April 2006

Back in the Saddle

Wednesday, April 26, 2006, 3:45 pm

Late Nights

Sorry to disappear for a day or two.  With the team on the West Coast, these late nights really kick my butt.

I logged on today expecting a debate about Ozzie’s use of Jon Garland Monday night, but apparently 13 runs last night quickly moved us on to another topic.

Can’t speak for everyone, but how would you have liked being a member of the drawn-in Seattle infield with Jermaine Dye at the plate last night?  JD promptly lined a shot into Bobbyjenksthe right field stands.  I’m guessing the second baseman held his breath on the pitch.

Ozzie’s line about Bobby Jenks, "When you get guys out, you’re big.  When you don’t get guys out, you’re fat" was quoted in Sports Illustrated’s They Said It segment (SI, May 1).

By the way, did anyone else read Rick Reilly’s column about Ozzie an issue or so ago?  Ozzie found it confusing.  I found it denigrating to anyone who speaks with English as a second language.  Just my opinion.

A CD to recommend … Sugarland.  My wife laughs at my new Country-Western bent, but I really enjoy Jennifer Nettles’ voice.  Jennifer grew up in Douglas, Ga., home of Sox hitting coach Greg Walker and sang the National Anthem last year before one of our games.  Now, she has made it big with Bon Jovi.

Sunday At The Park

Sunday, April 23, 2006, 3:35 pm

Sorry I didn’t post today’s lineup before the game.  I was in Naperville this AM coaching a boy’s soccer team to its first defeat in two years and then traffic into the ballpark was not good.  I arrived in the bottom of the first inning.

Silent Treatment

Not sure of they talked about it on television, but the entire dugout gave Brian Anderson the silent treatment after his home run in the sixth inning.  Everyone left him alone, and it wasn’t until after he stored his own helmet and bat that the team congratulated him.

What Was That

With the Jermaine Dye-Juan Uribe handshake after Uribe’s second home run.  I will have to find out more about the ritual.

Sorry to See it End

Jim Thome’s streak of scoring a run in consecutive games ended at 17.  It’s still the most to begin a season and is a club record but fell one game short of the American League mark.

Ozzie’s Postgame Thoughts

"It was just a matter of time.  Uribe has been swinging a lot better.  I think he was really bothered by the pain in his side since spring training."

"I’m happy for Brian Anderson.  He needed that more than anyone else.  He needed it for his confidence.  This game is as much about confidence as anything else.  Hopefully, two hits today can get him going."

"When you swing the bats well as a unit, you’re hard to stop."

"Jose has the best stuff on our staff.  He is not necesaarily the best pitcher but he has the best stuff.  He has come up again and again to be our ace.  He works hard.  He wants to be good and it is paying off."

"Our pitching staff is starting to put it together.  That’s the name of our game."

On to Seattle

Saturday Night

Saturday, April 21, 2006, 3:00 pm

Tonight’s Lineup

Pods, LF; Iguchi, 2B; Thome, DH; PK, 1B; Dye, RF; AJ, C; Crede, 3B; Mackowiak, CF; Cintron, SS.  Pitching is Freddy Garcia.

Friday Pregame

Friday, April 20, 2006, 4:05 pm

Fun pitching matchup tonight.  I was riding to a downtown studio this morning with Jerry Reinsdorf and mentioned how excited I was to watch Mark Buehrle against Johan Santana tonight.

"Forget the great matchup," Jerry said.  "I just want to win.  I wish Mark was pitching against their No. 5 starter."

I guess he has a point (but I am still looking forward to tonight).

Tonight’s Lineup

Pods, LF; Iguchi, 2B; Thome, DH; PK, 1B; Dye, RF; Crede, 3B; AJ, C; Uribe SS; Anderson, CF.  Buehrle on the mound.

Off Day

Everyone seemed to enjoy their offday.  Ozzie Guillen shot a commercial for an automotive company, so his day wasn’t really "off."  Several guys went golfing.  A couple got their hair cut.

Ed Farmer, Roger Bossard and I spent the afternoon at Cog Hill competing for dinners.  It was funny.  Neither of us mentioned to Roger that his groundskeeping nearly cost Javier a no-hitter.  Can you believe it didn’t even come up once in 18 holes?

Funny Day

Jerry sat down today for an interview with WMAQ TV’s **** Kay for City Desk (which airs Sunday morning).  Kay is retiring soon and this is among his final shows.

After that, I had the honor of presenting a World Series ring to Mrs. Mary Frances Veeck.  I met Mrs. Veeck and her friend, Mrs. Phillips, at their favorite restaurant.  It was truly an honor for me to deliver the ring and express the appreciation on behalf of the White Sox for all the Veeck family did to help our organization.  They, along with the Comiskeys and Allyns, share in last year’s victory.

