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Everybody's a Manager

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Ted Cox's sanguine summary of the Sox' wasted "encore" season [The Sports Section, September 29] fails to reflect the anger and frustration felt by this fan, who believes the precipitous collapse of the champions after the All-Star break was not inevitable. Two chronic problems were as clear as the (whatever) on your face but were not corrected. First, it became obvious soon after the break that most of the starting pitching staff were beginning to tire and/or ail. It was also clear that Brendan McCarthy, who had acquitted himself superbly as a starter at the end of 2005, did not belong in the pen. Different approach, different frequency, different pressure, different warm-up. How about using him as a utility starter to rest the tired guys? When Guillen finally did that last week McCarthy pitched a two-hitter! They'll probably place him on the block. Cox praises Brian Anderson for his fielding in center. I don't think he's an Edmonds or a DiMaggio, but even if he is, no team can win the AL with only eight hitters in the lineup, and for most of the season he batted in the 100s. Hawk (who displayed a peculiar sponsorship of the lad all year) said he was just learning to hit. Could he have finished his training in Triple A, while a real hitter, with clutch skills Anderson utterly lacked, helped with the pennant race? These exact issues and solutions were noted in mid-July by the commentators on a Sunday night ESPN telecast after the Sox had fallen fatally behind. They were also presented in great detail by Phil Rogers in the Trib in mid-August. But, as Cox points out, Guillen stubbornly plodded on, watching the starters (except for Garland) collapse and wins disappear for lack of a clutch hit. The 2006 Sox may have been a loyal and friendly group, but they were doomed, by unimaginative and inflexible managing, not to repeat.

Jeff Madoff

Glencoe

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