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Happy Opening Day, Chicago!
At least for those of you on the South Side.
Four days after the start of the MLB season, the White Sox are back in Bridgeport to kick off the season against the San Francisco Giants.
The Cubs, meanwhile, are in Cincinnati for their first road series of the year.
It’s good to have baseball back. The pitch clock meant I could cram more baseball into my weekend and I honestly think it might be the game’s most important development since the summer that Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire “saved” baseball.
The White Sox finished their four games against the Astros in 2:38, 2:40, 3:11 and 3:06.
The Cubs and Brewers played three games in 2:21, 2:32 and 2:57 at Wrigley.
All seven games were either at or below the amount of time I spent out at the United Center on Saturday night watching the Blackhawks lose to the Devils — and certainly well short of the four-hour marathons that had become all too common in baseball.
I know there’s a contingent of people out there bellyaching about the clock and less time spent at the park. From my viewpoint, the tradeoff is worth it. The sport desperately needed predictable game times that could fit in the window of other sports. It also needed to kill the endless posturing between pitcher and hitter.
Throw in the elimination of the shift and baseball eliminated two of the biggest things afflicting the game over the past decade in one fell swoop.
Only the introduction of bigger bases could be considered a true affront to the purist, but the reality is that the game has been evolving ever since it began in the late 1800s.
Seriously, go ahead and make a list of things that have changed in the past 150 years from the most important — Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier in 1947 — to the much more mundane like the introduction of divisional play and the lowering of the pitcher’s mound.
The truth is that baseball is much more adaptable than its traditionalists give it credit for and it looks like baseball may have nailed a big swing at making the game more appealing and relevant to the modern-day attention span.
The week ahead
• The Sox head to Pittsburgh for the weekend after this opening series with the Giants.
• The Cubs are in Cincinnati starting tonight for a three-game set before returning to Wrigley for three Easter Weekend games against the Texas Rangers.
• The Bulls have four games left, the biggest of which is Tuesday’s visit from the Hawks. A win gives the Bulls the inside track to the ninth spot and a home game in the play-in game tournament. The team then hits the road for a two-game swing through Milwaukee (Wednesday) and Dallas (Friday) before next Sunday’s season finale against Detroit.
• The Blackhawks have lost eight straight to take a two-point lead over Anaheim and Columbus for the worst record in the NHL. Six games to go, starting with a Tuesday night date with the Flames in Calgary.
• 24 days until the NFL Draft for the Bears. Keep your eyes peeled for an announcement of our CHGO Bears draft party early this week.
• The Fire host Minnesota at Soldier Field on Saturday night. The Red Stars have the weekend off.
Did we do that?
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