Sunday, April 15, 2012

No first-place battle in Chicago; will Cubs revitalize Ozzie’s Marlins?

My advice to baseball fans is not to even look at standings until the Memorial Day holiday weekend. By then, one-third of the season is complete, which is enough time for things to have settled down to the point where we can accurately assess how good (or bad) things will be.

Anything any earlier than that is purely freakish.

TAKE WHAT COULD have occurred in upcoming days here in Chicago.

If the Baltimore Orioles had managed to win on Sunday against the Toronto Blue Jays, they would have been in first place by themselves in their American League division. Meanwhile, the White Sox (by their loss to the Detroit Tigers) fell one-half of a game out of first place.

Naturally, that means Baltimore is making its only visit to Chicago this season for a four-game series against the White Sox beginning Monday. Whodathunk either of those teams would even sniff “first place” this season? Let alone at the same time!

How much of a conniption would the world of professional baseball be having if this week’s early season series turned out to be a battle between two first place teams?

OF COURSE, IT’S not working out that way, and it would be ridiculous to think of it that way (although I’m sure Ken Harrelson would have had no problem getting all worked up in announcing such a series).

It’s just early-season baseball. It’s nice to see (particularly those who say Adam Dunn’s swing doesn’t seem as mucked up as it was last year – maybe those two doubles Sunday are evidence of good things to come?).

But there’s still just over 150 ballgames to play.

And without the “battle for first place” taking place on the Sout’ Side, we can shift our attention to Miami – where Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen will return Tuesday to his 4-6 ballclub (last place in their National League division) just in time for a three-game series against the equally-awful 3-7 Chicago Cubs (who are battling with the Pittsburgh Pirates for the “honor” of “worst” in their division).

FORMER WHITE SOX ace pitcher Mark Buehrle is tentatively scheduled to start Wednesday’s game against the Cubs.

If Ozzie’s ballclub can’t even beat up on the Cubs these days, THAT is something he should be more ashamed of than anything he said (or meant) about Fidel Castro.


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