September 2006

All Freddy

Freddy_3

What a treat to watch Freddy Garcia pitch today …

Big victory.

Day Game Data

Wednesday, September 13, 2006, 1:37 pm

Today’s Lineup

Ozuna, LF; Iguchi, 2B; Dye, RF; Thome, DH; PK, 1B; Crede, 3B; Uribe, SS; BA, CF; Alomar, C.

Need this one.

Going For Two

Tuesday, September 12, 2006, 5:10 pm

Tonight’s Lineup

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

Bobby
Last Night

So how nervous was everyone in the ninth inning last night?  It could have been disastrous, but instead, you felt like "Bobby’s back."  His velocity was there, guys didn’t have great swings at him … and low and behold, things worked out.

Buehrle

We need Mark to turn in a solid start tonight.  Seems to me we have not hit Santana all that well historically, but he is only 1-0 with a 5.54 ERA against us this year. 

Game Times

We announced today that FOX-TV had picked up our home game on September 23, moving the start time to 12:15 pm from 6:05.  Please note that.  This change also means Friday night’s game against the Mariners will feature fireworks.

Also, we have made arrangments for the game on Saturday, Sept. 30, from Minnesota to be televised (network TBA).  At first, this 11:15 am game (because of a Minnesota-Michigan football game in the Metrodome that night) was not going to be aired because of the FOX blackout. 

Fair Is Fair

Since I have been known to point out issues I may have with certain columnists in town, I would be remiss in not mentioning that in today’s paper, one actually tells his readers how his quotes were obtained … a first that I can recall.  One quote from Frank Thomas is sourced to The Sporting News and a second is written as "told reporters."  At least a reader is made aware that the quote was not heard directly from the source’s mouth and that the columnist is relying on other sources.  Not sure what brought about the change, but journalism professors everywhere applaud.

Not Quite Right

To clarify printed reports today, with his base pay and incentives, Frank Thomas will make about $3.1 million from the A’s this year … certainly a great deal for the Oakland team given the tremendous year the slugger has enjoyed (hopefully taking a turn for the worse with an o-fer this weekend).

On the other hand, Philadelphia is paying a part of Jim Thome’s salary in 2006, so that the left-handed slugger (which was a key on a right-handed dominant team in 2005) is costing the White Sox about $8 million.

I would say these are great bargains (given their production) for both teams.  Both players are having comeback-player-of-the-year caliber seasons, both perhaps leading their teams to the playoffs, both great stories.

Seems a stretch to call it "Kenny’s Big Goof" as one columnist claimed.

Soxfest
SoxFest

Hotel packages to SoxFest ’07, scheduled for Jan 26-28 at the Palmer House Hilton (note new hotel) go on sale September 22 by calling the Hilton’s reservation number.  The special SoxFest two-night stay rate is $249 (plus tax).  A two-night stay allows you to purchase up to four weekend passes to SoxFest.  This is the only way to obtain weekend passes.  New this year … fans with hotel rooms do need to purchase the weekend passes ($75 per) are not included in the price of the room.

Individual-day passes will go on sale at a later date.  By doing this we are trying to manage attendance (those of you who attended last year know what I mean about the crowds), move the event to a new venue and yet allow as many Sox fans as possible to attend at some point during the weekend.

Let’s Keep It Going Tonight …

West Coast Challenge

Monday, September 11, 2006, 5:09 pm

Tonight’s Lineup

I am in Chicago, and I have not yet received our lineup for tonight’s game.

Thoughts

After yesterday’s disappointing loss, tonight’s contest looms huge for the White Sox.  A nice outing from Jose Contreras will go a long way toward starting this important trip out on a good note. 

9/11

Please stop at some point in your day and remember those American who lost their lives five years ago in the terrorist attacks …

Go Sox

Sunday News

Celebrate

Today’s Lineup

Ozuna, LF; Iguchi, 2B; MVP, RF; Thome, DH; PK, 1B; Crede, 3B; AJ, C; Uribe, SS; BA, CF.

Joe’s back.

Great Moments

We were talking this morning about how this year has seemed to lack the dramatic moments last year did (of course, our vision and memory are probably also skewed by how 2005 ended up … which drove home those memories for us forever).

Anyway, we now have experienced moments in each of the last two games … first AJ’s walkoff and then JD’s catch/fan response/home run.  Hopefully, that karma, that mo’, is now with us (after residing in Detroit early in the year before moving to the Twin Cities during the summer).  Maybe we will become the Boys of September/October?  Maybe?  Timing would be pretty good.

