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:
While Sox favorites Jermaine Dye and Joe Crede are still looking for new homes, a number of other former Pale Hosers are with new teams–for example, Jim Thome (Twins), Jose Contreras (Phillies), Scott Podsednik (Royals) and Jon Garland (Padres). The following is a list of the most recent ex-Sox to sign: one fairly significant, the others not so much.
* The well-traveled, but talented, shortstop Orlando Cabrera is now with the Cincinnati Reds. For the record, this is the “fairly significant” signing.
* Timo Perez, a reserve outfielder on the 2005 World Champs, signed a minor league deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
* Josh Fogg, a one-time closer candidate for the Sox, inked a minor league pact with the New York Mets.
* Lefty hurler Jimmy Gobble, who had a cup of coffee with the Sox, is now with the Colorado Rockies after agreeing to a minor league contract.
* Catcher Gustavo Molina, not related to Bengie, Jose and Yadier, signed a minor league agreement with the Boston Red Sox.
* Pitcher Horacio Ramirez, who had a short stint with the South Siders, just signed with the San Francisco Giants on a minor league deal.