Ozuna, SS; Iguchi, 2B; Thomas, DH; PK, 1B; Everett, LF; Dye, RF; Rowand, CF; Widger, C; Crede, 3B. Garcia pitches (and it is a day game).
Another amazing victory last night. Detroit has to be wondering what it has to do to beat the White Sox. To paraphrase Paul Konerko after the game … You can call us lucky or you can say it’s not luck, it’s a group of professional players who know what to do in these situation to win games. It depends on if you are with us …
Personally, I was happiest for Shingo Takatsu last night, although it looked like we would blow it in the 13th on a bunt single, a flair to right and a sac bunt. Shingo really has pitched pretty well his last six times out and his struggles this season have really eaten at him. He cares deeply. So I was rooting for him to pitch well, and I was happy he came through. It was interesting to read this morning that a veteran like Shingo would still admit to feeling butterflies as he headed back out to the mound for the final inning.
The huge fireworks display beyond the center field fence during the last few innings of the game gave the contest a surreal feel on television.
As well to Cliff Politte’s performance last night. How clutch has Cliff been this year?
With Kenny Rogers’ explosion last night toward the media in Texas, several commentators have compared his actions to Albert Belle. While Albert was never Mr. Media or very warm and fuzzy, I cannot say a bad word about the man during his time with the Sox (I can’t speak to his time in Cleveland). Albert did not speak to the media as often as we would have liked, but I always felt we could have a conversation and reach some type of compromise. I know Albert and Jerry Manuel often spent time together talking, and most of our players enjoyed him as a teammate, his intensity, commitment, work ethic and desire to win. I guess my only point here is that I have no complaints about Albert while he was with the White Sox.
Curt Smith Blog
Curt Smith, a gentleman who has authored several books, including one about baseball broadcasters, has started a blog. Curt recently spoke with Hawk Harrelson and his conversation can be found in Curt’s blog. Check it out if you have interest.
Wednesday’s Lineup at Detroit
Rain has been falling in Detroit and both teams canceled batting practice. No word yet on any effect on game time.
Podsednik, CF; Iguchi, 2B; Thomas, DH; Konerko, 1B; Everett, LF; Dye, RF; AJ, C; Crede, 3B; Uribe, SS. McCarthy takes the mound.
I have read a few questions about the new White Sox Kids Club and when kids will begin to receive their packages in the mail. Thanks for your patience. The free memberships went out earlier this week. The paid memberships are going out within the next few days, I am told, as we wait for appropriate mailing boxes. We are really trying to upgrade this program in order to attract even more kids to the ballpark, and we hope everyone enjoys the Sox items kids receive as members of the club.
In Response to Questions
Unfortunately, the rumors are accurate that the Minnie Minoso sculpture was damaged on Sunday. His bat was broken off by a fan, who then escaped into the crowd. Our security personnel did recover the bat. I spoke with one of our sculptors, and we hope to have repairs done as soon as this Friday.
Mark Gonzales of the Tribune heard the same rumors and emailed me last night to verify. To his credit, he ran a note today. Sox fans can debate the play of this story vis-a-vis the burned out ivy story of a few years ago — as you already are doing. Hopefully, it will be fixed soon and be none the worst for wear.
Nice to have Mark Buehrle scheduled to start when you have dropped two straight. As usual, Mark (now 10-1) gave us a great chance to win, Jermaine popped his 16th home run to put us up 2-1, and then Dustin survived a leadoff triple to close the ninth inning. Another tough one on the heart but another victory.
This is the time of year when White Sox general manager Ken Williams goes "stealth" as he works the phone talking with other general managers before the July 31 trade deadline. One early issue this season is that a number of teams still consider themselves in their races (division or wild card). This reduces the number of "sellers" and makes for a tougher market.
As you all know, Kenny is always looking for ways to improve the club and certainly is willing to be aggressive and make a move quickly.
I took yesterday off and did not have a chance to update the blog with our lineup last night.
Off Day Schedule
It’s an off day for the team today. Most guys spend the day sleeping, playing golf or with their family. The plane leaves for Detroit at 8 pm from Midway, so guys really do have a full day to themselves.
Several guys, including Freddy Garcia, Joe Crede, Willie Harris, Minnie Minoso, Bill Melton and Ron Kittle, spent an hour at White Sox Day at Taste of Chicago in Grant Park. This is a long-standing tradition for the Sox to be a part of the city’s summer celebration, and we always appreciate players giving up some of their off day time to greet fans.
Above the Radar
So much for my attempt to launch this blog below the radar. Teddy Greenstein wrote a very nice piece about this blog and the one by WGN-TV Cubs announcers Len Kasper and Bob Brenly. My hope is that this blog rises (or falls) on its own word-of-mouth merit, but the media attention can’t hurt. Everyone seems to want me to put a photo up on the site, but I am struggling with how that is a positive for anyone, especially me.
