Monday, October 22, 2018

Will 2018 be a “might’a been” version of a World Series for Chicago?

It’s one of the quirks of professional baseball these days that its championship event has so many rounds of playoffs and interest declines as teams get knocked out of play.
One-time White Sox ace now Game 1 starter

Which is why there were many people who were delirious this weekend when the Los Angeles Dodgers managed to prevail as National League championships over the Milwaukee Brewers. Having media market No. 2 (as in L.A.) works much better than media market 35 (the land of Laverne and Shirley).

SO WE’RE GOING to get to see a Boston Red Sox/Los Angeles Dodgers World Series – which some are trying to spin as a replay of 1916. Even though the Dodgers themselves were Brooklyn’s ballclub back then.

But I can’t help but perceive this year’s World Series (played one century after that series that used to be Boston’s last victory ever, when they beat the Chicago Cubs) in Chicago terms.

In which it’s the “What might’s been” World Series. We in Chicago can watch the event and speculate what might have happened for our city’s ballclubs – if only certain factors had played out different.

The obvious Chicago connection to this year’s World Series is in the form of the Red Sox’ ace pitcher – Chris Sale. Who actually is set to be the starting game pitcher for Game One, to be played Tuesday night.

WHO ALSO ACTUALLY was once Chicago White Sox property – from 2010 until the trade that sent him off to Boston prior to the 2017 season. The one that got the White Sox several minor league prospects – including Yoan Moncada and Michael Kopech; whom some still say could develop into stars who could make the deal seem quite balanced.

Others who will only view Moncada’s mediocre hitting this season and the injury sustained by Kopech that will cause him to miss the entirety of the 2019 season are ready to write off the deal as a rip-off for the White Sox, and wish they could have Sale back in Chicago.
Cubs ace now Dodgers coach

They’re bound to be the ones watching the World Series this year, trying to fantasize how good life could have been in Chicago IF ONLY Sale were still wearing the black-colored hose of the White Sox. Ignoring the fact that Sale most likely would be the malcontent (I haven’t forgotten his jersey-ripping incident) ace pitcher of a third place ballclub.

But some fans are bound to want to find ways to be miserable. Which at times may be the real truth characterizing what Chicago sports fans are all about.

BUT IF CHICAGO fans will be following Sale and the Red Sox, I also don’t doubt that the Dodgers will stir up some interested. Particularly in the form of the team’s bullpen coach – the guy whose job is to make sure relief pitchers are properly warmed up and NOT being distracted by the blonde in the too-tight halter top sitting in the stands.

For the Dodgers’ coach this season was Mark Prior. Remember him?

Prior is the guy whom Cubs fans were convinced was going to be one of their all-time great pitchers, and whose teams of the decade of the Aughts (the 2000s) had the pitching pair of Prior and Kerry Wood. Whom Cubs fans back then were delusional enough to think were the elite of the National League.
One-time White Sox player and coach will see … 

Even though neither one wound up living up to their baseball potential.

PRIOR WAS SUPPOSED to be that elite pitcher who would lead the Cubs to a mid-2000s World Series victory (it didn’t happen). He’s the guy whom injuries would up cutting his playing career short.

But after leaving the Cubs, he filled several roles in the San Diego Padres organization, then this year was offered a coaching job with the Dodgers. Which put him in a position where he’s FINALLY with a team appearing in the World Series.
… if his younger brother can win World Series

As is Sale. One of them is going to get that World Series “ring” that supposedly is what a real ballplayer strives to get his entire athletic career – and that is supposedly the crowning achievement missing from Chicago players such as Luke Appling or Ernie Banks.

Of course, the other potential local angle is in the form of Red Sox manager Alex Cora, whom some are emphasizing is the first Puerto Rico native to manage a championship ballclub. He’s the brother of Joey Cora – who was the Chicago White Sox’ bench coach under manager Ozzie Guillen when the latter became the first Latin America-born (Venezuela) to win a World Series.


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