Call Ups

Class AAA Charlotte was eliminated in the International League playoffs, so this morning Sean Tracey, Josh Fields and Jerry Owens joined us (along with Charlotte manager Razor Shines).

Perspective

It’s September 10, we just won a key game to pull within 3.5 games of the Tigers (who face Johann Santana today) and people are mad because of our bullpen’s performance last night?  Keep the eye on the big prize.  With a 10-1 lead, Ozzie obviously wanted to get some guys into the game (while giving regulars a day off) who he might hesitate to use right now in tighter games.  It almost backfired (certainly, thank goodness, it did not).  I don’t think the performances by middle/long relievers is an indication of larger bullpen woes.  If anything, I have been impressed by how Mike MacDougal and Matt Thornton have thrown.  Thornton was the unsung hero of Friday night’s victory after stranding that runner at third.  Mike stepped up last night and ended the threat (with Matt closing out).  Do we all need and want Bobby to have a good outing as soon as possible?  Absolutely.  So does he.

But if we are fortunate enough to reach the playoffs, people (in opposing uniforms) may be surprised by the power arms in the back of our bullpen.

Just my opinion.

Mr. MVP

MVP Moment

What a catch by Jermaine Dye in the top of the sixth inning.  For those of you who didn’t see it, you can watch it again here as JD was driven back to the right field wall at pretty much full speed by a hard-hit ball. 350K

Jermaine_3
Just as he approached the fence, JD reached up and with his glove at just about the yellow line atop the wall, snagged the ball, slamming into the cyclone fence (luckily not at a post) and bouncing back onto the warning track.

In replays, you could see the ball hit his glove, see JD glance to see that he had hit and flex his grip in the miliseconds after he bounced off the wall.

As great as the play was, the reaction was better.

As Ozzie Guillen and assistant trainer Brian Ball ran out to check on JD, the crowd stood and roared, breaking into sustained chants of M-V-P, M-V-P, M-V-P.

I doubt you could see it on TV, but it was interesting to see the reactions of the Sox players.  As JD fell, Paul Konerko put both hands atop his head.  You could almost read the bubble above his head, saying "Oh, no.  We can’t afford this.  Be O.K."

After JD stood and flexed his leg, pitcher Jon Garland pointed out to his right-fielder.  Once JD waved that he was ready, Jon applauded on the mound in appreciation of the play.  Then he turned to face the hitter.

So everyone knows what happens when a player makes a great defensive play?

Of course.  He leads off the next inning.

With a bomb of a home run.

M-V-P.  M-V-P.  M-V-P.

Saturday Night

Saturday, September 9, 2006, 5:02 pm

Tonight’s Lineup

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

Hopes are Joe Crede is back and available tomorrow.

About Last Night

I was thinking of something pithy to say, when my inbox included this note from a Sox fan and reader:

OK, so I think the mail will be pouring in today from a fan base desperate to call something–anything–the moment that kick-starts "the run."

Last night I was down in the dumps after Bobby’s four, but it was my nonplussed wife who said a Hail Mary and prayed for the win. And with A.J. coming up I told her this was just like the game in June at Wrigley when A.J. won it and she was busy telling me don’t worry, he’ll come through. Of course, she was right again.

It’s not such a bad thing when A.J. isn’t able to get the bunt down. In case you somehow didn’t remember, the last time I recall him failing at a bunt was the first inning vs. Boston in ALDS Game 1, when he ensuing three-run homer put the Sox up 5-0.

I also love how he swung through what looked like a pretty fat pitch, fouled off an even fatter hanging curve, then golfed the homer on a pitch at his ankles. I know A.J. gets his share of Ks, but I don’t think anyone on the team gets his money’s worth at the plate, save maybe for Tadahito, than he does.

So if he wants to crack 20 HRs next year, I suggest more first-pitch stabs at bunts.

Whatever power you have, please use it to get that W today.

He said it better than I could.  Let’s hope this leads to something, and thank goodness AJ couldn’t get that bunt down.

Sorry

So I walk into my house at 11:15 last night all pumped after the victory and my wife says, "Why didn’t you blog today?"  I really want to thank her for keeping me grounded.  Actually, my day was so busy, I didn’t have time to think about it until I was standing for the National Anthem and thought, "Hey, I didn’t post."

Hard Gar

With a 16-4 record this year and a 34-14 mark over the past two seasons, Jon Garland is tied with Chris Carpenter for the MLB lead in wins over the last two years.  Randy Johnson and Johann Santana each have 33.

Charlotte

Is down 2-games-to-one in its best-of-five series with Toledo in the International League semi finals.  Lance Broadway starts tonight with the season on the line.

