Baseball fans left wanting on both sides of city

By JeffGraveline

Another season has gone by without a winner on the baseball diamond for Chicago fans as the Cubs and White Sox continue their respective seasons of mediocrity

Both franchises continue to hover near .500 for the season as of press time.  Expectations were high in spring training, but both teams have let down their fans  yet again.

Sports reporters from across the nation picked the Cubs to make the playoffs and some picked the team to win the World Series.

Magazines, television and radio stations that picked the Cubs to make or win the World Series included Sports Illustrated, members of ESPN Radio 1000, including Mike Golic of “Mike & Mike in the Morning,” and several other national radio shows.

“I thought for sure they would get back [to the playoffs],” said Scot Gregor, a staff writer of the Daily Herald. “I really thought [the Cubs] were good enough to get there again.”

For the White Sox, the expectations weren’t as high, but the team was picked to finish first in their division by Mike Greenburg,  co-host of “Mike & Mike”, Cliff Corcoran and Joe Lemire of S.I., and the majority of ESPN 1000.

With strong pitching, hard-nosed managers and lineups that feature some of the best hitters in baseball, both teams looked great on paper.

However, many feel that both teams’ lack of production on the field comes from several areas on the roster.

“[The Cubs’ and Sox’s] short-comings are very obvious; they stick out like sore thumbs,” said George Castle, host/producer of the radio show “Diamond Gems.”

Both teams saw injuries this season. The Cubs lost Aramis Ramirez to injury for an extended part of the early season due to a separated shoulder, while the Sox’ s Carlos Quentin developed plantar fasciitis early in the season. Plantar faciitis is heel and foot pain from stress on the plantar fascia tendon.

Injuries aside, both teams have failed to make good on their potential, with each ranking in the lower half of the league in team batting average—the Cubs at 25th and the Sox at 20th. Both teams also rank lower than 18th

in team hits, on base percentage and total team hits, according to

Both teams excelled on the mound, with each posting a team ERA in the top ten of the MLB. The Cubs also rank 4th in the majors in strikeouts thrown, while the Sox rank 13th. Strong performances on the bump haven’t translated to wins though, as both failed to produce at the plate.

The Sox,were finally able to pull the trigger on a trade that netted them Jake Peavy. The former San Diego Padres ace was acquired in a five-player deal and as of press time hasn’t pitched for the team since being acquired.

The Sox also picked up Alex Rios off waivers from the Toronto Blue Jays. Rios is another player who has yet to make an impact with the team. The Sox were openly questioned by national media for making the move, citing Rios’ enormous contract as a major detractor.

“You have to look at it in the context of when these things were,” said Bruce Miles, sports beat writer for the Daily Herald. “Obviously it’s not turned out the way they’d liked [it] to.”

The questionable moves by the Sox matched the Cubs’ offseason signing of Milton Bradley to a $30 million contract. Bradley has hit  just .257 this season,

with 12 home runs and 40 RBI.

“Just because you give somebody some money, doesn’t mean a .250 hitter is going to become a .270 hitter,” Miles said.

For the fans of both teams, the only solace is in the fact that there’s always next year.