Monday, May 28, 2012

Chicago baseball teams seen in ‘mirror’ worse (and better) than they appear

Since I personally could care less about the Indianapolis 500 auto race, perhaps it is odd that I have an automobile reference to my view about baseball.

But it is with my own ‘rear view mirror’ that I’m looking upon the fact that we’re one-third of the way through the 2012 season, and we’re at the point (Memorial Day holiday weekend) where it finally becomes relevant to look at the standings and figure out who is good, who is bad, and who is just downright butt-ugly awful.

TRYING TO LOOK at the standings any sooner is just pointless. There just haven’t been enough games played until now to get any real sense of what is happening. Perhaps it is because I remember the season a few years ago when the Cleveland Indians began with an 11-1 won-loss record and had everybody wetting their pants with glee.

A couple of weeks later, that record was 13-13 before the ballclub fell into its routine of a completely forgettable season.

We haven’t had any such wackiness in Chicago. White Sox pitcher Phil Humber’s perfect game really could turn out to be the highlight for Chicago baseball in 2012 – although I already sense all those Cubs fans who are going to tell me about Kerry Wood’s farewell game (pitching to Dayan Viciedo and striking him our).

Whoop de doo!?! Somehow, I don’t envision Viciedo is living with the “shame” of such a moment. He’s probably already forgotten about it. Perhaps something else will happen at the Wrigley Field scene later this year to make everybody else forget it too.

PERSONALLY, I DON’T know what to think about 2012 at this point. Because I can’t help but think of the rear view mirror and that saying decaled over the glass.

Nothing we see right now is what it appears to be.

I see that on Memorial Day White Sox fans can wake up and say they root for a ballclub with a winning record and one that is only a half-game out of first place (the Sox have one more loss than the Cleveland Indians, and both have won 26 games thus far).

They’re in a pennant race! And it has to be a bonus that during the past week they completed a sweep of the first place Indians, to go along with taking two of three games from the Minnesota Twins, just after taking those three ballgames from the Cubs.

AN 8-1 RECORD during the past 10 days. Impressive. Then again, even the worst major league ballclubs are capable of going on tears for a short stretch. Who knows?

Maybe THIS is the 2012 season highlight – White Sox fans were deluded into thinking that the team is a real contender for a division title (which I still say doesn’t mean much, a League championship and World Series appearance are what count).

Perhaps it is because I saw how hard the White Sox pitching got hit during the past weekend, and only won those games because the Indians pitchers got smacked about even harder. This just strikes me as a ballclub that will fade around the time the Chicago Bears go to training camp.

Which means we should probably enjoy things now.

AS FOR THE Chicago Cubs, I got my chuckles from a Chicago Sun-Times sports columnist this week who speculated as to whether baseball wunderkind Theo Epstein appreciated the irony of leaving a winning organization with the Boston Red Sox (last place in their own division as of Monday) to come to what could be the worst team in baseball.

Yes. The Cubs would be one-half game behind the Twins in the standings, if baseball standings were ranked first through thirtieth – without regard for divisions or leagues.

But they’re not.

And I honestly don’t believe the Cubs are as bad as that 15-32 won-loss record they had on Memorial Day.

IF THIS PAST week may be the White Sox’ season highlight, it definitely has to be the low point for the Cubs – who after their 10-4 loss on Sunday to the Pittsburgh Pirates have lost 12 ballgames in a row!

The carnage has to end! Heck, even I’m hoping that the Cubs can manage to eke out a victory on Monday against the San Diego Padres, just so we can quit thinking of “historically awful” and go back to thinking of the team as disappointingly mediocre.

Which is what I really see when I look at the Cubs ballclub. Nobody could be that incredibly awful – although a part of me has to admit to thinking that anyone who would pay the $100-plus prices that are being charged for the Wrigley Field bleachers these days (for the premium games, that is) is a bit of a sucker. Perhaps they need a bit of “reality” to bring them back to Earth.

And in the end, I still think that level at season’s end will be a White Sox team that is somewhere around 81 wins (the .500 winning percentage point) and a Cubs team that flies the white flag with the blue “W” 75 times during 2012.


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