WBEZ | MLB http://www.wbez.org/tags/mlb Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Baseball honors Jackie Robinson http://www.wbez.org/blogs/cheryl-raye-stout/2013-04/baseball-honors-jackie-robinson-106641 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/rsz_jackie_robinson.jpg" style="height: 332px; width: 300px; float: right;" title="File: Jackie Robinson. (AP)" />Baseball is a game of numbers, but today there is only one that is important: 42. Major League Baseball in 2004 designated April 15&nbsp;as the annual celebration of Jackie Robinson&rsquo;s first appearance as a Brooklyn Dodger.</p><p>Sixteen years ago, Robinson&rsquo;s number was officially retired by the MLB. It&#39;s one of the most distinctive tributes to what he did for baseball and society. Part of the celebration includes all players, coaches and managers wearing the number 42 on their jerseys as all of baseball honors the man who bravely became the first African-American player in MLB.</p><p>Since the Cubs are off today, they will honor Robinson tomorrow night when they host the Texas Rangers. Two Hall of Fame Cubs will be part of pre-game ceremonies: Ernie Banks and Billy Williams. Banks was the first African-American to play for the Northsiders and considered Robinson as a mentor. Williams joined the major leagues shortly after Robinson and Banks.</p><p>Hollywood is also spotlighting Robinson with the recently released movie <em>42: The True Story of an American Legend.</em></p><p>It&#39;s not the first cinematic version of the icon&#39;s story. In 1950, Robinson starred in the biographical film, <em>The Jackie Robinson Story</em>. There have also been three television versions of his story and a Broadway production about his life and legacy. The timing of the recent biography will help younger generations be aware and informed about the difficulties that Robinson, and to some extent Dodger executive Branch Rickey, went through to break the color barrier in baseball. It was a defining moment not just for sports, but a reflection on the racial divide in America.</p><p>Cubs players Dave Sappelt, Scott Hairston and hitting coach James Rowson reflected on Robinson&#39;s legacy.</p><p>This is Sappelt&rsquo;s first time celebrating Robinson in the major leagues. He recalled his grandparents telling him stories about the famed player. However, the Cubs outfielder remarked the sport&#39;s racial struggles lasted decades beyond that 1947 season. Sappelt believes wearing the 42 jersey will show appreciation to Robinson and the others who followed and played the game the right way under tremendous pressure.</p><p>Tomorrow will also be a first for Rowsan. In his first full season as a major league coach, Rowsan says wearing 42 is &ldquo;a great level of honor.&rdquo; Even though the league celebrates Jackie Robinson once a year, Rowsan says he and other African Americans celebrate everyday they step on a baseball field. Growing up in New York, he said he learned the lessons of that era from his father.</p><p>Hairston comes from a long line of baseball players. He and his brother Jerry Jr. followed in their father Jerry and Uncle John&rsquo;s footsteps and they were preceded by Sam Hairston, who played in the Negro Leagues with Robinson. Hairston said Robinson may not have been the best player from the Negro League, but he was the best to withstand the challenges of breaking the color barrier. Hairston said it is &ldquo;mind blowing&rdquo; to think about Robinson being the only black player that first year.</p><p>As a young man, Hairston heard stories from his grandfather about the problems players in the Negro League dealt with on the road. Hotels often turned them away, forcing players to sleep on buses. But Hairston said his grandfather never lost the love for the game. And he says players should never lose that appreciation of what those players went through. With two young sons age 5 and 7, Hairston had murals of Sam Hairston in action painted on their bedroom walls. Tuesday night, Hairston says he will think of his grandfather as he and the rest of baseball honor Jackie Robinson.</p><p><em>Follow Cheryl on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/Crayestout" target="_top">@CRayeStout</a>&nbsp;and Facebook <a href="http://www.facebook.com/CherylAtTheGame" target="_blank">Cheryl Raye Stout #AtTheGame</a>&nbsp;</em></p></p> Mon, 15 Apr 2013 06:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/cheryl-raye-stout/2013-04/baseball-honors-jackie-robinson-106641 What does 2013 look like for the Cubs and White Sox? http://www.wbez.org/blogs/cheryl-raye-stout/2013-03/what-does-2013-look-cubs-and-white-sox-106386 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/rsz_spring_training_gene_j_puskar.jpg" style="height: 413px; width: 620px;" title="Spring training is just about over. (AP/File)" /></div><p>Both the White Sox and the Cubs have left Arizona and played their final spring training games. Opening Day is Monday with all its splendor and hopes that the day brings for baseball fans. Here are some news and notes about the impending 2013 season.