Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Google - vs. Mariners (W 10-4, L 0-1, L 3-4)

                Your White Sox are now 5-16, but the record means nothing compared to everything else this week. The Danny Farquhar news has been well covered by now, a scary situation I think we’re all still trying to wrap our heads around. I really wasn’t sure what to write about it here: I’m certainly not an expert on aneurysms and the prayers have been sent skyward for quite a few days now. I will say that I am familiar with the team treating him at Rush, and he’s in the best hands possible.  Keep his family in your thoughts, and get well, Danny.
                Even with this and additional injuries to Miguel and Avi[i], some positives to draw on from this series. Moncada continued his slight resurgence with hitting the hardest part of the cycle Monday and a moonshot today. Strikeouts still an issue and probably will be through the rest of the year. So be it if the hits come hard.
                I can see why he’s been demoted out of the leadoff, but I do like Anderson in that seven slot more than Yoan.  The top of the order’s hitting (relatively) well enough to back up a strikeout heavy Moncada, where a productive Anderson brings up what’s been a pretty stagnant bottom of the order (averages behind him today: .136, .138, .148. Sample size, but still.). The unpredictable hitting approach is also a huge asset at that spot in the order, with pitchers having to pitch carefully in a spot in the lineup that’s more straight forward.
                Starting pitching the biggest bright spot this series, Volstad really doing well in the quasi-emergency situation. Fulmer adding another solid outing to his “starter or not year”. Shields continues as a pleasant surprise.
                Two tough losses that we probably should have had. Bigger things than baseball this week. Onto Kansas City where we play our next 87 games in half as many days.

[i] - A “shit happens” injury, but pulled hamstrings in not extreme weather when trainers are there specifically for this will always drive me a little nuts.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

See No Evil - at Oakland (L 1-8, L 2-10, L 11-12)

               At least we weren't awake to see this one. Two bad losses and an "it's getaway day, it's the fourteenth inning, screw it, 11 runs is good". Gonna be a long season if the bullpen doesn't progress to halfway decent.

               The bright spot? Moncada's heating up (literally figuratively etc.). My honest to God theory: playing in awful cold weather might just be a misery he isn't used to. Here's a list of all the professional teams he's played for (hint: the weather's great):

                - Elefantes de Cienfuegos (Cuba)
                - Greenville Drive (South Carolina)
                - Salem Red Sox (Massachusetts)
                - Portland Sea Dogs (Maine)
                - Boston Red Sox (Check any map)
                - Surprise Saguaros (Arizona)
                - Charlotte Knights (North Carolina)
                - Chicago White Sox (Illinois/South Arctic Circle)

                Unless Salem (of the Carolina league) had April snow a few years back, this would be Yoan's first professional season with lingering winter weather. (His Portland tenure was in the month of June, Boston early September). It's been an especially brutal winter just from a being here standpoint, let alone trying to play baseball in it. He was going to be streaky to begin with going in, so this wasn't too much of a surprise, but we should see more production out of him now that the weather might be trending upwards. Quick trip to a warm weather state to recharge the batteries: the true Chicago way.

                Lastly, just announced today: welcome back Thompson and Sensai, we hardly knew ye. Trayce now has a solid audition slot with Engel not hitting, and it should be an entertaining battle to watch. Saladino, though: even though it makes sense and is better for both teams, it's always tough for this squad to see a grinder go. It may not have always been pretty, or productive, but damned if it wasn't hard-nosed and fun to watch. Thanks for last year and eight at-bats this year, Tyler.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Grand Opening, Grand Closing - Or Why The First Game Back Is Always The Best

                Might be that it means good weather is on the way (certainly didn’t feel like it).  Might be that sometimes you go early enough in the year that the season doesn’t feel lost yet (also didn’t feel like it).  Might be that first whiff of breeze off the lake, the first bit of sunshine coming over the field, the first sound of the organ… just about anything the first home game back of the year feels that much better after a long winter offseason (that was, uh, still certainly lingering Saturday).  

