View from Spring Training: 2011 Chicago White Sox

2011 Chicago White Sox

NFL Equivalent – New York Jets: This is really only because of the similarities between Jets head coach Rex Ryan and White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen. Both are loud, bombastic, braggadocios leaders whose words/actions tend to overshadow the accomplishments of their teams. Chicago has at least won a World Series under Guillen while Ryan’s act in New York cannot last unless the Jets eventually come through on some of his bold pronouncements.  Ozzie is an active member of twitter, @OzzieGuillen, and we need to start a campaign to try and get Rex Ryan to join the Twittesphere. What would his handle be?

Google Search: Free agent acquisition Adam Dunn makes perfect sense for the White Sox. With the addition of Dunn, Chicago significantly added to their payroll and seems to be going all in in 2011. One thing that could stand in their way is the health of SP Jake Peavy who is rehabbing after surgery to repair a detached latissimus dorsi. This is the technical term for “he tore off the muscle that connects his shoulder and back”. When you put it this way doesn’t sound so nice does it?

Famous Movie Quote: You get out there, and the stands are full and everybody’s cheerin’. It’s like everybody in the world come to see you. And inside of that there’s the players, they’re yakkin’ it up. The pitcher throws and you look for that pill… suddenly there’s nothing else in the ballpark but you and it. Sometimes, when you feel right, there’s a groove there, and the bat just eases into it and meets that ball. When the bat meets that ball and you feel that ball just give, you know it’s going to go a long way. Damn, if you don’t feel like you’re going to live forever. – John Cusack from Eight Men Out

Underrated quote from and underrated movie. Can you imagine the type of impact the Chicago Black Sox scandal of 1919 would have if it happened in 2011? I guess MLB players today would never throw a World Series like the Black Sox did because players today make way too much money to risk giving it all away. Even still, it does make you wonder…..2011 prediction: 88-74, 2nd place AL Central

view from Phoenix Municipal Stadium courtesy of @chipcali

View from Spring Training: 2011 Oakland Athletics

2011 Oakland Athletics

NFL Equivalent – Kansas City Chiefs: Back when I played college baseball, I loathed opposing teams and players that wore white spikes. To me, there was always something pompous about the look, like that player was trying to say that they thought they’re better than you. And you know what, players that wear white spikes are usually all flash and no substance. As far as I can tell, the Oakland A’s are the only MLB team whose players all wear white spikes.  The Kansas City Chiefs wear white cleats as well, but in the NFL it is not as much of an anomaly.

Google Search: The bay was brimming with activity this winter. The A’s signed/traded for solid MLB outfielders Hideki Matsui, Josh Willingham, and David DeJesus. They also added relievers Brian Fuentes and Grant Balfour to their bullpen. On a completely serious note, the club recently announced a fundraiser to take place during their season opening series against Seattle where all proceeds will go towards supporting relief efforts in Japan after the devastating earthquake rocked the country this past weekend.

Famous Movie Quote: Pollution. Crime. Drugs, poverty, disease, hunger, despair – we throw GOBS of money at them and problems only get worse. Why is that? Because money’s most powerful ability is to allow bad people to continue doing bad things at the expense of those who don’t have it. – Ben Kingsley from Sneakers

The Oakland A’s and GM Billy Beane pride themselves on finding innovative ways to stretch the almighty dollar. When you’re a small market team, like the A’s, you must learn to be creative in order to keep up with the big spenders. I never read Moneyball by Michael Lewis – sacrilegious I know – nor do I have any interest in seeing Brad Pitt strut around as Beane in the movie version this summer. My only hope is that the producers found someone like “Stone Cold” Steve Austin to play the role of the Kevin “The Greek God of Walks” Youkilis. Only then would I pay to see this film. 2011 prediction: 84-78, 2nd place in AL West

view from Phoenix Municipal Stadium courtesy of @djmccormack3

View from Spring Training: 2011 Los Angeles Dodgers

2011 Los Angeles Dodgers

NFL Equivalent – Chicago Bears: When it’s not your team, tradition can be such an annoying word.  Franchises either have it or don’t. Those that do, wave it in front of those that don’t like it is some sort of VIP all access pass to the Bada Bing. The Bears and Dodgers have it, Phoenix Coyotes…not so much. In general, Bears and Dodgers fans are a palatable sort. Each appreciate their rich history and follow their team with intense passion and knowledge. Also don’t look past the uniforms. LA and Chicago have remained on the cutting edge of fashion even though they haven’t changed their styles in over 50 years.

Google Search: Divorce is never a pretty proposition, especially when every trial and tribulation is splashed across the ESPN bottomline. This would be the case for Frank and Jamie McCourt, “co-owners” of the LA Dodgers. For the second year in a row, the ownership tumult threatens to overshadow any on the field accomplishments. The Dodgers have changed managers with Don Mattingly finally replacing Joe Torre. I say finally because Mattingly was rumored to succeed Torre going back to their days together with the New York Knights.

Famous Movie Quote: There’s a real big gap between getting your ass kicked and having a dancing, singing sprite fool you with trickery and then strike your throat before you even know you’re in a fight. But I wouldn’t expect someone like you to understand that, because all you do is make moves from up in your ivory tower. – Vince Vaughn from The Break-Up

Talk about a disappointing movie. The Break-Up had all the ingredients, Vince Vaughn in his comedic prime and Jennifer Aniston at the peak of her post-Friends cougar hotness. But somehow, the movie failed to live up to these lofty expectations, perhaps because it went the “dramedy” route instead of cashing in with a full fledged slapstick side splitter. My wife and I were only dating when we saw the film and it was so depressing that it caused us to reevaluate our entire relationship. With the ongoing McCourt soap opera, the Dodgers could be headed for a depressing break-up of their own. 2011 prediction: 83-79, 3rd place NL West

view from Phoenix Municipal Stadium courtesy of @sirdk1