June 2006

PNC Park

Tuesday, June 27, 2006, 7:19 pm ET

At first I thought about having my father write today’s blog entry, but I didn’t think that would go over real well (not that he is a poor writer or anything) …

Sorry to not get on-line until the top of the first inning, but pregame was busy.  This is my first trip to PNC Park, which is beautiful (view of the city, river, bridges, etc), but man, the press box is very high up.

David Riske and Kenny Williams are to my left, along with Ed Cassin, our traveling secretary.  We are sitting in the press box watching the game from very high up.  My guess is that KW won’t last long up here, but since we have scored twice (as of now), no one’s moving.

Anyway, there were quite a few funny comments from today’s clubhouse before the game (rain cancelled BP).

Robertostatue_2
Ozzie Guillen spent pregame wearing a special ball cap commemorating Roberto Clemente.  The Pirates Hall of Fame right-fielder was Ozzie’s favorite player, although the two never met.

Guillen has a room at his house in Venezuela dedicated to Clemente.  Among the items is a piece of the fatal plane, given to Guillen by a good friend of Clemente’s.

"I want to go see the statue of Clemente they have here outside the ballpark," Guillen said, "and someone told me they are going to honor Clemente’s legacy during this year’s All-Star Game."

As he watched the manager of Asheville lose it on television, Guillen was asked the best manager blow up he’d experienced.

"Maybe Bev (Terry Bevington) the time Ken Kaiser was calling balls before the pitcher even threw it home," Guillen said.  "That one was pretty good."

Seeing Ozzie imitate Bev and Kaiser made it even better.

Odds and Ends

Ozzie on his public reception recently:

"Parents are hiding their kids behind their legs, pointing at me and whispering, ‘That’s the guy.’"

Ozzie on his socks:

Throughout his career, Guillen wore his socks high, showing his bright red knee brace from his 1992 collision with Tim Raines.  His first game as manager, Opening Day of 2004, he wore them the same way.  The Sox lost in the bottom of the ninth inning.

"Ever since, I wear my pants down low."

Seems to be working.

Clubhouse question of the day:

Rob
Who is bigger in Pittsburgh?  Rob Mackowiak or Pat O’Connell, media relations assistant who worked for the Pirates before coming to us.

The decision was that Mackowiak is the King of Pittsburgh.

Joey Cora took some good-natured heat from several Guillens for his run-ins with umpires this winter in Venezuela.

"One time was bad," Cora admitted.  "In my opinion, he was missing pitches on the outside corner.  So I went out and built a mound of dirt on the outside edge of the plate so he could see it better.  I was gone by the time I had the line finished."

My flight over today was filled with Sox fans.  I heard the same from many media folks who traveled today.  Coming to Pittsburgh midweek for a series shows terrific support.  Way to go, Sox fans.

Kind of nice to get back to writing some of the old stuff again …

We are ahead 3-0 now.

Go Sox!

Saturday

Saturday, June 24, 2006, 10:01 am

Today’s Lineup

Pods, LF; Cintron, 2B; Thome, DH; PK, 1B; Dye, RF; Crede, 3B; Mack, CF; Widger, C; Uribe, SS.  Garland on the mound.

Yet another game on FOX.

And, yes, Ozzie will be attending sensitivity training.

Friday In The Seventh

Friday, June 23, 2006, 10 pm

A Few PreGame Sights

Ozzie Guillen mimicking the footrace last night between Head Trainer Herm Schneider and third base coach Joey Cora as the two ran back toward the dugout after making sure Jermaine Dye was OK after sliding into the wall in right field.

Ozzieandjoey_2
Guillen imitated Cora’s limping gait along the dugout and then turned and jogged back on his toes a la Schneider.

"What a race," he laughed.

GM Kenny Williams congratulated Dye on his dramatic catch ( 350K) but then tucked his head down and weakly held up his left hand just as Dye did last night to prove to the umpire he had held onto the ball.

I told Ozzie and Joey that some of the best postgame quotes of the past two years came courtesy of Cora last night (I’m thinking his comment about Garcia and Thome’s blast).

"Yeah, that’s the easiest part, talking afterwards," said Guillen, who pointed out to Cora this was the first time the team had ever won while he was absent. "Ask him about managing a 1-0 game."

Cora just laughed.

During the Game

Does Detroit ever lose?

