Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times reports on the White Sox and is one of the more, let’s say, outspoken MLB beat writers. He typically injects far more humor and opinion into his articles than the average beat writer, and in some cases far more criticism.
With the White Sox off to an ugly 5-11 start, Cowley began today’s article like this:
Obituaries are supposed to be saved for the dead. In this case, call it working ahead. On the South Side, you can start picking out the coffin, the plot and the pallbearers.
The bulk of the piece isn’t that gloomy, as Cowley admits “the White Sox are far from flat-lined” and adds “writing off a team three weeks into the regular season is a moronic practice.” However, the heavy focus on how bad Chicago is and how great Minnesota is might get my dander up if I was a White Sox fan (thankfully I’m a Twins fan, and so Cowley’s article does nothing but amuse me).
And here’s how it concludes:
So how does this play out if the product remains subpar? By May, expect a coach to be sacrificed. By June, a few players. Why would Reinsdorf want to pay for a Pierzynski on a fifth-place team when he can have a cheaper Tyler Flowers? Why does he need a Paul Konerko when he can slide Mark Kotsay there? But all eyes will be on the relationship between Williams and manager Ozzie Guillen. Can they live with each other in a purge or will fingers be pointed as the marriage has soured?
Either way, this slow start has a certain amount of doom and gloom about it, and the ending won’t be a pretty one. Maybe the Sox start playing to their potential. Maybe they even win 90 games and have us all laughing about the early-season stumble. What a story that would be. Unfortunately, the Twins aren’t much into fairy tales. They are a reality, focused on winning. Focused on planning funerals.
I’ll bring flowers.
The Royals honored former pitcher Yordano Ventura prior to their first Cactus League game against the Rangers on Saturday. Ventura was killed in a car accident in his native Dominican Republic in late January.
Rangers’ third baseman Adrian Beltre and center fielder Carlos Gomez paid their respects to the pitcher with a floral arrangement that was laid on the mound. Both teams stood along the foul lines during a pregame video tribute that highlighted Ventura’s tenure with Kansas City. Following the game, Gomez spoke to the media about his relationship with Ventura, describing their frequent conversations during the season and commending the pitcher for having “the same passion that I had early in my career” (via WFAA.com’s Levi Weaver).
A plaque dedicated to the 25-year-old was also presented to club manager Ned Yost as a more permanent commemoration of Ventura’s contributions to the sport. Blair Kerkhoff of the Kansas City Star reports that the plaque will be mounted in the club’s spring training facilities alongside tributes to members of the Royals’ 2014 and 2015 playoff teams.
The full text of the plaque is below, via MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan:
A brother and a teammate, Yordano Ventura, passed away on the morning of January 22 in his native Dominican Republic, at the age of 25. He signed with the Royals as a 17-year-old, eventually making the big league team in 2013 as a 22-year-old. On most days, he could be found laughing and joking with his baseball family in the clubhouse. However, on days when he pitched, that smile was replaced by a quiet confidence and an intense fire, which he brought to the mound for every start. He had many highlights in his abbreviated career, not the least of which was throwing eight shutout innings in Game #6 of the 2014 World Series to force a Game #7 vs. San Francisco.
Right-hander Gerrit Cole is set to take the mound for the Pirates on Opening Day, according to a team announcement on Saturday. It’s a spot that was most recently occupied by former Pirate Francisco Liriano, who made three consecutive Opening Day starts for the club before getting dealt to the Blue Jays last August.
The 26-year-old produced career-worst numbers during his fourth run with the Pirates in 2016, due in large part to bouts of inflammation in his right elbow. He finished the year with a 3.88 ERA, 2.8 BB/9 and 7.6 SO/9 over 116 innings before getting shut down in September to avoid further injury to his elbow. When healthy, however, Cole has been lights-out for the Pirates. Prior to his injury-laden campaign last year, he touted a career 3.07 ERA, 2.2 BB/9, 8.5 SO/9 and cumulative 10.2 fWAR from 2013 through 2015.
Cole will go toe-to-toe with the Red Sox during Boston’s home opener on Monday, April 3. Right-hander Jameson Taillon is scheduled to make the second start of the year, while fellow righty Ivan Nova will cover the Pirates’ home opener against the Braves on April 7. The Pirates’ third and fifth starters have yet to be announced.