                Even if it’s not actually Opening Day, the sights and sounds are always exciting that first game of the year.  It’s the little things, like…

                … the first meal at the regular pregame spot. Mine's 35th Red Hots: piping hot double and fries was just what the doctor ordered before three hours in the freezing cold

                … getting the voucher card right when you walk in, and making it goal at some point during the year to just ask for two

                … for the first weekend, the team going all out for ceremonial first pitches for no reason other than it being the first games back. This game: Kendall Coyne shooting the baseball with a hockey stick. Only gimmicky if it doesn’t work, and she went high and hard and made it look easy (er, Thin Mints. You just published that hockey article, Disco)[1].  Having stayed up for the gold medal game, this was really cool to see[2].

                … also having opening series as an excuse to bring back old players. This game: Magglio Ordonez. Was pretty torn between enjoying seeing a childhood idol back on the field, and yelling “THANKS FOR JERMAINE DYE”

                … seeing a long line at Casa Modelo in right minutes before gametime.  The word is out, but in the best way.  The Casa Modelo is a casa for todos.

                … the bleachers. Just, the bleachers.

                … and the creatures who reside there.  Always seems to be one of “those guys” there, be it “guy heckling adamantly waiting for the one laugh” (I’ve been him), “guy talking about how things once were (I’ve been him, to myself)”, and “guy with enough conspiracy theories to make you want to listen but not engage” (probably a Sox fanbase only thing). One person happened to be all three at once somehow. We realized this when he was giving the vendor a hard time about the price of hot dogs, at one point trying to haggle the price down. The vendor, in a customer service moment that he should be promoted for, responded with “it’s VIENNA beef though, it’s the good stuff!” The perfect response. Blatantly false, but fair enough to make you think he might know something you don’t.

                … speaking of vendors, with the announcement of Goose Island as the official craft beer of the White Sox[3], there’s now a guy that yells “THE GOOSE IS LOOSE” to sell Green Lines and 312s. If people just old enough to drink don’t remember the trial, it’s not in bad taste, right?

                … the walk-up songs that you know will get old eventually, but it’s the first game of the season for you so you pretty easily ignore it.  This year: I’ll allow it, Davidson, but once the home runs stop the Imagine Dragons has to as well.

                … the opposite: the things you know will never get old. My favorite in game promo of all time, and unintentional comedy gold: the Papa John’s commercial played on the jumbotron in the early innings. It features five college aged girls, but you don’t know that in the early portion because it zooms in on each of them VERY INTENTLY watching this thrilling regular season baseball game. Lord and behold, their beloved White Sox walk off with the win, and they go bezerk, bezerk I tell you! Jumping around, high fiving, the most genuine of emotions! They even cheers their not used at all red solo cups at the end in exultation!  This is absolutely something that’s happened at some point somewhere!
                Yeah, it’s a doozy. My favorite reaction was some little kid behind me at a game last year who watched it, then told his Mom in a pouting tone, “They look more like Cubs fans”     

                … hearing the continuation of Hot Dog Haggler.  “You know who WAS on steroids? Brian Anderson[4]

                … justifying going down in the game by it still being early, and it being Miguel Cabrera who did the damage. Actually, I’d probably say this any other game just because it’s Miguel Cabrera.

                … the bummer double plays not quite as soul-crushing when it hasn’t been all year for them just yet. (Guy behind us: “We’re rebuilding!”).

                … Hot Dog Haggler now moving on to the price of beer. Modelo, of all beers! Thank God Section 108 wasn’t there. “Was $9.75 this year, it’s $10 this year! Goes up a quarter every year!” There were people who actually kept that quarter last year? We expecting vendors to carry around a sack of coins to make sure everyone gets exact change? New prices mean Comiskey’s hardest workers are bring home an extra $7.50 a thirty rack, that’s a double dog for him and a single dog for junior! Pay the man!

                … staying ‘till the end, cus it’s been a long winter, and because we had to get circulation going again in our frozen legs before we could leave (have I mentioned the game was cold?). It wasn’t great baseball, but it was baseball, and that was good enough for us.
                I’m sure you’d want a complete dissection of the Detroit series as much as I want to write about it. I’m also not even sure the series against Tampa Bay this week even took place. Sure, there are pictures and the records changed, but does anyone know anyone who went [5]?

