In mid-2009, Gordon Beckham was called up to The Show, and I immediately noticed him. Every time I watched a game, the kid seemed to get a crucial hit. He smiled, had a slight southern accent, seemed polite, and finished his rookie campaign with a .273 batting average and 63 RBIs over 103 games. He was awarded the Sporting News‘ Rookie of the Year award. Fans nicknamed him “Our Savior”. Bill Madden of the Daily News picked him to win the 2010 AL MVP. I was sure that we had found our star for the post-Paulie generation.
What a difference two years makes.
To follow up that 2009 season, Beckham hit .252 with only 49 RBI, and sported a batting average below .200 until the All-Star break. Management was dying to send him back down to the minors, and he made a few social gaffes that caught the ire of Ozzie Guillen, such as watching college football after a game when the team was mired in a losing streak.
This season, he is toting around a .241 average and only 24 RBI, not worthy of the pedestal I had shined so quickly two years ago. And recently, Becks has been in the news for all the wrong reasons. During Monday night’s home game against the Royals, GB thought it would be a smart idea to scrawl “Getz is gay!” on the infield dirt, as a message to Royals second baseman and good friend Chris Getz. Turns out this message was visible to fans in the upper deck.
In all apologies that Beckham gave last night to the media, he seemed contrite (and I would like to know, why did this take so long to get around?), but still. Messages like that shouldn’t be left anytime, but when you’ve let a team down for two seasons, incidents such as this only rub salt in the wound. I accept his apologies and will move on but…
Of my fantasy baseball draft, that is. This year, our league finally decided to do a live draft, which is nice, since we got to control who we got instead of Yahoo! randomly picking players for you. (Last year, Yahoo! selected Miguel Olivo as my starting catcher. He was not even starting on his own team.)
The Roster of The Ozzies (Quite the team name, I know)
I’m pretty pleased. My bench is a bit weak, but I absolutely love my pitching staff. And of course, the White Sox are well represented, with Pierre, Thornton, and Danks making my roster. I wanted to get Gordon Beckham with my last pick, but my friend snatched him up with the pick before me. Oh well.
So of course, the start of fantasy baseball season signals the start of REAL. LIVE. BASEBALL. I am so excited I could honestly start jumping up and down right now. All in all, this weekend seems like it will be very exciting, sports-wise. Prime-time on Thursday, the Giants will take on the Dodgers, and my favorite non-White Sox player, Tim Lincecum will take the mound. Then Friday is Opening Day for the ChiSox, and while I will not be able to watch it live, just knowing that real baseball is taking place thrills me. Lastly, on Saturday, the NCAA tournament will continue with the Final Four games, and I love the Final Four almost as much as I love the World Series. I have notified all my friends that they cannot contact me from 6-11 on Saturday night, when I will watch the battle of the underdogs, VCU and Butler, and then cheer on my homestate UConn Huskies. Don’t get too many sports weekends better than this.
Oh yeah, this is my 20th entry! I know my entries have come only about once a week lately, but please keep reading. I appreciate all of your comments and am so happy to have made it to this milestone 🙂
I woke up this morning and put on my Mark Buehrle shirt for the first time in four months, even though it has a bleach stain on the front. I walked out the door, went to school, and basically told anyone who would listen that today was the White Sox’ first spring training game. I intended to watch it intently from the start to finish.
I missed the start of the game because I was too busy researching pre-college programs to realize that it started. But that’s okay. I walked in at the top of the second to see the Dodgers make lots of errors and was happy that Gavin Floyd only allowed one baserunner in his two innings of work. Will Ohman looked very impressive in his debut, pitching a perfect inning. Unfortunately, Tony Pena, who always puts knots in my stomach when he steps on the mound, allowed the Dodgers offense to get in there. I also did not like seeing Gordon Beckham make a weak throw from second, because I still don’t have total faith that he can play that position. But it’s only the first game. Maybe he’s a little rusty.
Either way, it was still great to see blue skies, green grass, and leather gloves. 31 days until this is for real. I can’t wait.
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.
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…