Disrespect was a common theme with Sox players and coaches during spring training. According to the South Siders, the national media wasn’t giving them their dues. While this disrespect created bulletin board material all March, the Sox are singing a different tune after they lived up to preseason expectations in their season opener, getting smoked 12-5 by the Cleveland Indians.

“When I saw ESPN.com picked us to finish fourth in the AL Central, I was furious,” said Paul Konerko. “But after watching [Jose] Contreras pitch this afternoon, I see their logic.”

In January, Sports Illustrated writer Jon Heyman listed the Sox as one of his “5 Teams that will Flop in ’07,” prompting manager Ozzie Guillen to leave a curse-laden message on the scribe’s voicemail. In a rare show of contrition, Guillen called Heyman back after Monday’s loss, saying the beat writer, “may not be a [expletive deleted]-[expletive deleted] who doesn’t know his [expletive deleted] from his [expletive deleted] after all.”

While pretty much every Indian had a good day at the plate, the lone excitement for the hometown sellout crowd at US Cellular Field came when Darin Erstad homered in his first at bat with the team, yet even the newcomer was disillusioned about the future.

“The soothsayers at the Sporting News predicted we’d finish 72-90,” Erstad said after the game. “I wonder who they like tonight, Florida or Ohio State. I’ll have to call my bookie.”

Number of the Day: 63
Contreras’ ERA after the Sox No. 1 starter gave up eight runs (seven earned) in his first and only inning of work Monday.

heckler editorial staff