</p><h2><strong>New Faces for the Cubs</strong></h2><p>The one major free agent signing by the Cubs was often-traded pitcher Edwin Jackson. The 29-year-old right hand starter inked a 4-year, $54 million contract. Jackson had &ldquo;a cup of coffee&rdquo; with the White Sox a few years ago and will pitch plenty of innings for second year manager Dale Sveum.</p><p>Veteran Japanese closer Kyuji Fujikawa will be part of the bullpen. The Cubs signed the 32-year old pitcher for need and to possibly replace Carlos Marmol if he is traded. Of course, if the team tanks this year, Fujikawa may have trade value at the deadline.</p><p>In right field, the Cubs brought in Nate Schierholtz with a one year deal. He played for Philadelphia and San Francisco.</p><p>The Cubs also signed a few veterans to the pitching staff: Scott Baker (former Twin), Carlos Villanueva (former Blue Jay/Brewer) and Scott Feldman (former Ranger). Baker&rsquo;s surgically repaired elbow flared up in his first spring training appearance. The Cubs are expected to shut him down for at least a month. Feldman was a reliever that converted to a starter six years ago.</p><p>Trying to stabilize the young starting catcher Welington Castillo, the Cubs brought in eight-year veteran Dioner Navarro.</p><h2><strong>Cubs departures</strong></h2><p>It was sayonara to Bryan LaHair. Last year he was an All-Star player who lost his starting job to Anthony Rizzo. He is now in Japan.&nbsp;The team also parted ways with third base coach Pat Listach.</p><h2><strong>Front and center for the Cubs</strong></h2><ul><li>Wrigley Field issues will loom over this team until an agreement is made between the team, neighborhood and the city.</li><li>On the field, the Cubs will try to avoid a hundred losses and continue the path to success with young players in the Cubs&#39; minor leagues.&nbsp; Darwin Barney&rsquo;s play at second earned him a Gold Glove in 2012; shortstop Starlin Castro hopes to improve on his defense too.</li><li>The Cubs front office signed many stop gap players to try to have a competitive team.</li><li>Despite what his critics think, Alfonso Soriano has proven to be a leader and did produce very solid numbers at the plate.</li><li>The star in the making is first baseman Anthony Rizzo. He has all the tools.</li><li>Pitcher Matt Garza strained his left side but&nbsp;is expected to improve soon. Garza could be an important to help the club on the mound or a deal.&nbsp;</li><li>Opening Day starter Jeff Samardzija needs to remain consistent.</li><li>Unfortunately for the Cubs this year, Houston is now in the American League. The NL Central cellar may be where the Cubs may finish.</li></ul><h2>New Faces for the White Sox</h2><p>The biggest change came in the front office. Rick Hahn is now the team&rsquo;s general manager as Ken Williams moves up the ladder. Hahn didn&rsquo;t make any wholesale moves. He did re-sign Jake Peavy to an extension.&nbsp; To fill a hole left by the departure of Kevin Youkilis (we barely got to know you), Hahn signed former Tampa Bay third baseman Jeff Keppinger to a three-year deal. He is a career .288 hitter. Keppinger makes contact and does not strike out. He is just getting back into action after injuring his shoulder during training camp.</p><p>Just before spring training, the Sox acquired 25-year-old third baseman Conor Gillespie from San Francisco. He has been fighting all spring to make the roster.</p><p>One more new face with the Southsiders is actually a familiar face: Bobby Thigpen. The former White Sox closer has been working with the minor league teams. He will now handle the bullpen duties after Juan Nieves departed to become the Red Sox pitching coach.</p><h2><strong>White Sox departures</strong></h2><p>Catcher and most hated player in baseball, AJ Pierzynski is now a Texas Ranger. Phillip Humber (remember he had a perfect game) pitches for Houston and third baseman Kevin Youkilis signed with the New York Yankees (not a big loss since he really didn&rsquo;t want to be here).</p><h2><strong>Front and center for the White Sox</strong></h2><ul><li>Last year under rookie manager Robin Ventura the team flourished and was competitive all year. The club ran out of gas, they had many young inexperience players that were tired at season&rsquo;s end. Also a so-so bench hurt them.