Now that everyone is in a good mood, Paul Sullivan is ready to answer your questions about the White Sox. Or maybe not.
Well, Paul, I appreciate another fine week of non-answers to questions posed by those who are honestly curious and pay your undeserved salary. As well as further moratoriums on real baseball-oriented questions and concerns. So what if you're sick of them. Since you have never answered one of my real baseball questions, how about telling me what brand of toilet paper they use in Comiskey Park. At least I might finally learn something from this column. --TJ Brado, Seward, Alaska
If any of you want a rebate from me for not answering your questions, I'll be glad to negotiate. TJ, I'm afraid you just don't get it, so I'm afraid I'm not going to answer your question, even though I know the answer.
Is there anything you can do to stop the TV stations from canning the background noise at the ball games? It takes away the real ball game. No one is yelling or jumping up or down and yet the background noise is very bad. The TV stations should wake up because they are spoiling the games. Thanks. --Ed Fischer, Park Forest
I noticed this last weekend when I had a day off and watched the game. You can hear that incredibly loud Sox fan who won't sit down the entire game, screaming and bellowing and acting like he's having a heart attack. I don't know how to mute this guy out, or the other fans whose commentary is heard in the background of Sox broadcasts. Maybe the announcers will just have to talk louder and drown him out. I'd suggest listening to the games on radio and turning your TV down.
The Sox may be better off inserting Foulke in the starting rotation and instead groom our young talented arms in the bullpen. Foulke has expressed desire to be a starter and indeed his pitching ability is more suited to be a starter. Of course, I can't ignore that the Sox would be displacing one of the best relievers in the game, but the starting rotation needs a stimulus soon if this club is to compete in the playoffs. Perhaps I am panicking too early? What are your thoughts of this move? --Gregory Badar, Cranston, R.I.
Paul, it seems to me that the answer to the Sox starting rotation question is sitting in the bullpen. Let's move Keith Foulke into the starting rotation (where he wants to be) and allow Howry and Osuna to share the closer's role. In addition to solving this problem, it would allow us to use our excess young arms in a package deal to Texas for the best catcher in baseball, Pudge Rodriguez. Your thoughts, Paul? --Jack Moore, Columbia City, Ind.
Excess arms? And those would be...? The idea of moving Foulke to the rotation is interesting, but he got tired in his second inning against the Yankees on Thursday and would take a while to stretch himself out. Maybe it's an idea that should be considered after the season. If it didn't work, the manager and pitching would be ripped by everyone.
Hi, Paul, does it look like Howry will ever get his fastball back into the upper '90s? And what press box offers the best spread? Even better, what's a typical day in your life on the road? Love your work, Molly. --Molly Ryan, Brookfield, Wis.
Molly, you ask a lot of questions, but I'll try to give you some abbreviated answers: No. None. Grueling. OK, I can already sense that TJ from Alaska is getting upset, so I will elaborate. No, Howry doesn't look like he'll get back in the upper 90s, so he'll simply have to adjust. I don't typically eat the press box food, going to the concessions instead. Baltimore has the best concessions, though Comiskey is right up there. A typical day on he road? Sitting here in my hotel room answering e-mails, going to the park and interviewing millionaires (and the manager), writing a couple stories, going back to the hotel, crashing out.
Did Rob Dibble really throw a ball at your head? What was that all about? --John Crane, Chicago
You'll have to read my tell-all book: "Confessions of a Sox Writer," coming soon to a bookstore near you." By the way, I caught Dibble on ESPN on the steroids controversy. First he said only a handful of players do steroids, then said 9 out of 10 players don't do steroids. So, it's either 10 percent of players or perhaps five, according to Dibble. That's our Dibs...not exactly a candidate for MENSA, is he?
The Cubs have the worst record in baseball and we don't. Am I wrong to consider this a great season so far? --Tom Kolak, Costa Mesa, Calif.
Tom, no one likes a smart alec, especially TJ from Alaska.
I know it's early but...if the Braves are still hovering around .500 by the time the trading deadline arrives and the Sox are still in the race, do you think Atlanta would be willing to trade Greg Maddux and what is the least you think they would ask for him? --Lincoln Wilson, Chicago
Maddux is a free agent and it doesn't look like they are going to re-sign him. I doubt the Braves would trade him, but if they did, the chances of him coming to the Sox are probably about 10,000-1. He makes too much money.
It's getting to be that time of year when people start grumbling about who should and shouldn't be on the All-Star team, and the exclusion of Paul Konerko's name from the ballot is bound to add fuel to the fire. Since you have so much clout (no sarcasm here), I was wondering if you could pass on my suggestion to the powers that be. Why not let the players choose who should be on the ballot, thus avoiding player's names that are no longer on the team, having a lousy year, etc., and then let the fans vote out of that batch? Managers can still pick pitchers and reserves. Makes sense to me. (Of course common sense and baseball don't go hand-in-hand.) What do you think? --Amy Garlinger, Wheaton, Ill.
Good idea, Amy. But you're right. It makes too much sense. As for my alleged "clout," I will pass this on to Jerry Reinsdorf, an avid reader of Ask Paul and close, personal friend of Bud Selig. Look for changes, and pronto.
Why did Manuel bring in Foulke in the eighth last night? Foulke has always had trouble going two innings. Does he have that little faith in the rest of his bullpen? --Barry Miller, Chicago
Manuel said Buehrle reached his pitch limit (104) and Giambi was 1-for-9 against Foulke. You can read anything into that you want.
