Monday will begin the first of a six-part series previewing each MLB division, complete with The Commish's fearless predictions for 2004! In the meantime, check out an all new Foul Territory. If you are sick and tired of the reality show genre or just bad entertainment options in general, it's a must read.
With fiery rookie manager Ozzie Guillen at the helm for the Chicago White Sox, it should be an interesting season in the dugout as Guillen tries to mesh his personality with the White Sox players, a majority of them low-key in their approach.
With the recent retiring of bench coach Joe Nossek due to health reasons, Chicago may have found themselves a gem in new bench coach Harold Baines. The polar opposite of an "in your face" type, Baines should bridge the gap well between the laid back players and the outspoken manager. Having played with both Guillen and some of the players (Thomas, Konerko, etc.), Baines brings with him a lot of familiarity as well as a rich knowledge of baseball and the White Sox organization. Just don't ask the former DH to chase down a flyball in the gap!
The early reviews of Guillen have been favorable. Even Frank Thomas has admired Guillen's straightforward approach and seems willing to put any past differences behind him.
Speaking of the White Sox, anyone interested in the history of the Black Sox scandal should check out this site. It is very informative and offers more than just stills of the movie.
While researching probable lineups, depth charts, and other useful spring information for my upcoming Season Preview, it is evident that the AL Central doesn't deserve a playoff spot. With New York, Boston, Toronto, Oakland, and Anaheim improving their teams (Oakland more so with their pitching than hitting), it's a shame that only three of those teams (at most) will be in the playoffs.
After completing my first ever AL-only fantasy draft over the weekend, I have come to one conclusion: mixed leagues are MUCH better. Doing some math, the AL has 14 teams which will start the season with 25 man rosters - a total of 350 players. We drafted 324 of them (12 teams x 27 rounds)! By round 21, it became less about baseball knowledge and skill and more about flipping through roster pages finding ANY player still available ("oh yes, the Indians 3rd best middle reliever - I'll take him!).
I understand that single league drafts are better suited for 10 teams, and the NL is better because there are 16 teams, but even then, when forced to draft 4th and 5th outfielders and mediocre middle relievers, for example, the reliance of one's baseball knowledge and perception of a player's future performance gives way to the concept of luck, particulary with regards to injury situations which enable that 4th outfielder to play more. While some players are more injury prone than others, it is not exactly a quantifiable stat, yet it becomes much too important in single league formats.
I will be competing in an AL only expert league draft this Sunday and I will post the details and the results next week.