Sunday, October 8, 2005, 10:30 pm
Some of the faces back home. (Photo: Damon Young/MLB.com)
White Sox Welcome
What a surprise? When the team charter flight, named "White Sox 1", touched down Saturday around 1 pm at Miway airport, the team was met by 500-1,000 fans who lined the access road and bent onto 63rd Street.
Flags were flying, police had shut off the street and people cheered their Sox as the players and staff pulled onto the street. It was a great showing and a great feeling. Can’t speak for everyone, but it sent chills down my spine to drive by everyone.
Ozzie, Joey Cora, Paul Konerko and Chris Widger took in tonight’s Blackhawks game at the United Center. Ozzie just wanted to be near the glass (was it the action or the fights?). PK is a huge hockey fan and was (maybe is) a season ticket holder for the Coyotes.
LAA or NYY
Everyone is debating the question of which team do we want to face next? I think there are pros and cons to both (which others are much more qualified to discuss than I am). I was rooting for a Yankee win tonight, long, close games, even extra innings, and definitely a Game 5 (and I don’t care which team wins that one). Indeed, the Yanks won after I originally posted this so it’s a Game 5. Something like today’s 18-inning affair tomorrow night in Los Angeles would be perfect. After all, we earned the right to host games 1-2 with our regular-season record, and we earned this break by sweeping the Red Sox.
Jeff Roberson / AP
Today’s 10 am workout started late because so many players had a tough time working their way through traffic caused by this morning’s Marathon. Chicagoans all know the shortcuts and back ways, but our players aren’t necessarily that familiar with concepts like Canal Street.
Our Senior VP of Stadium Operations saw me before Friday’s game in Boston and said, "If we win tonight, you’ll see me smile for the first time this year." (I had been giving him a hard time about his demeanor in recent weeks). "Then, you can put it in your blog." So he saw me after the game and we both had a laugh. Now, it is in the blog.
Friday also was my mother’s birthday … which I forgot. "Well, at least I had a good reason," I sheepishly told my wife. "Yeah, right," she answered. "Good luck." At least my dad will enjoy the ALCS tickets. I need to figure out how to make amends with my mom.
A former Sox employee now living in NYC, David ran today’s marathon wearing a Go Sox headband and sporting "Go" on one calf and "Sox" on the other. He said the response from spectators was great. It was David’s 13th marathon, which I salute, since getting up from the couch and going to the fridge is exercise for me.
So ignore this if you really don’t care how the sausage is made. I chose not to write about it when it happened because I don’t necessarily think the public cares. However, columnists at the Sun-Times twice have chosen to mention it, so I think the other side deserves to be heard (even if only on this insignificant, amateurish blog).
On Thursday in Boston, Aaron Rowand was approached at his locker after our workout by Greg Couch, a columnist/reporter for the Sun-Times. Greg inquired if he could ask the center fielder for a few comments.
According to Aaron, he never really had the chance this year to speak with Greg one-on-one (it was always in a group setting), so he took this opportunity to express his season-long displeasure with several of Greg’s columns, including one from April 17 headlined, "Don’t Buy What Sox are Selling." Several other media reps in the clubhouse confirmed the content of the exchange, many with smiles on their faces.
Aaron’s soliloquy to Couch ended with … "I’ll talk to every single media person in Chicago, but I won’t ever talk to you." Of course, anyone who knows Aaron knows he indeed will speak to just about any media person or fan. It takes a lot to get under his skin. He is a kid at heart. And he cares.
And Greg seems to say today in print that Aaron’s being focused on this is "petty" and "small-minded." In my opinion, players have every right to speak to a media person who they think has treated them unfairly or written something that is inaccurate. And the media person has every right to believe what they want and to continue to stand by their opinion. In the end, both may agree to disagree, but both should benefit from having the conversation. I don’t think it is "petty" or "small-minded" at all. It is interesting and amusing that the harshest writers often seem to have the thinnest skin.
Players tend to have the most respect for writers who, if they have written something critical of the team, manager or player, have the guts to show up in the clubhouse the next day and show their face. Often, nothing will ever be said between the two, but the fact that a reporter showed up counts for a great deal in the clubhouse culture.
Everyone also should know that the writers don’t write the headlines, but headlines are, in theory, suppose to give a sense of what the story is about. Headlines above other columns by Greg this summer include:
"Sox Unwilling to Accept that they might need help" (8/29)
"Lead Sinking … Time for Choke Thinking" (8/24)
"As skid grows, eruption can’t be far off" (8/21)
"Sox OK, but slip is showing" (8/18)
"Sox Could Use Burnett or Vizquel/In Theory, small ball works, but Ozzie’s Men Aren’t Executing" (7/24)
"Sox Always Find a Way to Shoot themselves in foot" (6/19)
"I love Buehrle, Garcia, rest of starters — and Twins" (5/1)
"Don’t Buy What Sox are Selling" (4/17)
Now, I find it interesting that after Jay Mariotti first referred to the conversation in his Friday column, Couch waited two more days to tack it onto his Sunday article (you may not have bothered to read his entire piece. It was at the very end).
I don’t want to get into a he said/she said over the Aaron/Greg conversation, but Greg today wrote that Aaron’s reaction to his columns was "creepy" and "very sad." Now, I must assume that Greg doesn’t think it is creepy or very sad to actually read all of his columns or even save them, so he must be referring to Aaron’s using the printed word as motivation to prove someone wrong. Seems to me, this has been happening in sports and life for a very long time and will continue to happen well into the future.
"This is a little strange, but very sad," Couch writes. "And it’s also entirely unfair to White Sox fans."
I don’t see the connection to Sox fans that Greg does, but maybe he feels better wrapping himself in the cloak of defending the fan (something another at his paper often claims to do). Personally, I think our fans do a very good job of defending themselves, thank you very much.
Columns like Couch’s April piece have been on our bulletin board all year long, along with those by other doubters. If this type of motivation helps us win games, great. Maybe the team will vote to give Couch a postseason share.
Either way, after talking to Greg, Aaron said to me, "I feel great! I’ve been wanting to say that to him all year!"
And then he went 2-for-4 as we won the Division Series.