June 2007

Thursday Night Lights

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Tonight’s Lineup

Pods, LF; Gonzo, RF; Thome, DH; PK, 1B; AJ, C; Iguchi, 2B; Fields, 3B; Terrero, CF; Uribe, SS.  Javier pitching.

Amazing how three victories can change your mood, isn’t it?

Nice Moment

Walking up to lunch this week (lunch is served upstairs in the Bard’s Room each day for those who choose to dine in), I ran into a bunch of kids in the Gate 4 Reception lobby.  The World Series trophy was sitting out on one of the small tables and the kids were all around it, touching it, feeling it.

This is unusual, so I stopped and thought, "what in the world?’

Well, Julie Taylor, our terrific director of guest services, was leading a tour.  It’s a tour she’s done now for something like seven years.  All of the kids are sight impaired in some way, so what I stubbled on were these kids feeling the World Series trophy because they couldn’t actually see it!  Talk about a heart-touching moment.

Julie told me the tour is something else.  The kids run the bases and even take batting practice if they can.  She told me of one kid with partial sight who lined a clean single into left-field.

Then she told me the best part of the story …  To show their appreciation of Julie and the annual tour, the group had raised money — dollars, quarters, dimes, whatever — to purchase a legacy brick to commemorate their trips to the ballpark to experience, through all their senses, a major league park.

So the moral of that story is … anytime you think the frustration, disappointment (so far in 2007), angry calls from fans and media criticism start to wear you down, something is going to happen at the ballpark to remind you of the greatness of the human spirit and how baseball can make a difference in the lives of our fans.

And it will be enough to make you stop in the lobby and smile on your way to lunch.

Go Sox.

Three Pizzas?

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Tonight’s Lineup

Pods, LF; Gonzo, CF; Thome, DH; PK, 1B; AJ, C; Fields, 3B; Mack, RF; Cintron, 2B; Uribe, SS.  Can’t remember who is pitching (Buehrle)

My Day

Was spent fielding calls from media asking if late morning reports by a local radio station were true.  As I explained time and time again during the day, we have not announced anything and any reports at this time are purely speculation based on rumors.  You shouldn’t read anything into them, one way or the other at this point.

Day Two In Tampa

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Tonight’s Lineup

Pods, LF; Gonzo, CF; Thome, DH; PK, 1B; AJ, C; Iguchi, 2B; Mack, RF; Cintron, 3B; Uribe, SS.  Gar on the hill.

Journalism 101

Compare and contrast how you think last night’s fan-on-the-field incident on the other side of town would have been handled by the local media had it happened at our ballpark?

Thankfully, after the Ligue attack on Gamboa at our ballpark four years ago, the State of Illinois made trespassing on the playing field of a sporting event a Class 4 felony.  It’s no longer a case of passing the hat among a bunch of drunken frat brothers to bail you out after the arrest.  A felony is a felony.

Notes from the Bay

Jermaine Dye tested his leg by running in the outfield.  Plans are to have him test it even more tomorrow.  Scott Podsednik is sporting a new hairdo thanks to a clubhouse stylist.

Monday in Tampa

Monday, June 25, 2007

Tonight’s Lineup

Pods, LF; Gonzo RF; Thome, DH; PK, 1B; Iguchi, 2B; Fields, 3B; Terrero, CF; Uribe, SS; Hall, C.  Danks pitching.

Picking Up The Pieces

It’s great hearing from all those Cubs fans in our lives who care so much that they have called and emailed us continually.

The best sign from the weekend (you gotta laugh in the face of despair every now and then) was:

"98 More Years Like This and We’d Be the Cubs"

It goes without saying, but we need to generate some offense.

You know it’s not going your way when obstruction gets in the way of two basrunning outs by the opposition.

Pitching in KC

Contreras vs. Bannister

Danks vs. Perez

Garland vs. Thomson

Perspective

Not sure about what you guys think, but how in the world can people be talking about our fans wearing brown bags?  Sure, this season has been a disappointment, but how about bringing some reality to the dance?

I was talking to a Sox fan from DC today.  He said, "On days like this, I go home at night and put on the World Series DVD."

I assured him that KW is down the hall in his conference room working on getting us another as soon as he can.

Sunday Randomness

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Today’s Lineup

Pods, LF; Gonzo, RF; Thome, DH; PK, 1B; AJ, C; Iguchi, 2B; Fields, 3B; Terrero, CF; Uribe, SS.  Contreras pitching.

Random Items

KW spent a lot of time with reporters this morning responding to Sun-Times speculation about us possibly trading Mark Buehrle (this didn’t qualify as news in my mind but it did for the Sun-Times).  I think most White Sox fans know that a trade of any of our potential free agents is a possibility given how the team has performed.  KW basically said that all options are on the table at this point … we might be trading our potential free agents if he finds deals that make us a better team or we may end up playing out this season and accepting draft picks for any free agents who depart.  Reporters were looking for answers that aren’t there yet.  There are too many games still to be played.  We still have to hold out hope that this team will start playing better.  We’ve got weeks, not months, left to prove it.  You maybe could argue we have days, not weeks.