</li><li>Alejandro DeAza developed into a nice lead-off hitter and played well in center field.</li><li>The young guns in the bullpen were a real strength: Nate Jones, Hector Santiago and Addison Reed. They learned quickly in the majors. With Matt Thorton, Matt Lindstrom and Jesse Crain (he is dealing with right adductor strain) the bullpen can be one of the best.</li><li>John Danks will begin the season on the DL as he continues to recover from his shoulder surgery.</li><li>Dylan Axelrod will be given an opportunity in the rotation.</li></ul><p>If Jake Peavy, pitching phenom Chris Sale, Jose Quintana, Gavin Floyd (and eventually Danks) stay healthy and produce, the Sox have a chance in the competitive AL Central. The bats of Adam Dunn, Paul Konerko and Alex Rios must anchor the offense. AJ&rsquo;s replacement Tyler Flowers is a better receiver behind the plate, it is yet to be determined if he can produce at the plate.</p><p>The White Sox may be bridesmaids to the Detroit Tigers again, but they should be a factor.</p><p>Follow Cheryl on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/Crayestout" target="_blank">@CRayeStout</a>&nbsp;and Facebook <a href="http://www.facebook.com/CherylAtTheGame" target="_blank">Cheryl Raye Stout #AtTheGame</a></p></p> Fri, 29 Mar 2013 06:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/cheryl-raye-stout/2013-03/what-does-2013-look-cubs-and-white-sox-106386 Get your scorecard ready: Baseball is around the corner http://www.wbez.org/blogs/cheryl-raye-stout/2013-02/get-your-scorecard-ready-baseball-around-corner-105343 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/rsz_spring_training_morry_gash.jpg" style="height: 442px; width: 620px;" title="Spring training gears up next week. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)" /></div><p>It&#39;s early February and I don&#39;t need a groundhog to tell me there will be six more weeks of winter or not. It is the sound of a ball hitting a mitt, the crack of a bat, fans cheering in the stands. Major League Baseball&#39;s spring training is next week, and that to me means winter is ending. Well, in Chicago we know it can last well into March and April, but in our collective minds it just makes you feel good knowing baseball is around the corner.</p><p>Both Chicago teams have their bags packed; the White Sox even provided a photo opportunity for the media as the equipment trucks head west. Next Tuesday, pitchers and catchers from both clubs will be reporting to Arizona. The White Sox will go to Camelback Ranch in Glendale and the Cubs to Hohokam Park in Mesa. It is year two for both managers, Robin Ventura for the Sox and Cubs skipper Dale Sveum. The first days of camp will be a contrast for the two Chicago managers, Ventura has a staff that has not had too many additions, one major subtraction, Sveum has several new pitchers to get acquainted with the next month.</p><p>Here&rsquo;s a look at the some of the storylines for the pitchers and catchers of the Sox and Cubs.</p><p><strong>White Sox:</strong></p><p>When the Sox were able to bring back right hand pitcher Jake Peavy to the fold, it signaled a change behind the plate. Peavy will now be throwing to catcher Tyler Flowers, who replaces the colorful veteran AJ Pierzynski. Flowers had a deep respect for his former teammate and learned from him, but he is really excited to get the job full-time.</p><p>The Sox think they have enough arms to fill out their starting rotation. Peavy, Chris Sale (he said he gained 15 pounds), Gavin Floyd, Jose Quintana and rehabbing John Danks. They also have Hector Santiago to use as a reliever or a starter. Minor leaguers Nestor Molina and Dylan Axelrod will see time in camp.</p><p>Ventura did lose one of his staff, bullpen coach Juan Nieves is now the pitching coach for the Red Sox. Former Sox closer Bobby Thigpen will now take over that role. He has been working in the Sox minor league system and is familar with the young arms brought up last season, Nate Jones, Addison Reed and Santiago. The first weeks of spring training is a careful process for Coach Don Cooper to prepare these arms for the 2013 season.</p><p><strong>Cubs:</strong></p><p>The Cubs young catching group of Wellington Castillo (projected starter) and Steve Clevenger will get some veteran leadership with former Red Dioner Navarro. He inked a one year deal and should help the young catchers.