BP Cup Name Change Suggestions

Back in April it was announced that the Chicago White Sox and Chicago Cubs would have more than just bragging rights at stake during this year’s interleague play. The winner of the series between the teams will be awarded with the BP Crosstown Cup. Although I was excited when I heard the news, I put this into the back of my mind because there was another team in town who deserved my attention (*cough Blackhawks cough*). So it wasn’t until Friday when the Crosstown Classic began that I remembered what was on the line.

I don’t think any person who has a soul would want any association with BP after what they have done to the Gulf of Mexico. Although I’m sure there are complicated contracts that bond both teams to having BP sponsor the Crosstown Cup, I really think it needs a name change. I mean what does oil have to do with baseball anyway? So below I have listed some of my suggestions for the new cup name, feel free to submit your own:

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Cubs, White Sox Rivalry to Heat Up with Addition of Trophy

One of the best times to be in Chicago is when the Chicago White Sox play the Chicago Cubs during interleague play. Whether you are a Cubs fan walking into U.S Cellular Field, or a Sox fan strolling into Wrigley Field, you can be sure there will be plenty of trash talking and Chicago pride to go around.

This year, the rivalry has been taken to another level. There will be more than simple bragging rights on the line. This year, the winner of the season series will be awarded the BP Crosstown Cup. I think this is pretty awesome. Like I said, it’s a blast to go to these games because the rivalry is so strong and Chicago fans are passionate about their teams. Now with the addition of this crosstown trophy, I feel like the rivalry will become even more competitive. How much more fun will it be for the winning team to hoist some hardware signifying they’re Chicago’s best?

Since the teams started playing each other in 1997, they have been almost even in wins against each other (White Sox lead 37-35). I can’t wait to see what is already a big deal in Chicago turn into something huge. I just wonder if there will be enough room in the trophy case at U.S. Cellular field for this Crosstown Cup.

Crosstown Classic [Crosstown Classic.com]
Trophy on line in Cubs vs. White Sox [ESPN Chicago]

Former Bulls GM Jerry Krause to Consult for White Sox

The Chicago White Sox have hired the former general manger of the Chicago Bulls, Jerry Krause, to be a baseball consultant for the team. His main responsibility will be “revamping” the scouting system in the Dominican Republic. Manager Ozzie Guillen seems to think that this was a good decision for a funny reason: “Very smart man. He gambled, trading for me, and he won.” Though Ozzie’s pleased with the idea, I have some concerns.

Can a man who was so successful in the world of the NBA bring the same magic to MLB? Although Krause was once a scout for the Sox, that was a long time ago. Was it too long ago? I’ve never been a general manager nor a baseball consultant, so I don’t know how easy it is to bounce between sports. Can you go from being a general manager who helped a basketball team win six titles to being a baseball scout and have the same success? I guess only time will tell but it’s hard to think it will be easy.

White Sox hire Krause as consultant [ESPN]

A Chicago-less World Series Now?

I don’t remember the World Series hopes of teams taking bigger hits than what both Chicago squads went through this week. Sure, the Rays losing Carl Crawford and Evan Longoria in a span of a few days was bad, but those guys at least were on schedule to return before the playoffs began (Longoria more so than Crawford). You could hear the panicking from Cubs fans across the country as Rich Harden had a start pushed back to rest his arm. If that wasn’t enough, Carlos Zambrano had an MRI that revealed rotator cuff tendinitis and inflammation. Neither pitcher is in the rotation at the moment, and the Cubs have lost six in a row. And to top off the bad news in the Windy City this week, Carlos Quentin, who had missed games with a forearm injury, was scheduled to have surgery that will probably end his season. That’s a lot of difficult news for one city to digest in a short amount of time.

While the White Sox are losing their biggest bat and Quentin no longer will win the MVP award (he was my top candidate), they can still live on without him. They’ll need Paul Konerko, Nick Swisher, and Ken Griffey Jr. to step up while he’s out (how much better does Kenny Williams look now for bringing Griffey in?). They’re taking a hit, but they can withstand it. As for the Cubs, the natural reaction is to panic. But look at the big picture here: you’re still going to win the division, and your top line starters will have plenty of rest to be fresh for October. I wouldn’t be worried. Josh Beckett had to miss two starts for the Red Sox, see Dr. James Andrews about his elbow, yet he returned to throw a shutout against the Rangers on Friday. If he rebounded and did fine, Harden and Big Z should be able to regain top form. Things in Chicago may have looked bleak this past week, but I wouldn’t sweat it — both teams still have just as good a chance as any to make it to the Fall Classic.

Is Ozzie Wearing Thin on Ken Williams?

Ozzie Guillen went on one of his beautiful rants yesterday after the White Sox had lost their third game in four to the Rays. Never mind the fact that the White Sox are first place in their division by one game and over .500 by four despite losing three in a row, Ozzie still was not happy with his club. He promised changes on Tuesday, clearly dissatisfied with the lack of offensive production by the team. His rant was amusing as usual, though not quite Hall of Fame material as it so often is. One person who would not share my opinion however, was GM Kenny Williams. Williams was perturbed Ozzie was saying the White Sox need to make changes — a suggestion that falls under Kenny’s umbrella of responsibility.