And I love the intimation in the ST that we would extend Ozzie Guillen’s contract (a speculative story based on no sources that ran a few days ago) just to silence "critics."  The same columnist, one of our favorites, also offered the conjecture that we are changing our ad agency and fired our scouting director to deflect blame.

On the first count, it is pretty ludicrous (not to mention arrogant) to think we would make decisions like a manager’s contract in response to public critics.  Believe me when I say we tend — and have tended — to make those types of decisions on their merits without much concern for media reaction.  We believe our fans understand our plan, our goals and how we hope to get there.  The other two decisions were based on timetables that have nothing to do with team performance.  To make that type of connection shows an amazing lack of knowledge about how sports organizations function (which shouldn’t surprise me given the source).

Anyone who comes out to the ballpark and talks with Ozzie or KW (which this columnist does not) would know those two are the first to accept the blame.  You can physically see how this season’s struggles have affected them.

Maybe this disconnect from reality is one of the reasons why no one bothers to read him much anymore (or his newspaper for that matter given its last financial report).

We’ve certainly had a bad year to date, but I think analysts (financial and otherwise) might still argue that we’ve had a better year than a certain newspaper.  Who has the "brighter" future?

About the Game

Anyway, one run per game certainly won’t cut it.  We need to get something going today or Sox fans are going to hear about it for a long time, and none of want to hear it from Cubs fans (any more than we have to). 

Saturday vs. the Cubs

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Today’s Lineup

Pods, LF; Gonzo, RF; Thome, DH; PK, 1B; AJ, C; Iguchi, 2B; Fields, 3B; Terrero, CF; Uribe, SS.  Vazquez pitching.

We will need to make a roster move prior to today’s game to make room for the return of Pods.

Cubs vs. Sox I

Friday, June 22, 2007

Today’s Lineup

Erstad, CF; Iguchi, 2B; Thome, DH; PK, 1B; AJ, C; Dye, RF; Mack, LF; Fields, 3B; Uribe, SS.  Buehrle pitching.

Quiet

It hardly seemed like a White Sox vs. Cubs battle around the ballpark this morning.  We’ve had more media interest and more buzz at other regular-season games this year.  I’m sure it has something to do with this being the second meeting, with interleague play loosing some of its uniqueness and of course, with how the two baseball teams have played to date.

Worth Noting

PK enters this series with 249 home runs as a member of the White Sox … Konerko is a career .313 (51-163) hitter with 13 home runs and 37 RBI in 46 games vs. the Cubs since joining the Sox in 1999 … he hit two home runs off Carlos Zambrano in his last home game vs. the Cubs on 5/21/06.

Shaffer

Earlier today, the club announced that Duane Shaffer, senior director of amateur scouting, has been relieved of his scouting responsibilities.  Duane, who supervised amateur drafts from 1991 until 2007, had been with the club for 35 years.

Wednesday Matinee

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Today’s Lineup

Owens, LF; Cintron, 2B; PK, 1B; AJ, C; Dye, DH; Mack RF; Fields, 3B; Terrero, CF; Uribe, SS.  Garland pitching.

Random Bits

Ozzie remains hopeful that Jim Thome will be back in the lineup by Friday.

Last night was a tough loss, more so because we lost that came by failing to execute on several opportunities.  As you could tell from his quotes, Ozzie was not a happy man about our failures last night.

We also blew a chance to pull to under 10 games behind the Indians.

Today’s starter, Jon Garland, is 40-21 since 2005, the fifth-highest victory total.  The right-hander trails only Roy Oswalt (42), Johann Santana (42), Josh Beckett (41) and Dontrelle Willis (41).

A Different Perspective

A reporter from the Tribune recently took tours of both Wrigley Field and U.S. Cellular Field.  His comments about the press boxes follow:

"If you were a reporter, you’d definitely want to work on the South Side.  The new press box — relocated this year from what is now the Jim Beam Club — is spacious and comfy.  At Wrigley, things are definitely cozier.  And with, uh, more character.  As one fan put it: ‘You’d think it’d be nicer.  Look, there’s duct tape on the corner of that table.’  Still, every fan will appreciate being able to sit in a press box and see how reporters and team officials view a game."

Good Read

Check out Dave van Dyck’s story in today’s Trib about recent teams that have turned around their seasons when all appeared lost.

Tuesday Night With The Fish

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Tonight’s Lineup

Gonzalez, LF; Iguchi, 2B; PK, 1B; Dye, RF; Fields, 3B; Terrero, CF; Uribe, SS; Cintron, DH; Hall, C.  Danks pitching.

