July 2007

Noche Latino

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Tonight’s Lineup

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

It’s Latin night at Camden Yards.

Notes

Tonight’s starter, Javier Vazquez, has tossed complete games in each of his last two starts on 7/3 vs. Baltimore (1 ER) and 7/8 vs. Minnesota (3 ER) … he is the first pitcher to record back-to-back CGs since Jon Garland (4/25-5/1/05).

Vazquez ranks third in the AL with a .235 average against since the 2006 ASB, trailing only Santana (.211) and Bedard (.234).  He ranks fourth in that span with 206 strikeouts.

PK is second in the AL in home runs since 6/1, trailing ARod, 12-11.  Thome has nine.

With a 4.03 ERA, Sox starters rank third in the AL, just ahead of Baltimore (4.10).

With 487 home runs, Jim Thome ranks sixth on a impressive list of active home runs leaders … the complete list:  Bonds, 751; Sosa, 602; Griffey, 586; Thomas, 501; ARod, 495; Thome.

Two outstanding minor-league pitching outings last night … Jack Egbert improved to 9-7 when he went 7.0 IP, allowing no runs, just two hits, no walks and 13 punch outs at Class AA Birmingham.

At Class A Kannapolis, Fautino De Los Santos, who appeared in the Futures Game, allowed one hit and no runs over 7.0, striking out 10.  He did not talk a batter but did hit one.  He has struck out 108 in 87.2 IP this summer.

Field of Greens

I’m stopping by the television and radio booths tonight to talk about our annual Field of Greens Golf Outing.  The best-ball outing (so you don’t have to be a scratch golfer), scheduled for August 6 at Harborside Golf Course, is a great time and raises close to $100,000 annually for pediatric research at Comer Children’s Hospital at UC and at Children’s Memorial.

Foursomes are still available, you will be matched with a White Sox or Chicago sports celebrity, and cost $500 per golfer.  If you are interested, call Laina Myers at 312-674-5391 to book a foursome.  It’s a great day for a great cause.

Pink Tops

Someone asked if we would be selling pink tees at the ballpark next homestand.  Demand was so great that we sold out what we had at the ballpark.  You can still get them on-line at whitesox.com, so for now, I suggest ordering there.  We are discussing trying to sell at the park again, but it may not happen for a variety of reasons.  I am told, the tops run a little small.

Again, proceeds benefit Chicago White Sox Charities.

Call for Authors

We are looking for a suburban, female White Sox fan who is willing to write a story about taking her family to the ballpark for a game … how do you get to the park, where do you park, what do you do before and during the game, what do you like to eat, how do you get home, what are the best things about the game and the ballpark, etc.

If you are interested, post a quick note here, in 50 words or less, on why we should select you to keep a one-game diary of a Sox fan.  Humor and a passion for all things White Sox Baseball are pluses.

In the future, my thought is to have others write about their favorite ballpark trips.  Initially, we thought of having a writer do the stories for us, but then we thought what’s better than having Sox fans write the pieces themselves.  We’ll find a place to publish and have some fun with it.

Only Ozzie

Before the game, Ozzie was asked about ARod and expectations that his salary might top $30 million. 

"Good for him," Guillen said. "I wish I was his son … but if I ever had that kind of money, one thing I’m not going to buy is a private jet.  It’s Southwest for me."

(See Ozzie’s travel headaches from Thursday morning).

Cy

Jim Palmer and Ed Farmer were talking before the game, and Ed had the Hall of Famer sign a baseball for a pitcher on our staff.

Palmer listed HOF and his Cy Youngs along with his signature.

"Pretty impressive," said the pitcher.

Skipper

My very first manager, Jeff Torborg, was in the house today visiting in our clubhouse and laughing with Ozzie.  I started with the White Sox in July 1991 and Jeff was the manager until the end of that year.

I was young and naive (some would say I still am but that’s another story for another day), but I knew when he asked for a New York Mets media guide for our flight home after the season-ender in Seattle, something was up.

Negotiations

In re-reading your comments from recent days, everyone seemed to note how exhausting it was to try and follow the Buehrle negotiations.  We all agree.  That’s one of the reasons we try not to negotiate in the media and why we always try not to negotiate in season.

Negotiations, as are there nature, take highs and lows, left turns and right turns until they reach a conclusion.  Even the day we ended up signing Mark, I went to work that Sunday not sure which way things would turn.  The situation was that fluid.

For comparison’s sake, the Konerko negotiations post World Series win probably were not any different.  But they were not nearly as public.  You’d go crazy if you let yourself go up and down with each phone call, each discussion, each offer and each counter offer.  We know, because we all — front office, player, manager, media, fans — just went through that.  No fun, but what a great ending.

