It’s Denver and It’s Gorgeous

Mile High

The White Sox arrived in Denver last night (Sunday) for our three-game series against the Rockies, who have won four straight.  Even though we seem to play them over and over again each spring in Tucson, this is the first time the White Sox and Rockies face each other in interleague play.  Colorado is the only Major League team we have never played.Garcia

Guys are excited about seeing Coors Field and how it might impact the game.  On the plane out, talk was about how our outfielders might have to adjust … that the tendency is to play too deep, allowing too many balls to fall in.

Going into this series, our bullpen is also very thin.  Freddy Garcia, tonight’s starter, could help us by going deep into the game.  Otherwise, we have quite a few relievers who have thrown 3-4 consecutive games.

Draft

Tomorrow is a big day in baseball with the First-Year Player Draft (officially, the Rule 4 Draft).  Our Amateur scouts, who have focused on standout college and high school players since January, have all gathered in our war room in Chicago.  Just like the other 29 teams, we have a board with more than 100 players our scouts have "turned in."  In watching this event year after year, I am always amazed at how different boards are among teams.  Sure, the first 50 or so players chosen are probably on everyone’s board, but then it always gets interesting.  Teams pick names (in pretty high rounds) that aren’t even on the board.  I have to assume we do the same.  It shows how subjective the entire enterprise is, but then you see someone like Mark Buehrle, a draft and follow guy we took in the 38th round, become one of the game’s best pitchers, and you have to compliment the scouts.

As guys are picked, their names are peeled off the board.  By the second day, we have a smaller list of guys our scouts came across and liked (for now or the future).  These are often the diamonds in the rough …

One of the best things on draft day is speaking to your first rounder and hearing the excitement in his voice.  Usually, I am in the room when Ken Williams, our general manager, calls him to welcome him to the organization.  Ken then hands the phone to me so that I can arrange for the media to speak with the player.  The excitement in his voice always reminds me of how special it is to be a professional baseball player and play (or work in) the major leagues.

The White Sox are the only team in baseball to not have a Top 10 pick in the draft since 1990 (when we took Alex Fernandez).  This speaks to our on-field success from 1991-2004, but it also is a big challenge for our scouting department to find impact players with picks in the high teens to lower 20s. 

Myths

One of my hopes with this blog is to try and offer a different opinion on some of the myths we battle.  Every organization has them, and we know Sox fans sometimes (often) grow frustrated with how their team is portrayed by the mass media, so my hope is that I can confront some of these head-on and you can decide for yourself.

One example of this from early this year is the complaint (mainly by the local Chicago media) that the White Sox were not getting national attention.  This just had not been true.  The Sox have been featured on the covers of Sports Weekly and TSN (a great cover that reads, The Joy of Sox) and have been covered by Sports Illustrated, The New York Times, New York Post, Los Angeles Times, ESPN SportsCenter, Cold Pizza, Outside the Lines and many more.

Recently, one columnist in Chicago — a writer most of our fans know has a very personal bias againOzziest the organization — criticized the club’s new contract extension for Ozzie Guillen, saying we gave him a low-ball number.  This is just not factual.  Ozzie’s new deal, which runs through 2008 and includes an option for 2009, is really at the top of his class of managers.  The financial numbers quoted by the columnist aren’t close to correct.  There are many members of the media who work hard and get their information correct.  We have a lot of respect for them.  There are others who never come into the clubhouse and base much of their information on second-hand quotes.  Their information is automatically out of context.  Judging from the reaction of most of our fans, you can tell the difference.

Lefthanders

Mark Buehrle is unlike any other major league pitcher in several ways.  Saturday, during a brief pregame downpour, he ran around and dove on the tarp to cheers from the crowd.  It probably was not the smartest thing he has ever done, but that is Mark.  He is about as carefree as they come.

18 Comments

Scott,

I look forward to regularly reading your blog.

Greetings from Lake County!
Yes, there are Sox fans even up here (Antioch/Fox Lake). We are really excited about your blog and you should expect us to be regular readers!

Chris

Glad to see you bloggin’ Scott.

Thank for reaching out to the fans!!!!!! Keep up the good work….GO SOX!!!!!!!

Here in Littleton Colorado (next to Denver) most of my Sox news comes from the internet. This helps keep me up to date and in touch with MY team! Being teh biggest SOX fan west of the Mississippi has its responsibilities.
J!

I too look forward to reading this blog…go Sox!

Comin from the NW side of Chicago (Yes I’m a SOX fan not the cubs) Can’t wait to see all that happens on this blog. GO SOX!

You said Colorado was the only team the White Sox had never played in all of major league baseball? What was the score then when we played the Washington Nationals?

You said Colorado was the only team the White Sox had never played in all of major league baseball? What was the score then when we played the Washington Nationals?

Perhaps that’s because we’ve already played the Nationals when they were the Montreal Expos? Good read Scott!

Congrats to this blog from Morris, Manitoba, Canada. its nice to see a view of the sox from the perspective of the management as we don’t get a whole lot up here, its all red sox and yankees. alas, i have finally found a place to read up on the goings on within the orginazation. sox for the pennant 2005!

I’ve been a Sox fan since the first time my father took me to Comisky in 1958 (I was 5 years old). I still envision the stunning green field and remember the sweet cigar smoke in the stands, the ghosts of the great players who roamed the lower deck “caverns”, and my idol Jim Landis in center field. It doesn’t get any better than that!

That’s great for Beuhrle until he breaks his arm sliding around like that! ;) Anyway, it’s great to see that the team is having fun and getting along with each other. In my opinion, this could be the Sox’s key to a world championship.

I’ve been a Sox fan since my first game in 1948 when the Sox were truly an awful bunch. My one wish in life is to see them win one world series before they plant me, just as it was my father’s wish, his wish was never fulfilled and I really don’t expect mine will be either. Let’s face it a Sox fan is a born loser but at least he isn’t a cub fan.

Scott, Keep the Blog coming. As to National coverage, I am living in Baltimore and have seen more games so far this season; (at least 6) on National Coverage and WGN
usually covering a weekend game, then in any other year since leaving Chicago- 7 yrs ago. One comment- it is great to hear broadcasters from National stations; the Sox broadcasters never comment against Sox coaching and thats the great part of listening to a game…. ” Why the heck did he do that”. Time to bring Jimmy Persall back . GoGo Sox!

The Chicago Columnist that you were referring to seems to have personal problems with our coach, GM and owner. He also seems to verbally assault sox fans for their lack of support every chance he gets. I have been to several games this season and plan on seeing a total of 10 or more. As well as watch, listen to, or view via internet close to 90% of the games. Is there anyway to get the rest of Sox Nation to show up and take away the very last valid reason that ***** from the times has to criticize us? Any thoughts?

I always hear about media bias, but what does that mean? If they don’t say nice things, they are out to get you? C’mon. This is a big city. The media needs to see ad copy and airtime – if they need to stoke controversey, who cares? Real fans still watch the team. No one really cares if the owner is a saint or a bad guy – as long as the team wins. I’m just glad the media is making the effort to cover the team. I’ve noticed 3 Fox games of the week spots for the Sox and 3(?) ESPN games. The east coast experts are still in shock that the $200 million Yanks are old and are mediocre. Once they get over that, the Sox will lead Sportscenter all August and September. And if they don’t – we’ll still win the World Series, even if New York doesn’t notice.

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