Sunday, January 1, 2006, 2:05 p.m.
Yes, I Am Alive
I apologize (for about the third time, I think) that it has been soooo long since my last post. I probably have lost whatever semi-loyal readership this blog may have enjoyed, but I am back (in a much less dramatic way than No. 23). If you want to respond with anger or disgust, I understand. I’ll take it.
Thanks to all those who emailed me or asked where I had gone (or even cared). For those of my "friends" who sent me nasty emails asking where I had gone, someone once told me not to pick fights with people who buy ink by the barrel. (Of course one of my thoughts in doing this blog in the first place was that the Internet kind of levels the playing field on the ink thing).
So my disappearance was based on the following … 1. needing some kind of break, 2. going to the winter meetings in Dallas with limited time to blog (although there would have been some good stuff … I kept kicking myself), 3. a trip to Disney with the family (we always promised my kids that we would go to Disney if the White Sox ever won a World Series title … finally had to pay up), 4. the untimely death of my mother-in-law just before Christmas (a real downer the family has not yet recovered from experiencing), 5. Christmas and holiday travel related to No. 4 above.
But enough of the excuses (and lack of White Sox info) and on to 2006 …
I still can’t get that song out of my mind, but on our last day at Disney I took my son to Epcot to watch the fireworks one last time. So who ends up standing next to me on the bridge? Dan, the Get Up Guy, with his daughter. And as we talk, the folks in front of us were Sox fans from Hoffman Estates. Go figure.
Anyway, by far, White Sox hats and jerseys dominated the crowds at the four Disney parks. Boston was a close second, followed by the Yankees and Marlins, but we DOMINATED the crowds. It was great to see. I know it is anecdotal, but I think it speaks to how national the passion has grown.
At some point I mentioned reviewing some of the postseason pubs that were printed specially to honor the White Sox. Without wanting to be too critical (it is New Year’s Day, ya know) …
I think the very best one was done by The Sporting News. Great, great photos. A real high quality piece.
1A in my mind (and this is all subjective) was the SI commemorative. Unbelieveable cover art. Worth getting the book just to see A.J.’s passion on the front cover.
The books put together by the Sun-Times and Tribune are very strong. The Sun-Times gives you more of a written record, which is good for reference. For some reason, all the copies of the Tribune book I saw seemed like the print job ran a little dark. Still well worth buying, however.
I picked up quite a few others on newsstands, books like Street & Smith, Lindy’s etc.
All told, I found nine different publications. Let me know if you all found others I missed. And my biased advice is of course to buy all of them. Don’t you think that guy who was 10 years old in 1917 was kicking himself a bit in 1963 that he didn’t take advantage when he could?
By now you probably all have them, but if not, you should pick up both videos, one by MLB Productions on the World Series and the other by them on our entire season. Both can be had through the whitesox.com Shop.
We had an unveiling party on December 5 for the second video and Neal Cotts and Bobby Jenks attended, along with several thousand of Sox fans. A special treat was having the trophy there to pose for photos.
I spent several hours yesterday watching the replay of Game 3. I was more nervous watching it on December 31 than I was at the ballpark that night. Explain that.
Which leads me to the fact that the championship trophy is out and about town, thanks to U.S. Cellular, who is helping us defray the costs of the tour. The schedule is listed on line. We are asking fans to make a small, optional donation to Chicago White Sox Charities if they want to pose with the trophy. As you know, CWSC does a great deal of good within Chicagoland, so we appreciate anything you donate.
But bottom line, make sure you get that family photo with the trophy at some point this season.
KW Never Sleeps
Which I hear is what a kidney stone will do to you … seriously, during the winter meetings, Kenny, Rick Hahn, Dave Wilder and the entire baseball decision-making group focused on pitching, pitching and more pitching. It is what made us World Champions in 2005 and it is what is becoming more and more precious within the game. So rather than rest on 2005, Kenny has kept working to improve this team, adding Jim Thome (who seems like a great, great guy), Rob Mackowiak (a South Sider) and Javier Vazquez. In addition to bringing Paulie back, AJ and Jon Garland both signed long term deals to stay. Not a bad offseason, considering ours started just two months ago. Is anyone else ready to get 2006 started?
The White Sox have gone 432-378 (.533) under Kenny, which is the best winning percentage for a GM in White Sox history and the 17th best in MLB since 1950 (according to Baseball America).
I didn’t read it, but someone told me Aaron Rowand is taking some flak in Philly for being such a Bears fan and for wearing Bears gear. If true, give me a break. Everyone here knows that for whatever reason, Aaron was a Bears fan well before the White Sox ever entered his life. My guess is that he will be at the Bears playoff game … which by the way, good luck to the Bears.
Season Tickets sales are through the roof and still going strong. Remember that to get the best seat locations, you may want to consider season tickets. Packages, like the Ozzie plan, are manageable in terms of number of games and cost. If interested, I suggest you call ASAP. 312-674-1000 or order yours online.
First Pitch Photo
Many, many fans expressed interest in getting Ron Vesely’s photo that ran in SI of the first pitch of the World Series. It is very, very cool. Ron had a limited number of signed, oversized copies made up and they are available through whitesox.com. Proceeds go to White Sox Charities. Here is how the smaller version of it looked on my blog the next morning after Game 1.
White Sox Everywhere
We continue to have White Sox players and staff featured everywhere. Most recently, Chicago Magazine named the White Sox among their "Chicagoans of the Year" and Timeout Magazine’s current issue has a classic photo of Paul Konerko on the cover. He has a PK smile/smirk on his face and has just popped the cork on a bottle of champagne.
With a 2006 payroll tentatively in the mid 90s right now, what happened to that criticism about the team being cheap. We likely will rank fourth in the AL in payroll. During my time with the club, I believe we have been as high as third.
If you have not heard, sets of blue seats from the ballpark are available to purchase online. If you think about it, these seats lasted from Opening Day 1991 to Game 2 of the 2005 World Series. A pretty good life …
In cleaning my files out during the break, I came across the following headlines …
"IR-RESPONSE-IBLE … unlike other team owners, White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf isn’t fulfilling his obligation to serve as the face of the franchise." (May 2004, Sun-Times)
They must have missed October, although maybe you could argue Steve Perry trumped Jerry in face time. But isn’t it suppose to be about championships? Like, 7 of them between the Bulls and Sox.
"Who are top Sox? Chicago’s Not Scaring Boston" (July, Boston Herald). Enough said.
"Numbers Say the White Sox better watch out for the Twins." (July 22 The Sporting News). Must have been the same formula a local paper used to predict the playoffs.
"Don’t Buy What Sox Are Selling." (April Sun-Times). They sure got that one right.
"Sox Appear Headed for 100 Wins, but let’s not Forget About Those 1993 Giants." (July Tribune). Wrong on both counts, I guess. Sox won 99 (unless you want to count the next 11)
Sorry, it was probably a little punkish of me to end/start the year with that, but it was too good to pass up.
A very cool billboard in the Chicago area. Stay tuned.
And I will try to post more often. Promise.