Finally, the long and torturous offseason is about to come to an end. We’re in the home stretch now: 19 days until White Sox pitchers and catchers report to Camelback Ranch. In honor of this milestone, here are the top 19 reasons I can’t wait for spring training:
19) I live in Connecticut, where there is nearly 5 feet of snow on the ground and it is cold and gray outside. I would like hear news from a place where it is warm and sunny and, best of all, there is not a spot of snow on the ground.
18) I’m curious to see if Gordon Beckham plans on bringing back this stylin’ hairdo:
17) It’s officially time for the White Sox and Don Cooper to come face-to-face and either work it out or part their separate ways. It’s clear Don Cooper wishes he was with the Yankees right now, and it’s also clear that the front office is being petty towards him by communicating with him only via text-message. Both sides need to meet, and that will happen in Arizona.
16) Hoping Mark Buehrle will roll up the ball park in his killing-the-ozone-one-mile-at-a-time truck.
15) Is this the year Jordan Danks shows us something special and earns a roster spot? Always hoping to see the younger Danks roaming the Cell’s outfield…maybe my wish will come true this year.
14) I get to see Chris Sale throw again, and be reminded why he is our future ace.
13) Our big free-agent signing, Adam Dunn, is at long last unveiled, ready to show us that we finally have a stable, powerful, and productive DH.
12) The post-Bobby Jenks era in the bullpen will commence, and the race for the closer spot will begin. Will favorite Matt Thornton emerge with the role? Maybe hot-shot Chris Sale? Or even a dark horse, like Jesse Crain? The competition should be great to watch.
11) It’s always fun to see what color AJ Pierzynski’s hair currently is.
10) Can Jake Peavy return to form after his unprecedented shoulder surgery? That question will finally be answered for curious fans like myself.
9) I’m waiting waiting waiting for Mark Teahen to be removed from the hot corner, and will relish the moment when prospect Brett Morel earns the spot.
8) This year will be the year when Carlos Quentin revisits the MVP-caliber self he was in ’08. I just know it. The road back starts NOW.
7) Finally, I can start watching ESPN again. I don’t mind football, but I want some baseball news sprinkled in there. Otherwise, I start doing homework and actually become productive. And that simply cannot do.
6) I can also begin wearing my ChiSox apparel once again in places other than gym class. I don’t like wearing my Mark Buehrle shirt if I know there’s no game it will bring him luck in.
5) Spring training always coincides with the beginning of second semester. I’m halfway through the school year. Baseball reminds me that I’m almost there, that summer will come soon enough.
4) With the dawn of each new season comes hope. Hope that the ChiSox will not disappoint me this time. We will go 162-0 and win the World Series and watch those Twinkies cry themselves to sleep at night in last place. At least, that’s what I can hope for.
3) As teams take shape, I can make predictions for the season…and maybe this year, one will actually be right.
2) We all know that spring training will not end without a word from Oney Guillen and his Twitter feed. He’s not done yet. There’s always someone to bash.
1) And of course, where there’s Oney’s mouth, there’s the man who gave him that voice in the first place.
Yes I do, because spring training has begun, giving many residents of the Northeast that this winter will end…eventually. It’s very comforting to turn on my TV and see blue skies, crisp green grass, and the fresh infield dirt. And who else is excited that ESPN’s Mike and Mike in the Morning are finally doing baseball previews? The ChiSox one is on tomorrow, will be sure to tune in for that.
Of course, I’m not just here to talk about grass and all that stuff, as lovely as it is. I’m here to talk ChiSox! Saw that Bobby Jenks gave up alcohol the other day and lost 25 pounds, and a huge smile spread across my face. First of all, from a non-baseball standpoint, it’s very refreshing to a player take responsibility as a husband and a father, especially in light of the Miguel Cabrera situation in the not-so-distant past. Hope it serves his family well, and that he’ll be able to stick to it once the season starts. And from a baseball standpoint, TWENTY-FIVE POUNDS!! How can anyone not benefit from that weight loss? Hopefully a fitter Bobby Jenks will be a better Bobby Jenks, one that can give us one-run wins that are oh-so crucial in the hunt for October.
And how about MB getting the nod for Opening Day? Quite honestly, I thought Ozzie and Co. were going to go with Jake Peavy, but glad to see that longevity still has some importance in their eyes. As Ozzie said, as long as he doesn’t throw a no-hitter, they’ll be in good shape (still don’t think it’s a coincedence that the country boy had off years after his fanfare-inducing no-hitters). Hoping he’ll have an All-Star season this year (and hoping he’ll stick around past 2011). Of course, Buehrle is Buehrle and had to insist that Peavy was more worthy of that start and is the rotation ace. Do I always love modesty? Not in this case. You’re a ChiSox fan favorite, MB. Just accept that. Peavy could go 20-0 this season, and I still think most South Siders would harbour a larger place in their hearts for Buehrle.
Eight days until the first S.T. game against the Angels. Will be so good to see these guys in something other than batting practice jerseys…though considering temperatures of late, I’m happy to see anyone who’s not wearing a winter coat.
What a surprise…more snow. I look out my window and see a gray sky and more of this white slush. I need to move to Florida.
However, in my head this is a countdown keeping me sane. Yes, it’s that time of year again, and in 5 days, ChiSox pitchers and catchers will descend on Glendale, Ariz. to begin their run at the AL Central crown.
Yes, you read that above sentence correctly. The same White Sox who rolled over down the stretch last season will be playing in October, mainly due to the pitching staff. Don’t get me wrong, I have complete faith that Gordon Beckham will not face a sophomore slump and that PK can make this a year to remember, but they certainly do not boast the best lineup in baseball. However, I will make a strong argument that they have one of the best 1-2 pitching punches around. Discounting SF’s Lincecum-Cain and Boston’s Beckett-Lester (in my opinion, putting Lackey in the #2 spot is a mistake, but I digress), who tops Peavy-Buehrle? New York’s Sabathia-Burnett? I’m not going to go as far to say that Peavy is better than Sabathia, but if Peavy can perform like he did in his three starts at last season’s end (3-0, 1.35 ERA), we might have ourselves an argument.
As for Mark Buehrle…everyone feels the need to remind me of his collapse after the perfecto, as if that didn’t pain me too along with all other ChiSox fans everywhere. I will continue to argue that MB is a low-key guy, and the fanfare in Chicago (Mark Buehrle Day? Really?) overwhelmed him. More importantly, I will point to his first half stats, when he made the All-Star team with a spiffy 10-3 record. We all know what MB is capable of, and with all reminders of his perfecto pretty much gone (though I would suggest to the webmasters at whitesox.com that the link to his perfect game highlights should be removed…It was nearly 7 months ago. No one cares anymore.) I’m looking forward to seeing him in the All-Star game once more.
Backing up those two are John Danks, Gavin Floyd, and Freddy Garcia. Personally, I favor Dan Hudson over Garcia, but I think Freddy’ll be fine for now. Danks and Floyd are solid third and fourth starters, and with a better bullpen behind them, their win totals should significantly improve. Which leads me to ah, the bullpen. Still not totally confident here, though I do like the addition of JJ Putz. I think that the addition of him significantly improved the middle relief corps, taking the load off of Matt Thornton. As for Jenks, I’m hoping some of Ozzie’s insults got to him and he lost some of the pounds (not to mention shaved that hideous goatee. Won’t help his pitching at all, but may make him look slightly less…AJ-ish. The less bleached hair on a team, the better). He belongs in the closer’s elite, where he looked to be heading before last season.
Only five more days, five more days, five more days…