Why Alexei Ramirez Should Top your White Sox List

Alexei

Alexei Ramirez is easily the friendliest guy in a Chicago White Sox uniform and probably the nicest starting shortstop in the MLB. Not only should we love him for his character, but he’s also doing big things at the plate for the South Side in his first few weeks of the 2014 season.

I’ve always had a soft spot for my fellow Cuban brother and this season you should too. Here’s why:

  • He’s HOT HOT HOT. Alexei has three home runs under his belt after the White Sox have played 13 games.
  • Alexei’s hot bat has helped the White Sox lead all of baseball with 80 runs in 13 games when the Sox scored a terrible 598 all of last season. It’s a TT – total turnaround – we hope Ramirez and the crew can keep it going.
  • He’s worked on his whiffs. Ramirez has always been an aggressive swinger, but he’s really cut down on his strikeouts in the first two weeks of the season averaging 5.6 percent.
  • Bases, Bases and more Bases: He’s lanky and quick like a bunny. He’ll steel a base from right under your nose and takes CWS base running to the next level.
  • Alexei’s line drive walk-off home run on Sunday against the Cleveland Indians has really picked up the morale in the dugout – it’s something to get excited about.

Who knows what the White Sox will do this season, there’s a REALLY long road ahead, but Alexei Ramirez is something to get excited about this spring. Go Go Go White Sox!

Adam Dunn 2012 Comeback Player of the Year

It looks like one good thing came out of Adam Dunn’s abysmal 2011 season, he has been deemed the 2012 Comeback Player of the Year.  It’s not a championship ring/title for the Chicago White Sox first baseman/designated hitter, but I would say it’s something to be proud of.

“I’m sure my (family) really enjoys it more than I do,” Dunn said. “I don’t really play for (awards), I play for one thing (championships) and if I don’t get it than it is all for naught. I am very appreciative of this award but I really wish I would have never won it because you have to have the bad go with the good,” he told ESPN Chicago. 

Dunn suffered an oblique strain injury at the end of the season and was not pleased with the Sox’s unsatisfying finish as well as his own inability to help the team. Not only did the Sox miss the playoffs, but they have to watch their rivaled Detroit Tigers advance all the way to the World Series (Game 1 against the San Francisco Giants starts tonight). Yuck!

His resurgence was refreshing since Dunn signed a four-year $56 million deal before the 2011 season – and then he stunk. Although he had a MUCH better year, Dunn still has some areas he’d like to improve on: driving the ball to the opposite field more frequently and cutting down his strikeouts. His 222 strikeouts in 2012 were the most in a single season in American League history.

Congratulations Dunn! Hopefully next season the White Sox can make it into the postseason for ya :-).

Chicago Baseball is Around the Corner

Well wouldn’t ya know, baseball is back, the sport has been off for a solid 4 months. Baseball fans are probably itching for a stadium hotdog, cold beer, peanuts and to sing the lyrics of “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.”  Do not fret, as of Friday, the Cactus League (click for schedule) will have started it’s 2012 spring training season. Fans will be able to tune into Cubs and White Sox games on TV or take a little vacation if you can scrape up the dinero.  What a rough life professional baseball players have, in the midst of the winter when most of us are itching to escape the cold, Cubs and White Sox players get to head down to Spring Training in Arizona- real tough guys.

If you want to get away and find your Chicago White Sox, head down to Camelback Ranch in Glendale. The Sox are hoping to prepare for a solid recovery season, gain some confidence that had been long lost last season, and find a way to compete in a division that recently got even more competitive with many off season trades (example one: Prince Fielder to the Tigers). Adam Dunn, Alex Rios, and Gordon Beckham all under performed last season, and Sox management is hoping they get back into the groove. Jake Peavy expressed this weekend that he feels his healthiest since joining the White Sox, his shoulder is “amazing” and he is hoping to perform at an elite level again.

Focus has been placed on 22-year-old lefty Chris Sale, who is being added to the starting pitching rotation. He has come out firing, extremely impressing his teammates early on in spring training. He is hoping to pitch 200 innings as a starter this season. Known for looking much like a string-bean, Sale is looking more manly according to A.J. Pierzynski, “Chris Sale looks good, looks like he put on a pound or two.”

With ex-manager Ozzie Guillen happily in Miami and the security of a four-year, $10 million contract, any and all scrutiny of the team will be fully placed on White Sox general manager Ken Williams. Kenny will be starting his 12th season as the Sox GM, but after not advancing to the playoffs for three consecutive seasons, he knows this season will directly effect his future with the Sox. He told Comcast Sportsnet, “It’s professional sports. If you do not win, and it has been three years since we’ve gone to the playoffs, if you don’t win, changes are made. I have gone into this situation knowing that. I can accept it if ultimately that’s the call. And we can go out the next day, he can call me up and we’ll go out for a steak and a cigar. It will be all good.”

The Cubs are over in Mesa, hoping that their move of snatching Theo Epstein as President of Baseball Operations will break their World Series curse (I’m not holding my breathe just yet, I’m going to give him a few years to get things right).

First order of business was to settle the Theo Epstein compensation issue with the Red Sox, I like to think of it as a consolation prize for the Sox. The Red Sox acquired right-hander Chris Carpenter — not the Cardinals’ former Cy Young Award winner — and a player to be named in exchange for a player to be named. Seems like quite a few ?? to me.

The Cubs are currently a team without many big names, and their only well known player is Alfonso Soriano, who to most people has seemed like an overpaid, 36-year-old unreliable outfielder, with no-trade rights and $54 million guaranteed through 2014. As the veteran on the Cubs, Epstein is looking to Soriano to be a leader this season. “The past couple years we had a nice group, but some people (weren’t) giving 100 percent,” Soriano told CSN. “Now this group is kind of young. They’re hungry to play and we’re ready to compete.” As a role model for the younger players, he should begin by not dropping any fly balls in left field this season.

Both teams are going to have a challenging season, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed that both the Sox and Cubs can make it to the post-season this year. It might be a long shot.