                (Ok, I kid: I took my Grandpa- we’ll call him Ol’ 59er here – on Wednesday for his birthday. Despite the age difference, I was closer to napping during some of those Shields at-bats than he was).

[1] - Speaking of:

[2] - Wanted to do a quick write up of that but wasn’t quite sure what to make of it. Some quick thoughts way in hindsight:

                1. Shootouts area dumb way to decide the championship game. Though I’m not sure we win if it was golden goal.

                2. Should probably clarify the check vs. non-check rule after that tackle in front of the net.

                3. Great celebration by the goalie at the end. Seeing that puck right in front of you on the game ending. Those 29 saves deserve a parade in D.C.

[3] - What’s next for this, by the way? Pipeworks as the official craft-ier beer of the White Sox? Pabst as the official “we’ll just be upfront that you’re paying 800% above market price for this”? Blue Moon as the official cocktail?

[4] - I actually did see him in spring training last year where he loudly told Daryl Boston how awesome retiring and starting doing steroids was. “You gotta try it!” So, can confirm no on that one.

[5] - Probably my favorite story from the sparsely attended series: supposedly a higher than normal amount of Cubs fans went to the game on Monday after their opener got cancelled, just because they took the day off anyway and wanted to see some baseball.  Don't hate it, especially after a week of poor attendance jabs. (Favorite response: "I want to wind up with someone who cares about me as much as Cubs fans care about White Sox attendance")

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Disco On Ice: NHL Playoff Predictions

           NHL playoffs start tomorrow, and for the first time since diagramming the sentence “a 1-3-1 power play becomes easy to defend when the other team knows it’s coming” in freshman English[i], the Chicago Blackhawks will not be participating.  With a dissection of what went wrong to come soon (because we haven’t seen enough of those), I thought I’d still throw in some playoff picks anyway.  Very exciting set of teams going for the Cup this year and well worth watching even without a team in the fight. Some bonus content: Disco on Ice, Stanley Cup Playoffs

Nashville (1) vs. Colorado (WC)

Thank you Colorado for showing that sometimes every player has a career low year at once and that teams do poorly for that reason (no, I’m not trying to draw anything positive from this Hawks season over here, no sir).  Big step forward from last year. Still dealing with the PTSD from our series against the Cats last year (“Sometimes the sound of Panik getting beat to the puck wakes me up in the middle of the night”), so am obligated to just extend a disclaimer and my sympathies in advance. Also think I’m contractually obligated to bring up you beating out the Blues for this spot. So there, I did it.

Pick: Predators in 5

Winnipeg (2) vs. Minnesota (3)

                Of any team heading to the playoffs this year, I am so happy the Jets are going back.  I get Thornton’s age, I get Ovi’s drought, I DEFINITELY get Toronto’s drought as a Sox fan. But if anyone deserves a long playoff run, it’s the fans that packed their stadium before and after they were moved, through a lot of bad years.  There’s also something delightfully terrifying about 18,000 people dressed in white making jet engine noises for three full periods.  Picking this to go seven because of the Jets’ playoff inexperience and because I don’t think I want anything more in this year’s playoffs than an overtime win at MTS, and this gives us more chances of witnessing that.  If any Wild fans are mad, well, they do have a strong opinion on who the “True North” is…

Pick: Jets in 7

Las Vegas (1) vs. Los Angeles (WC)

                There’s some peer pressure to remain objective in sports coverage, as being too much of a homer can rub people the wrong way.  Those people also didn’t get their dynasty snatched away from them in the 2014 Western Conference Finals on a luck bounce in a game 7.
                Matthew Perry is the worst of the Friends six and Nick Leddy was slashed.

                Pick: Knights in 6

                Anaheim (2) vs. San Jose (3)

Is Joe Thornton going to miss most, if not all, of the games this series? Yes.  Would picking the Ducks mean Corey Perry provides the leadership and maturity necessary to give them this edge with Joe out? Yes.