Friday Night in Baltimore

Friday, July 13, 2007

Observations From Baltimore

Sorry to disappear since the break.  I came with the team to Baltimore and have had meetings in Washington, DC yesterday and today.

Some random thoughts and observations as two left-handers race through tonight’s game …

After riding the train back and forth the last two days, I realize I am not cut out to be a commuter.

I was surprised by how many players were on the flight out Wednesday night.

Ozzie was hilarious today before the game in describing his travel nightmares yesterday.

"I turned to Joey in the ninth inning and told him, ‘If this day ends the way mine started, we are all in trouble,’" Guillen laughed.

Originally scheduled to fly with Cora commercially, Guillen and his family instead opted to take a private jet with Javier Vazquez.  One plane didn’t work.  The second started down the runway, before the pilots aborted the takeoff.  A third plane had to be flown in from Orlando to Miami to eventually get the manager to Baltimore for the game, arriving about an hour before game time.

Ozzie said he’s making Vazquez pay the fine for missing the mandatory team workout.

The hotel here in Baltimore brings back great memories (my only complaint is that depanding on where your room is located, it can be like a 1/2 mile walk to the elevator).  Anyway, my very first trip with the Sox came in 1991 and Wilson Alvarez tossed his famous no-hitter.  It also was my first wedding anniversary, so rather than a nice dinner on the town that night, my wife and I stayed in my room eating room service as I answered call after call from Venezuelan media.

Anyway, I always loved this ballpark and think of Baltimore as a great baseball town.  Despite a decade or so of .500 or below baseball, fans still turn out in decent numbers to support their O’s.

Nice to see the ovation for Harold Baines at each game.  Well deserved.

Prior to tonight’s game, someone asked Mark Buehrle, "Do you have nine in you tonight?"

I spent today having lunch with a great, great White Sox fan.  Kevin Sullivan, aka Sully, is the Director of Communications at the White House.  He invited me up for lunch and a tour of the newly renovated media space (no truth to the rumor that they considered moving the media to right field).

We dined in the White House mess, called that because it is staffed by the Navy (but think fine dining hall) and we spent an hour comparing our jobs and our days.  If I ever think I’m busy, I just need to call Kevin …

"You prioritize," he said.  "I always ask myself is this the most important thing I can be doing right now?"

"Well, I’m sure you’ve got better things to do than have lunch with me," I responded.

After lunch, he walked me down through the media areas, stopping by Tony Snow’s office (multiple televisions running, local times of the world’s major cities on the wall), rounded desk.  Then we snuck into the back of the briefing room to listen and watch Snow’s daily meeting with the media.  The room is tiny and the press work area is tight.  Cameras and reporters were literally elbow to elbow.

Kevin, an Evergreen Park native, Marist and Purdue grad, dropped me off to head into a meeting with President Bush and select national columnists.

Thirteen members of our travel party woke up early this morning and headed out for a private tour, arranged by Ed Farmer, of Air Force 1.  Reviews were that our group was duly impressed by the size and scope of the operation.

"It is like an entire house," said one member.  "A giant, flying house."

"They didn’t let us see one level," said another.  "You can only guess what they had on that level of the airplane."

"When he steps onto that plane, he is stepping into his office.  And no one steps off that plane until the President is ready to de-plane."

My apologies to my six-year-old.  I missed her first ever soccer victory last night on the fields of UIC.  By the time I talked to her this morning, the excitement was gone.

But she might like those boxes of White House M&Ms that are headed home.

Sunday’s Breaking News

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Buehrle Agrees to 4-Year Extension

Following the final out ot today’s game, we were able to announce to the crowd that the club had agreed with Mark on a four-year extension.

Good news heading into the break.

Saturday vs. The Twins

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Today’s Lineup

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

It can’t get worse, right?

I’m in early today to work with a whitesox.com camera crew to shoot a feature on groundskeeper Roger Bossard.  The hours Roger puts in during a summer are amazing, and we are having this crew spend a day with him so he can show and describe what it takes to get a field ready, his family secrets, and how players feel about his fields.

Our plan is to make the video available in the near future on our site.

Second Thoughts

Friday, July 6, 2007

Tonight’s Lineup for Game 2

Owens, CF; Iguchi, 2B; Thome, DH; PK, 1B; AJ, C; Dye, RF: Mack, LF; Fields, 3B; Cintron, SS.  Floyd making his White Sox debut.

This has been a very bad year for …

"It can’t get any worse than this, can it?"

Good News

My son called to say his team won its competition at the North American Irish Dance Championships.  His other finished fourth.

