Spring Notes: Leading Off With Updates About Chicago

The first spring training game is this afternoon. In Chicago both sides of town will be watching the same game because the Cubs and Sox are opening up against each other in Mesa, AZ at Slone Park. So, I’ve been saving all my thoughts about recent Cubs and Sox news for today’s post.

Cubs Notes: 

Nine days ago when camp started I was expecting Cubs headlines to look like they did in 2016 when the Cubs re-signed Dexter Fowler at the start of Spring Training. Yes, I was expecting Cody Bellinger to be signed when Spring Camp opened. That did not happen. Over the last ten days there have been a many articles about how Scott Boras has held up the free agent market and over 75 free agents including 40+ pitchers are still available. I am going to focus on the Bellinger as it relates to the signings the Cubs made over the last five days.

Earlier this week the Cubs signed Dominic Smith and David Peralta to minor league contracts. Yesterday there was  article on FanSided discussing three suitors for which mentioned the Cincinnati Reds. As a fan I will be absolutely pissed if the Cubs lose out to the Reds in the hunt to bring Bellinger back.

Here’s why: Even though Peralta is able to play first and likely will start there if he breaks camp with the Cubs he is not a long term answer as he is 36 years old and close to retirement. As for Dominic Smith, he is 28 and while he might be a good long term solution on defense at first base he is not exactly a great option with the bat because he strikes out too often and has very little power in his bat.

As a result of all of this resigning Bellinger would allow the Cubs to break camp with all three since Smith and Peralta also play left field and platoon the three of them at first while Peralta starts at first and Bellinger starts in Center allowing Pete Crow-Armstrong to get more seasoning in Iowa.

White Sox Notes:

The White Sox are under new management at the top with Chris Getz who brought back Pedro Grifol. They are expect to win at most 70 games this season. This has been basically the story my entire life with the exception of a few years from 2005 to 2012. The biggest headline on the South Side during Spring Training has been the effort by their owner, Jerry Reinsdorf, to have a new stadium built on Chicago’s Near South Side, or as most are calling it the South Loop, with help from the government thanks to the Tourism Tax.

In the last five days there have been two conversations on local sports radio shows hosted by local sports reporters who I have followed for my entire life. First, there was the discussion on the Kap & Hood morning show this past Monday. That is where I learned about the Tourism Tax paying to build Guaranteed Rate, also referred to as Comiskey by Chicagoans back in the 1980s. Then yesterday, there was a discussion on the Bernstein & Holmes show about the topic.

As a baseball fan born and raised in Chicago’s north suburbs I became a Cubs fan. My love for the Cubs has nothing to do with my opinion on this topic though because my mom was born on the far South Side of Chicago to a White Sox fan. Both of the aforementioned discussions on the radio this week played a very big role in helping me better understand the situation even though I already knew Comiskey was not owned by Reinsdorf as I have discussed in a few of my past articles about the the White Sox.

The big point made during the discussion on the Kap & Hood show this past Monday was that the $1 billion dollar cost to build Comiskey back in the 80s still has not been fully paid back and while the lease expires after the 2028 season the cost will likely still not be fully covered. Then there was the conversation yesterday on the Bernstein & Holmes show where they essentially reiterated what Kap & Hood were saying on Monday.

All four of those guys have been Chicago sports reporters my entire life and at least two of them, Kap & Hood, were born in Chicago and they all root for the same five major sports teams that I do. Before hearing those discussions on the radio I was already telling all of my Chicago-born friends, including my fellow writer Gaurav Garg, that I was perfectly fine with the White Sox moving to the Near South Side as long as Jerry paid for the stadium himself those discussions only put the icing on the cake, so to speak, for me with my opinion on the topic. Especially, since according to WGN the Bears move to Arlington Heights might not be happening. I wills share more about my view of the situation with the Bears in a post next week.

With that… it is time for first pitch in Mesa.

If you cannot play with them, then root for them.

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