Pick: Sharks in 7

Tampa Bay (1) vs. New Jersey (WC)

Remember when that core of Kucherov, Johnson, Hedman and Stamkos bailed after making it to the Cup Finals years ago? Neither do I.

Pick: Tampa in 6

Boston (2) vs. Toronto (3)

Morgan Freeman voice

“I wish I could tell you that Toronto fought the good fight, and the Bruins let them be.  I wish I could tell you that- but the first round is no fairy tale world”[ii]

Not much longer to go in the sewer pipes until the Maple Leafs get to Zihuatanejo.  Just feels too much like a Bruins juggernaut kind of year to put the poster up in the cell just yet.

Pick: Bruins in 6

Washington (1) vs. Columbus (WC)

Went back and forth on this one. Scouting report says that Ovechkin’s shot is still very much Ovechkin’s shot. All I need to justify.

Pick: Capitals in 6

Pittsburgh (2) vs. Philadelphia (3)

I mean… at some point the exhaustion has to hit Pittsburgh, but not NOW right? Sid couldn’t possibly let his team lose to his worst enemies, right? Especially in a cursed sports city like Philly.  When was the last time Philadelphia had a team that rose to the occasion and…

Oh, right.

Will be the bigger man and not even make a Philly fans joke here[iii]. Aside from any Jets home game, these are the first round games I’m looking forward to the most.

Pick: Flyers in 5

Conference Semifinals

Nashville vs. Winnipeg

Sigh. Is a complete hypothetical at this point and someone’s season ending in the semi final still bums me out.  I get how the restructuring of the playoff seeding makes for more competitive (or at least more interesting, depending on your interests) matchups. But that we won’t see either the MTS Whiteout or Batshit Crazy Bridgestone in the Western Conference Finals is a huge bummer.  If parity’s the way to get people interested in the game, this is a huge blow. (Yeah, Nashville was the runner up last year. But tell me you’d rather watch a Sharks-Bruins final than Predators-Capitals).

It’s also my “the Central is a lot better and faster and stronger and hungrier to bring the Cup to town and by God I hear a window closing HAVE THE LAMBS STOPPED SCREAMING CLARICE” talking, but this feels like the sort of series where, even if it’s early, whoever wins it goes on to win it all.  (Spoilers, I do feel that).  Defense narrowly sends the Jets landing in this one.

Pick: Predators in 7

Las Vegas vs. San Jose

I want to.  You know I do.  Pretty sure everyone outside of Silicon does as well.

I can’t. Experience alone makes the difference here. Sharks keep swimming and the Knights’ watch ends here.

Pick: Sharks in 6

Tampa Bay vs. Boston

This would be a fun one.  Tampa has the edge if they can keep their composure and limit the Bruins’ offense, Boston has the edge if they can keep up in the inevitable shootouts this series would be destined for. Have a better feeling about the latter.

Pick: Bruins in 7

Washington vs. Philadelphia

Went back and forth on this one. Scouting report says that Caps past the first round are still very much Caps past the first round. All I need to justify.

(In reality the Flyers just have that juggernaut feel to them and I think this group surprises)

Pick: Flyers in 6

Conference Finals

Nashville vs. San Jose

All games go into double overtime with a final score of 2-1, except for the clinching game which lasts two full days as Subban curling throws Arvidsson’s REM cycle sleeping body down the ice, who wakes up just in time to helicopter the puck into the net. This game occurs in Nashville, where alcohol sales are not cut off at any point. Not only is the Campbell Bowl touched, but the top is sawed off and every player and fan left standing is required to take a shot of Jack Daniels from it. Predators sleep until 15 minutes before puck drop of the Stanley Cup Finals.

Pick: Predators in 5

Boston vs. Philadelphia

All games begin with a line brawl. One game ends in overtime from a 2 on 1 breakaway, as every player except two Flyers and one Bruin are ejected. UFC 225 is moved from June 9th in Chicago to before game 5 in the TD Garden parking lot, and is a live stream of all fan brawls from after the game until dawn.  Chris Pronger unretires before game 6, checks Brad Marchand and immediately re-retires.  Bruins fans start to celebrate clinching win, until hackers from Philly switch all game broadcasts to highlights of Super Bowl

Pick: Bruins in 7

Stanley Cup Finals

Nashville vs. Boston

All five games combine for a 0.0 TV rating in Montreal. Series is so brutal hitwise that the saber tooth tiger under Bridgestone and the frozen head of Ted Williams have to play center while all other available centermen undergo concussion protocol. All but three minutes of the entire series are penalty minutes. The Stanley Cup’s night on Broadway comes to an abrupt end after it gets dented from being thrown off the mechanical bull at Tequila Cowboy.

