Happy New Year
Wednesday, January 3, 2007
After a few month sabbatical and a couple of weeks off for the holidays, the time just seemed right to begin blogging again. I hope everyone enjoyed a great holiday season, regardless of what holiday you celebrate. Thanks to all the patient readers, who I hope will come back to this site after my "vacation."
We supposedly had something like 126,000 unique visitors in 2006, which speaks to the devotion of Sox fans, bloggers and/or both.
A few things coming up this month of note:
Jan. 6 — Scout Foundation dinner in Los Angeles. See Scott Merkin’s article about the Scout’s Foundation on the main website, but three members of the White Sox front office, Dennis Gilbert, Dave Yoakam and Roland Hemond, played key roles in creating this foundation, which annually supports scouts and families of scouts in need. A great cause and a great evening in LA featuring many of the game’s biggest stars.
Jan. 9 — Individual day tickets to SoxFest go on sale at whitesox.com or via phone (see release on main site). Tickets are limited and we expect them to go quickly, so be ready to click or call right at 10 am next Tuesday.
Jan. 13 — Tickets go on sale for spring training games. For those of you who like to spend March bathed in sunshine, call or click on Saturday.
I think the Bears play a football game in here somewhere … Go Bears.
Jan. 20 — Jim Thome hosts the Joyce Thome Memorial Dinner in Peoria for a great cause. Several of us are headed that way to support Jim and his annual fund-raising efforts.
Jan. 26-28 — SoxFest at the beautiful Palmer House Hilton in downtown Chicago. A weekend of White Sox fun, action and autographs.
Jan. 28 — Annual Pitch & Hit Club dinner at Rosemont (you can bet Roland will be there).
Feb. 5 — Our trunks leave fo Tucson.
Feb. 15 — I leave for Tucson.
Busy next six weeks.
Lost in some of the reaction to our two offseason trades has been the improvement of our bullpen. Entering this offseason, improving the bullpen was a big goal. As much as our starting pitching struggled in 2006 to replicate 2005, last year we also missed the lights-out Cliff Politte and Neal Cotts of 2005. Kenny Williams and Rick Hahn re-built the bullpen on the fly during the year … adding David Riske and Mike MacDougal (who could close for many teams). This offseason, we have added hard throwers in David Aardsma, Andrew Sisco (potentially a starter as well) and Nick Masset to a pen that already included Bobby Jenks and Matt Thornton. We will bring some heat from out of the pen.
Ho Ho Ho
Living in Chicago this offseason has given Jenks a chance to enjoy the holidays. He and his two kids were the celebrity tree lighters at The Sears Tower in late November, and Jenks, Brandon McCarthy and Jim Thome played "Santa" to hundreds of area kids who came by the ballpark to celebrate our annual Holiday Party in early December.
The players delivered food to the kids with Jenks firing hot dogs across the room to waiting children. Some flew right out of the tin foil.
Think he has a career in wrestling once his MLB career is done?
I realize it’s tough to get excited about a player when all you really know about him at this point are statistics.
Just after our trade with the Phillies was announced at the Winter Meetings, we were eating lunch in the hotel’s restaurant when an old scout tapped Kenny on the elbow.
"You made a great trade," he said. "I’ve been watching that kid, and he is ready to turn the corner. He just needed a change of scenery and a chance."
Don’t Wait … Buy A Brick
Sales of our commemorative bricks are brisk so don’t delay in ordering now. To refresh memories, we are building a brick plaza outside Gate 4 (scheduled Opening Day 2008) that will surround a monument to the 2005 Championship team. You can purchase a brick on-line. As part of your order, you do receive a replica brick for your home or office. Prices vary depending on location and brick size. Proceeds support Chicago White Sox Charities.