While many of us have been caught up in the Blackhawks’ playoff run, baseball season quietly has reached its one-quarter mark. Assistant sports editor Tom Clegg and columnist Tom Musick discuss:
Musick: Who would have predicted that the Cubs and White Sox would be contending with 25 percent of the season complete? Granted, they’re contending for fourth place in their respective divisions, but you’ve got to start somewhere. Let’s hand out some first quarter awards. Where should we start?
Clegg: How about some ground rules first? Are these going to be Cubs awards and Sox awards, or will the Chicago teams be competing against each other? That might be a fair fight.
Musick: I say we put both teams in the same pool. (By the way, I would never swim in that pool.) Who wins your Most Exciting Player Despite Being On A Boring Team Award?
Clegg: Exciting might be a stretch for either of these teams, but the guy I still want to watch every time he comes to the plate is Adam Dunn. He’s actually starting to hit now, too, but I’d paid just to watch him take a called third strike.
Musick: Big Donkey! He wins my Best Nickname Involving A Donkey Award. As for Most Exciting Player, I’m going with Anthony Rizzo. He is one of about five legitimate major-league players on the Cubs, and I love the way he pounds the ball at the plate. And thanks to the 23-year-old’s recent contract extension, he still should be around when the Cubs start winning in 2019.
Clegg: That’s a good call, but I have a hard time watching him without thinking about Rizzo from “Grease.” Who do you have for Most Outstanding in His Field?
Musick: It depends on the field. If it’s broadcasting, my vote goes to Len Kasper. I still really miss Bob Brenly (is that weird to admit?), but Kasper manages to keep me entertained even when Luis Valbuena is at the plate with Dioner Navarro on deck. As for the field of baseball, I vote for Chris Sale. OK, how about handing out one more award? Who wins Chicago Manager with the Slowest Pulse?
Clegg: Wow, that’s a close call. I’d like to see Dale Sveum and Robin Ventura in a staring contest. The only person with less life in either dugout has to be Harold Baines. Let’s call it a tie.
Musick: That’s fair. Just thinking about that category – and the next three-quarters of this season – makes me kind of sleepy. Maybe I’ll just close my eyes for a min– ... zzzzz.
Clegg: I’ll wake you at the trade deadline. Sweet dreams.