The very first useful phrase I learned while studying German back in High School was “es regnet.” It’s raining. I didn’t care about this pretty hat or that funny cow, I wanted to learn phrases that I would actually use. “Haben Sie Bier hier?” was the most important one I learned, but that was not taught to me in High School.
I got to thinking about that stuff as I walked through the rain to work and through the complex that houses my offices. As I tossed out a jaunty “Dzien dobry” to the Polish workers and a bouncy “Buenos días” to the Latinos that surround our building, it occurred to me that there are some bells that can not be un-rung. There are a lot of very different people here and they are here to stay. And these people are looking for new traditions to help them acclimate and to give them common ground. And they seem to have found one in baseball.
So, it is in that spirit of unity that I tackle today’s post.
The Cubs, projected division winners and shoo-ins for a World Series placement, are off to a 10-10 start and not impressing very many people. That is not to say that they won’t. They have the potential to score so many runs that they could win every game by a touchdown or more. Plus, despite some kidding around, they do have some high quality starting pitching. But consistency, oft rued as the hobgoblin of little minds, has been their foe this year thus far. One day you are thinking of handing out Silver Sluggers all around and the next you want to take a Louisville Slugger to their kneecaps.
What is going to happen to this team? Well, for whatever it’s worth, I think that they will pull this thing together. Despite the fact that, as PHIL ROGERS (Tribune) notes, they have made some trades this season that are not working out as planned.
The crushing playoff series losses against the Dodgers and Diamondbacks made last winter a huge time for Hendry. The early returns are alarming, to say the least. Here’s a progress report on Hendry’s three biggest 2008-09 transactions:
The Bradley signing: Early grade—F
The DeRosa trade: Early grade—F
The Jason Marquis trade: Early grade—D
Click his link above to read his reasons for each grade.
Even so, you couldn’t name the team that wouldn’t want their starting 3 pitchers and there has never been a Pinella lead team that didn’t learn defense. Figure by June they will be in front and starting to look like the team everyone expected them to be. After that, they’re on their own.
The Sox, projected cellar dwellers and expected to compete with the Royals for last place, find themselves a game over .500 (WHEW, THEY ARE ROCKING NOW! ) and in a 3 way tie for first place in the Central Division. Despite all the pre-season talk about speed and situational hitting, this team is looking more and more like pitching and station to station hitting are what’s going to get them by.
What’s going to happen to them? I don’t see anyone running away with the AL Central. This is going to be a dog fight until October. But, for whatever masochistic reasons Ozzie harbors, that is exactly the kind of season that he flourishes in. The only thing is that the Sox are thinner than they thought and the next couple of weeks are really going to show a lot about this team. As MARK GONZALES (Tribune) reports, change is coming to the South Side whether they want it or not.
There may be little resemblance between the White Sox that beat Seattle 6-3 Wednesday and the squad that will open a three-game series Friday at Texas.
Jim Thome will test his left heel Thursday on the base paths to determine if he can avoid the 15-day disabled list, and center fielder Brian Anderson was in obvious discomfort after injuring a right oblique muscle.
And after Wednesday’s victory, backup outfielder Jerry Owens shook hands with a few teammates before carrying his athletic bag out of the clubhouse.
That could pave the way for a return by 2005 hero Scott Podsednik, who is batting .262 with one stolen base in 42 at-bats at Triple-A Charlotte.
The Sox said they won’t announce any roster moves through Thursday, but they will know more about Thome and Anderson before boarding a plane to Texas.
Nevertheless, the overall rotation for this team is taking shape nicely through fits and starts. Assuming not much else changes in the division, there is no reason the Sox can’t repeat as Central Division Champs in 2009. But, for the record, if they could win it in the allotted number of games and keep me off heart meds, that would be acceptable.
So, there you have it my baseball brethren, despite the rain, I see nothing but sunshine. And, before you send me those wonderful emails rife with misspellings and profanities, keep in mind I have been on a bit of a roll when it comes to Chicago teams this season. So, cut me some slack, watch the games and let me know in October how I did.