So yesterday Mark Gonzales, who covers the White Sox for the Tribune, filled his readers in on manager Robin Ventura's thoughts about his lineup.
"It can be changing," Ventura told Gonzales. "But you want it to be one of those things you feel comfortable with, and one that you want to put out there. The middle of it will be what it is. The other parts you can move around and do different things with."
The story, headlined "Ventura still exploring options for batting order," might have been headlined:
Ventura to choose lineup he likes
Or it could have had this head and subhead:
Middle of Sox lineup "will be what it is," Ventura reveals
Sox skipper plans to do different things with rest of order
In his mixed-tense version of the popular "It is what it is," Ventura betrayed an understandable gloom about the heart of his lineup. The late New York Times language columnist William Safire wrote in 2006 that "It is what it is" was a softer form of "No comment." Joe Pickett, executive editor of the American Heritage Dictionary, told Safire the phrase was "a way of expressing philosophical resignation over a disappointment, of saying that the situation just has to be put up with."
Or, as a contributor to the Urban Dictionary put it: "This incredibly versatile phrase can be literally translated as 'fuck it.'" Another contributor observed that the phrase "seems to simply state the obvious but actually implies helplessness."
Ventura's star cleanup hitter, Paul Konerko, likely will have Alex Rios (.227 last season) batting in front of him and Adam Dunn (.159) behind him. This is like protecting a bank with toy spaniels—but what choice does Ventura have? It will be what it is. At least he can do different things with the rest of the order.