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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Jordan's Spring Training Is the Moment of Truth

SARASOTA, Florida -- Three fast honks of the horn, a quick squeal of rubber and Michael Jordan zoomed away. The windows of his red Corvette shut tight, he zipped out of the fenced-in Chicago White Sox complex, past the curious onlookers and down a side road.


He had just finished his last workout in private, and perhaps he wanted to enjoy the moment. Because starting Tuesday, his baseball talents went on public display, up until the time he either makes the team or misses the cut.


A crowd of 250 media members showed up Tuesday morning at Ed Smith Stadium to see Jordan's practice. White Sox pitchers and catchers report to spring training Wednesday and fans will be able to watch them, along with a 1.98-meter rookie outfielder wearing No. 45, work out beginning Thursday, Jordan's 31st birthday.


"You wonder how patient the White Sox will be. I think if he was just some other player, they might cut him in a week," said Bobby Hansen, a former Chicago Bulls teammate of Jordan's who now works for WHO-TV in Des Moines. "But I think they might give him time. I also think that if he was hitting in the .100s and not doing well, he'd be able to walk away."


In the meantime, Jordan, who arrived in town last Wednesday, has been working out almost every morning behind guarded gates. His daily routine includes running the bases, hitting in the batting cages and against White Sox staff members and shagging about 300 fly balls. Later, perhaps after some ping-pong in the locker room, he goes golfing.


The moment of truth, many believe, will come the first time Jordan, who has not played baseball since high school, sees a major-league curveball. That may not be until Feb. 23, when the regulars report.


In the meantime, the White Sox are trying to make sure Jordan's presence does not disrupt camp as the AL West champions get set to try to win the new AL Central.


The White Sox had a small hint of the kind of hoopla Jordan will cause last spring when Bo Jackson arrived with his artificial hip. But, just a few miles away from where Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey used to have its headquarters, the White Sox are expecting a real circus this time. Three rings, too, one for each of Jordan's NBA championships."I hope he does well, obviously," Hansen said. "I think he'll be a natural fielder and a natural runner. The big question is how well will he hit?"


Starting Tuesday, the sports world will be watching, waiting to see whether Jordan can be like Mike -- Piazza, Devereaux or maybe even Schmidt, that is.