Pick: Predators in 6

There you have it. If you’re a Predators fan and can’t believe a Hawks fan picked you to win it… I had Cleveland winning the World Series in my predictions last year.

[i]  - Ok, not an actual question. But we did learn about its origins from Egyptian times in World History.

[ii] - At the risk of going full Bill Simmons, the Bruins have to be the Sisters of the NHL, right? Even if I imagine every Marchand player safety meeting going like Red’s rehabilitation scene

[iii] - Fine, one cheap shot: “If the Penguins run out of batteries at least opposing fans have some ready to throw at them”

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Prepare For Takeoff - at Blue Jays (L 2-4, L 5-14, W 4-3)

              I was a psychology major in undergrad, in case blogging from my parents’ basement didn’t make that obvious enough.  I see this season as one long psych experiment for our starting pitchers, with Giolito, Lopez and Fulmer adjusting mentally to full major league season and Shields & Gonzalez hoping for consistency and taking on mentor roles. The bullpen will be what it will be- fine as a possible weak link in a still non-competing year, though a very tedious weak link even at that- but it’s the starting pitching that’s going to be the biggest gauger of the future with everything else in the plan currently south of the Mason Dixon.

                The eagerly awaited first starts were pushed to the Rogers Centre after the delay in Kansas City. Some initial findings as the experiment’s underway:

                Reynaldo Lopez:

                The one I’m most curious about this season, and he didn’t disappoint Monday.  Two hits and one run is about as good as it gets for strikeout pitchers. (The one run being off a home run, as is tradition.)  First strikeout came on a count where the hitter knew a fastball was coming, and whiffed anyway.  Get the sense that movement on the heater is going to be what makes or breaks Lopez- it’s just a couple M.P.H. short of “can’t hit what you can’t see”, but when it dives and tails it’s the even better “can’t hit what changes direction at the very last second”.  Same thing with his slider, which is probably even more effective when it’s on.

                Unfortunately not much run support this tilt. Will have games where he’s half as effective but with twice the run support. Way it goes. Very strong start however.

                Miguel Gonzalez:

                Have said it before that the biggest thing Miguel can bring to the table is consistent five to six inning starts, with the rest of the starters pretty variable from that standpoint. Give this one a “meh” from that standpoint: five innings prevented it from becoming too much of a bullpen showcase (Santiago’s two innings didn’t hurt either), five runs made it a little tough to call good.  I’m actually not sure if I’d feel better if yesterday was a one-man meltdown on the mound, as it’s tough to draw positives from the first three pitchers spreading out 13 earned runs pretty evenly.  For just Miguel, not concerned yet: wasn’t re-signed to be an ace and we just need the innings out of him.

Carson Fulmer:

The hope for Fulmer this year is him learning some of the tricks of the quality start trade from Gonzalez. Have said before that this feels like the year that decides starter or bullpen for him, with yesterday having good indications of him sticking around the starting five. Highlights were the ground ball outs, a good sign that his offspeed is starting to work consistently, and getting out of a fourth inning that could’ve been a lot worse. Did labor quite a bit and worked up the count for several batters- chalk it up to the first start of the year.  Hopefully signs of good things to come.

Offense looked good this series- this dangerous at the plate and this tenacious in close games is great to see initially. About to be a fun season- Comiskey tenure starts for me Saturday, hope yours does too. For now, happy (home) Opening Day.  I don’t like opening the season on the road, but the five day forecast is probably a good indicator of why it happens.

