Archive for Saturday, February 25, 2006

Dye ready to move on after winning Series MVP

February 25, 2006


— Jermaine Dye hit the ball up the middle, and when it cleared the infield for an RBI single he responded with an uncharacteristic display of emotion by clapping his hands.

No wonder. One of the biggest hits of his career, one of the most celebrated ever in the city of Chicago, his hit drove in the only run as the White Sox won the World Series clincher last October in Houston.

"You can sit back when you are old and gray and remember some of the good old days," Dye said Friday as he reflected on his hit, which helped him earn the World Series MVP award.

"Right now I'm still playing," he said. "That was last year, and this is a different year."

That's what the White Sox have been saying since opening camp last week. But huge banners proclaiming their championship hang on the outside walls of their complex, and pictures of the 2005 postseason line the inner ones.

Included is one of Dye just as he makes contact off Brad Lidge, sending Willie Harris home with two out in the eighth inning of Game 4.

A short time later, the White Sox were soaked with champagne. And now, whenever Dye walks down the corridor to the practice field, he can see his hit up close.

"It brings back memories," Dye said. "I think it's something you may think about every now and then. It's something I'll never forget, and at the same time, it's another season, and I just have to get ready."

Dye started slowly a year ago in his first season with the White Sox, his fourth major-league team, batting just .175 in his first month. But it's how he finished that helped the White Sox fight off a late swoon and win the AL Central.

Dye batted .300 over his final 55 games and finished with a .274 average, 31 homers and 86 RBIs. When manager Ozzie Guillen moved him up in to the No. 3 batting spot for the regular-season finale and kept him there in the postseason, it stabilized Chicago's batting order.

"It was the right guy at that particular time," Guillen said. "I say whoever swings the bat better, that's when he will move up."

Dye went 7-for-16 (.438) in the Series with a home run off Roger Clemens and three RBIs. He also scored three times, walked twice and had a .526 on-base percentage.

He was in the disputed Game 2 play when plate umpire Jeff Nelson ruled Dye was hit by a pitch in the seventh inning - replays showed the ball glanced off Dye's bat. Dye kept quiet and went to first base, and Paul Konerko followed with a grand slam as the White Sox went on to win on Scott Podsednik's homer.

Dye will be dropped in the order this spring as Guillen already has named newly acquired Jim Thome his No. 3 hitter.

That means Dye will be fifth in the order.

"It doesn't matter to me," Dye said. "I've always been in the middle of the lineup anywhere."


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