Spring Training is almost universally an awful time for baseball journalism. There’s nothing of substance to report (save for the occasional federal investigation into possible perjury charges against one of this writer’s boyhood heroes), nothing really happens, and the stories that make their way to the pages of legitimate news outlets and the Sox’ website are almost impossible to tell apart. As examples, try this little quiz. Each headline and deck below came directly from either a) The Chicago Tribune, b) Chicago Sun-Times, or c) whitesox.com. Try to guess which (answers at the end of this post):
Uribe just wants to help team: Cabrera, Uribe want to do what’s best for the team
Sox thinking young: Giving Danks, Floyd a shot before chasing veteran such as Colon
Floyd finding rhythm
[Jim Thome] still aims for first Series crown
Mr. Electricity: Swisher helps energize, light a fire under a clubhouse full of choirboys
[Alexei] Ramirez not thin on talent
Guillen swears he’ll be tougher on Sox
White Sox trying to balance present, future: Club using system to complement, enhance Majors
Anderson’s Sox future uncertain
Swisher brings love of game to Sox camp
[Answers: A, A, C, A, B, B, A, C, B, C]
In a way, this makes sense. No games of any consequence are going on, roster moves are some time away, and a lot of major questions will have to remain unanswered until Opening Day.
But is that all? Is there really not a comprehensive fleecing of season ticket holders going on with people losing the entirety of their balances left in their Ticket Exchange accounts from last season? The same Ticket Exchange the Good Guys put in place to thank those season ticket holders for their loyalty and support by giving them a sanctioned marketplace to sell off their extra tickets? The one which was moved to StubHub in the offseason? The one MLB Advanced Media licensed to StubHub through the 2012 season?
Is there not a very serious concern about Danny Richar’s failure to get that all-important visa making Juan Uribe the Opening Day second baseman?
Does anyone else find it hilarious that while Don Cooper and Kenny Williams are talking up this year’s bullpen, Mike MacDougal is putting Joe Crede out of commission with wild pitches to the hand?
Isn’t it news that the Sox’ better alternative to signing an overweight, injury-prone pitcher with lousy numbers was to sign a skinny, injury-prone pitcher with flat-out awful numbers?
Isn’t it just a little unsettling that the Sox’ rotation, tentatively set at Buehrle-Vazquez-Danks-Contreras-Floyd, means the Sox’ best option right now is three starters with an ERA over 5.00 in 2007? Some of the statheads out there will point to things like park-adjusted ERA and whatnot, but when half the games are played at Sox Park it’s tough to see what kind of adjustments could make a better case for giving up five runs a game, especially when your new centerfielder’s career average is .251 and the guy to his right, for all the hype by the organization that first drafted him, has a .230 career average in the majors, despite a .313 in the minors? And when put in those terms, doesn’t Carlos Quentin sound a lot like Brian Anderson? And doesn’t Nick Swisher, with his scruffy appearance and sound a lot like Aaron Rowand? Haven’t we heard this before?
But, you know, it’s still February. It’s entirely possible that these kids can actually play. Maybe Cabrera-Swisher-Thome-Konerko-Dye-Pierzynski-Fields-Quentin-Richar. Maybe Octavio Dotel’s one session of greatness will mean a season of bullpen dominance is in store, much like it did for David Aardsma, Andrew Sisco and the rest of the Souper Six-Pack in 2007 or even Neal Cotts in 2006. Seriously.
And if worse comes to worst, there’s always a chance Nick Swisher could make a spot start, or Juan Uribe could handle mop-up duty out of the ‘pen. Don’t you remember? The former helps energize and the latter wants to help the club wherever he can. Really, if you think about it, that’s perfect because energy, helpfulness, and a .250 average are really all you need to win these days, just as long as Gavin Floyd hold onto his rhythm.
God I hate this team.