Day 2 In Tucson
Sunday, February 18, 2007
Day 2 Thoughts
I paid for my weather comments from yesterday. Today broke cooler, say 60 degrees, overcast and windy. If we hadn’t been in Chicago three days ago, you might even call this cold.
Tomorrow is supposed to bring the same, with a chance for rain. Our annual Tucson charity golf outing with the Dbacks takes place tomorrow afternoon at The Gallery Golf Course. The course is amazing and many of our players are looking forward to taking part. Along with GM Ken Williams and manager Ozzie Guillen, Toby Hall, Charlie Haeger (last year’s champion), Bobby Jenks, Javier Vazquez, Gavin Floyd, Harold Baines (he is still trying to break that piece of glass from last spring’s Big Break episode), John Danks, Ryan Buckvich, Kevin Hickey, Mark Salas, Art Kusyner, Matt Thornton, Andrew Sisco, Nick Masset and David Aardsma are scheduled to take part.
Our event is held in conjunction with the PGA’s Accenture Match Play Championship, which features the top 64 players in the world. That tourney begins Wednesday on the Gallery’s South Course.
Many of our guys are looking forward to catching some of the pros in action.
Ozzie’s Thoughts From the Day
About watching the second batch of pitchers throw a bullpen:
"When you have lots of kids in camp, you are always excited because of how hard they throw. But they need to throw the ball over the plate. It’s about confidence in your pitches. When you are a power pitcher and can throw the ball over the plate, you’re going to have success."
Guillen pointed out that Jenks and Thornton are both power pitchers who were "helped" by coming to the White Sox.
"Right now, everybody’s throwing shutouts," Guillen said to laughter.
Ozzie was very impressed today by the bullpen session by Gio Gonzalez.
One of the very first position players in camp is Darin Erstad, who is recovering from ankle surgery this fall. He looks great running and swinging in the batting cage.
"There’s a 10-year veteran chasing down balls and doing drills the right way," Guillen said. "He’s hungry and has a great attitude. I want the young kids to look at him and say, ‘Wow, there’s a guy I want to copy.’
"That’s the way people should play the game," Guillen said, "and it’s the way to begin to play the game."
First Sight of the Spring
Was pitcher Sean Tracey peddling into spring training on a radio flyer bike with a World War II helmet on his head (at least he had a helmet on). It reminded me of Scott Radinksy, who used to bike to camp in Sarasota each day from Siesta Key.
Great story from Paul Konerko and Robin Ventura. It seems that Konerko was in Texas with a U-18 U.S. Baseball team. Before the White Sox vs. Rangers game that night, the entire team met with Ventura, then a star with the Sox, who also was Mr. U.S.A. Baseball.
Ventura spoke to the team about playing baseball at the international level and about how important sportsmanship is to the game.
Konerko then watched from the bleachers that night as Nolan Ryan drilled RV and Robin charged the mound in that famous (or infamous) fracas.
While in Chicago for SoxFest, Robin took his wife Stephanie out to dinner. I asked him about the evening and dinner. We took the train, he said.
"Wait," I asked him. "You couldn’t spring for a limo or even a taxi? You actually took the Blue Line?"
Some SoxFest attendees might have been surprised to see Jim Thome, A.J. Pierzynski and Darin Erstad make appearances.
Thome actually re-scheduled a trip to Las Vegas for a charity event in order to see his teammates on Friday at the Palmer House Hilton. A.J. shot up to Chicago for one day between a doctor’s appointment for his wife and her eventually birth of a son the next week (congrats to the Pierzynski’s on the birth of son, AJ). And Erstad wanted to stick around, meet his new teammates and Sox fans, and find a home for the summer in the Chicago area.
This sense of team is what makes these guys so special.
I stood in the hallway just outside our clubhouse talking to Jim Thome the other day when a "wolf-hound" appeared in the hall, just outside the weight room door.
"Is that supposed to be here," I asked, "because around here you can’t always tell." (I’m thinking coyote or something).
"That’s Matt’s (Thornton’s) dog," Thome said, chuckling.
You can never be sure.