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Baseball Thu Apr 14 2011

Chicago Baseball Fans: Drunk and Persistent

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for white sox.gifThumbnail image for Thumbnail image for cubs.gifAs the Cubs and White Sox struggle to advance much past the .500 mark -- that Sox collapse Wednesday afternoon was a bullpen horror show -- I finally got the chance to cozy up with ESPN The Magazine's baseball preview issue.

Few surprises on the prediction front: Sox in first, Cubs in fourth, Adam Dunn should be a beast. But the hidden treasure was the players' responses when ESPN asked them about road trips in their divisions.

espn baseball preview.JPGChicago got mentioned twice by rival players. Indians middle infielder Orlando Cabrera, a 15-year veteran who spent a brief, generally unimpressive year with the Sox in 2008, said we have the most aggressive autograph hounds in the AL Central. "They're outside the hotel, and when they want it, man, they want it! I've had guys follow me three blocks down Michigan Avenue."

Journeyman pitcher Nelson Figueroa, now with the Astros, said Chicago is the city where he is recognized least often. Apparently drunk Cubs fans can't see straight. "When you leave Wrigley, fans have already been drinking for hours and they're well on their way to having a good time."

To be fair, Nelson, not even your home fans have any idea who you are.

ESPN also talked with two Chicago pitchers. Jeff Samardzija of the Cubs said the best team hotel in the NL Central is in St. Louis. "We stay in a casino, and I don't mind the tables so much."

Matt Thornton of the Sox picked Detroit as the trip with the worst commute to the park. "We stay in Birmingham: Great city, great hotel, but it's 35 to 40 minutes to the stadium. More with traffic. It's a hike."

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