Fill the time waiting for pitchers and catchers to report with some sweet, sweet nostalgia.
If you're around my age, you've probably owned a Costacos Brothers poster at some point during your childhood, if not 10 of them. You may not have thought of them in years, because they are firmly a product of their time.
But Amy K. Nelson's fantastic blowout on the Costacoses' mini-empire in the late 1980s and early 1990s makes me think they've held up well -- at least as far as their subjects are concerned. They might look tacky now (especially Dan Marino loaded up to the ribs with Zubaz), but it was a huge marker for an athlete's career back then.
You have the option of reading the oral history or by watching this 16-minute documentary. The latter is worth the time, for parts like Jim McMahon informing us that Walter Payton provided the guns for the "Chicago Vice" poster, and the ones involving Charles Barkley.
And when you're done with reliving that part of your youth, you can move on to Cee Angi's lamentations about Topps.
(Of the posters featured in the documentary, we had the "Samurai Mike" one in our basement. In fact, I think it's still there.)
Keith Law's assessment of Courtney Hawkins, the White Sox's lone representative on the Top 100 list at No. 74:
He is very strong and physical for his age, built like a running back with outstanding hand acceleration at the plate, big hip rotation to produce power and less projection than your typical 19-year-old has.
He'll need to work on off-speed recognition and repeating his swing for greater consistency, as well as improving his two-strike approach, all things you'd expect a somewhat raw prep kid to have to do in pro ball.
He has a plus arm and will be an above-average defender in right given reps out there, with solid-average running speed as well. He could be an impact hitter given three or four years to develop, and he's the most exciting hitting prospect the White Sox have had since, well, in a really long time.
The official end of prospect season comes tomorrow, when MLB.com lists its top 10 prospects. Hopefully it doesn't look like the last update of the 2012 list, because it's an absolute mess.
Tongue-in-cheek troll headline aside, Rob Neyer notes the White Sox are well-represented on the "Verducci Effect" list, but that means nothing in and of itself. The Sox's young pitchers are at risk of regressing or getting hurt ... because they're young pitchers.
- Athletic Enhancement - The Santa Barbara Independent
- Betcha curious about what Dylan Axelrod has been up to! - Southside Showdown
James points us to this article in which Dylan Axelrod says "no" to performance-enhancing drugs, which certainly is befitting of his do-gooder mien:
"It’s definitely a big step to cleaning up baseball," Axelrod said of the HGH testing. "The blood test is a little bit invasive, but at the same time it’s for the betterment of the game. It was like a snowball, what happened before: One person does it, and you feel you have to do it to compete. Now it feels like you can just play baseball."
Axelrod went 2-2 as an infrequent starter last season. He hopes to find a spot in Chicago’s bullpen. "One of the White Sox’s strengths is pitching depth," he said. "I have to stay patient, keep doing what I’m doing." Recently married, he realizes there’s more to his life than throwing changeups. "Your character is what you’re left with when you’re done playing," Axelrod said. "Baseball’s a short time in your life. Guys who have a great career finish at 40, and there’s a long time left in your life after that. You want to be held in high regard."
Yes, this is Jake Peavy talking like Jake Peavy talks, but what's noteworthy is the indirect comment on the way another White Sox talks:
"I can't ever give in to 'I've gotten there' or 'I've turned the corner,' '' Peavy said. "I'm scared of that slip-up, that letdown in my work ethic and stuff that I have to do. I just can't let myself get there. I threw 219 innings. I'm healthy, but I keep telling myself I have a lot to prove, and that's the way to keep me going.''
- How good was Brandon Webb? - Baseball Nation
- If we've seen the last of Chris Carpenter ... - Baseball Nation
- Appreciating Kevin Millwood’s career - HardballTalk
Three right-handers with unusual careers each reached their end -- or, in Chris Carpenter's case, his presumed end. Now that Kevin Millwood has hung 'em up, Tyler Flowers will need a new favorite chew toy.
Ryan Braun is the latest big name to get roped into the Miami drug lab scandal, although all anybody has at this point is his name. There are no PEDs listed next to it on the hand-written list.