In the Mind of White Sox hitting coach Greg Walker: Stop Blaming Me

Thomas BarbeeSenior Analyst IMay 2, 2008

I've tried to keep my cool, but really, I'm tired of this. All of you fans out there are throwing your arms up in disgust in reaction to our team hitting a collective .242.

That's fine, I admit that's not ideal, but having the audacity to say that it's a repeat of 2007 is pretty bold. Then to top it all off, you're all looking in my direction as a scapegoat to this situation, I can feel it.

Well Sox fans, it's not my fault. There, I said it.

No, it's not my fault that for whatever reason Jim Thome is capable of hitting 500+ home run balls, but can't tap the ball down the third base side to get a single when the shift is on. The guy's been in the league since many of you were in diapers, and I doubt if he's going to turn into Tony Gwynn anytime soon.

It also isn't my fault that Juan Uribe sucks. It's bad enough that he has more holes in his swing than Joe Borchard, but when you combine it with a plate aggressiveness only rivaled by Vladimir Guerrero or an overcompensating high schooler, it's not a pretty sight.

I've told him numerous times, "Juan, shorten up your swing fella" and all he does is smile and nod his head as if to say "okay coach," then what happens? Strike one, strike two, strike three—every time he swings harder than the last with that ugly swing of his.

Honestly, the best comparison I ever heard, ironically, was from the usually silent Harold Baines. He told me once in frustration (I think Juan was 0-4 that night) Uribe's swing was like watching the AFLAC duck trying to hit a ball. Anyway, Uribe can hit some homers—that's true—but man that's one ugly swing. More importantly, even Rob Deer walked a little bit.

I also don't want to hear any crap about Alexei Ramirez—I really think he's about 15 anyways, so maybe that's why the guy can't hit a fastball. I've told Ozzie since day one that he wasn't ready, but you know, they like his versatility and all that. Forget that stuff I say, at least give me a guy that doesn't look like a deer in headlights at the plate.

Look at the positive things I've done.  Have you noticed the walk totals this year? Joe Crede has nearly matched his walks this year in only 25 games to the 10 walks he had last year in 47 games (the most he's ever walked is 34 times). 

Carlos Quentin was a borderline bust before Kenny brought him to me—now look at him, the guy is tenacious at the plate. Need another example? Look at Brian Anderson, the kid is hitting .300 as of right now, going 3-4 in his last game. I'm the one that helped him modify his batting stance, and if he hadn't been such a brat the first two years, the results would've come sooner.

So yeah, blame me for a bunch of thirty-somethings that aren't getting their bats in gear. Don't blame the weather, don't blame the line up that's almost designed for double plays, and heaven forbid you blame it on diminishing skills. No, let's blame me, Mr. Greg Walker.

Nevermind the fact that the offense for the Sox, outside of 2007, has ALWAYS been good and jaded by crappy pitching.

Don Cooper gets credit for turning pitchers around (whose names aren't Cliff Politte, Neal Cotts, Mike MacDougal, Andrew Sisco, or any other former Royals pitcher), but I get blamed for a bunch of aging vets hitting .242 despite playing well overall.

I just don't get it.