A Winter Letter To Sox Fans: Hope Springs Eternal
Although the Chicagoland area is still feeling the effects of February snowstorms and horrible predictions by groundhogs, there is always one thing to warm us up during this cold month.
I flipped on ESPN the other afternoon, and was very surprised to see Baseball Tonight airing. Yes, Chicago White Sox and Cubs baseball is on the way with spring training right around the corner. I have to be honest, I’m a little more excited than I was a month ago for things to get underway.
After SoxFest, things kind of seemed more upbeat for some reason. When the players talked about their chances for doing well this year, for some reason it didn’t seem like the line of crap so many other players give when playing on a mediocre team. This group of players really does feel that they can contend, even despite the fact the Detroit Tigers may just be one of the most dominant teams in the American League with the new addition of Prince Fielder.
During December, I was feeling pretty pessimistic about the whole 2012 Sox campaign. But now, after taking some time to let the offseason kind of “soak in,” I can see that the Sox are putting a pretty decent team on the field.
It’s nowhere near the best, but it’s also nowhere near as bad as many other fans and columnists are making it out to be. I look forward to seeing a strong rotation 1-5. A revitalized Adam Dunn, maybe Alex Rios too… if we’re lucky. Also, Dayan Viciedo gets to play his first full season in the majors, presumably as an everyday player.
Really, just the fact that baseball is returning makes me happy right now. The Blackhawks have had a pretty bad slide recently. The Bears are done. We do have the Bulls doing well, but the entire league is being marred by this plague of injuries which is making many games seem very, very unbalanced.
Baseball always seems to bring back some of that stability to the sporting world, at least in my mind. It’s like it holds summer together. It gives the sports fan more opportunities to go to games (seeing as Bulls and Hawks tickets have been a tough ticket to get), and more games to see as we aren’t dealing with a shortened season.
Now, when the Sox players all report on Feb. 24, there will already be spots to fight over. There are still questions of a closer, a couple spots in the bullpen and a few utility players. Just getting the chance to discuss all this again, and putting together probable rosters, is exciting for me.
I also look forward to the so-called drama that will happen around the league. And yes, Ozzie Guillen is gone from the South Side, but everyone knows there will be some comments coming out of Miami regarding the state of affairs in Chicago during 2011. So of course, the hilarity will ensue.
The best part? The wait for all this is just about here. If you want to be like me, start preparing by watching MLB Network a couple hours a day, start some mock drafts for your fantasy league and re-read some classic profanity-laden tweets from Guillen and his sons. It’s the best way to prepare for a new season of baseball in Chicago.
This is a guest post by Nick LaBanca from MidwayMadness.com. Midway Madness is a site dedicated to Chicago sports. It is written by Chicago sports fans, for Chicago sports fans. Nick LaBanca is a Columbia College graduate who grew up in Chicago and is an avid Chicago Bulls and White Sox fan. Wanna read more from Nick? Click here.
Photo Credit: Jonathan Daniel [Getty]