“Very interesting, very disappointing. It’s never a good idea to throw your boss under the bus, especially when that boss has had his back as much as I have. I guess that lineup will be real interesting to see on Tuesday.

We have the horses. Everyone has to stay positive and keep grinding. If you’re looking for a quick fix personnel-wise, with the climate right now, you’re not going to get it. I expect more of everyone in that uniform and certainly the guy leading the team on the field.”

Baseball’s season lasts 162 games. You can’t just flip your lid every time your team loses three games in a row and strands runners in scoring position — that’s what the fans do. You figure the manager should be more calm and sensible about things, unless you’re Ozzie Guillen of course. I’m actually surprised Williams reacted the way he did. I figure he would just sweep it under the rug and move on, knowing that’s just Ozzie being Ozzie. But this is the same Ken Williams who came out and aired the dirty laundry with Frank Thomas, so it’s pretty clear he likes to keep a fresh image in front of the press. Probably wasn’t worth doing this time.

White Sox Are Wheeeezing the Juice

This was pointed out to me quite some time ago by commenter JS, but since the White Sox were in the midst of an 8 game road trip, I couldn’t really do anything with it. But at last, the White Sox are finally in Chicago to begin a 15 game homestand. And do you know what time their evening games will start? No, not 7:05, nor 7:10, nor 7:30, nor 7:35, nor any other round number you could think of — you know, normal times to start a game. Instead, all evening games for the White Sox this year begin at 7:11pm. Why you ask? Well moron, put two-and-two together. From the Riverside Press-Enterprise

First it was the press box. The White Sox converted the press box area behind home plate into 200 club level seats this season and sold them, moving the media to a location down the right field line.

The question in the clubhouse: What else could they sell? The Angels chalkboard showing the time schedule made that clear: “First pitch: 7:11.”

That’s right. In a three-year deal, the White Sox have sold the starting time for weeknight games to 7-Eleven Inc. through the 2009 season.

You guessed it. And sure enough, tonight’s White Sox/Twins game is set for 7:11pm. Is that lame or what? OK fine, I guess it’s pretty smart business. But damn, it just makes me want to get a slurpee. Ummm, cherry and coke slurpee. Ummm. I’ll be back in half an hour.

Baseball Preview: Chicago White Sox

Last year’s record and finish are in parenthesis with projected improvement/decline indicated by plus or minus.

Chicago White Sox (90-72, 3rd in AL Central) -1 game

Get Crunked: Paul Konerko, Jim Thome, and Jermaine Dye offer one of the better 3-4-5 combos in the league. All three can bash 40+ home runs, and hit for some average too. For guys who can hit for power at their positions, Joe Crede, Juan Uribe, and Tad Iguchi also play awesome defense, a big reason behind the White Sox success. Jose Contreras, Javier Vazquez, and Mark Buehrle are still filthy on the mound, and have a lot to prove this year. Bobby Jenks and Mike MacDougal are both fireballers with closing experience out of the pen.

Party Foul: Jon Garland got roughed up big time in Spring Training, making you wonder if hitters have figured him out. Although Buerhle has been an All-Star, one has to be concerned with his lack of receiving calls from umpires leading to his demise. John Danks is a total wild card at the No. 5 spot, and probably doesn’t have the talent Freddy Garcia did. Scott Podsednik needs to overcome a groin injury, and Darin Erstad needs to avoid one.

Jim Thome could easily crush 50 bombs and lead the league

What’d my GM do: At first looks, it appears as if Ken Williams was disbanding the team. He traded Freddy Garcia for Gavin Floyd, and Brandon McCarthy for Danks — but Williams seems to know what he’s doing, so we’ll see if his genius was working this off-season. Darin Erstad was signed at a cheap price to play CF since Brian Anderson hasn’t worked out the way the Sox had expected him to. Moving Erstad back to center is probably a good idea; he’s not a good enough hitter to put at first, and he’s a wasted defender there as well.

Lay it on me Straight: They may have lost some pieces from their awesome teams the past two years, but they’re still a fine club. For the type of disappointing year it appeared to be last year, this club still won 90 games. While I don’t expect Dye or Crede to repeat his year, I don’t expect the pitchers to be as bad as they were, so that should balance things out. It’s still an elite major league team with good pop and proven starters.

So where my boys gonna finish right now: They’ll be in the middle of the playoff race, fighting with the Tigers, Twins, and Indians within the division, but they’re not good enough to keep up with the Yanks and Red Sox in the AL East. Their hope is to come out smoking with 93+ wins to take the AL Central, and not pack it in when it gets to September like last year.

Can we be better than that: Man, we’ve all seen what the pitching can do (see playoffs ’05), so if they all get hot tossing complete games after another, they’ll be cruising along winning 95 games. We all know their lineup is good enough to hit, my question is whether or not the pitchers can regain form.