</p><p>Cub management spent time this off-season signing a few pitchers in an effort to shore up a staff that needs to have improvement after suffering through 101 losses. Former Minnesota Twin Scott Baker (coming off Tommy John surgery) and former Texas Ranger Scott Feldman signed one year deals. Edwin Jackson was given a four-year deal and this will be his eighth team in eleven years. Jackson will not be spectacular; he is durable and will pitch plenty of innings. During the Cub Convention, former Toronto Blue Jay starter/reliever Carlos Villanueva signed with the club. These new faces were added to Matt Garza, Jeff Samardzija and Travis Wood. &nbsp;In 2012, Garza was sidelined most of the season with an elbow injury.</p><p>The bullpen work horse was Shawn Camp, but the closer job may be a battle. The team has given the job to Carlos Marmol, but keep an eye on free agent Kyuji Fujikawa of Japan. If Marmol falters or gets traded, Fujikawa may land the job.</p><p>If the Cubs play like they did last season, you can expect trades will be entertained by management as they continue the rebuilding process.</p><p><strong>World Baseball Classic:</strong></p><p>Major League Baseball has to squeeze in the World Baseball Classic into the spring schedule. Games begin on March 8 and the &ldquo;championship&rdquo; will be in San Francisco on March 19. It is kind of baseball&rsquo;s way to trying to make this game more international. It never will be, since soccer is still the dominate game. However, Asia and Latin America have plenty of interest in the game.</p><p>The only Cub to participate is first baseman Anthony Rizzo. He will play for Italy. He hasn&rsquo;t even been to Italy, but the Rizzo said he was looking forward to the experience. &nbsp;The White Sox on the other hand have a few players involved with this &ldquo;classic.&quot; Pitcher Jesse Crain will play for Canada, Alex Rios and Andy Gonzalez for Puerto Rico and Andre Rienzo will be on the Brazil team. Hector Santiago (smartly) rescinded his spot with the Puerto Rican club. Pitchers need to be under the guidance of their team during the spring. Since Santiago&rsquo;s role (as a starter or bullpen) with the Southsiders is undetermined, he needs to be under the watchful eye of the team.</p><p>With snow starting to pile up this week, thinking of baseball brings spring closer to my mind.</p><p>Follow Cheryl on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/Crayestout">@CRayeStout </a>and Facebook <a href="http://www.facebook.com/CherylAtTheGame">Cheryl Raye Stout #AtTheGame </a></p></p> Wed, 06 Feb 2013 06:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/cheryl-raye-stout/2013-02/get-your-scorecard-ready-baseball-around-corner-105343 The wonderful sports world of liars and cheats http://www.wbez.org/blogs/cheryl-raye-stout/2013-01/wonderful-sports-world-liars-and-cheats-104974 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/rsz_2lance_armstrong.jpg" style="float: right; height: 223px; width: 300px;" title="Lance Armstrong has the sports spotlight for cheating...for now.(AP Photo/Laurent Rebouris)" />How many times has a sports headline screamed liar or cheat?</div><p>As recently as last week, it was the Baseball Hall of Fame results that casted a bright spotlight on the ugliness of the steroid users. The baseball writers decided no one should be given the honor &mdash; even when there were worthy candidates that were untouched by performance enhancing drugs. This week the whole ugly and draining saga of cyclist Lance Armstrong has dominated headlines because of an interview with Oprah Winfrey.</p><p>Armstrong decided to tell his story to Winfrey on her OWN network. Why? Who knows. The taping on Monday morning went two and a half hours, so there are two nights of viewing a man that lied and damaged many people along the way. It is hard to separate the multi-champion cyclist and the cancer fund raiser. He has millions of people torn over what he did. On the one hand, his endeavors raised millions of dollars for cancer research and buoyed the hopes of survivors because Armstrong was a man con brink of death. He used his personal tragedy and turned it into a multi-million dollar crusade to fight cancer.</p><p>This is where there is a separation in my mind: he used that stage of empathy and rode his bike to unparalleled heights. But it was a lie. He doped his way to seven Tour De France victories and lashed out at people that questioned how he did it.&nbsp; And his endorsements brought him huge financial riches.</p><p>It is difficult to decide which is worse: the lying or cheating? Both.