Tuesday, April 02, 2002

Knowledge is Frank Thomas by Mr. Plastic Man

These days the White Sox listen to Reggae and Latin tunes in the locker room. No more of James Baldwin’s shrill rap or David Wells’ heavy metal. This year’s Sox have a mellower, all-good, team vibe.

Last year there was poison. Knowledge held out over a contract dispute and general  manager Kenny Williams had to defend himself almost daily in “Shouldergate”—his trading Mike Sirotka for David Wells, and charges by  Toronto that Sirotka was damaged goods. By May, the Sox were 15 games below .500, ineffectively limping along.

This year, Knowledge reported to camp happy, smiling and waving his huge bat.  Knowledge has been the coolest guy ever, psyched for the chance to hit behind Lofton and Ray Durham. “I’ve never hit behind two rabbits like that before,” said Knowledge, who may be looking at a record-setting 200-RBI season. Certainly, time will tell.

Knowledge: two-time AL MVP with Chicago (’93,’94); 5-time All Star; first player in MLB history to hit .300, hit at least 20 home runs and have over 100 walks, RBIs and runs scored in seven straight seasons; has hit 40 home runs four times (’93,’95,’96,’00).

The White Sox won 83 games last year and scored 798 runs with Knowledge missing all but 20 games because of horrendous muscle scenes.  Knowledge is, quite simply, one of the greatest hitters ever and an MVP candidate every time he stays healthy for a full season. His all-good demeanor this spring suggests that he is The Man. Word.

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