We've learned a thing or two about our baseball teams
One week in, we fight temptation to offer grand pronouncements and refuse to draw long-term conclusions about our locals.
Except when we're sure we're right.
I do think we've already learned a few things.
The real deal:
Jose Abreu is worthy of being a heart-of-the-order, big-league hitter. The natural power is evident in line-drive lasers to all fields. That very smooth, fluid swing has been fast enough to even deal with inside fastballs. There is a league-wide adjustment coming at some point, as pitchers get to know him. If Abreu is smart enough to adjust to that, then watch out.
Still stuck in the middle:
Starlin Castro was 2-for-17 heading into Saturday's game before going 3-for-4 against the Phillies. Hitting .238, Castro isn't showing much change yet from last year. Cubs color man Jim Deshaies told our radio show that Castro still seems "caught in between" at the plate. He's not consistently, authoritatively well-timed for either fastballs or off-speed stuff.
It's early and he had a lot fewer spring chances than everyone else, but he has to get more comfortable.
Super super utility man:
Emilo Bonifacio can play all three outfield positions, three of the four infield positions and steal bases. He is a roster-enriching "super utility" player. Bonifacio will probably never have another 11-for-16 run as he did to start the season, but it shouldn't be hard to find a spot for him in this lineup every single day. He may soon be thought of with the likes of Ben Zobrist and Martin Prado as incredibly valuable, versatile pieces.
Zoom in ... no, even more than that:
If I were in the business of producing and/or directing White Sox games on television, I would seriously consider changing my approach on certain days.
I do not fault fans for not going when it's 39 degrees and windy, and this is not some recycled rant about the age-old attendance issues. But some standard camera shots are just not worth using.
Take the low third-base angle of the pitcher as he comes to the set position, with a runner being held on first behind him. In the background, you can see literally thousands of empty green seats. It's distracting, a bit sad and leads to even more knee-jerk commentary about the Sox and what their perceived importance in this town is. Show me a high angle of the infield from the broadcast perspective to widen the focus as intended.
Another common one: a wide shot of the barren outfield stands as a graphic shows the "picks to click." You might want to do that over the 2005 trophy in the lobby, or the statue outside Gate 4.
Look at it as an opportunity to be creative, and also protect the image of your team.
Hey buddy, eyes up here:
I'm sorry, Cubs big leaguers ... but my gaze often goes downward. I see Kris Bryant and his 3 homers at Class AA. I see his teammate C.J. Edwards throw 4 shutout innings. Jorge Soler is on the Class A disabled list. And Javier Baez is in Triple A for a reason, folks. He's 0-for-7 with 4 strikeouts through two games, being dominated by breaking balls. I bet he'll learn quickly.
Grady Sizemore is the new Evan Gattis:
In Week 1 of last season, I had already found and fallen for Evan Gattis and his amazing story. It's a game of second chances, and sometimes third or fourth ones. In Boston, former Indians star Grady Sizemore has returned after two missed seasons, and seven surgeries for three different ailments. He homered in his second at-bat, has started twice in center field and stolen a base. A career left for dead is breathing.
Baseball never stops giving for those of us in the knowledge-acquisition business. On to Week 2.
• Matt Spiegel co-hosts "The McNeil & Spiegel Show" 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday-Friday on WSCR 670-AM. Follow him on Twitter @mattspiegel670.