So today was the first official day of another summer of baseball in this town. The Cubs and the Sox opened their spring training exhibition games this afternoon with the Cubs winning 5-3 over the Manny-less Dodgers and the White Sox lose big 12-3 against the best in the AL West, the Los Angeles Angels. It really felt good to hear the crack of the bat and the pop of the glove on a 90+ mph pitch. Also the 2,000+ that show up to each game today sounded great as Ed and DJ debuted today on our airwaves.
Even though today was the first exhibition of thirty eight games, how much emphasis can we put on these games? I know that there are position battles on both sides of town, but if Octavio Dotel has a bad outing (and he did) do we have to turn on him right away? There will be some "experts" either later tonight or tomorrow that will say O-Do-Tel (horrible nick btw) needs to be moved in the bullpen or sent down or whatever. The future "starter" Jeff Samardzija wasn't stellar either (2 IP 2 R 3 H 2 BB) in his spring debut, but is he automatically not the guy for the 5th starter role?
I understand the fact that baseball is officially back and I'm looking forward to a 82 win season for the Sox (HA! Nate Silver) and an NL division title for the Cubs......but I think that even most fans know exactly or at least know right around what they have in their teams and where they'll finish. I think this is one of those few years in baseball where Sox and Cubs fans know what they'll get way ahead of time.
I just feel like expectations for the N. Side of town are as high as ever and yet the S. Side fans I think would be happy with an around .500 team this season. I don't think there is one Sox fan that EXPECTS a division title this season. I know that ALL Cubs fans expect a division title this season. Sox fans know of the sophomore slump and don't expect the same years that Quentin, Ramirez, Floyd, and Danks had last year. Cubs fans know what they'll get from Ramirez, Lee, Soriano, and know that Milton Bradley will get hurt and lose his cool at least once this season. Sox fans know they can rely on AJ and Ozzie to entertain the south side masses and Cubs fans are already counting down till when Lou gets his first ejection of the year.
So if everything for the most part is already known......why do we have to suffer through 38 games of spring?
I think most Sox and Cubs fans don't have ANY questions about this upcoming season except pondering how they'll make a few games this season with the struggling economy.
My intention is not to ruin your baseball buzz....I PROMISE!!! I got the buzz now because I've already dusted off the box for MLB 08 The Show and adjusted rosters for this coming season. The buzz is there...but baseball's spring training is like a so-so comedy. Fast start with lots of one-liners/jokes gets you interested, then the story line in the middle with the romance part....lose some interest....then as the flick nears the end you fall asleep on your first date with a bangin' chick who leaves you and your bucket of jiffy pop at the AMC. That's spring training for me.
Can someone wake me up when April swings around!!!?
One good thing however for a guy like me who works early mornings and babysits during the day.....spring training baseball is great lullaby music...helps both son and daddy!!