Game Notes

The Royals sent only 91 men to the plate during the last series, 10 over the minimum.  Pretty amazing.

Jim Thome has scored a run in 15 consecutive games to begin the season.  No one in the modern era has a longer streak to open a year.  Kenny Lofton and Red Rolfe own the AL record at 18.

Reader Responses

To Ashley: I appreciated the kind words, but please, please, aim even higher than just my job.  Bud Selig is leaving in a few years and that job might be open.  We do hire interns each year, but they begin on Feb. 1 and run through Thanksgiving.  You need your degree first, then contact us.

To Tom Q:  I am willing to offer a set of 2006 media guides to the Sox fan who passes along the name of anyone (preferably another Sox fan) responsible for the very best random act of kindness.  Competition closes on May 11.  Right now, the leader is Maria Wegener.  Top her, Tom, and the books are yours …

To reifer (no relation that I am aware of):  The whole "cut your hair" business was made public by AJ on WSCR Radio.  Ken was just responding to media questions and really wasn’t too thrilled to even be discussing the topic publicly.

Jerry again told me today that the issue is not about how long or short your hair is.  It is about looking clean and neat.

On Nancy Faust:  When negotiating her contract this season, Nancy raised the thought of only working day games.  The idea seemed to work for both parties, so for 2006, she will only be heard (live) in the ballpark during the day.  I am sure she and the White Sox are willing to negotiate if we are still playing in October (knock on wood).

MLB Productions

Major League Baseball Productions is here this weekend for This Week in Baseball.  They will have mics on Ozzie Guillen (good luck) and several other players this weekend, and will interview quite a few of our players for a show entirely dedicated to the White Sox.  I will let you know when it airs.

Uribe

Many of our players, including Juan Uribe, took in the Bulls game Wednesday night as guests of Jerry.  During the game, Juan asked about getting a basketball signed by the Bulls (exactly how that conversation with Jerry went is an interesting question).  Anyway, Jerry went into the clubhouse today to give Juan a ball.  He was like a little kid, tossing it up in the air. 

"This is going into my home in the Dominican," the shortstop said.

The King

The team continues to give Paul Konerko a hard time.  Today, his locker chair disappeared.  In it’s place was a black, white and grey paded White Sox recliner with a golden crown sitting atop it.  No respect at all.

Compliments of the President

Photos from our visit to the White House in February arrived today along with note cards reading, "Compliments of the President."  Pretty cool.

Amazing Performance

Vazquez_2

Wednesday, April 19, 2006, 4:10 pm

Pitching, Pitching and More Pitching

Amazing performance by Javier Vazquez today.  Funny that I wrote about no-hitters just the other day, and his performance today was certainly no-hit quality.  The swinging bunt was luck and even the second hit hardly bent grass in right field.

This ballpark, which celebrated its 15th anniversary yesterday, has never seen a no-hitter.

Blame it on Roger

I am going to blame that first hit on my good friend Roger Bossard, our head groundskeeper.  Stupid ball stayed fair.

Thanks Fans

With today’s crowd, we have now passed last year’s season total for tickets sold.  If we don’t sell another ticket this year, we still have the fourth largest attendance total in franchise history.  Thanks for your support Sox fans.  When you see our team and some of the long-term contracts given to our players, it is directly because of your commitment.

To Maria Wagner

How nice of you to pass your tickets along to a fellow Sox fan.  Really appreciate the gesture.

Uribe_1

Matinee

Wednesday, April 19, 2006, 9:37 am

Today’s Lineup

Pods, LF; Cintron, SS; Thome, DH; PK, 1B; Dye, RF; AJ, C; Crede, 3B; Mackowiak, CF; Uribe, SS.  Javier Vazquez on the hill.

Working Out

Several guys, including manager Ozzie Guillen, were at the ballpark early today getting a workout in before the day started.

Only the Bulls

Many members of the Sox team are planning to take in tonight’s Bulls game against the Toronto Raptors at the UC.

Clean and Neat

The White Sox team rules say only that players should keep their hair and mustaches "clean and neat."

Add Neal Cotts and Freddy Garcia to the list of guys who will be cleaning up over the next couple of days.

Fans needing a trim or wanting to show their support for our newly-shorn guys can have their hair cut at Friday night’s game.  Great Clips, a Sox sponsor, is planning to have several stylists on the main concourse Friday.  Fans can get hair cuts in exchange for a donation to Chicago White Sox Charities and the Ronald McDonald House.

Tuesday Pregame

Tuesday, April 18, 2006, 2:55 pm

Today’s Lineup

Pods, LF; Iguchi, 2B; Thome, DH; PK, 1B; Dye, RF; Crede, 3B; Uribe, SS; Widger, C; Anderson, CF.  Garland takes the mound for the Sox against Jeremy Affeldt for the Royals.

Jose, Jose, Jose

Tuesday, April 18, 2006, 9:34 am

Wow

How about that for a pitching performance last night?

