Sunday, March 25, 2012

Case Closed

By my count, Opening Day is around the corner. And I'll be honest with you, being depraved of baseball for about 6 months and seeing the White Sox win their last few Spring Training games has got me excited for the start of the season. I am ready! Now don't get me wrong, I'm excited in the sense that I found $0.10 on the ground, not $20. I have low expectations and high levels of eye-rolling on stand-by. Regardless, spring is in the air and my first pair of tickets is in the mail.

You know who is NOT ready for baseball? The main attraction itself, the White Sox. I'm fairly encouraged by Phil Humber, I'm reassured by John Danks and Gavin Floyd, but I'm downright flabbergasted at the rest of the pitching situation. The Sox don't have a closer. I've read an article or two mentioning Will Ohman or Addison Reed, but the most likely candidate is Matt Thornton. To which I say, "We have these fancy things called memories now. Use them to go back in time and revisit this exact same situation last year." Matt Thornton was always one of my favorites. But as a closer... well, he was not one of my favorites. Why did we have Sergio Santos as the leader in saves last year? Because Thornton couldn't latch on to the save. I'm not sure what the reason is. Perhaps the high-pressured situation. Perhaps the clubhouse was down in the dumps last year. The true reason, I'll never know. But, still, I am not willing to put all my eggs in the Thornton basket. Do I have any suggestions? Oh, sure, go back in time and SIGN SOMEONE! Other than that, well, I supposed it'll be up to Mr. Ventura to make do with what he's got.

And speaking of White Sox closers... look up Bobby Jenks and see what he's up to lately. Big Bobby was recently arrested for a DUI. I know what you're thinking. But I'm not about to trash talk Bobby. This just reminds me of how much I hate it when athletes' private lives become public. Little kids look up to these players as what they want to be when they grow up. And here are the media, peddling for on more click on their blog. Bobby's been portrayed in a bad light before, and guess what? Does that make his win as a rookie closer in the 2005 World Series any less meaningful? Does that make his goatee any less hilarious? More importantly, does this make his wife and kids any less hurt by the situation? I'm sure everyone knows someone who has had a DUI. And while it is NOT something to be taken lightly, at least that person and his/her family were allowed the courtesy of not having the news plastered on the internet. It's why I say things in the clubhouse should STAY in the clubhouse. At least in the world of sports, can we move away from the paparazzi-like drama and focus on what we're really here to do?

And that's the end of my rant, folks! Go tweeter this to your MySpace friends or something?

Monday, March 12, 2012


Marketing is quite a big deal nowadays. I'd say about a third of our T.V. watching experience is marred by commercials and advertising. I can't even imagine the statistics on how often we are bombarded by slogans and commercials away from our couches, but I'd imagine that brands follow us everywhere. It seems that the Miami Marlins are following in the footsteps of other brands in trying to make a name for themselves. Clearly, the theme of the Miami offseason was "LOOK AT ME! LOOK AT ME! LOOK AT ME!" The owners of the team went [and I am choking a little as I type this] all in this season, bringing the flash to Miami. Brand new stadium, brand new uniforms, even brand new name, and the Media Monster known as Ozzie Guillen. Ozzie brought his antics and his staff, plus the pitching equivalents of yin and yang, Mark Buehrle and Carlos Zambrano.

For a long time I feared that Ozzie's soft spot for Zambrano would bring Big Z to the South Side, but this is going to be even better! The circus will be in full swings, just in a different town. Zambrano, who was indefinitely suspended last season, beat up on a Gatorade machine, threatened to retire, and threw tantrum after tantrum in recent years is moving to Miami, where Ozzie thinks he can handle him. On the other hand, you have mellow-jello Mark Buehrle who I have never seen without a smile on his face. That alone will bring fans to the stadium. For about a month. I'm sure when Opening Day comes around and the Marlins will have all the actual playing capacity of a team full of Mark Teahens, the fans will trickle off, but hopefully by then, enough Miamians will have bought season tickets to pay for Joey Cora's salary. In the meantime, the promotional appearances continue! Ozzie Guillen, coach extraordinaire managed to get himself tossed from a Spring Training game. "Oh Ozzie!" Cue laugh track, trombone. Maybe this year he can have a spin-off of "The Club,"
but this time, make it a sitcom.
On the other hand, we have the White Sox marketing team. Whose winning slogan this year is "Appreciate the game." If that's not the most defeatist slogan of all time, I don't know what it. All I hear out of "appreciate the game" is "Pay attention to all the subtleties of losing because we didn't feel like spending the same amount of money as we did last year so that we could get a team that could actually win. We have great hot dogs. Have a beer?" I understand a more humble approach to a publicity campaign after last year's "All In" became the most loathed phrase in Chicago History and we lost the whole pot. But have they cut the salary of the marketing people and asked Hawk to come up with a slogan? Heck, I'm surprised the new campaign isn't "I love cotton candy!" At least that would have made me chuckle.

In all seriousness, I did see a poorly-written commercial celebrating the return of Robin Ventura. Good idea, poor execution. The idea behind the marketing campaign is not falling on deaf ears. This year, let's step away from the media circus and focus on winning day by day, not on putting on a big, pressure-filled show. There is a chance for a good offensive showing this year (I honestly cannot fathom Adam Dunn doing any worse. It can only go up from here!), the pitching can be mediocre enough, and at the end of the day, I think we have the potential to stay away from last place. This year, I am voting for my own marketing slogan: "To the true fans, we're really trying to give you something worth watching."