Thanks to those readers who replied to kolsens comments on my earlier blog, but it’s really no big deal, and kolsens is certainly entitled to an opinion.  If you look back at my post, I mentioned Rick Telander’s column as "well done."  That doesn’t necessarily mean he agrees with me or vice versa.  I do give Rick credit for coming out and actually talking to us.  That scores big points in our book.

I understand how sensitive this entire issue has been to people, and I respect that a great deal.  Believe me, I have read enough email messages from fans over the last three days to know how strongly people feel about the issue.  It is up to Ozzie (and the Sox) to move past this incident, and I think he understands that.

We’ve (Ozzie and I) talked about it together many times over the past few days … in his office, in my office, in Rick Hahn’s office and in Jerry Reinsdorf’s office.

And while I am thinking of kolsens, I believe a couple of spots still remain for our blog outing on August 16.  We certainly can accept criticism, and we have a great deal of respect for people (and critics) who actually show up here at the ballpark, so kolsens, feel free to call Dustin at 312-674-5186 and join us.  I will be happy to buy you a beverage of your choice at the ballgame that night.

Friday Evening

Friday, June 23, 2006, 4:15 pm

Tonight’s Lineup

Pods, LF; Iguchi, 2B; Thome, DH; PK, 1B; Dye, RF; AJ, C; Crede, 3B; Mackowiak, CF; Uribe, SS.  Contreras on the mound with his streak on the line.

Big Stick

Jim Thome was in the dugout just now watching our pitchers take batting practice.

"That had to feel good last night," I said to him.

"They all feel good," he said.  And smiled.

Friday AM Thoughts

Thome_3

Friday, June 23, 2006, 10:57 am

Last Night

What an amazing game.  Regardless of which team you were cheering for, last night’s contest had it all … great pitching on both sides (Reyes and Garcia), tremendous defense (Crede, Dye and Mackowiak) and a dramatic blow (Thome).  Then to have Bobby Jenks enter the game in the ninth inning and just blow people away.

It felt like postseason in terms of intensity.

And how good did we look in this series, mixing offense, power, pitching and great defense?

A few interesting tidbits from friends David Vincent and David Smith on 1-0 games won by home runs:

Here’s a list of every 1-0 Sox victory, courtesy of the long ball and Vincent …

Hitting homer in 1-0 game (White Sox)

Download chart1.txt

And from David Smith:

When Jim Thome collected the only hit for the White Sox last night as he homered in their 1-0 win over St. Louis, he joined a very select list. David Vincent has sent you the list of all 1-0 games decided on a home run. I did a slightly different search to check for 1-0 games won on a homer which was the team’s only hit. I can only check back to 1957, but I found 8 cases, which are:

Download chart2.txt

Frankrobinson_1Three interesting notes.


1) 
Of these 8 cases, only the one in 1993 by Rafael Palmeiro was done by a visiting batter.

2) The homer by Frank Robinson in 1971 was his 493rd, which tied Lou Gehrig.

3) The Orioles and White Sox are each on this list three times, with the Orioles on the winning side in all three.

Dave Smith

Retrosheet

The Story Du Jour, and du jour and du jour

Don’t know about you all, but I am ready to focus on our baseball team rather than Ozzie’s mouth.  I told him last night he is killing me.  We (and he) certainly realize the impact and hurt his words may have caused some.  I am convinced he understands that.  We also feel that was not his intent (which does not excuse him in any way but I think should factor into reaction and punishment).  Now, it’s up to him to remember, speak and act accordingly.  I think he will.  We have been criticized for not reprimanding him more harshly, or in addition to MLB, but we were in contact with the Commissioner throughout the process and fully support his measures.  Ozzie understands that he deserved to be punished.

One positive out of this, in a sense (although, believe me, I would rather none of this happened), is that there is a public media debate brewing over how Jay Mariotti chooses to go about his job.  Hopefully, even more readers now understand that while his columns may include direct, unattributed quotes, he is never (at least in the past few years) in the dugout or in the clubhouse.  What he writes, in this sense, is always out of context in terms of the quotes used because they come from another news outlet or media person.  Sometimes it has no effect, sometimes it matters greatly.  And we think it should to readers, as well.

Duke_4
Several times, since I started this blog last June, I have had media people come to me and say, "We can’t write about this, but you should."  That’s how disgusted some media people are by this approach to writing opinion.  This incident has made this disgust a topic for debate publicly, which may in the end be a good thing.