You could hear the excitement in his voice …

… so at least something good happened for me today.

Let’s Play Two

Friday, July 6, 2007

Today’s Lineup

Owens, CF; Uribe, SS; Thome, DH; PK, 1B; Dye, RF; Mack, LF; Fields, 3B; Cintron, 2B; Hall, C.  Garland on the hill.

Pink Tees

You may have seen the television booth interview with Jamie Buehrle and Jessica Erstad last night during the game, but starting today, the "White Sox Wives" are selling specially made, pink sleeveless tees at the ballpark and on-line.  Sales in park go through the weekend, while on-line sales continue into the second half.  Proceeds go to Chicago White Sox Charities and benefit Gilda’s Club Chicago and Lynn Sage Cancer Research Foundation, both charities close to the Sox and selected by our wives.

Various White Sox wives will be selling t-shirts at the CWSC stand throughout the next four games.  Stop by, check out the shirts, and maybe help a great cause.

Long Day at the Ballpark

No one wants to hear about it, but today is a very loooong day at the ballpark.  At least our day started with baked goods.

The Police

I am told that the Police were greeted with boos last night when they reminded the fans that the last time they performed in Chicago was in 1983 … at Comiskey Park.

Profundo

Juan Uribe is often the target of sharp criticism on posts to this blog and elsewhere.  Say what you want, but last night Juan made some big time plays and also drove a ball the opposite way for a home run.  It may be frustrating some times with how he gets there offensively … on a tear for two weeks and then swinging and missing for two weeks … but he generally ends up at .240, 18-20 and 60-75 RBI.  You can win with that from the ninth hole.

Proud Father

I just received a phone call from my 10-year-old son who is competing in the North American Irish Dancing Championships in Ottawa, Canada.  His teams — he dances for two World Academy eight-kid teams — just finished their competition.  Now, they await the judges’ decision later today.  He was very proud, as am I (wish I could have been there).  The impressive thing is the kid has a broken bone in his foot, suffered last Saturday during a sleepover kick-ball game.  He was cleared by the ortho on Tuesday to compete, mom drove him and his sisters to Ottawa on Wednesday (14 hours), and he taped it up and danced today.

I proud of his passion for dance (think Michael Flatley and Riverdance), his willingness to put up with the quizzical looks from his 10-year-old soccer teammates when he misses soccer practices for dance, his commitment to his team, and his willingness to battle through the pain in his foot.

I told him he is a champion.

Now, he’s just excited that he can go swimming in the hotel pool.

I’ll see them all on Sunday.

Thursday Fun

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Tonight’s Lineup

Gonzo, LF; Iguchi, 2B; Thome, DH; PK, 1B; AJ, C; Dye, RF; Fields, 3B; Terrero, CF; Uribe, SS.  Danks starting.

Sorry, not a lot of time today.

Happy Fourth

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Tonight’s Lineup

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

Happy 4th to July to everyone!  Between ball games, picnics and fireworks, we should all take a moment to celebrate the freedoms that make this country unique in the history of the world and to remember the events, moments and people who created this country.

Bulls

Aaron Gray, JamesOn Curry and Joakim Noah enjoyed the ballgame last night from Jerry Reinsdorf’s suite.  (No truth to the rumor that I was in charge of serving drinks poolside.)  Gray, who threw the first pitch, grew up a White Sox and Frank Thomas fan, while Noah and A.J. shared a pregame moment like only two Gator fans can do …

Kudos

To Javier Vazquez for his complete-game effort last night.  If I had told you in March that on July 4th our starting pitchers would rank second in the league with a 3.82 ERA, wouldn’t you ask how far ahead we would be?

Eric Zorn

The Trib’s Eric Zorn, a columnist I enjoy and respect (see, there are some, many, in fact), wrote a piece yesterday titled, "Justice Should Be Blind, Not Shortsighted," in which he compared the legal penalties of an assault on the street and the fan intrusion at Wrigley Field last week.

In the end, Eric argued that he would prefer that the State’s Attorney’s Office reduce the fan intrusion charge.  And he asks for reader response (Eric’s blog and on-line conversation on topics is one of the things I really like about his column.  It’s where, in my opinion, newspapers are heading and need to head to engage readers in conversation on an almost around-the-clock schedule … note the Trib’s new emphasis on sports blogs as a key part of its sports coverage).

Anyway, because the White Sox, Jerry Reinsdorf and State Senator Mattie Hunter were at the forefront of lobbying the State Legislature to make field incursions a felony, I thought I would offer some of the rationale, from our position, for such a penalty.

