Already the leadoff man in the Baseball Encyclopedia (ahead of Hank Aaron), reliever David Aardsma went from the North to the South Side of Chicago when he was traded to the White Sox in mid-November. The former star closer for Rice and a Giants first-round draft pick in 2003, Aardsma is 2-0 with a 1.64 ERA and 27 strikeouts in his first 22 innings with the White Sox. He recently answered some questions from MLBPLAYERS.com.
MLBPLAYERS.com: How are you enjoying being on the South Side of Chicago after playing last year for the Cubs?
Aardsma: I love it here. When I first got traded, I thought I didn't want to leave because I enjoyed being with the Cubs. Now, I'm realizing what a good place this is for me and now I'm very happy with the way things worked out. It's a wonderful organization.
MLBPLAYERS.com: When you did hear the news of the trade? Were you surprised?
Aardsma: I didn't expect anything at all. I didn't know there were any talks. It was during the GM meetings down in Florida, and at those meetings you always expect some trades to happen. The Cubs made a lot of moves and brought in a lot of new faces, including a number of new coaches. You just don't always expect to be traded yourself. Looking back, I couldn't have asked for anything better.
MLBPLAYERS.com: Were you shocked that you were traded to the White Sox?
Aardsma: Yes. When you're with the Cubs and you think about ever being traded, you don't even think about the White Sox as a possibility. It's pretty rare. I'm trying to better myself now on this side of town.
MLBPLAYERS.com: What are the biggest similarities between playing for the Cubs and the White Sox?
Aardsma: There a lot of things different, but it's really difficult to compare two organizations. I would say both teams have a very, very good fan base. The Cubs fans have come out to Wrigley Field forever. There is so much tradition there. They sort of set that standard. With the White Sox, you can tell the fans really love their team. They're very supportive and they can tell when you're working hard.
MLBPLAYERS.com: Did you even have to move?
Aardsma: I had moved out of my place in Chicago after last season. We had about four guys who all lived in the same building. After the trade, I needed to find a new place. I have a great place now in the Museum Park area and I love it.
MLBPLAYERS.com: What do you like to do in Chicago for fun?
Aardsma: There's so much to do here. I love the restaurants. I'm also a big movie guy. I always do that. On an off day, I'll kill time by just walking around the city, around some parks. Chicago is a great place to just hang out.
MLBPLAYERS.com: You've had a lot of success early this season. How do you feel you're throwing the ball right now?
Aardsma: Obviously it's still early in the season, but it's definitely a good start. It's a good base for me and hopefully I can maintain it over the course of the year. I want to take what I've been doing and build on that.
MLBPLAYERS.com: You have now played for three different teams since 2004. Do you hope that you've found a home here with the White Sox?
Aardsma: Yeah. I wouldn't mind staying in one place. But that's how the game goes. Some guys stay in one place their whole career; other guys get traded a lot. I feel like I'm at a place where I'm really happy right now. I wouldn't mind playing for the White Sox for a long time.
MLBPLAYERS.com: You live in Colorado in the offseason. Now that you're in the American League, are you disappointed that you don't get to go to Coors Field anymore?
Aardsma: I love Denver. Coors Field, I think, is one of the greatest places in all of baseball. As a pitcher, I don't necessarily like to pitch there, though. The ball does seem to fly there, and it's not just home runs. A lot of doubles seem to get hit at Coors Field, too. Those can be worse than home runs. On the positive side, I now get to see some NL ballparks I've never been to before.
Jeff Moeller, a freelance writer for MLBPLAYERS.com, is based in Los Angeles. MLBPLAYERS.com is the official Web site of the Major League Baseball Players Association. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.