I’m finally back home following a week’s trek to southeastern Ohio and on down into Waynesville, North Carolina, where we had very pleasant weather conditions, except for
a couple of days—coming and going.
It was quite nice during the weekend at my wife’s brother’s house in the mountains, although I was without Internet access for most of the day on Sunday. Somehow, I survived!
During the time away, White Sox spring training games kicked into full gear, and I couldn’t find much news or results of the early action. Once in a while, I’d catch some blurbs and some brief mentions of good performances—mostly by players I don’t really know.
Today, I have learned that the Sox have won or tied their first five spring games (at this writing). I don’t want to make too much of this, since, after all, spring training is spring training, and the fans usually take the games way more seriously than the players do.
The players always say that they’re “getting their work in” and “stretching things out,” which is really OK with me. I prefer that they all save “it” for when the opening bell rings at 3:10 on Monday, April 1, when the dreaded KC Royals come calling at U.S. Cellular.
Yes, those same Royals of whom I wrote about last summer and who did, in fact, cause the Sox the most grief of any other team. While the Sox were still in the hunt and needing to beat the Royals, they couldn’t get it done, disappointing after leading the division for the greater part of the season. No matter who was pitching for the Sox, it seemed, there was no way to get out the likes of Billy Butler, Mike Moustakas, Eric Gordon, Alcides Escobar, et al! Fact is, anyone walking up to the plate with a bat was a major threat.
Nor could the Sox figure out the offerings of soft-tossing Bruce “Cy” Chen, who baffled them all season long—with an annoying smile while doing so. Talk about the nights when one is tempted to take the pontoon on a long and uninterrupted “beer cruise” around the lake!
There has always been a pretty good rivalry with the Royals, dating back to the late 70s and through the George Brett era. Even when the Royals were the lowly A’s of Charlie Finley (pre-Oakland days), the team always seemed to be the pain in the neck and some unforeseen stumbling block. Not very good most years, but always “in the way” somehow. Since the very beginning, they’ve always been a thorn in the side, a punch to the gut, a kick in the________, well…you get the picture.
Cleveland and Detroit are definitely rivals, but at this point in history, Kansas City has moved into the role of the Team We Love to Beat. Trouble is, we seldom do!
For what it’s worth, though, the Sox won’t have to sit around as the season begins, dreading an upcoming series with the Royals since they’ll be there, smiles aplenty, for Opening Day.
Can’t wait. I’m already resurrecting my disgust and disdain for “all that gang,” as the great Bob Elson would say. Bring on “Cy” Chen!
See you at the ballpark…