONE who thinks about things for more than 5 minutes would think that a team would go 30 games over at the All Star break and then 30 games over the 2nd half of the year, because that would basically come to about the best all-time record (%) in history.