In my 16 years with the team, we have never had a physical confrontation in our clubhouse except between media representatives.  In my experience, no Sox player has ever physically struck a member of the media out of anger. Jay likes to say that he fears for his safety, and that’s why he doesn’t venture into our clubhouse.  In nearly the same breath he said on WSCR Radio that he really didn’t have any issues with players on the current team. That, of course, makes no sense.

Someone should find out how often he is in the clubhouses/locker rooms of the Bears, Cubs, Hawks and Bulls.  I bet we all can guess.

Two reasons reporters have told me they always visit the clubhouse — and many columnists do as well, especially after writing a critical piece: 1. it allows your subject to talk to you directly to resolve and differences, and 2. it shows that you aren’t afraid to write or speak your mind and then face the music.  You may disagree with players or coaches.  You may argue.  But at bottom it shows that each person respects the other and respects the job that needs to be done.  If you don’t, then frustrations (on both sides) don’t get resolved and just build up, year after year after year.

Anyway … enough (at least from me) … can’t speak for Ozzie (obviously).

But you if you are interested at all (and I know many are tired of this), you might want to check out three well-done columns today … Rick Morrissey in the Tribune, Rick Telander in the Sun-Times and Mike Nadel’s at www.suburbanchicagonews.com.

This homestand already seems very long.  I am hoping we can focus on baseball this weekend.

Ozzieandphil

Astros Return

Which brings me to the return of the Astros.  I do feel for them.  Can you imagine how it must feel in your gut to return to the scene of at least two of the four crimes?  To see the banners on the light standards, to watch the pregame highlight film, to see the World Series trophy and rings.

Parade_2
It would hurt deep inside if the roles were reversed.  This has to be a tough weekend for them, and I do feel sympathy for members of the team and front office.

Still want to sweep them, though.

(As I write this, I am looking up at the walls of my office that are decked with the photos of the World Series, our celebration on the field, and our parade through the city.  No one can ever take those memories away from me, and I won’t trade them for anything).

I’ll try to post a lineup later.

Keep an eye on the number of W’s on top of this MLBlog. And thanks to tuckers8@zero.net in Comments on this post for suggesting the update of the About page here. Done.

Thursday Pregame

Thursday, June 22, 2006, 6:36 pm

Tonight’s Lineup

Pods, LF; Iguchi, 2B; Thome, DH; Konerko, 1B; Dye, RF; AJ, C; Crede, 3B; Mackowiak, CF; Uribe, SS.  Garcia pitching.

Batting third for the Cardinals is Albert Pujols. 

Which brought on the discussion of 1. would you rather have Pujols miss tonight and miss the Tigers series; or 2. would you take facing him tonight since it means he will play in all three over the weekend.

I picked 2. Let’s hope I am correct.

Another Boring Day

And I thought October was busy!

Ozzie was suspended for tonight.  David Riske was for three games (he appealed).  This is all standard for when a manager and pitcher are ejected for hitting a batter after a warning was issued.

We dealt with the Dave Duncan interview and comments on WSCR.  He was pretty rough on Ozzie on a number of topics, however, the one issue he called him a liar about seemed to ultimately be based on a morning newspaper’s mistake on whether Ozzie said "told" or "called."  He said told.

Then The Commissioner handed down his ruling on Ozzie comments from Tuesday.  He fined Ozzie and undisclosed amount and ordered Sensitivity Training (to be arranged by the club).

Jerry Reinsdorf had been talking to Mr. Selig over the course of the two days.  The organization certainly supports the reprimand made to Guillen, and we feel to also punish him with a fine would in a sense be double jeopardy.

Oh, By the Way …

We have won six straight and have moved within one game of Detroit.

Juan

Remember the frustration we all were feeling with Juan earlier this season?  Suddenly, his streaky nature has flipped, and the shortstop is hitting everything with authority.

Game time …

Let’s Sweep

Wednesday

Wednesday, June 21, 2006, 6:15 pm

Tonight’s Lineup

Pods, LF; Iguchi, 2B; Thome, DH; PK, 1B; Dye, RF; AJ, C; Crede, 3B; Mack, CF; Uribe, SS.  Buehrle pitching (let’s hope for a quick game that misses thunder showers).

What a Day?

This was certainly not the way I wanted to spend this day …

Ozzie Guillen met with the media at 4:30 pm today and explained his comments from yesterday.

