Josh Hamilton and Matt Kemp Are Threats For The Triple Crown

Matt Kemp and Josh Hamilton

It’s still “early” in baseball terms, but Josh Hamilton and Matt Kemp have done nothing but put on shows. Their superb play has gotten more attention than Philip Humber’s perfect game. Hamilton and Kemp are going for the Triple Crown in their respective leagues. The Triple Crown is revered, by many, to be the greatest single-season accomplishment in all of baseball.

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The Chicago Cubs are ready for the Cubs Way

kim-dejesus-hot

Another lovely picture of Mrs. David DeJesus welcomes us to another installment of Cubs related fun. Andy Sonnastine ain’t in the sun no more, real baseball is about two weeks away, the Shark has finally earned his chance and Soriano is still fooling us all.

With that said, let’s get to what the Cubs and Fridays are all about.

Ramble on …

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Sox Opening Day to feature Records and Recordmakers

Paul M. Banks

Baseball and snow is like sobriety and Tara Reid- some things are just not meant to go together. A combination of snow, wind and cold changed the White Sox home opener versus the Kansas City Royals from Monday to Tuesday (weather permitting). Despite the atrocious weather, when Opening Day does finally commence, it will be quite ceremonious.

The National Anthem will be performed by Grammy-nominated recording artist and Chicago native Matthew Santos. Prior to the National Anthem, Santos will perform with Grammy-Award winning hip-hop artist and south suburban native Lupe Fiasco. The collaboration will perform their well-known song, “Superstar,” which is nominated for two Grammys.

This game will feature guys who sell lots of records and the tying of a White Sox club record. This year’s starting pitcher, Mark Buehrle, will tie Billy Pierce’s record with his seventh career Opening Day start. Pierce will throw out the ceremonial first pitch at the game. President Barack Obama was invited, but his job keeps him quite busy these days, and he will be in Turkey. Pierce, who spent 13 seasons with the White Sox, was named to the White Sox “All-Century Team” in 2000, had his uniform #19 retired in 1987 and a sculpture of the lefty pitcher was unveiled at U.S. Cellular Field in 2007.

Getting the opening day start is quite an achievement, because it’s typically reserved for the staff ace. “Especially with the years that {John} Danks and {Gavin} Floyd had last year, for them to name me it’s definitely an honor. The first day is a big day because it’s such a buildup of two months of spring training.”

Games that Buerhle pitches in notoriously take less time than usual, so fans braving the cold, wet elements on Tuesday will likely not be outside for the full length of a regular game. Seven of his career starts have taken less than two hours. The Sox ace spoke about Mother Nature impacting the opener.

“I don’t really know if it’s an advantage for me or them. I don’t like pitching in the cold weather and I’m sure they don’t like hitting in it, but both sides have to deal with it, so go out there and do the best you can,” Buerhle said.

Sox Park will Have Major Upgrades in 09

By Paul M. Banks

Whatever you call U.S. Cellular Field: Sox Park, Comiskey II, The Cell, you must admit the park has come a long way since it opened in 1991. Prior to hosting the All-Star game in 2003, the park began a series of major projects augmenting the park into a warm and friendly baseball-going experience. One prominent detail from 2003, the exploding fireworks within that year’s All-Star game logo, is prominently featured in 2009’s facelift. The same logo catches the eye at the new entrance/atrium at Gate 5.

“It’s something that is our mark because of the fireworks from the exploding scoreboard and you’ll also see the same exploding fireworks on the façade of gate 4,” said Lou Hernandez, director of Public Relations. Fireworks have been a big part of the team’s brand awareness since the Bill Veeck era- when colorful designs shot up to the sky from the “exploding scoreboard” following wins and home runs.

 

Media were allowed to view the U.S. Cellular Field improvements on Thursday, and the demonstration of the team’s new out-of-town scoreboard was another impressive sight. It features dynamic color resolution and up-to-the-second updates on statistics and scores. “It’s all through Major League Baseball’s computer and the advantage of this one is you can see whose up, who’s on base, what just happened and it will flip over to every game in baseball,” said Scott Reifert, Vice President of Communications.

Down the stretch last year, you might remember how irritating and frustrating it was waiting until they posted an update of the Minnesota Twins (or other teams we needed to lose during the pennant race) score, and by the time they did it was outdated. This year, you’ll have a gigantic, enhanced version of Yahoo Game-Tracker available on the wall behind right field to keep you up to speed.

The media tour also included an inside look at the trainer’s room, specifically the new hydrotherapy room at the ballpark. It was kind of like sports bar meets the Sybaris as three massive pools (therapy, cold plunge, and communal hot tub) are centered in a room with four plasma televisions. With all the new upgrades, the White Sox home continues to maintain its place as Chicago’s most state-of-the-art baseball facility.

I love the weeks leading up to the MLB season

By Rikki Greenberg

The countdown to Opening Day has begun.

An undeniable urge to step onto the baseball field by the old elementary school hasn’t gone away since the beginning of March and won’t go away until April 6th.

I relish the weeks before the MLB official season start. It’s the anticipation of what stepping on the field is going to be like, how clubs are going to perform when the I’s are dotted and the T’s crossed and whose going to have the better can of trash talk.

This kind of thinking may put me in the minority, but I’m ok with that. Most people look forward to the season where the real juice is, but I’m pouring the Emergen-C packets in the H20 now. Before you think it’s the enhanced water talking, let me explain why I’m bursting in the weeks before any cleats sink into the beautiful baseball dirt. And it’s a lot more than just the money has been set aside for a 2009 season wardrobe. The saved paper stares back at me like the beady-eyed stack of $5 bills in the Geico commercial

 

1) Spring Training will be over. Goodbye Cactus League and Grapefruit League and hello to American League East and National League Central.

2) I haven’t bought any tickets yet, but I’m pretty sure a certain TSB staff writer is checking out the prices on Stubhub right now…

3) The Yankees multi-million dollar off season makes me sick (CC Sabathia, Mark Teixeira and AJ Burnett), but the curiosity of how this crazy talented team is going to perform is getting the best of me. Damn those Yankees!

4) Even though Nick Swisher is not a headliner on the Yankees 2009 roster, I’m still looking forward to seeing him trot onto the field at the new Yankee Stadium.

5) How about that new Yankee Stadium?! I guess it’s not enough to have Gold Glove winners, a feared lineup and two of the best pitchers in the league right now, so the Yankees just had to throw in a $1.3 billion new stadium in the mix. Can someone else be the cool kids for once?

6) There’s just enough time to hit up Wal-Mart, Target, Dominick’s and Jewel for new MLB gear. I could go on MLB.com, go crazy with the plastic and buy tons of super cute White Sox T-shirts for my debut at U.S Cellular Field, but I’m cheap so Wal-Mart here I come!

7) The winter temperatures in March are not cool, but I’m hoping that by Opening Day the weather will warm up enough so that I can finally enjoy an attempt at a glowing tan.

8) The ballpark menu isn’t exactly the healthiest, but the experience wouldn’t be the same without it. In order to prepare for a summer of hamburgers, beer and cotton candy, I’m working out religiously and eating nothing but organic foods until then.

9) The 2009 NCAA Men’s Division I National Championship is the same day as Opening Day. I don’t think life gets much better than crowning the National Champion and watching the White Sox home opener (Cubs also open in Houston that night) in a 24-hour span.

10) The switch to baseball has already been made. It’s only a matter of weeks before I become Ms. Baseball and watch nothing but until a) White Sox and/or Cubs get eliminated or b) World Series features two teams I don’t really care about.