Cubs, Whitesox Roundup: Jersey Guide
Patch points out the Cubs and White Sox players whose jerseys will be big hits this season and beyond.
While the Chicago Cubs lost to the Pittsburgh Pirates 6-3 and the White Sox won over the Cleveland Indians 15-10, we thought now might be a good time to talk about something else.
Sports fans love showing off their team colors. Whether it's buying hats, T-shirts or even those obnoxious Green Bay Packer cheeseheads, fans can't get enough team apparel. With baseball’s Opening Day starting April 1 in Chicago, there’s no better time to add a new jersey to your sports wardrobe.
The Cubs kick off their 162-game schedule playing at home against the Pittsburgh Pirates, while the White Sox find themselves on the road against the Cleveland Indians a day after the official start of the major league season.
Still the hardest question in sports still needs to be answered: Whose jersey should you buy? And the bigger fan you are, the harder it is to choose. Do you go with the obvious superstar? What about a team’s most recent draft pick? Should you just choose the steady veteran?
While it's not a life-or-death situation, jerseys aren't exactly cheap--running about $45 for a plain one at the teams' websites. Before dropping a Benjamin on buying something you'll only wear on occasion, go through Patch’s guide on Chicago baseball jerseys and see which of the six recommended players fits you.
3. Alex Rios, No. 51: An unknown commodity coming into last year, Rios is proving to be a great pickup from the Blue Jays in 2009. After only one full season, not many people have bought his jersey, but everyone knows about his contributions in the outfield and at the plate (.284 batting average and 21 homers in 2010). Rios still has four years left on his contract and just turned 30 years old. His potential for a 30-30 season makes him a solid jersey choice.
2. Alexei Ramirez, No. 10: Last April, Ramirez was still a question mark in the eyes of many. A Silver Slugger Award and Gold Glove-caliber season has changed all that. Three consistent offensive seasons got Ramirez a contract extension through 2015 and he now has job security as the White Sox starting shortstop, who had 70 RBIs and a .283 batting average in 2010. The Cuban Missile’s jersey is certainly worth a look.
1. John Danks, No. 50: Danks has positioned himself as the present and future pitching ace for the White Sox. While Mark Buehrle will start Opening Day, Danks is the best pitcher on the team (3.72 ERA vs 4.28 for Buehrle in 2010). It's unlikely the White Sox will let the lefty leave anytime soon and he’s still young, turning 26 on April 15. That’s why he’s our top choice for a new White Sox jersey.
3. Carlos Marmol, No. 49: The Cubs gave Marmol a vote of confidence during the offseason when they signed him to a three-year contract extension to be their full-time closer. The enigmatic and energetic right-hander (2.55 ERA in 2010) is 28 years old and will carry his electric fastball well past this year. If you don’t mind representing a pitcher who only throws one inning, Marmol is a solid jersey choice.
2. Carlos Zambrano, No. 38: The emotional right-handed pitcher is entering his 10th full season with the Cubs and is the last link to the 2003 team that came close to ending a World Series appearance drought. Look for Zambrano to rebound in 2011--after last year's suspension and anger management sessions--and have a Cy Young-caliber season. Just don’t take on his persona and throw a tantrum every time the Cubs lose.
1. Starlin Castro, No. 13: While Zambrano may be the face of this year’s Cubs team, Castro represents its future. The 20-year-old shortstop had a banner rookie season (139 hits and 41 RBIs in 125 games, finishing with a batting average of .300 in 2010) and will be a stalwart at the top of the Cubs lineup for years to come. Jump on the bandwagon before the rest of Wrigley is sporting his No. 13 jersey this summer.
How will the White Sox and Cubs fare this season? Tell us in the comments.