Jose Contreras dominated the Royals, allowing just one hit over 7.0 IP while striking out six in the 9-0 Sox victory.

It was the first combined one-hitter for the White Sox since 5/25/79 vs. California (Ross Baumgarten, 8.0 IP and Randy Scarbery, 1.0 IP).

Most impressively, Contreras has now gone 10-0 with a 1.88 ERA over his last 11 regular-season starts.

I would say that is the definition of an ace.

Twice in my professional baseball career I have been lucky enough to witness a no-hitter.  The first came on August 11, 1991 when Wilson Alvarez no-hit the Orioles in Baltimore.  I had been on the job for just over three weeks.  Wilson’s no-no built over the course of the game.  You didn’t have the sense in the first inning that the day was going to be memorable.

However, the next one I saw you sure did.  Bret Saberhagen no-hit us on August 26 of that same year in Kansas City.  I was with the team and vividly remember thinking to myself, he has no-hit stuff even in the first inning.  He was that dominating.

Last night, Contreras had that type of stuff — even though he did allow the one hit.

Royal Arrival

Monday, April 17, 2006, 5:32 pm

The White Sox open a three-game series against the Royals tonight at chilly U.S. Cellular Field.

Tonight’s Lineup

Pods, LF; Iguchi, 2B; Thome, DH; PK, 1B; Dye, RF; AJ, C; Crede, 3B; Uribe, SS; Anderson, CF.  Jose Contreras pitching.  The Royals are throwing Sox killer Joe Mays.

The Latin music was blaring in the clubhouse tonight before the game.  Let’s hope it is as loud afterward.

Hair (and we’re not talking musicals)

Ozzie Guillen and Ken Williams’ pregame meetings with the media were dominated by two things … tarps and hair.

During yesterday’s rain delay, Mark Buehrle sprinted across the tarp several times as the rain fell and slid headfirst to the cheers of the soaking fans.  He did the same stunt during a rain delay last season.

Given Mark’s importance to the team, Ken Williams was not pleased and fined Buehrle for the action.

"First off, his form stunk," Williams said.  "Did you see the picture in the newspaper?  I don’t really want his money, he should appeal the fine.  I just want him to stop doing it so he doesn’t get hurt."

Williams also requested/suggested/ordered AJ Pierzynski and Joe Crede to cut their hair.

"It doesn’t have to be short," Williams said.  "We’re not the Yankees.  It just needs to be presentable."

AJ and Williams were busy giving each other a hard time in the dugout.

"I don’t have a problem with it," Crede said as he passed by.  "He does …" pointing at AJ.

"He has a problem with everything," Williams countered, joking.

"I hope this is the worst thing I have to deal with this year," said Guillen who laughed when the episode was described as a soap opera.

It will be big news on television tonight.

Cool Promotion

The White Sox and the Sun-Times have teammed up to offer a pretty cool promotion for Sox fans.  Fans attending our game on Sunday, April 23rd will be given a mini-ballpark with spaces to hold mini collectible baseballs featuring players from this year’s team.  The player baseballs will be available in coming weeks and you can collect them all.  I think they did something similar with the Bears last year.  I’ve seen the ballpark and mini balls and they are pretty neat.

Happy Easter

Sunday, April 16, 2006, 11:45 am

Happy Easter to all.  I hope you enjoy it with your families and a ballgame.

Today’s Lineup

Pods, LF; Iguchi, 2B; Thome, DH; PK, 1B; Dye, RF; AJ, C; Crede, 3B; Mackowiak, CF; Cintron, SS.  Freddy Garcia takes the mound.

Egglineup

Memories

Sox fans will remember one year ago today when Mark Buehrle threw a complete-game three-hitter and Paul Konerko slammed two solo home runs in a 2-1 White Sox victory.  The game took 1:39 to play.  Sound familiar?

American League Home Run Leaders since 2005:

Ortiz 51; A. Rodriguez 50; Ramirez 45; Konerko 44; Teixeira 44.

Sunny Forecast

According to ace groundskeeper Roger Bossard, the rain scheduled to pummel Chicago has missed us (although there is a chance around 3 pm for some drops).  This is good news for today’s starter, Freddy Garcia, who is 40-14 in day games since 1999.  Only Pedro Martinez (39-10, .796) has a better winning percentage and only Randy Johnson can match Freddy’s 40 victories.

Payback

I attended a very nice wedding last night at which a "gentleman" named John Ward proceeded to raz me about this blog (even though he admitted to never reading it).  So I warned him not to mess with someone who doesn’t just buy ink by the barrels but who can reach around the globe (potentially) with the click of a mouse.

John is a global consultant who also teaches at the university level (or at least that is his story).  If anyone knows John, particularly members of the Custom’s Department, please say hello for me the next time you see him.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 103 other followers