A sports columnist’s mailbag: Welcoming baseball season

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  • Chicago White Sox pitcher Jeff Samardzija delivers a pitch during the first inning of their spring training game against the Oakland Athletics on Sunday, at Hohokam Stadium in Mesa, Ariz. 

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Ryan asks: What are you most excited about for the White Sox this season?

The White Sox made tons of moves after another disappointing 2014 season. They signed first baseman Adam LaRoche, traded for pitcher Jeff Samardzija, signed closer David Robertson and outfielder Melky Cabrera to name a few. 

This is not a perfect roster. 

There are still problems at the catcher position with Tyler Flowers, and we don’t know yet the effectiveness of rookie second baseman Micah Johnson. 

One thing that Sox fans can’t fault general manager Rick Hahn for is not trying.

He addressed basically all of the team’s needs without sacrificing very much at all. 

What gets me the most excited is this is a team I can see being interesting to watch late in the season. 

If they can be playing games of importance late in the season, it just makes everything so much more fun. 

Baseball is my favorite sport, and nothing beats watching your team in the playoffs.

The acquisition of Samardzija is the move that makes me think the Sox can really do some damage this year. 

The Indiana native has established himself as a legitimate top-of-the-rotation arm, and his addition to the Sox rotation makes it even more intimidating. 

Chris Sale, Samardzija and Jose Quintana at the top of its rotation stacks up against almost any other rotation in baseball. 

Samardzija is one of those guys who I would never admit to liking because he was a Cub. But now that he’s on the team I root for, I can admit he was always a player I enjoyed watching. 

He’s a fierce competitor and could be a part of something fun this season with the White Sox.  

Zach asks: Will the Cubs be good this year?

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I have always been a Cub hater. It’s just how I was raised. 

That being said, I can admit they made some nice moves in the offseason. 

The best thing they did was bring in one of the game’s best active managers in Joe Maddon. 

Signing Jon Lester was a big move, and they obviously have some great young players. 

Even with all of this considered, I still have no idea why people think they’re contending team this season.

When you are relying on that many young players to lead your team into contention, I just think it’s a little too risky. 

Do I think the Cubs will finish last in the NL Central like they have the last three years?

No.

It will be a fun, young team for North Siders to watch; I just don’t see that turning into a playoff team, at least this year.

The Cubs have the potential to be one of the best teams in baseball down the road, but I don’t see that happening this season. 

Wait till next year? 

Devin asks: Can you talk about the stuff that happened at Wrigley Field on Sunday?  

The Cubs opened the baseball season up Sunday night with a 3-0 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals in Chicago.

I wasn’t at the game, but I was in Wrigleyville for most of the day.

If I weren’t so excited about baseball being back, I would have fought every single Cub fan I saw. 

Wrigleyville on gameday is a wild place, but excitement was in the air yesterday, since Cubs fans think their team will win it all this year… but for real this time. 

I was working another job that day, and one of the things I did was ask Cubs fans trivia questions.

I realized early on that the questions couldn’t be that hard because apparently Cubs fans (or at least the sample population I spoke to) know very little about their own team.

I simplified the question to: 

“Can you name one player on the Cubs?”

Amazingly of the 12 or so fans I spoke to, only one could name a current player.

Over 90 percent of the Cubs fans I spoke to still think Sammy Sosa and Kerry Wood play for the Cubs, or, for that matter, still play baseball. 

It got to the point where I needed to say,

“Here’s a hint: An…tho…ny? Nothing? Ok Anthony Ri…zz..? Nothing?”

It’s widely known at this point that the renovations at Wrigley have been going um… not well. 

On Monday night, fans reportedly waited over 45 minutes to use the bathrooms. 

When the construction is over and the renovations are complete, I think the improvements will be outstanding. 

If you’re going to play in a park that is over 100 years old, you have to expect problems no matter what. 

When you add major construction to that, it’ll obviously be worse. 

For now, I will just laugh at the fact that Cubs fans are waiting over 45 minutes to use the bathroom.       

Sam is a senior in [email protected]

@Sam_Sherman5