"Winter Hat promo has been extended through Mullet Night"

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Immediate Recap: Opening Day

             Let’s get some initial reactions to what’s clearly going to be a typical game for us every single day this season:

·         For what’s been a well criticized White Sox tenure so far, let’s gives James Shields credit where credit’s due for a gutsy performance today.  Certainly had the feel of the typical landslide losses early on, this time being a lot different than before.  (Grant it, we also weren’t hitting half a dozen home runs in support for most of those losses, either.) Aside from the probably warranted “ ‘member Tatis Jr.” comments, I didn’t come across a lot of meatheads wondering why we weren’t looking to trade him this offseason. The answer, aside from probably not getting a return, is needing some veteran pitcher on the roster to give advice to the new guys coming up (hence him being the professor). The offense has caught up enough to be competitive if the game is within a run or two, and should Shields limit the meltdown starts that every pitcher has, hopefully this is the start of a productive year for him.

·         Matty Ice. Got damn. Let’s bring up this scoresheet for any of the 4 strikeout games to follow. Made a damn good case for being the DH of the future today.

·         Not quite sure what I’m going to think if we’re a “live by the longball die by the longball” kind of team again. But there is a reason the Southside Hitmen are still talked about even if they didn’t make the playoffs. Wouldn’t hate it if we had that kind of year.

·         Somewhat related- strikeouts. Still high. Gonna look a lot uglier when they don’t come attached with double digit runs scored.

·         Very related- I imagine Moncada will still have a pretty high strikeout rate through the first half of this year and no I still won’t be worried about it. Still has a great eye that’s adjusting to the highest level possible.

·         Later in the order Tim Anderson will be a curious thing to watch this season with it having more purpose to it than getting over a slump. I don’t know if the power sticks around or not, but the most notable thing about him is the unpredictability at the plate, bad when incoherent free swinging and good when the pitcher can’t tell whether a bunt or a home run hack is coming next. With the Moncada-Garcia-Abreu top of the order experiment seemingly going long term, I’m hoping Tim becomes a pitcher’s pest at the seven slot and is able to keep this up.  I’m very high on him anyway so I think he will.

·         Related, we wouldn’t have started this rebuild had it not been for swapping Tatis Jr. for Shields, but I think Anderson’s progressing enough that I don’t think losing out on Fernando is the end of the world.

·         Didn’t want to bring them up, but since a wintry mix is hitting Kansas City this weekend, how in the world did the Cubs swing opening in Miami?

·         Did they really bring in their closer down nine with two outs in a game that’s already post-three hours? Don’t blame the millennials for attendance being down when things like this still happen.

·         This is also why the bullpen cart should make a comeback.

·         That switch was for one pitch. Awesome, Yost.

·         Late run leads in Kansas City still a big ol’ trigger for me.

·         I retract the above about the pitching changes with this Bummer outing, though Minaya struggling with a 10 run lead is not great

·         Moose flying out to end it. Glad we didn't trade for you! Ha! (He'll make more this year than I will in my lifetime)

Good win to start the year, great outing for Shields. Viva la Professor! Onto snowy Saturday.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Season Preview "Mailbag"

               Opening Day is officially in the five-day forecast. Doing a “mailbag” of sorts to get us excited for the “might be slightly more exciting than the first stage of a rebuild” season. (“Mailbag” in quotes because I get as many blurbs and questions sent to me as you’d imagine. Totally real questions from completely verified people below).

                Let’s start with the most important recent news – did you hear they’re serving Springfield Horseshoe Sandwiches at the park this season?

                Apparently only suites and club level have access to get one, and we call it “Fat Sandwich” from the part of Central Illinois I spent the most time. More likely to cheat on the helmet nachos with the brisket mac and cheese anyway.

                In all honesty, where do you see the White Sox finishing this year?

                Hard to see any sort of major shake up happening in a division where second place was 17 games back last year. I don’t think the Indians losses this offseason were too much to see them losing hold of the top of the division, but I think the Twins still finish closer to first than last year. From there, it all depends on if the Royals bottom out, and if the Tigers do go scorched earth on their record for the start of the rebuild.  Gives the Sox a decently solid chance at a third place finish, improvement or hitch in the tanking plan depending on what pieces of the rebuild you think we still need.