He admitted to using the wrong word in his comments about Sun-Times columnist Jay Mariotti, apologized publicly to anyone he offended or hurt with his word choice/language but reiterated his issues with Mr. Mariotti and how he chooses to go about his business.

And By the Way, we scored 20 runs last night …

and the baseball pessimist in me now worries that we might drop a 2-1 or 1-0 game tonight and wish we had a couple of those runs.

Sorry I don’t have time to write more tonight, I have been pretty busy …

Homestand Begins

Tuesday, June 20, 2006, 1:41 pm

Random Notes …

While I have not posted for awhile, good to see your online conversation continued in my absence.

Tonight’s Lineup

Ozuna, LF; Iguchi, 2B; Thome, DH; PK, 1B; Dye, RF; AJ, C; Crede, 3B; Uribe, SS; Anderson, CF.  Vazquez takes the mound.

Fans
Attendance Notes

Way to go Sox fans … with this weekend’s ticket sales, we now have sold 2.68 million tickets for 2006, surpassing 1992 to become the second-highest ticket sales season in team history.  The club attendance record of 2,934,154 was set in 1991, the first year of the new ballpark.  It appears unlikely we can top that figure this year because the capacity of the ballpark is now 6,600 smaller than it was 1991 to 2003.

Tonight also is the 16th sellout of the year, two short of the club record established last season.

Tickets do remain for Wednesday game, as well as Friday and Sunday against the Houston Astros.

Politte Update

Cliff did throw a bullpen session yesterday under the supervision of Herm Schneider and Don Cooper.  He appears on track to make a rehab appearance with Class AAA Charlotte on Thursday.

Wednesday in Texas

Wednesday, June 14, 2006, 3:40 pm

Tonight’s Lineup

Pods, LF; Iguchi, 2B; Thome, DH; PK, 1B; AJ, C; Crede, 3B; Gload, RF; Cintron, SS; Mackowiak, CF.  Vazquez pitching.

Random Thoughts

The Jon Garland from last year was evident last night … good to see.

All credit for the "brilliant" idea of the 15 W’s goes to Mark Newman of MLBAM, the creative force behind the bells and whistles of this site.

I have been told that parking lots on Friday open 2 1/2 to 3 hours before the game, based on traffic, so for sure by 5 pm.

Do you think they are partying wildly in Tunis tonight?

We have a "greetings from" Jermaine Dye schedule to go out to all registered users tomorrow.  Check it out.

Only six spots remain for our group night in August.  I just don’t want any of the regulars to miss out because you waited.  Call Dustin at 312-674-5186.  Feel free to give him a hard time.

We all need to vote and vote again for your favorite Sox for the All-Star Team.

Tuesday in Texas

Josecontreras_1

AP Photos

Tuesday, June 13, 2006, 3:10 pm

Tonight’s Lineup

Pods, LF; Iguchi, 2B; Thome, DH; PK, 1B; Dye, RF; AJ, C; Crede, 3B; Uribe, SS; Anderson, CF.  Garland pitching.

Bronze Titan

How impressive was he last night?

A few Jose Contreras notes:

He extended his regular-season winning streak to 15, tying Wilson Alvarez and LaMarr Hoyt for the longest White Sox streak in history

Is 15-0 with a 2.39 ERA and 94 strikeouts in 19 starts during the streak, which began on 8/21/05 … it’s the longest in baseball since Minnesota’s Johan Santana won 17 straight in 2004-05

His last loss came on 8/15/05 vs. Minnesota

Including the postseason, Contreras is 18-1 with a 2.52 ERA in his last 23 starts

And to think that when the Contreras for Loaiza trade was made in 2004, many analysts felt the Sox were taken.  Hmmm …

Contreras struck out a career-high 11 with no walks last night … according to the Elias Sports Bureau, it is the most strikeouts by a Sox pitcher without a walk since Alvarez (also 11) on 7/26/96 vs. Texas

Heart of the Order

Our 3-4-5 hitters have combined to hit .307 with 58 home runs, 164 RBI and 137 runs scored … where they rank in baseball in each category:

Podsdouble_1
HR, 1st

BB, 1st (146)

Runs, 2nd

AVG, 2nd

RBI, 3rd

Paulie and HB

With 219 home runs with the White Sox, Paul Konerko needs two more to tie Harold Baines for second in club history (Frank Thomas leads with 448).
Pk_2

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