AL Central Props
With four teams in the American League Central at or above .500, the division is beginning to get some well-deserved attention nationally. We more then held our own against the National League, combining to go 54-37 (helped in large part by the Sox, 12-6, and the Indians, 15-3).
Four of the top five pitching staffs (ranked by ERA) in the AL are from our division. The Angels (3.45) lead everyone, followed by the Sox (3.54), Twins (3.68), Indians (3.71) and Tigers (3.88).
Offensively, the Sox lead the division in runs scored with 358 (32 ahead of Cleveland) but rank fifth in the AL. The team’s .262 batting average is tied for ninth, while our .326 OBP is ninth.
Kudos to All
Credit to all Chicago baseball fans — Sox and Cubs alike — for a classy and respectful weekend of baseball. Fans were well behaved all weekend and were very conscious of the heat and its possible effects. Record sales of bottled water were the result. Congrats, Chicagoans.
Kissing Your Sister
The White Sox dropped Sunday’s series finale, 2-0, to the Cubs, ending this year’s city series tied at 3-3. Each team won two of three contests in the other team’s ballpark.
Credit to Prior
Considering the circumstances, Mark Prior turned in an amazing performance today. Hate to lose, but you have to credit him. We were impressed by his ability to throw breaking balls even with the count at 3-1.
"I’ve got to tip my hat to that man," Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said of Prior. "He throws strikes, is special and has pitched in big games."
With only one hit, the Sox couldn’t manage much offensive support for Jon Garland, who again pitched well in falling to 12-3.
"You’re not going to win games when you get one hit," Guillen said. "And when you do get a guy on base, the next pitch is a double play ground ball."
After tomorrow’s off day, the Sox begin a six-game trip to Detroit and Oakland. Mark Buehrle will be on the mound.
"Hopefully, we keep the same intensity and enthusiasm next week when we face the Tigers," Guillen said.
Third baseman Joe Crede leaped high to snag Derrick Lee’s line drive to end the sixth inning. For those surprised by Joe’s vertical, he recently brought a videotape of one of his high school basketball games that featured two break-away slam dunks by Crede.
Topping 1 Million
You might never know it given the annual attention to White Sox attendance challenges, but the club topped the 1 million mark today … the fastest the Sox have reached the 1 million mark since 1994. The Sox averaged 30,962 fans on the just-completed, 12-game homestand. Thanks Sox fans.
Apologies to Eddy
For those of you who read this often, it will come as no surprise that I misspelled the name of Eddy Curry in yesterday’s post. My ninth grade English teacher would not be surprised either, but sorry Eddy. Credit goes to Teddy Greenstein of the Tribune for pointing out the error. It will not be my last, so make sure you email me and point them out when they occur.
Kudos to the Tribune
For Melissa Issacson’s great feature on Mark Buehrle in today’s Tribune. Check it out. She really captured the easy-going, low-key Mark we all know.
Mad About You
Paul Reiser, star of long-running Mad About You, took in the game today with his family. Paul and a son came early for batting practice.
For those concerned, Aaron Rowand did get his football signed by the members of the 1985 Bears Super Bowl team. He was very happy before the game.
By shortstop Pablo Ozuna to end the Cubs fifth inning. Not only did he keep it on the infield (to keep a run from scoring), but he was able to toss the ball to second baseman Willie Harris to record the third out. Ozuna has more than filled in for Juan Uribe, who has been nursing a sore back.
A group of 50 visitors from New Zealand were at today’s game, their first MLB game ever. You wonder what they thought of the afternoon …
White Sox Batting Order for Sunday
Podesdnik, LF; Harris, 2B; Thomas, DH; Konerko, 1B; Rowand, CF; Dye, RF; Pierzynski, C; Crede, 3B; Ozuna, SS. Jon Garland (12-2, 3.40) takes the mound.
Manager Ozzie Guillen canceled batting practice before the game Sunday as the Sox conclude their longest homestand of the season (12 games, 14 days).
The White Sox eight-game winning streak ended yesterday. It was the club’s third eight-game streak this season, as the Sox became just one of five teams in the major leagues since 1900 to accomplish that feat before July 1 (according to Elias Sports Bureau). The others include the 2001 Seattle Mariners, 1998 Yankees, 1978 Boston Red Sox and 1912 New York Giants. The Sox last won nine straight games in 1977.