                Keeping up with the Twins would be entertaining, but I think the timeline for catching up with them is next year or the year following. And the odds of two Central teams making the Wild Card game over any amount of teams from the East are slim to none. October wide open for me again, unfortunately, but we’re a lot closer to a juggernaut run than we were last year.

1.       Indians – 95 wins
2.       Twins – 91 wins
3.       White Sox – 75 wins
4.       Royals – 70 wins
5.       Tigers – 60 wins

Which prospect do you want to see make the most progress this year?

The obvious is Moncada, though I already envision similar reactions to when Anderson struggled last year if he has any sort of slump.  Thus far he’s streaky enough for that to be pretty likely at some point in the season (though likely not as long as. The ceiling’s too high for him to put too much weight on what’s still his rookie season- all he needs this year is a full season at the major league level, and coming into his own as a leadoff hitter if we are going that route. Rickie should still move him around the lineup, though.

Picking just one scenario, Delmonico fielding more like Engel and Engel hitting more like Delmonico would make things a lot more interesting for our outfield going forward.  Engel hitting .270 to match being one of the objective best defensive outfielders in the league last year would be quite a strong case for what’s going to be a very crowded outfield in the future. Delmonico’s grinder style also makes me biased towards that making him a good White Sox, but he’ll run into trouble if defense becomes a liability. Whoever comes closest to meeting in the middle has a lot better chance going forward.

What’s your go to ballpark order this coming season?

Modelo and corn. Salt and lime on both.

You see that Forbes article ranking Comiskey 28th out of 30 for best ballparks?

Yes- admittedly, we don’t play in a ballpark that’s going to get a lot of tourist interest, and it’d take a truly remarkable team to bring casuals in to a stadium with a theme of “storage warehouse”.  Having only been to four parks around the nation, it’s probably tough to really judge these, or at least differentiate from most of the generic ones. With “aww, come on, we can’t be that low!” being my initial reaction… not really much to make a case for sticking out from the bottom half. Definitely agree that we’re better than Oakland and Tampa, probably better than Miami, Toronto, Mets, Cleveland and Detroit, have to go to Phoenix, Anaheim, Milwaukee and Texas to say for sure.

Some things that Comiskey does have going for it that I don’t see mentioned a whole lot:
1.       Dirt cheap tickets, enough to have families be our fanbase emphasis
2.       Great food and beverage variety
3.       Old compared to the Taj Majals currently being built for stadiums, but doesn’t have any major upgrades needed. Legroom decent, sightlines fine.
4.       I swear to you, it gets LOUD when it’s crowded, and a lot of fun for the marquee games (Viva La Mullet)

Basically, it ain't recent World Series champs at an old timey ballpark, but it's major league baseball at $10 a ticket if you work it right. 

The real crimes from the list are Wrigley at number 10 (what in the world does Petco have going for it) and Coors above Fenway (the latter’s my favorite ballpark, but my height is close enough to jockey size to fit into their seats comfortably).

When do you think Kopech gets called up?

Wouldn’t mind holding off until September call ups. Due for some major league experience and looks to be very confident, but pitcher’s confidence is too fluky a thing for me to risk over a most likely meaningless August game against Tampa. Rather he have a guns blazing last month of the year than try to overdo it over a couple months.

How about Jimenez?

Charlotte’s a lot better for summer weather


Only if he buys a ticket

Will Avi have a repeat of last year?

Hope so, but I didn’t get a B- in graduate school statistics to not have a grasp on how sample size and outliers work.

Anyone you’re more concerned about than others?

I’m leaning more towards Fulmer taking on more of a bullpen role, and him struggling as a starter this year might shake his gusto overall. In his fourth year it may be time to get more cautious with him.

How about the rest of the current pitching staff?

Gonzalez should help if he’s the inning eater type he was last year. Giolito should be effective if offspeed’s good. Lopez a lot of potential if he keeps the strikeout pitcher mistakes down.  Shields is the professor of the unrelated gen ed taken to graduate who still teaches with a projector.

Still worth it to go to games this year?

Viva la mullet. Come on out Southsiders.