Offseason trades reignite foul rivalry

By Copy Chief

There’s nothing that warms my heart like seeing the bright green grass of a well-maintained baseball field under a clear blue sky on a warm summer day, and with all the offseason signings from the Chicago White Sox and Cubs, I can’t help but be anxious for the baseball season to start.

Baseball, like other team sports, only gets better for fans when their favorite team signs great players or a new coach. As excited as I am to see how the Cubs compete with the additions of head coach Joe Maddon and pitcher Jon Lester, I’m looking forward to seeing what the White Sox have in store for

the season. Sure, the Cubs have a phenomenal coach who took the underwhelming Tampa Bay Rays to the playoffs, and they have a dominating pitcher who played for the Boston Red Sox. But what else do they have other than hopes, dreams and an unlikely prediction from the Back to the Future movie series that ( jokingly) says the team will win it all in 2015? They sure don’t have bleachers—at least not any time soon.

The White Sox, on the other hand, picked up some true talent early in the offseason. I’m most excited by the signing of former Cubs pitcher Jeff Samardzija, a strong right-handed starting pitcher who has thrown his share of complete games. I’m excited about him because he grew up a Sox fan and plans to leave White Sox color commentator Ken “Hawk” Harrelson speechless when he hits a home run against a National League team. The Sox desperately needed a solid righty in their pitching rotation, and why not add one who wants to hit?

However, they also needed a reliable closer. Oh, wait. That’s past tense. They covered that role with the addition of David Robertson, the closer who replaced the great Mariano Rivera on the New York Yankees after Rivera’s retirement.

They also picked up first baseman Adam LaRoche to take the team’s weight off the shoulders of José Abreu, last season’s American League rookie of the year and home run machine, who will need help with the retirement of previous first baseman Paul Konerko.

The Sox also resigned former second baseman Gordon Beckham, a defensive hero who struggled offensively, and former San Francisco Giants outfielder Melky Cabrera, who had tested positive for steroid use.

This might be the only one of the major signings that I have a problem with. Cabrera, who has faced a 50-game suspension because of his steroid use, detracts from the purity of my favorite sport. The only justification I can come up with for supporting a player like Melky is telling myself that it takes skill to play baseball. Sure, the steroids enhance his performance, but what fan doesn’t enjoy watching a home run clear a fence by a mile?

After both Chicago baseball teams finished with the same 73-89 record, these signings are exactly what Sox and Cubs fans need to reinvest themselves in the sport. And a crosstown World Series wouldn’t hurt, either.