Those of you who read UmpBump regularly are aware of my gripe with the Center Field situation in the South Side of Chicago. For the past four years, General Manager Kenny Williams has repeatedly tried to find a talented middle outfielder with little to show for it.
This season, the Sox have opted to give the job to Dewayne Wise, a career minor leaguer, who beat out perennial prospects Jerry Owens and Brian Anderson, as well as the young Chris Getz. How did Wise win the job? By flashing intangibles like energy level and desire.
According to general manager Ken Williams, finally deciding on Wise had to do with desire. Considering the way the 31-year-old Wise has fought to stay in the game, it was a no-brainer at the end of the day.
“For a few years, we told Jerry what we expected in terms of the energy level and the attitude for the leadoff position,” Williams said. “When you’re at the top of the lineup in the order, you got to have some fight. I’m not saying Jerry doesn’t have it, but it’s not up to where we want it to be, obviously.
What’s most disappointing is the end of Owens’ career as a South Sider. I will include myself amongst those that thought he’d be able to turn the corner and become the leadoff/center fielder Williams and manager Ozzie Guillen have longed for. Alas, his being waived is a sad culmination to a tenure that never really purported greatness, but sure set expectations high for the Sox.
But “energy level”?! I’m as guilty as anyone for believing in the intangibles. Yes, desire is awesome! And energy level rocks! But you know what might be great? A center fielder with, oh, I don’t know, an ability to get on base! In over 900 minor league games Wise has an OBP of .310. That’s freakin’ terrible!