Jermaine Dye's Closing Act in Chicago
It’s usually hard to say goodbye to players who have helped your team.
In some cases, the separation can be so painful that fans become resentful of the departing player (Jim Thome in Cleveland). In other instances, the separation can’t occur soon enough, and that’s the case for Chicago and Jermaine Dye.
Dye came to the Sox in 2005 despite the fact that the Texas Rangers were offering more money. He wanted to play for the Sox, and that fact alone was enough to endear him to White Sox nation. Dye completed his first season with a line of .274-31-85. Not bad, but not outstanding. However it was his performance in the World Series and leadership in the clubhouse that made him an instant fan favorite and a player who every Sox fan wanted in right field until he was ready to hang up his spikes.
Since then JD has continued to mash the ball. He has 162 home runs in his 4+ years with the Sox and 454 runs driven in. So what’s the problem?
Jermaine Dye reached the top of the hill and is now bobsledding his way down the wrong side. What’s worse is that it’s happened so fast. For the first half of the season JD hit .302 with 20 homers and 55 driven in. There was talk amongst fans that the Sox better pick up their side of his $12MM mutual option. Then the All-Star break came and went, and when the Sox returned to the field a different Jermaine Dye was in right field.
This Jermaine Dye has no discipline at the plate and no pop in his bat. Through 222 AB’s in the second half he’s hitting .171 with 5 homers and 19 driven in. In addition to that he’s only slugging .264, so in essence the Sox have ditched the DH and now have a pitchers spot in their lineup.
As is the case with any fan favorite it’s hard to say goodbye. Just look at how it was in Boston when David Ortiz was flailing away and Boston fans were trying to come up with any excuse as to why he had become so bad so quickly. (Sampling of those excuses: he needed his vision checked, he was hurt, he needed Manny back…somehow the steroid explanation still eludes Red Sox nation. But I digress.)
The point is I don’t want things with JD to be how they were with Big Papi in Boston. I don’t want this to drag out so long that my mom won’t let me go see JD because she want’s me to remember him how he was, not how he is now (sorry grandpa).
So, goodbye Jermaine. Thank you for the World Series. Thank you for taking the place of what was a very productive right fielder and helping Sox fans forget all about him. But it’s time to go. No, you don’t have to retire, but there’s no longer a place for you here.
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