1. Escalation.  Incursions by fans escalate, in a couple of ways.  First, one "runner" encourages another and another and another.  One way to combat this is to make sure the penalty is a deterrent (which, I believe, it has been at U.S. Cellular Field due to the publicity of the penalty).  Secondly, incursions have escalated in nature.  Maybe this is part of the world we now live in, call it the idiot gene, but incursions have seemed to move from drunken frat boy running out onto the field behind second base to cheers from his buddies and fans to viscious attacks on coaches, umpires, and possibly players.  Take the Wrigley Field instance, for example.  The game wasn’t 12-1.  The fan went onto the field in a close game, apparently fueled with anger at reliever Bobby Howry’s surrendering the lead.  The fan was angry/frustrated, as I’m sure Bobby was as well.  That’s a dangerous combination.  Thank goodness the security guard reached the fan first.  One concern we have is that each incursion tries to top the next, stand at second base with your hands over your head, dodger security, next steal a player’s hat, then steal second base.  Where does that eventually lead?

2. The penalty.  As a misdemeanor, we often faced situations where a bunch of buddies pass the hat, agreeing to cover the fine, often less than $1,000, and then egg one of their friends to make a run onto the field for the entertainment value.  With the penalty now a felony, this practice ends.

3. An Audience.  Because the incident is taking place in a "place of amusement", i.e. a ballpark, the potential audience for this crime is large.  At the very least, the incursion will potentially incite up to 40,000 other fans at the game, but it also impacts possibly millions via television.  In one of our cases, the criminal reportedly called someone before rushing onto the field and attacking a coach and told them to make sure to watch the news that evening.  Events that occur on our field each day have the potential to echo around the world and possibly encourage others to copy.  If the criminals think of our field as a potential television stage, then the penalty needs to match, in my opinion.

Eric’s column discusses another recent crime, and I am in no way passing judgment on how that should be handled by authorities.  But given my own personal experience, and some familiarity with the process, I do feel that a felony is the correct penalty for a ballfield incursion, both as a deterent and as a fit penalty given the potential impact of the crime.  What if security had not reached the fan first at Wrigley?  My guess is that this wouldn’t even be a discussion.

Covering Buehrle

I had several interesting (no, not heated) conversations with several media members over the last few days about the difficulties in covering the Buehrle negotiations and how that might impact what you read and hear.

Some of my thoughts (all my opinions, so take them for what they are worth) …

On-going negotiations are incredibly difficult to cover, for the following reasons (and as a result, fans may only be getting a portion of the story and that portion may be correct or incorrect on any particular day):  Parties involved rarely comment, which leads to having to rely on whispers, rumors, leaks and off the record conversations, all of which carry risks; because negotiations are on-going, information getting to media is often dated, sometimes very dated (this also happens with many, many trade rumors around this time of the year.  By the time a rumor is reported, it’s old and over); negotiations in corporate life usually occur in a boardroom somewhere, they are not clean, black and white, they involve back and forth, give and take … i.e. you might not want to see how the sausage gets made, you just want the brat when it’s all done.  In this case, fans I’ve talked to are almost numb from the back and forth, roller coaster of emotions each day’s reports bring.  That’s because you normally don’t see or read about that side of a negotiation.  You just see the end result.  Finally, in any negotiation, parties are potentially looking for every angle.  It seems to me that the biggest challege facing reporters covering a story like this is to do your best to not become pawns for either side in negotiations.  I understand that’s a tough challenge at times.  In this case, I think it has been interesting for fans to also get a chance to study how reporters try to manage the process of covering an on-going negotiation … or at least I have found it interesting, even if we would prefer to have all our negotiations remain quiet until finished.

Let’s win one tonight and then enjoy the fireworks.

Tuesday Night with the O’s

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Tonight’s Lineup

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

Random Notes

Good News!  Joe Cowley of the Sun-Times and I made up before the game today and he evened promised to consider taking part in Blog Night (I know I need to pick a date).

With a 3.88 ERA, the White Sox starters rank second in the AL to Oakland (3.24) … Javier Vazquez is tied with Dice-K for most strikeouts in June at 42 … Jim Thome moved into 22nd place all time with 1,413 walks …

Birds In Town

Monday, July 2, 2007

Tonight’s Lineup

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

Pregame

Ran into Mark Buehrle’s dad in the stands before the game and asked him if his week had been as much fun as mine.

Kenny Williams addressed the media before the game tonight, and we are attempting to put video of his comments on the site so you can hear for yourselves.

Expect Scott P to head to the DL tomorrow with Jerry Owens taking his place.  That song and dance is getting old.

I’ll try to post more with more time tomorrow.

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