As each of the division champions and wild-card teams are determined, Big League Stew asks World Series hopefuls to issue a formal acceptance speech and explain why they're the team that will be hoisting The Commissioner's Trophy in late October. Last ups go to the Chicago White Sox, who used every game of the regular season, plus one, to earn their invitation to the playoffs.
Mr. Commissioner, Chairman Reinsdorf, Vice Chairman Einhorn, Senator and Democratic Presidential Nominee Barry, General Manager Williams, Mayor Daley, the Ghost of Mr. Veeck, and of Mr. Veeck's Wooden Leg with the Ashtray, Da Coach, Walter, Fridge, M.J., Scottie, Horace, Phil, Ozzie, Harold, Hawkeroo, Stone Pony, Our Fellow Illianas, County Cookers, Chicagoons, South Side Hitmen and Women, Armour Squares, Bronzevillains, Bridgeporters, Comiskey Parkers, U.S. Cell-Outs, and Pale Hoser fans everywhere.
We're sorry this is coming a little late. It took us a little longer than expected to win our division, but as the Team of Nellie and Little Louie, of Roland and of Dick Allen, of Luke Appling and of Minnie Minoso, of the Old Roman and Big Ed Walsh, proudly and with a great sense of relief, accepts the American League Central Division title!
(Pause for applause)...
Pals of Pudge, there's one person above all others for whom this division title has special meaning. The man who constructed the 2005 World Champions
(Pause for cheers)...
The man who made bold deals to add Gavin Floyd and John Danks and Jim Thome and Ken Griffey, the man who was told that those deals would not work, or cost too much, or were not good enough. How wrong all those players have proved the naysayers. Let's have a hand for Kenny Williams, the architect of this champion!
(Pause for applause)...
Followers of Fisk, we were given the fight of our lives to reach this point. The Minnesota Twins, the Plucky Piranhas, The Tasty Twinkies — and a moment of silence for their great season — they gave us another great run with players no one had heard of. Three of their pitchers, Slowey, Blackburn and Baker, were actually the same person — shortstop Nick Punto — making over 90 combined starts.
What a job young Nick did. Please, be polite and give him some applause
(No one does)...
Confidants of Carlton, the rest of the AL Central was out to lunch for most of the season, especially those ne'er-do-wells, the Detroit Tigers. Couldn't even beat out the Yankees for most monies wasted in '08, but I'm sure they'll be back in '09, hurting their loyal fans feelings and pocket books again. And the Cleveland Indians, who put together a great half-season after the pressure was off, excellent job in polishing your won-lost record. We thank them, especially, for shutting down Cliff Lee in the final weekend of the regular season. The Kansas City Royals, despite a mostly futile effort, helped the Sox get to this point by beating the Twins two-of-three late in Minneapolis. Thanks, suckers! Torii Hunter's sending you a case of champagne.
Now that the playoff spot has been secured, what can we do with it? Just say thank you and head into the off-season? Or make another run at a world title? We say the latter! Are the crosstown Cubs going to be happy with just a division title? Of course not and neither are we! We're not going to be happy until we beat them in the World Series and crush their dreams once and for all!
(Pause for woofing)...
Disciples of Dybzinski, it starts with the pitching. What about the pitching? Mark Buehrle, Gavin Floyd and John Danks. All each needs to do is go eight innings, every start, for three rounds, similar to what the Sox did in the '05 World Series, and it's in the bank. Is that too much to ask from your athletes? We think not! We think that's how you win! That's how we're going to do it!
In closing, Lovers of Luzinski, our big boys are going to have to swing the bats. We're going to need Jim Thome, J.D., Paulie and anyone else who wants to swing a bat, going for the fences as usual. We can't bunt, we can't run, we can't hit-and-run, and did we mention that we can't run or bunt? Brute force is called for in some situations. This is such a situation. And we've got the brutes. Let's force it.
Thank you, may God Bless you, and may God Bless Mayor Daley and the Chicago White Sox!
PREVIOUS SPEECHES: The Los Angeles Angels (AL West), The Chicago Cubs (NL Central), The Los Angeles Dodgers (NL West) The Tampa Bay Rays (AL East) The Philadelphia Phillies (NL East) The Boston Red Sox (AL Wild Card) The Milwaukee Brewers (NL Wild Card)