With unrestricted free agency a week old, the White Sox made their first big splash of the offseason this week, green lighting a controversial move that will alter that way the entire team is perceived.
Yes, in a move that has united Sox fans in outrage more than any player transaction ever could, the team has decided to remove the classy and popular diamond sock logo from the road gray uniform sleeve and replace it with the standard "Sox" script emblem.
I am a big fan of the diamond sock logo, and am disappointed to see it go. It will downgrade the road gray uniform, which the team wears the least but remains my favorite, and the whole move feels at best like change for the sake of change; at worst like a money grab or some marketing/branding hogwash. At the same time, it's mostly just about what you're used to: Sox fans will get used to the new look and move on.
It's not like they're changing the whole logo. And hey, at least it's not as bad as the Mets' sleeve patch that made them the laughingstock of the league last year.
So, let's get back to baseball for a bit here. I'm finally just about ready to unleash (some of) my offseason plan(s) on y'all, but before I do (hopefully tomorrow, assuming the Sox don't make any significant transactions), I want to go back to a few things from last week:
*The Rangers cut former Sox uber-prospect Brandon McCarthy, formally deeming the John Danks trade a landslide win for the Sox, and giving the Sox another cheaper option for the Tony Pena swingman relief pitcher role.
**The Mariners poached Sox Triple-A manager Chris Chambliss to be Eric Wedge's new hitting coach in Seattle. While the move doesn't seem super significant to the Sox, Chambliss was the most likely guy to replace Greg Walker on the Sox staff should Walker make good on his threat to walk away this winter. Chambliss' departure makes it a near-certainty that Walker will be back in 2011. Thanks a lot, Mariners.
***With playoff expansion set to be a hot topic during the league's various winter meetings, Ken Rosenthal weighed in on the issue, suggesting that the biggest problem is the absurd length of the regular season. I am all about altering the playoffs to cut down on the strength of the Wildcard, but Rosenthal makes great points: the World Series is the most important thing of all and it is suffering from tedium.
The fact is, we don't need 162 games to determine the top four, or maybe now five, teams in the league. The long season was appropriate to determine the very best in the league when each league sent only one- yes, one!- team to the playoffs pre-1969. Now, with the playoff process doing more of the sorting out work, the long season only serves as a way for owners to squeeze out more revenue and for casual fans to lose interest in September.
Everyone from the players to the fans knows that the wearisome regular season is too long, and it is affecting the quality of, and interest in, the all-important World Series. Go ahead and add a small playoff round if you want (I of course am all for it), but for the love of God, please cut the regular season down by two weeks! Look at the benefits:
- Increase the duration of fan interest, especially for teams out of the race.
- Increase the quality of play by the players.
- Decrease World Series weather concerns.
- Decrease competition with the NFL and NBA.
MLB could cut lag time even further if they eliminated a few of the excessive days off between the end of one round and beginning of the next round in the playoffs, and they could always chop a week off of spring training as well.
The best solution for baseball:
- 150 game season, one-game Wildcard playoff/play-in, best-of-seven LDS, LCS and WS.
Two things to ignore:
1. Rosenthal says the Sox are "checking into" free agent closer Rafael Soriano. I feel very, very confident in saying there is literally zero chance this happens. Brett Ballantini gets it.
2. Tim Brown says the Sox might take offers for Gordon Beckham. Once again, I will virtually guarantee you the Beckham is the starting second-sacker for the Pale Hose in 2011.