KW And PTI

General Manager Ken Williams appeared on ESPN’s PTI this afternoon with hosts Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon.  KW echoed many of his comments from yesterday’s meeting with the media, including:

"The only questions about Ozzie Guillen’s status are coming from people outside the organization.  I am firmly behind Ozzie, and all of our coaches for that matter.  They’re the right guys to lead this team.  We’re not out of this thing.  We’re all right.  We just need to step it up.

"He (Ozzie) can’t quit, and I’m not firing him."

"We need to start believing we are as good as we think we are.  It’s important that we keep the faith.  Our fans have been wonderful with their support during this stretch.  We hope that continues as we ride this thing out.  There is a sense of emergency.  We need to step it up.

"I decided we were a ‘buyer’ in October of 2000, the day I took over this job.  I really haven’t known any other approach.  We are always trying to aggressively pursue championship caliber players.

"Even this winter when some of our moves were interpreted as cutting payroll, we did not see it that way.  For us, it is about acquiring assets that are going to help us win championships, either now or in the future.

"We did what we thought was right (last winter).  We feel very good about our starting rotation now and into the future. 

"When I told Ozzie I was coming out here to talk to you guys, he asked me what I was going to say.  I told him, ‘Is it all right to throw your hands up in the air and shrug your shoulders on national tv?’

"We need to start anew.  Let’s go.  From today forward, let’s see how good we can be."

Speed Gun

The Zapruder conspiracy theorists were all over the air this morning about the speed gun readings last night both in the ballpark and on Comcast’s telecast.  This was news to me, so on the ride in this morning I called our scoreboard guy and Comcast.

The scoreboard gun did not work the entire game for some reason (no one could figure it out), and the Comcast gun was intermittent early in the game before stopping sometime in the middle.

No one will believe us, but this had nothing to do with Jose Contreras’ velocity.  This type of speculation makes for interesting talk, but that’s about it.  And as far as I know, no media person asked about it before going to the airwaves …

Trib Notes

Several insiders were shaking their heads after reading a piece in yesterday’s Trib.  You had to look deep into the sports section to find it, but there it was:  "Sox Make Right Call On Garcia, McCarthy," the headline read. 

"When White Sox General Manager Ken Williams traded Freddy Garcia and Brandon McCarthy in deals for younger pitching, he said those trades with Philadelphia and Texas would help the Sox in 2007, as well as the future," the story explained.  "While only John Danks is delivering immediate benefits in Chicago, he probably will be right." (bold emphasis is mine)

So why the head shaking?  Well, how many front page stories did Sox fans read in December, January, February and March about what a mistake these trades were and how we were just dumping Garcia’s salary?

With Freddy likely out for a long time, if not the year, we have Danks, Nick Masset, Gio Gonzalez and Jacob Rasner to show for the trades.

KW is probably right.  If he had a better PR guy (some people call me a puppet), he would get the benefit of the doubt more often.

Proud Papa

Oney Guillen begins his professional career tonight at Rookie Bristol in the Appalachian League under manager Bobby Thigpen.  Ozzie will be all over the internet after the game looking for a boxscore.

Special Thanks

To Joe Cowley of the Sun-Times for his devoted reading of this blog.  Thanks to a mention by Joe, the number of visitors and page views to this site spiked last week.  As dedicated readers know, we welcome all participants (it just increases our advertising rates and revenues, which as you all know, go right back into payroll).

Blog Night

Do you want to have another one this summer before college starts again?  If so, let me know.  We do have a decision to make.  Do we:

A. Want to do the same thing as last year? (which limits our availble dates and also the number of people who can attend)

or

B. Just want to have a Patio Party? (which limits the program but not the number of fans)

Let me know your preference.

(I’m thinking of asking Joe Cowley to be a guest speaker)

Marlins In Town

Monday, June 18, 2007

Tonight’s Lineup

Owens, CF; Iguchi, 2B; Thome, DH; PK, 1B; AJ, C; Dye, RF; Mack, LF; Fields, 3B; Uribe, SS.  Contreras pitching.

Thoughts From Today/Tonight

"We just need to win some games and all of this will go away," said one White Sox player.

We still believe we can win this thing, but to do that, we need to start playing better and winning games NOW.  And our window in which to do that is shrinking fast.  But there are too many recent examples, Minnesota last year, Cleveland in 2005, Oakland many times, where talented teams struggle early and then something lights a match.  We need a match.  And you have to believe it will start tonight.  You can’t think five games or 10 games ahead.  You have to think day to day.

Let’s get Darin and Scott back to give us some speed in our lineup and then see how we play for a spell.

But the clock is ticking very loudly now.

A thunder and rainstorm before the game had Ozzie Guillen thinking today’s afternoon weather was a lot like Miami.

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