Ll_cool_j
Radio Wars

My six-year-old (as of tomorrow) was riding in the car with me yesterday on the way to school.  I had sports radio on and from the back seat I hear … "Can you put some good music on … like Hip-Hop?"

God help me.

Home Run Watch

With 40 home runs, Jermaine Dye is nine off the franchise record of 49 set by Albert Belle in 1998.  Dye needs four more to move into second place.

Club Volleys

The White Sox lead the major leagues with 208 home runs and are on pace to hit 239, which would rank as the second-most in club history (242 in 2003).  The Sox have hit 200-plus home runs for the seventh consecutive season, extending the major-league record they shared with the Yankees (2000-05, 176 in 2006) … the 208 home runs are 30 more than Toronto, the next closest team in the AL.

Four Games With The Tribe

Thursday, Sept. 7, 2006, 4:10 pm

Tonight’s Lineup

Ozuna, 3B; Iguchi, 2B; Dye, RF; Thome, DH; PK, 1B; Mack, LF; Uribe, SS; BA, CF; Alomar, C.  Buehrle on the mound.

Yesterday

Sure turned out to be a good day for the White Sox … Sox win, Twins lose (finally the Rays win one against Minnesota) and Detroit loses.

A Different Look

Wednesday, September 6, 2006, 5:05 pm

Tonight’s Lineup

Sweeney, CF; Iguchi, 2B; Dye, RF; Thome, DH; PK, 1B; AJ, C; Crede, 3B; Pods, LF; Cintron, SS.

About Last Night

Knowing people on this site (at least in a cyber sense), I am assuming that I was not the only person who did not sleep a wink last night.  Late night TV can be pretty bad (how can that be with 400-something channels).  Thank goodness Imus In The Morning came on MSNBC at 5 am.

Last night was FRUSTRATING.  For much of the season, we decried the inconsistent pitching.  Now, we have gotten two outstanding performances from Gar and Javier and haven’t posted a victory.

We need one tonight.  No excuses.  No whining.  No complaining.  We need to get back on track.

Sweeney_1
Sweeney

Most of you probably saw a lot of Ryan Sweeney this spring (thanks to Comcast Sports Net), but you have to like what you see of the young player, nice swing, athletic, aggressive.  He may stick around for awhile.

Injury Updates

Are all good.  Dye is back in the lineup.  Buehrle checked out fine and is scheduled to pitch tomorrow.  Bobby has some soreness in his hip but should be good to go tomorrow, according to Head Trainer Herm Schneider in Boston.

Kudos

To Mark Newman at MLBAM (with major help from Maria) for posting the pages from your amazing "Blog Book" on the left-hand side of the page.  The job you guys did in putting this together continues to humble me.  We hope you enjoy "flipping" through the pages to check out other Sox fans who frequent the site.

Tickets

Limited tickets remain for the four games this weekend, although Saturday is virtually sold out.  Act now if you want to come out and cheer on your Sox.

I need to sleep tonight (we all need to sleep tonight), so we need to win.

Keep The Faith

Uribe_2

Tuesday, September 5, 2006, 5:10 pm

As painful as last night was, keep up the faith.  This is likely to go down to the very end, so try to avoid getting too low or too high over the coming weeks.  All that matters right now is tonight’s game.

Tonight’s Lineup

Ozuna, LF; Iguchi, 2B; Crede, 3B; Thome, DH; PK, 1B; AJ, C; BA, CF; Uribe, SS; Sweeney, RF (major-league debut).

Ozuna
What Happened

Well, we certainly did not play well over the weekend.  Going into this holiday weekend, I felt very good about our position.  We have managed to make this a little tougher on ourselves now.

You win in the postseason with pitching, defense and clutch hitting.  We need all three ingredients over the next 25 games.

Coping

One of the things I have found that I need to do when it reaches September is find a free-time diversion that has nothing to do with baseball.  Yesterday, I took my nine-year-old son golfing (he had a par after holing in a 20-yard shot on one hole) and I try to read stuff other than sports.

Theloomingtower
I just finished a book I would highly recommend, called "The Looming Tower" about the growth of Al-Queda and the lead-up to 9/11. 

Just wondering, what other ways do readers on the site cope with the highs/lows intensity of September?

Reach

So my family was at a soccer game this weekend.  She was scouting prospective players for her college team.

At a break in play in the middle of the game, one of the linesmen turned to her and said, "Are you the Reifert family?  I read your husband’s blog on the White Sox."

Then my wife added that the official didn’t like it on days when I failed to post.  I guess he wasn’t real happy with me this weekend.  I wasn’t happy either.

Duke_6

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