</p><p>In the world of sports, cheating has become more normal that I care to know. Major League Baseball turned a blind eye to steroid use. It filled the stands because it bolstered the offensive numbers. The players and the owners all made money and then the dirty secret became a public outing. Now there is testing. But there are still other means to get an advantage like human growth hormones. Don&rsquo;t be fooled about football either, players figure out a way to cheat the system without getting caught. Some do get suspended, but the NFL and the fans don&rsquo;t put a premium on the issue of performance enhancing drugs.</p><p>The cheating and lying doesn&rsquo;t have to be about drugs. Betting on baseball has kept the All-time hit leader Pete Rose out of the game. He lied and lied with stacks of evidence that proved he bet on baseball.&nbsp; Rose thumbed his nose at the investigation and game he dearly loved. He may have been forgiven and if he could have mustered up an apology in a timely manner.</p><p>Initially, Tiger Woods&rsquo; problem was more of an issue for his wife. When it became a huge scandal publicly it destroyed a commercial image. His fall from grace affected the world of golf and his endorsement deals.</p><p>Olympian Marion Jones lied about her steroid use and landed in prison on a perjury conviction.</p><p>And nothing can more egregious than the Penn State cover up of Jerry Sandusky&rsquo;s criminal actions. That is in a class all by itself and continues to have ramifications.</p><p>Lance Armstrong and so many cyclists have been using drugs and knew how to get away with it for the most part. It was an epidemic in that world. Now Armstrong tells his story. Maybe he will be forgiven. In the world of sports, there are many opportunities for second chances.</p><p>Maybe a Hall of Shame should be erected so we don&rsquo;t forget the deceit and the lying. Put it in Las Vegas &ndash; a town known as &ldquo;Sin City&rdquo;.&nbsp; It would be a pretty huge crowd of inductees, Lance Armstrong, Pete Rose, Tiger Woods, Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Sammy Sosa, Alex Rodriquez, Marion Jones, Ben Johnson a ton of other Olympians...</p><p>We may be adding another one, if the story about Notre Dame&rsquo;s Manti Te&#39;o proves he was not a victim, but did the duping about his late imaginary girlfriend. It is unthinkable the lengths people will go to have an image they are desperate to portray and how gullible we are accepting it. If he was the victim, then it is another example of how low people go to exploit a sports personality.</p><p>And another chapter of the ugly the world of sports will be written.</p><p>Follow Cheryl on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/Crayestout" target="_blank">@CRayeStout </a>and Facebook <a href="http://www.facebook.com/CherylAtTheGame">Cheryl Raye Stout #AtTheGame </a></p></p> Fri, 18 Jan 2013 06:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/cheryl-raye-stout/2013-01/wonderful-sports-world-liars-and-cheats-104974 What's next for Ozzie Guillen? http://www.wbez.org/blogs/cheryl-raye-stout/2012-10/whats-next-ozzie-guillen-103409 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/1-ozzie%20guillen%20fired.jpg" style="width: 620px; height: 472px;" title="Where will Ozzie Guillen go next? (AP)" /></div><p>For the record, I always liked Ozzie Guillen. The former Sox manager would say ridiculous, even crazy things, but I took that as a sign of his insecurities rather than a sign of malice. But I know that for others, mentioning the name Ozzie Guillen in conversation is like throwing a hand grenade.</p><p>It&#39;s a real factor for the recently-fired Miami Marlins manager, who is&nbsp;<a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/nationals/ozzie-guillen-fired-as-manager-of-last-place-marlins-after-1-dismal-season-with-team/2012/10/23/8609d1b2-1d86-11e2-8817-41b9a7aaabc7_story.html">out of work</a> and is now looking for a new job. Or maybe he <em>won&#39;t</em> look for a new gig: Even though he&#39;s been let go, by the terms of his contract Ozzie will still collect over $7 million for the next three years.&nbsp;</p><p>But if Ozzie <em>did</em> want to work in Major League Baseball again, would he have any chance of finding employment within the sport he loves second only to his family? Does this colorful, always controversial Venezuelan have any lifelines left with the league that sometimes loves him and sometimes hates him?</p><p>Let&#39;s look at the pros and cons of bringing Ozzie back to an MLB dugout:</p><p><em><strong>Pros</strong></em></p><ul><li><strong>Guillen garners attention </strong>on many levels. If a team is looking for a &quot;name&quot; manager, he could be it.</li><li>He&#39;s <strong>baseball smart</strong>. Ozzie absolutely has the credentials if a team wants to take a chance on him.</li><li>The man <strong>won a 2005 World Series</strong> with the White Sox.