With the Chicago Cubs and Chicago White Sox set to resume what is heretofore known as the Crosstown Classic on Monday at U.S. Cellular Field, every local media outlet in town is trotting out their version of an All-City team. The selections seem obvious enough, with left field (Alfonso Soriano vs. Dayan Viciedo), second base (Darwin Barney vs. Gordon Beckham) and third base serving as the only positions where debate can genuinely occur.
There was one particularly funny anecdote buried in ESPN Chicago's All-City team piece, though. Jon Greenberg wrote that he recently saw White Sox shortstop Alexei Ramirez smoke a cigar in the dugout before a game.
Here's Greenberg's shortstop breakdown:
Greenberg: This hasn't been a great follow-up season to last year's All-Star berth. Castro's head is in the clouds sometimes, and his offensive numbers range from good (.298 average) to not-so-good (six homers, five walks). Then again, what do you expect with the lineup he's in? You have to wonder if Castro's growth is going to be stunted as the Cubs lay their foundation for sustained success. This wasn't a contest, though. Alexei Ramirez is hitting .225 with one home run. I saw him smoke a cigar in the dugout before a game recently. Maybe he should try a different pregame routine.
Baseball is full of weird pre-game rituals. Wade Boggs ate chicken before every game of his career. The 2004 Boston Red Sox would "Cowboy Up" by taking shots of Jack Daniels during their historic postseason run. Detroit Tigers manager Jim Leyland has been captured countless times smoking cigarettes in the dugout. I can't say I've ever heard of a player smoking a cigar before a game, though.
I don't think it's any sort of cause for concern, even if some may want to make it out as that because of another slow start from Ramirez. What I find more interesting is how stuff like this gets totally swept under the rug, save for an off-cuff comment by a local columnist.
What else goes on these dugouts?! Probably lots of cool stuff.