Art Berke, a lifelong White Sox fan, has worked at the highest levels of the sports industry with Major League Baseball, ABC Television and Sports Illustrated. He grew up in Northwest Indiana, in the shadow of old Comiskey Park, and proudly proclaims 2005 as the best year of his life. Art offers his glass half-full opinions and observations as he lives and dies with the Sox.
We all know that preseason predictions mean nothing–nada, zilch, zero. And while we shouldn’t take them seriously, it’s still a lot of fun–especially when the so-called experts pick your team to win.
Historically, it’s very rare when the baseball media elite pick the White Sox to win their division, let alone the AL pennant or World Series. It’s not that much different this year as the Twins seem to be the most common pick to conquer the AL Central. That said, there are a few “big name” media types among those who have picked the South Siders:
* Hall of Fame electee Bill Madden of the New York Daily News and author of the forthcoming bio of George Steinbrenner.
* Fox Sports‘ Ken Rosenthal, who somewhat tongue-in-cheek picked the Sox to win the World Series while referring to them “Team Wacko.” Think that had anything to do with our Ozzie?
* ESPN‘s Tim Kurkjian, who doesn’t exactly wear a Sox jersey on the weekends.
* Jon Heyman, he of SI, SI.com and the MLB Network.
Since I’m drinking the prediction Kool-Aid, I might as well add my two cents. Here are my divisional picks for 2010:
There’s nothing like waking up on a chilly November morning to see the Hot Stove burning with a White Sox rumor.
This one involves the Sox, Angels and Padres. As the rumor goes, Chicago would get All-Star first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, LA would get Paul Konerko (who has the right to approve any deal) and San Diego would receive top prospects from both clubs.
There’s a long way to go before this deal becomes reality, but Gonzalez, who walloped 40 homers, drove in 99 runs and posted a .407 on-base percentage in 2009, would be a great get. Not to mention he has a very affordable contract. He’s due $4.75 million in 2010 with a club option of $5.5 million in ’11.
Before we Pale Hosers get too excited, it’s pretty much a certainty that this won’t be the only deal presented to the Padres for their prized player as they look to cut payroll.
For instance, It’s well known that the Red Sox are very interested in Gonzalez and it just so happens San Diego recently hired Jed Hoyer, former Red Sox exec, as its GM. Needless to say, he has a good handle on what Boston has in its farm system. And if the Sox acquire a player of Gonzalez’s caliber, the Padres would most likely want one or more of the likes of catcher Tyler Flowers, outfielder JordanDanks and righty Daniel Hudson. Would Kenny Williams be willing to mortgage the future to that extent?