</li></ul><p>There is no way, at this point, that a team would make Ozzie a position coach. Guillen was a coach for the Expos and Marlins before he became manager for the White Sox, so that train has left the station. Now that he&#39;s been the &quot;top dog&quot; his personality would not mesh well in a subordinate at this point &mdash; unless he was severely humbled by his dismissal. That is unlikely the case right now.</p><p><em><strong>Cons</strong></em></p><ul><li><strong>Guillen brings a lot of baggage.&nbsp;</strong><strong>In fact, Ozzie is his own worst enemy.&nbsp;</strong>When a manager openly feuds with his boss . . . how many general managers want to take a chance on that?&nbsp;Being fired again doesn&#39;t help, but parting ways with the White Sox probably caused more perception problems for Ozzie than losing the Miami job; the Marlins ownership and management is in disarray, while the White Sox have a more consistent, stable organization. Ozzie&#39;s very public, very contentious relationship with White Sox GM Ken Williams resonates with other teams, particularly after the Sox selected &quot;Ozzie opposite&quot; Robin Ventura to replace him.&nbsp;Williams is not completely exonerated from the clashes he had with Guillen, but perception &mdash; right or wrong &mdash; has fallen negatively on the former Sox manager.<br /><br />And oh yeah &mdash;&nbsp;Guillen&#39;s controversial views on Cuba&#39;s Fidel Castro caused a firestorm and the Marlins had an awful season.&nbsp;</li></ul><p>If managing isn&#39;t in the cards for Ozzie but he still wants to be in baseball,&nbsp;<strong>there seems to be one logical and (maybe crazy) alternative: the broadcast booth</strong>. Ozzie is high energy and would attract viewers or listeners wondering what he would say &mdash; and how he would say it. If your team broadcasts need sprucing up, Ozzie could be an interesting, &ldquo;out of the box&rdquo; choice (or out of your mind). Maybe he could even land at&nbsp;<a href="http://espndeportes.espn.go.com/?cc=3888">ESPN Deportes</a>, the network&#39;s Spanish language arm.&nbsp;You&#39;d have to keep a finger over the seven-second delay button, though. . . .</p><p>It&#39;s too bad the Cubs wouldn&rsquo;t take a chance on Ozzie. That may be too insane &mdash; but can you imagine how crazy it would be, in a good way?&nbsp;If Ozzie does remain unemployed during the 2013 season, don&rsquo;t be surprised if you see him at Wrigley; he makes his home in Chicago and he loves the park.&nbsp;He was supposed to return to U.S. Cellular when the Sox host the Marlins next season. It&#39;s hard to believe Guillen would spend any time there, but you never know. Stranger things have happened &mdash; and that would be strange indeed.</p><p>It will be interesting to see what happens. At the end of the day, it seems that Ozzie needs baseball. And in some ways, baseball needs Guillen.</p></p> Fri, 26 Oct 2012 05:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/cheryl-raye-stout/2012-10/whats-next-ozzie-guillen-103409 What should the White Sox do this winter? Share your thoughts, baseball fans. http://www.wbez.org/blogs/cheryl-raye-stout/2012-10/what-should-white-sox-do-winter-share-your-thoughts-baseball-fans <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/rsz_sox_fans-rain.jpg" style="width: 620px; height: 479px;" title="Some loyal Sox fans gave support no matter the outcome. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)" /></div><p>Have your say, Sox and Cubs fans: Where do you stand on what happened this year? What should your teams do now? Weigh in, and I&#39;ll pose some thoughts as well. Today we look at the Sox. On Friday, we&#39;ll take a look at the Cubs.&nbsp;Leave a comment on this post, tweet me @Crayestout or go to my Facebook page, <a href="http://www.facebook.com/CherylAtTheGame?fref=ts">Cheryl Raye-Stout #AtTheGame</a>.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Rookie Manager Robin Ventura&rsquo;s White Sox</strong></p><p>Do you look at the White Sox season as a success because they exceeded expectations? Or wass it a failure, getting oh-so-close to the post-season but not making it?</p><p>To me, it felt like the Sox ran out of gas. They had big contributions throughout but not enough when it counted &mdash; at the end. There were several individual successes but not in totality. I hate to say this, but to me the season was a failure. When you are in first place for three months, you try any way possible not to relinquish the top spot &mdash;especially when you are not a perennial play-off team.