Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Back where he belongs

Finally. Jim Thome can again be my favorite baseball player of all-time. It has been a while since I could say that but finally he has rejoined with the team he was meant to be with. The Cleveland Indians. Since he started his career as a third baseman (later moving to first base and now a designated hitter) for my favorite American League team back in 1991 (the year I was born) I have loved Jim Thome. And now after he left the team in 2003 he is back where he belongs, where he started, and where he can retire and enter the Hall of Fame.

If you haven't heard of the great Jim Thome, you must go do your research. He recently just joined the 600 home run club, becoming one of eight men to do so. But Jim Thome has a better reputation other than his records and stats; he is known as the nicest guy in baseball. He has a special place in my heart but left it for a while. For seven years he has not been my favorite baseball player. It was the day he was traded to the Chicago White Sox. There were many rumors he was going to join the Chicago Cubs, my favorite National League team and I was thrilled. At this point he had already been traded to the Philadelphia Phillies, a team I don't completely hate because they had Thome. But then he went to play for the Sox. Anyone who knows me, knows I hate the White Sox. Anyone who knows me well knows I hate the White Sox more than any other sports team in the country. I would rather the Sox lose than the Cubs win (but that could be because the Cubs just always lose). So you can imagine my disappointment when I found out he was going to be wearing black and white instead of blue and red.

Those were tough years for me. I would see him doing well for the White Sox, hitting home runs and helping them win. Of course when he hit a home run I was excited for him and then realized who he earned that run for and remembered I could no longer like him. You may think this is silly, I can still like him even if he plays for a different team. No. Sorry, that is not the case, he betrayed me. It was similar to when Kenny Lofton was on the White Sox or now with Omar Vizquel. For some reason the White Sox always steal my Indians. So, since Thome was on the worst team in baseball, I reverted to another first baseman, Derrick Lee as my favorite player. Then he was traded from the Cubs and I was lost. I felt no real connection to any player because they were all playing for the wrong team. Thome was later traded to the Minnesota Twins, another bad team as they rival to the Indians. Thome had played for all my enemies.

Until my brother called me two days ago. I had not been paying attention to the sports world as much as I would like (you know I go to school and all) and he made me guess who was on the Indians again. I naturally thought of Kenny Lofton, who of course hasn't played baseball in some time, but knowing him he would return. But no, for the first time my brother had information I didn't, nonetheless on my favorite player. Jim Thome has returned to Cleveland. And I must say, he looks damn good in that Indians jersey. He is certainly back where he belongs and should stay where he belongs.

With that some sports side notes.
1. Last week I said I would blog about the Illinois football team's first game but as you can tell Thome was a little more important. But I will give you a little side note. Illinois is back on Saturday against Arkansas State and I am beyond ecstatic to see the amazing offense Zook (who I hate) puts on the field. I'm skeptical about the defense after losing some big hitters like Martez, but it should be interesting. Expect my overall thoughts on the performance next week.
2. The U.S. Open has started for tennis and I must say after an exciting Wimbledon, I'm very excited and can't believe the things that have already happened. Venus Williams has withdrawn from the tournament because a disease she has been diagnosed with which will make this tournament interesting. Looking (and hoping) to see Djokovic win two grand slams in a row.
3. The Bears have one more preseason game left tomorrow and stupid Lovie Smith said he does not expect the starters to get playing time. With the regular season starting Sept. 11., I think this is kind of stupid. I realize he wants to make sure they don't get hurt but this is going to be an interesting season.

With that I say... Live long and prosper.

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