All of the members of the 2005 champion squad have a special place in my heart, but Scott Podsednik, or Scotty Pods, holds an even bigger spot than most. He wasn’t flashy, but he hit for average (an overrated stat that I’m a sucker for nonetheless) and stole a LOT of bases. After returning to the Sox in ’09, he went to KC for part of the ’10 season, then spent the rest of the year with the Dodgers…but now where is he?
A simple search on MLB.com reveals that Scotty is now in…Canada.
Yes, he is a Blue Jay, playing sparingly this spring due to a nasty case of plantar fasciitis, a fancy term for swollen heel tissue. He has appeared in one game so far, drawing two walks, scoring a run, and, of course, stealing a base. Not even a messed-up foot will stop him from running.
I hope he gets his foot problems in order soon and goes back to being the consistent player the South Side fondly remembers him as. I also hope he doesn’t get too fat off of all of that delicious maple syrup they have up there over the border.
In other news, Jake Peavy appears to be indomitable, with not even the flu stopping him from making his scheduled start today against the A’s. When I had the flu a couple years back, I didn’t want to walk from the couch to the television, let alone throw a baseball 40 times. But I guess he really values getting out there on a regular basis. But what if Peavy suddenly vomits on the mound, or something equally horrifying/disgusting? Ozzie’s not quite sure what to do next. In his always honest manner, he said, “Anyone own a White Sox uniform?”
I never like waking up in the morning feeling sore, but I’ve also never pitched a major league baseball game. I guess after a few innings of work, albeit in a spring training game, you do get sore, and it’s not a bad thing. Unless you happened to have recently undergone surgery to reattach a muscle to your bone, then you might be more paranoid about soreness than the average pitcher.
Thankfully, Peavy was sore in what he deemed to be appropriate places, so his continued rehab will go according to plan: a simulated game today and a start on Wednesday. I am very pleased. With every pitch, Peavy is closer to returning sooner than anticipated (originally the target date was July 14, the first date after the All-Star break). While our rotation is strong, it’s always nice to have another guy to help shoulder the load. (Excuse the pun. I’ve been hanging out with theater kids for the past two weeks.)
Ozzie, as always, has something to say after the Sox have opened spring with an ugly 1-5 record. Apparently, if things do not come together soon, he will begin “throwing people under the bus.” In Ozzie-speak, that means sending people down. Candidates look like Dallas McPherson, who partnered with that obscene Mark Teahen to commit three errors at third in the last game, and Brent Lillibridge, who killed a potential rally by getting picked off at first. I know it’s only spring, but tension already seems to be in the air. Maybe they just need to get the jitters out of their system before the run to the division crown? I hope…
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. Tomorrow afternoon, I will come home from school and watch the White Sox spring training opener against the Dodgers on MLB Network. I am so excited. I realize that spring training essentially meaningless, but after such a long and dreary winter, I can’t wait to see my boys. Before every game, White Sox VP Scott Reifert tweets the game’s lineup. When I saw “Lineup for tomorrow’s Cactus League #WhiteSox opener: JP7, Beck4, Rios8, Dunndh, PK3, Q9, AJ2, Ram6, Morel5. Play Ball!” appear on my Twitter feed, I grinned. I forgot the little things that I miss when there is no baseball.
Among other exciting storylines in tomorrow’s game is the debut of new acquisition Adam Dunn, who will be hitting third in the lineup (that tweet above is inaccurate. It was posted very early, so I guess some tinkering was done after the fact). It’s very exciting that we now have a true DH in the lineup, and even though it’s very early, it’d be nice if Dunn could make a good first impression. I don’t want to be making this face by the bottom of the ninth.
Poking around the depth chart, a couple of interesting things catch my eye. One is that Brent Lillibridge is apparently Utilityman Supreme. The depth chart has his name under second base, shortstop, left field, center field, and right field. That’s quite a list. Whether or not he actually makes the 25-man roster remains to be seen. After all, a .194 career batting average isn’t desirable. But it would be nice to have someone to call on for defensive purposes when in a pinch.
Another thing I see on the depth chart is that Brent Morel is currently listed ahead of Mark Teahen in the third base slot. According to an article on MLB.com, the two are currently in a “friendly battle” for the starting spot. We may be a ways off from decision time, but just the notion of Mark Teahen sitting on the bench makes me jump up and down inside. Lindy’s Baseball Magazine has these glowing words to say about him:
- Continues to leak bat speed and power
- Substandard 3B
- Has lost range to both sides and struggles throwing.
They ultimately give him one star, which according to their key means he is a bench player. Doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure that one out. Hopefully with Morel at the hot corner, I won’t have to do this every time a ball is hit to third.
(I just realized that in previous entries, I have consistently referred to Brent Morel as “Brett”. It’s even in my tag cloud. Whoops.)
Sorry that it’s been a while since I posted, but it’s been a bit of a trying a week for me. On Tuesday, my friend’s grandmother died. Then, on Thursday, another friend’s grandfather passed away. And then, also on Thursday, a very close friend of mine lost her mother to a long battle with ovarian cancer.
As I’ve been surrounded by with the concept of death and mortality, it’s been hard to keep an upbeat attitude, especially when coupled with the elevated stresses I face as a typical high school student. I’ve visited the question of “Why?” several times this week, and have wrestled with what to do and say, especially to my friend who lost her mother so young. However, I’ve also discovered a mantra that I never quite took seriously.
Life is short. And, though this isn’t really a nice inspirational quote, Life can really suck sometimes.
As I realized this, I thought about all of the little things that stress me out. I also thought about the things that make me happy. Instead of freaking out about the frantic rehearsals I’ve been attending, why not smile about the great performance that we had on Thursday night? Rather than complain about how I didn’t get recommended for all of the AP classes I wanted, why not feel honored by the recommendations I did receive? And, in this life that can be shattered at any moment, why not enjoy what I love? For example, baseball.
I tend to patronize my love for baseball. After all, as many have pointed out to me, it’s just nine men on a screen that I will never meet. But as I am surrounded by grief and mourning and see friends whose worlds are turned upside down by their losses, I am starting to believe that we all need a little fantasy. We all need a world where the grass is green and the sky is blue and optimism is abound. For me, right now, this world is Glendale, Arizona. There, everything works as it should. Mark Buehrle gets the Opening Day start just because we all love him so much. The players are working on fundamentals to get what they want: an AL Central crown. The only thing slightly wrong in this world is that Ozzie hasn’t really made any outrageous comments.
Yes, these are nine men on a screen I will never meet. But life can be cruel, unfair, and tragic sometimes. Maybe a little indulgence is what we all need when we face tough times.
So, at long last, White Sox pitchers and catchers have reported to Camelback Ranch, and already, one of the biggest questions heading into spring training has been answered. Chris Sale, our top prospect, will not be moving into the rotation to cover for Jake Peavy. I for one, am relieved. I am completely and totally convinced that the flashes of brilliance Sale showed us last season were no fluke, and I get very excited just thinking about him as our shut-down closer in a few years. The thought of moving him into the rotation made me think of what happened to this guy.
We all know how that story started…and how it’s unfolding. Not what I want to see. And note how skinny Joba was in this picture, taken three years ago. Now look at him. If Sale ever shows up to camp like that, I might start bawling.
And of course, you can not start spring training without an Ozzie-ism. When asked who would start in place of Peavy while he continues to recover from shoulder surgery, he said, “Right now, I don’t know. We have a couple names, but I forgot the names.” Oh, Ozzie. When you say something like that, I’m reminded just how much I’ve missed you.
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.