</p><p><strong>Free agents: To keep or not to keep? </strong></p><p>The team must decide the fate of three veteran free agents. Which ones, if any, should the Sox make an offer to keep for the 2013 season?</p><ul><li style="margin-left: 27pt;"><strong>A.J. Pierzynski</strong> The 35-year-old (36 in December)&nbsp;had a career year with home runs and is a manager on the field. Should the Sox hang on to one of the two remaining members of the 2005 World Series team or not?<br />&nbsp;</li><li style="margin-left: 27pt;"><strong>Jake Peavy </strong>The veteran pitcher has a year left at $22 million, or the Sox can opt out for $4 million. The team can still work out a deal if it can afford him. Peavy pitched over 200 innings and had little run support. Should GM Ken Williams take a chance and re-sign this oft-injured right hander?<br />&nbsp;</li><li style="margin-left: 27pt;"><strong>Kevin Youkilis </strong>The former Boston Red Sox third baseman was a shot in the arm when Williams acquired him, but he wilted as the season wound down. His situation is more dictated by what he wants to do; the Sox could buy out his $13 million contract next year for $1 million. Should they keep him or let him go?</li></ul><p>In my eyes, I think A.J. and Kevin are gone. Peavy may want to stay and he was a good anchor to very young pitching staff. But Tyler Flowers may finally get his chance to be the team&#39;s backstop: He will play winter ball this fall to get more at bats. As far as Youkilis goes, it never felt he was &quot;here&quot; &mdash; it seemed like he kept his suitcase packed the whole time.</p><p>There is one other personnel matter that the Sox may address this off-season: keep or trade pitcher Gavin Floyd for prospects? He stands to make $9.5 million next year if the Sox pick up his option; Floyd is an uneven year. This is a difficult decision; if the Sox trade him they will lose a lot of innings. He got a tip from coach Mark Parent that helped with his delivery at the end of the year, but it&#39;s hard to tell if his elbow problems were the main issue this year or not.</p><p>I&#39;d keep Floyd. With John Danks injured&nbsp;and Peavy&#39;s situation, the pitching rotation will be thin behind ace Chris Sale.</p><p><strong>What were your best and worst moments of the White Sox season?</strong></p><p>Here are mine:</p><p><strong>Best&nbsp;White Sox moment of 2012:</strong> Phil Humber&#39;s perfect game against Seattle &mdash; remember him?</p><p>Second best: Alex Rios breaking up a double play in the make up game against Detroit in late September.</p><p><strong>Worst White Sox moment of 2012:</strong> Elimination from the post season play afte holding on to first place for much of the season.</p><p>Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf and General Manger Ken Williams have some very tough decisions to make over the next several months &mdash; while they watch Detroit having a good post-season right now.&nbsp;Whatever happens this off-season may indicate whether the Sox want to contend again &mdash; or are just re-tooling. When you don&#39;t even have two million fans for a first place team . . . you have to wonder. A hefty payroll has to have a better fan support in 2013.</p><p>Friday on this blog the Cubs will take a turn at the plate.</p></p> Wed, 10 Oct 2012 05:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/cheryl-raye-stout/2012-10/what-should-white-sox-do-winter-share-your-thoughts-baseball-fans Indians acquire Fukudome from Cubs http://www.wbez.org/story/indians-acquire-fukudome-cubs-89772 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-July/2011-07-28/RS2818_AP080331020448-Fukudome Charles Rex Arbogast.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The Cleveland Indians have acquired outfielder&nbsp;Kosuke Fukudome from the Chicago Cubs to help their sagging&nbsp;offense.&nbsp;</p><p>The Indians dealt Triple-A right-hander Carlton Smith and&nbsp;Class-A outfielder Abner Abreu for Fukudome on Thursday, a day&nbsp;after being no-hit by the Angels Ervin Santana.</p><p>The Indians also received cash in the deal. The 34-year-old&nbsp;Fukudome is being paid $13.5 million in 2011.&nbsp;</p><p>Fukudome is batting .279 with three homers and 13 RBIs in 87&nbsp;games this season. In 513 games overall since the Cubs signed him&nbsp;to a four-year, $48 million deal as a much-sought free agent from&nbsp;Japan in 2008, he has hit .262 with 37 homers and 169 RBIs.&nbsp;</p><p>Outfielder Travis Buck was designated for assignment to clear&nbsp;roster room in Cleveland. &nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;</p></p> Thu, 28 Jul 2011 17:06:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/indians-acquire-fukudome-cubs-89772