I'm beginning to notice a disturbing trend: Sox fans throwing back home run balls. What gives? I think this trend best belongs on the Northside, what about you? --Keith Wilkins, Chicago
Very disturbing, to say the least. It should be stopped post haste. At least it's not as bad as Wrigley Field, where the players throw baseballs at the writers.
This is not a question for "Ask Paul Sullivan," but I thought you could use a laugh. This Onion story reminds me of a certain South-Side park I know. Congress threatens to leave D.C. unless new capital is built --Claire Zulkey, Evanston
Of course you must know that I am auditioning for a job with the Onion as its No. 1 sports columnist. Wish me luck, especially if you want me off the Sox beat. Yes, TJ from Alaska, I'm talking to you.
Hi, Sully (hey, Teddy calls you that). I have several questions: First, why does the Tribune require questions to be placed in such a small box? It makes the prospect of quoting Shakespeare, let alone the Flintstones or the Beverly Hillbillies, extraordinarily difficult. Second, I'm a little confused on your ground rules. After announcing that your moratorium now covers Garland, Parque, Sox attendance, Nardi Contreras and the Josh Fogg trade (formerly known as the Kip Wells trade) [insert link here], you go onto answer a Garland question. Given his performance against the Red Sox, isn't it time to lift that one and give him a big "Atta boy?" Third, do you really think Dash Riprock could have pulled off the corpse in the Big Chill? Go Sox! --Devin Hapsburg, Skokie
Don't ask me why ChicagoSports.com requires questions to be placed in such a small box. I just write here. I am not in charge of the small boxes. (Editor's note: From the Small Boxes Department, the box is that size to limit space on the page. Try typing your questions in Word and then clipping and pasting into the box. Carry on.) Second, there are no ground rules, unless I make them up as I go along. Garland has pitched well since the moratorium, so let's keep it going a little longer to see if it's the reason for his success. Finally, Dash Riprock rocks.
What's Ron Schueler doing these days? I am a cousin of his and have lost track of his doings since he stepped down from his GM position. --Ed Monigan, Yardley, Penn.
Ed, what kind of cousin doesn't know what his cousins are up to? Call up one of your other cousins and ask about Schu's whereabouts. Last time I saw him was in Tucson, when he pulled his golf cart up to the Arizona clubhouse before an exhibition game. He said he was waiting for someone, but not Jerry Colangelo, his future boss.
Paul, do the White Sox have a stated organizational philosophy when it comes to pitching prospects? It seems like they favor guys with high-ceiling stuff (Garland, Wright, Wells) and overlook (or almost, in Mark Buehrle's case) less flashy control guys. --Ryan Lipscomb, Philadelphia
The philosophy appears to be: The more pitchers we draft, the better chance a couple of them will pan out. Of course, now the system is lacking in quality position players, but that's another story.
Being an envious, self-absorbed White Sox fan I want to know when the Joe Borchard press conference is going to be. It's not fair that some half-pint pitcher from the Cub is getting all of the attention. The press needs to obsess about our guys, too, and ask him such riveting questions as, "Are you nervous before your first big-league game?", "How do you hit the ball with such power and authority?" and, of course, "How did your parents raise you to become a future All-Star?" I'll hang up and wait for my answer. --John Fitch, Lake in the Hills
Believe me, as soon as Joe Borchard comes up, we'll be obsessing about him. Sox fans should stop being so obsessed with the coverage of Mark Prior's debut. How many pitchers come up to the majors in less than two months? It's an interesting story, no matter what team he plays for. Let it go, people.
Hi, Paul, I think the meditation must be helping, did your therapist, Dr. Georgia, recommend it? Hey, I noticed that you haven't been getting too many Royce Clayton questions (and I believe the moratorium has been lifted.) Do you think this is because he has lifted his performance level or have the other Sox on the moratorium list just fallen below him? --Matt Ahrens, Menlo Park, Calif.
The meditation is working well. I can see clearly now, thanks to Dr. Georgia. What was your question again?
Paul, great column, I enjoy reading your answers. Something I noticed that may have slipped through the cracks: It appears a Blue Jay minor league pitcher has been writing you. Steve Hecker, the guy who you've asked during the last couple weeks to try yoga and watch Mike Tyson fights, pitches in Dunedin, Fla. In this week's column, he suggested throwing at batters during a blowout. Should the White Sox be worried about such a guy on the loose? Maybe he should be traded to the Sox to help Nardi solidify his bullpen. Just a thought. --Alf Bomainti, Rosemont
I don't do background checks on the e-mailers, so I don't know if it was the same Hecker who pitches in the Blue Jays' system. I'm trusting that you people are who you say you are, which is why I don't print e-mails from people who don't give their whole name. I'm sure some of them are fake names, which is really sad when you think about it, but some people have no lives.
What's with all the moratoriums? You have proved to us that you are a true Sox fan with all your sarcasm so let us have some fun. At least reinstate the attendance comments for our sanity, OK? --Jim Crestani, San Diego
Sorry, Jim. The moratoriums actually work. I've stopped receiving e-mails on subjects I'm not interested in addressing. By the end of the season, there will be no topic left to discuss, and then I can get some couch time in.
I was one of those people that gave a much longer answer than you wanted to the question about the hardest part of being a Sox fan. Sorry. I didn't read the directions and didn't understand what you wanted. I do read your coverage of the Sox, but don't usually bother with your answers column. That's because the questions often seem half-baked. --Jim Schwartz, Huntington Woods, Mich.
Don't feel bad, Jim. The answers are half-baked as well. I know the directions are difficult. Next time we'll go a little slower for you.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun