November 2005

Been Awhile

Tuesday, November 21, 2005, 9:03 a.m.

Sorry that it has been awhile since I posted, but things haven’t seemed to slow down.  I need to remind myself that this is a good thing.

Last week, many of us were down in Florida for MLB’s Fall Business Meetings.  These meetings, which are held every two years, give everyone on the business side of the game, PR, marketing, sales, community relations, advertising, a chance to get together and share best practices, new ideas, etc.  They are very worthwhile but took a big chunk out of November.

One of the things that came out of these meetings is the potential of the World Baseball Classic, which will be held for the first time this March.  16 teams, each representing a nation, will compete for the championship, which will be held in San Diego.

MLB will hold a press conference on December 5 to provide more information and perhaps to announce some of the players who will be taking part.

Baseball’s winter meetings will take place December 5-8 in Dallas, so we will be there along with Ken Williams, Rick Hahn and many of our baseball operations personnel.  KW has a lot on his plate right now.

Premiere

Attended the premiere of MLB’s World Series DVD last night, along with several fans, Aaron Rowand and Joe Crede.  I am biased, but the DVD came out great.  It was fun to watch the postseason again while Aaron whooped and hollered along with fans as they watched the highlights.

I agree with Ed Sherman of the Tribune that the best thing about the video might be the behind-the-scenes audio that was captured by our players wearing mics.

In 2004, we were one of six teams in baseball to take part in a pilot program to test miking players on a regular basis over a couple of months.  I believe this helped get our guysDvd comfortable with the idea.  Of course, having Ozzie Guillen around — he often doesn’t need a mic — also sets the tone.

Anyway, the sound is amazing.  You will hear Ozzie grab Bobby Jenks on the field and tell him to be prepared for tomorrow — seconds after the game.  You will hear Aaron Rowand and Brian Anderson cheering for Scott Podsednik’s home run.  You will hear Tim Raines talking to baserunners.  You will listen to Geoff Blum joke with Astros friends before Game 3 that "maybe I can get in the game and hit a home run."  And you will hear Willie Harris do a play-by-play in Game 4 innings before he scored the winning run.

We have to credit Bob Beghtol and Pat O’Connell in our media relations department with two home runs of their own.  Prior to Game 3, MLB Productions approached them about whom to mic that night.  "Try Geoff," they said.  "He played for the Astros and should still have friends on the team.  You’ll get good sound."

The next night, their recommendation for miking was Harris, who scored the winning run.

The World Series DVD should be available in stores Nov. 29.  Last year, it sold out quickly in Boston, so plan to act soon if you want one.  Even easier, they can be ordered online at whitesox.com.  A DVD of the entire Sox season, which will also include behind-the-scenes sound and extra features like our ballpark opening video, commercials and Comcast’s coverage of the parade and rally, is due out in early December.  So keep both in mind as Xmas gifts for all your Sox fans.

Bears Fans

While in town, Aaron and Joe attended Sunday’s win for the Bears.  Fan reaction to the two was amazing and both were still talking about it Monday.  People didn’t want autographs from the two.  They wanted to thank them for the season.  How cool is that?

Publications

Lots and lots of publications are pouring in on the White Sox and the season.  In an upcoming post, I will try to list them all so that everyone knows what is available.

Wsccoachreifert1

Go Maroons

Part of the reason my life has remained hectic is also very good.  My wife is the head women’s soccer coach at the University of Chicago.  For the third time in the past 10 years, her team is heading to the NCAA Final Four this weekend in Greensboro, N.C.  How great would it be to have a World Series victory and an NCAA championship in the same year?

Given our chosen professions, it is always interesting at parent-teacher meetings when our kids’ teachers discuss how competitive our kids are.  For good and for bad, in our household, winning and losing does matter …

Steve

I continue to hear from Steve Perry via email.  I think Steve is now a Sox fan for life …

Perry_2

Outrage

Tuesday, November 8, 2005, 1:57 pm

KennyAllow Me a Moment …

How in the world can Ken Williams not be named Executive of the Year by The Sporting News?  You have got to be kidding me.  Voting was done by two executives from each major-league club.  In my opinion, they should be embarrassed.

Worse, the winner wasn’t someone from the National League.  It was Mark Shapiro of the Indians.  Nothing against Mark — he certainly did a great job and the Indians improved from 80 wins to 93 (six victories short of the Sox) — but my guess is that if you went back and checked on all the preseason rankings, most (or at least many) had the Indians ahead of the Sox.  So all KW does is re-make the team in one year, win 99 games, capture the division, and he loses to the team that "underperformed" according to many preseason picks?  C’mon.

Kenny has too much class to ever complain, but this result is ridiculous.

Tomorrow is the BBWAA announcement on managers of the year.  No way it can’t be Ozzie, is there?

Now, I feel a little better … but only a little.

World Series Memories

Monday, November 7, 2005, 2:09 p.m.

Sorry to disappear for the last week again, but I ended up splitting time between City Hall, the State House, the golf course (sorry, it was in the 70s) and my kids.  Plus, I picked up a cold in Houston that has left me with little hearing in my left ear … such sacrifices! I spent Friday-Sunday trying to reply to the thousands of emails and voice messages we have received and to plan for how we might hit the ground running this week.

A few odds and ends …

The GMs are meeting this week.  This get together usually is a chance for them to discuss business and to informally meet to compare needs.  Often, conversations now lead to trades and player moves at the Winter Meetings.  More and more media cover these meetings, but often they amount to people standing around in the lobby sharing rumors.

The business side of baseball front offices head to Orlando next Sunday for a few days of internal meetings.  These are a great chance for people to share new ideas and best practices in a casual setting.

The trophy … a newspaper called me on Friday to say there was a City Hall rumor that the trophy had been lost.  Well, I had it on Wednesday and handed it to Ozzie, who strapped it into the passenger seat of his two-seater BMW and drove off up Central Ave. with it from Midway.  Ozzie and his family headed to Venezuela with it Thursday.  He told me they were going to meet him with an armoured truck and military guard for the trophy (as opposed to Ozzie’s BMW).  Anyway, Saturday morning, the Tribune ran a photo of Ozzie, in Venezuela, clutching the trophy and kissing Ernesto Aparicio, so I knew all was well.  Ozzie was back in the offices today, tired, but he did return the trophy.

We are working on a way to bring the trophy around to as many stops as we can so that as many fans in Chicagoland can see and take photos of the Commissioner’s Trophy … stay tuned.

Also, many people have called and asked about DVDs of the World Series and season.  The World Series DVD by MLB should appear just after Thanksgiving, while MLB’s season highlight video for the Sox should make its appearances on store shelves in early December.  Both will make great stocking stuffers.

Reports from MLB say White Sox merchandise is flying off store shelves at an amazing pace across the country.  It’s great to see all the Sox hats and jackets around town.

A week ago I promised to walk you back day-by-day through the World Series, so here is Game 4 (or at least what I can remember) …

Game 4

We had agreed to take a cameraperson from Comcast Sports Net Chicago up to the suite where Ken Williams and Jerry Reinsdorf were to tape the final inning of the game, should we win.

Well, of course, nothing is easy.  We are ahead 1-0 as I walk into the suite with the cameraman.  He shoots a little of the group, which includes Dennis Gilbert, the Reinsdorf family, grandkids, etc. as well as Dave Wilder, Rick Hahn and the Williams family.  It’s tense.

Then the Astros get the potential tying run on base.  I am thinking this is my last game as a White Sox employee if we blow this now that I have come into the suite with a cameraman, shattering our karma.  (Conversely, I thought this would be something all of us would want on video for future generations).

I slid over next to the camera guy and asked him to step back for an out or two.

Then Juan Uribe makes that amazing play in the left-field stands.  The camera guy comes up again.  Things are so tense.  You can see it in everyone’s eyes and on their faces.  High hopper over the middle, Uribe charges and makes the throw.

Bedlam.  Hugs.  Kisses.  Tears.  We were World Champions.

Someone from MLB quickly passes out championship shirts and hats.  We all begin a sprint down the hallway toward the elevator to take us to the clubhouse.

We pack into the elevator (thanks for the Houston fans who graciously let us go first) to the point where I am thinking, "Great, we are World Champions stuck in an elevator while everyone else celebrates."

But we make it down and head into a small auxiliary weight room just off the clubhouse where Commissioner Selig presents Jerry with the trophy.  You saw it on TV.  I stood among a group of family, friends and employees.  The sense of pride.  Of accomplishment.  Of happiness … for Jerry, Kenny and Ozzie was overhelming.  You literally could feel the fans at home watching.

The players celebrated next door with champagne.  We could not have been happier.

After that, we tried to help out Chicago media with interviews, most of which happened on the field.  Ozzie and our players carried the trophy proudly over their heads.  Our families and employees had come down onto the field and the Astros kindly let us celebrate.  Drayton McLane, Houston’s owner, graciously congratulated Jerry on the win.

The rest of the night is a blur.  We went back to our hotel for a huge party of fans, employees, owners, players, etc.  My wife flew in from Chicago, arriving just before the game.  She flew on to New York at 6 the next morning, so we spent the night at the party and just soaking in the fact that we had done it.

Sleep was not an option.  Who could sleep?  We were World Champions.

Letters

So many fans have written us with letters and thoughts about what this World Series title means to them that I would love to hear from you all.  We plan to print out emails and letters and have them in a book in our reception area for other fans to read.  Send along a note about where you were and what you did once we won … I now have a little more time to catch up on reading your responses to my posts.

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