Sunday Matchups Against Mark Prior
Top Sox hitters over their careers against Mark Prior:
Podsednik, 8-15 (.533)
Thomas, 2-4 (.500), HR, 3 RBI
Konerko, 4-8 (.500), HR, RBI
Dye, 2-7 (.286), HR, RBI
Iguchi, 1-4 (.250), HR, RBI
Unlucky in Love
While everything broke the White Sox way Friday, Saturday was a case of frustration and "almosts" for the Sox. Lucky yesterday, unlucky today.
Twice the Sox failed to come up with that two-out hit with runners on third base, and of course Todd Hollandsworth pulled in Joe Crede’s would-be home run in the second inning. Had Crede’s shot gone out, the game would have been tied at 4-4.
You kept waiting for that patented White Sox rally in the late innings, but it wasn’t meant to be today. And you had the feeling that a 4-0 lead in the first would not be enough, but it turns out Greg Maddux and the Cubs made it stand up to even the series 1-1.
Cubs manager Dusty Baker pointed to three keys for his team in today’s game … Corey Patterson’s bunt single to lead off the game, Aramis Ramirez’ grand slam and Hollandsworth’s home run-saving catch.
"Holly saving that home run off Crede when they were starting to get on a roll was a key play," Baker said. "You know how the White Sox are when they start rolling. His catch took their steam away that inning. It was a big play, a huge play."
White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen on starter Jose Contreras …
"His last couple of outings, he has had a bad first inning," Guillen said. "Today it was the home run by Ramirez. That was the key to the game. Take away the first inning, and he pitched a good game."
On what he said when he made the trip to the mound to speak with Contreras …
"I didn’t want there to be any miscommunication. I told him to ‘Stay strong, attack people, be aggressive. You’ll be O.K.’"
Turn Out the Lights, the Party Is Over
Concerns about electrity — a combination of last night’s fire at 22nd and Cermak and the oppressive heat — led the Sox to dim lights in the ballpark and cut back on air conditioning to try and conserve energy. Sox officials also spoke to the umpires pregame over concerns that there would be enough electricity to turn on the lights if they were needed late in the game.
Topping 1 Million
With Sunday’s sellout, the White Sox will top the 1 million mark in attendance, the fastest they have reached that milestone since 1994. Attendance is up at least 12 percent from 2004.
Taking in a Game
Former Purdue coach Gene Keady and ESPN college basketball analyst/former UCLA coach Steve Lavin took in today’s game from the ballpark’s Scout Seats.
First Pitch Heroics
Eddie Eddy Curry of the Chicago Bulls threw out the ceremonial first pitch prior to today’s game and then spoke with the media, expressing his excitement over resuming basketball drills. "I don’t know if it was a strike," Curry said of his pitch, "but I didn’t bounce it."
Visiting U.S. Cellular Field
A group of front office executives from Japanese expansion franchise Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles toured the ballpark prior to the game, checking out USCF’s renovations and premium dining and seating options for when their club begins play in the JBL.
Bears at Heart
When White Sox center fielder Aaron Rowand heard members of the 1985 Super Bowl Champion Bears would be throwing out the first pitch before tomorrow’s game, it took him about five seconds to fish a football out of his locker (not sure why he had a football in his locker, but anyway …) "Do you think they would sign this for me?" asked Rowand, a die-hard Bears fan.
Why Can’t We Be Friends?
Today’s crowd seemed more evenly mixed between Cubs and Sox fans. There were quite a few families and kids at today’s contest.
Sox on WGN
I watched parts of the Cubs telecast on WGN-TV today. Even though it was a "Cubs telecast", they showed some terrfic shots of the ballpark, the Pontiac Fundamentals Deck and the Fan Deck in center field. They really captured the feel and look of the ballpark. Bob Brenly commented on one youngster’s swing up on the Fundamentals Deck with, "He really spanked that."
For the Cubs
Patterson, CF; Perez, SS; Lee, 1B; Burnitz, RF; Ramirez, 3B; Walker, DH; Hollandsworth, LF; Hariston, 2B; Blanco, C. Maddux is pitching.
For the Sox
Podsednik, LF; Iguchi, 2B; Rowand, CF; Konerko, 1B; Everett, DH; Dye, RF; Pierzynski, C; Crede, 3B; Ozuna, SS. Contreras is pitching.
Be Aware of the Heat
Yesterday, fans did a great job beating the heat. Very few cases were treated by our medical personnel. SportsService, the ballpark vendor, sold a record number of bottles of water. If you are attending today, please make sure you hydrate, use the rain rooms or shower if you need to and visit a cooling station if you start to feel the effects of the heat.
Yesterday’s crowd was as pro-Sox as any intracity contest in memory. Sox fans showed up in force at the first series at Wrigley Field in May and dominated the crowd yesterday. It will be interesting to see what the next two days bring …