Few people purposely make Chicago their winter home, but when the streets are filled with snow, when our nostrils are frozen to the bone, this is where Curtis Granderson actually chooses to live.
But when the sun shines and the city thaws, why doesn't Granderson just stick around and play for the White Sox or Cubs?
The thought has certainly crossed his mind. Lately, it's been tough to avoid.
"My friends and family that are here in Chicago want me to come to one of the two teams here," said Granderson, the Blue Island native and UIC graduate. "There's been a lot of talks and conversations about that. It's definitely something I've thought about. I have to weigh the pros and cons, but that's going to go for the rest of the other 30 ball clubs as well."
Monday, the New York Yankees extended a qualifying offer to Granderson. He has until Monday to accept a one-year, $14.1 million offer to return to the Bronx. If he declines, he'll become a free agent for the first time in his career, a possibility that excites him.
Is he leaning towards a decision?
"I'm waiting to hear a lot from my agent. He's going to be fielding calls to see what's the best situation for us."
But all things being equal, who wins out between New York and Chicago?
"Pizza-wise, I'm definitely going to get some Chicago style pizza. I love me some Chicago pizza," Granderson said.
How about baseball? Granderson didn’t take a side, but he’s at least willing to call a place like Wrigley Field his home.
"Between the two cities, you've got two teams on both sides. The American League, the National League. I've never been in the National League except for interleague play, so that's definitely something to consider. The fact that there is no DH, that you need to be ready to go in day in and day out, the double switches that can end up happening in the National League. All those great things that can end up happening. Is that something I'm going to be ready for? I'm definitely up for the challenge."
For the White Sox to sign Granderson, they'd have to give up their second-round pick in 2014, which would go against Rick Hahn's plan of replenishing the farm system next season. Plus, they've already spent $68 million on first baseman Jose Abreu. How much more are they willing to spend?
But at the same time, the White Sox need more leaders, both on the field and off of it. Granderson fits that description like a Gold Glove. When I asked Hahn indirectly about Granderson at the end of the season, he said, "There are a lot of needs to address, and certainly some balance in the lineup, a guy who has some speed and some power and can help you on defense has some appeal."
The feeling seems to be mutual for Granderson.
"I've always enjoyed playing at U.S. Cellular Field," Granderson said. "Friends and family come out in large numbers to be there. I look forward to being out there on the field. That organization, those guys on the field, I've enjoyed taking with them."
Granderson will actually be working out this offseason with White Sox second baseman Gordon Beckham.
"Will we be teammates? Will we be opponents? Who knows?" Granderson asked aloud about Beckham.
The three-time All Star has a lot of questions on his mind right now.
"I enjoyed my time in Detroit. I enjoyed my time in New York. Will I stay there? Will I go somewhere? That's the big magical question."