We've put it off long enough, but it's time to take that first peek at our beloved baseball teams in spring training.
First, some good news: The MLB is expanding the wild-card playoff format by two more teams. (Yes! Even more like the NBA!). Bad news: It won't include Chicago's two teams.
Warning: This is going to be slightly to horribly painful.
Let's go to the White Sox first. Here we have an example of how a team can really thrive amid "low expectations." We are in rebuilding mode here, with no Mark Buehrle, Carlos Quentin or Sergio Santos.
We do have Adam Dunn and a whole bunch of maybes as starting pitchers.
As in "Maybe we'll get a couple of good starts out of Jake Peavy before the arm falls off, and maybe … " the list goes on.
I'd complain about the bullpen but, to be honest, I don't know who any of them are.
So, this is what it is: Paulie, Alex Rios, Kosuke (yeah, that guy!) and that's it. I used to say Gordon Beckham, but baby broke my heart long ago.
Here's something that's never been done before. MLB announced last week that the AL Central Division has been awarded to Detroit, so the season is a formality. The question becomes: What on earth will Ken Harrelson get excited about? Sell me, Hawk. Sell me hard.
The Cubs are selling me on some newer approaches. Newer to them, that is. The bunting tournament. I like it. Focus on fundamentals. And something else: Say hello to Dr. Marc Strickland, team psychologist.
To be clear, this is basic stuff. Breathing exercises, visualization. I don't think the players sit in a chair and talk about their parents. Though, personally, I think they should try it. Strickland actually suits up like a player—big mistake. Sounds like he needs help.
While he's here, he should find out why the fans love these guys so much. Who subjects themselves to this abuse? That's the deeper question.
Miles to go for both teams, but it's a diversion from the fact that Stan Bowman did nothing to help the Blackhawks.
Oh, and the Bears increased the price of mediocrity, I mean season tickets.
You know what? Get me Strickland's number.
Bag Boy is a RedEye special contributor.