May 2008

Perspective

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Part of the Team

If you have a moment, please read this.

Obviously, we receive a great many letters from our fans and establish many, many lasting relationships.  This letter is from Diane Fagan, a mom, a Sox fan, and through a terrible tragedy, someone who started her own foundation to help others cope with loss.

Sox fans one and all, the Fagans got to know former Sox bullpen catcher Man Soo Lee through their many games in the outfield seats (who out there didn’t know and love Man Soo).  Tommy Fagan, Diane’s son, loved his White Sox.

One Mother’s Day, Tommy, then a second grader, was given the game ball for his team’s victory in a youth league game.  At a family gathering later that day, he showed the ball off proudly.  In order not to lose or misplace his prized ball, Tommy returned to the family mini van to stowe it away for the trip home.

Some how, some way, Tommy was trapped inside the van, losing his life in a terrible, terrible tragedy.

Diane recently wrote us this letter:

Dear Christine [ed. note: White Sox senior director of community relations],

I know you are incredibly busy, but I wanted to drop you a note to say thank you.  Let me explain.

Last weekend Tom visited the “Champions Plaza” to see Tommy’s brick.  He searched that baseline and could not find it!  After some time, a friend of his who was standing at home plate looked down and there it was!  We never expected it to be in such an important place.  If that wasn’t enough he noticed the brick that apparently Jim Thome’s Mom purchased [note: a brick was purchased on behalf of Jim Thome's mom, who died of cancer some years ago] for Jim was next to Tommy’s.  For that moment I just thought that Tommy was finally part of the team.

I know when you do your job you don’t always think of the full impact it has on people, but I’ve told you this before, the White Sox just mean so much to us, and honestly bring us comfort in a way.  We would never have thought that we would have this connection to the White Sox the way we do, it’s like those relatives that you don’t get together with or something like that.

The brick is something that our daughter Kristen wanted for Tommy since he died and she is thrilled, as Tommy is, that it’s finally here.  Please thank everyone involved and let them know that what they do is so important.

Thank you again,

Diane Fagan

In the aftermath of the tragedy, the Fagan family started the Healing Homes Foundation to help other families cope with such a devastating loss.  This year the Foundation will celebrate Tommy’s 2nd Home Party.  To find out more, click here.

Someone said the placement of Tommy’s brick was purely accidental.  It just happened to work out that way.  I’m not so sure …

 

 

Battle of First Place Teams

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Tonight’s Lineup

OC, SS; AJ, C; Q, LF; Dye, RF; Thome, DH; PK, 1B; Crede, 3B; Swish, CF; Ramirez, 2B. 

Great Replies

Thanks for all the activity on the site and for the victory estimates.

Official Scorers

Keep this among ourselves (no one tell Orlando) but since we moved the press box in 2007, the official scorer sits in his own booth on the broadcast level.  So when anyone calls the “press box” at our place, he gets a PR person who is still 150 yards and one level of the ballpark away from the official scorer.

Believe me, Rosey does not answer a phone with a chipper, “Official Scorer.”  You just can’t get to him … and that is on purpose.

In cases where members of the team, coaches, managers, broadcasters, media, PR guys, etc. feel an incorrect scoring call was made, we commonly do speak to the official scorer just to make sure we understand his thinking (knowing that our clubhouse will ask about it after the game) and to make sure he understands our point of view.  The vast majority of scorers are great and are more than willing to talk to you and will even look at replays if they feel they want a second look.

Richar

Danny Richar was recalled from his DL rehab stint to Class AAA Charlotte and then was optioned to Charlotte … a move purely done on paper.

 

Going For Three

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Tonight’s Lineup in Cleveland

OC, SS; Ozuna, 3B; Q, LF; Dye, RF; PK, 1B; Swish, RF; Ramirez, 2B; BA, CF; Hall, C.  Buehrle pitching.

Since his Opening Day start (gulp, in Cleveland), Mark’s ERA is 3.90.

Last Night

Nice extra-inning win last night to improve to 28-22 (.560) 50 games into the season.

Just for fun (well, maybe I’ll try to come up with some parting gifts in September), I’m asking all of you to record their estimates, on this blog, of the final, regular-season victory total for the Chicago White Sox in 2008.

At our current pace, the White Sox would win 91 games.

Please feel free to post your estimate on this site.  I’ll record them and then we’ll check our guestimates in September and see who came closest.

Factors in my mind …

We have slightly more home games than road remaining (58 to 54),

I do believe our offense will score more runs as the weather warms,

I also believe KW will be aggressive mid summer and improve our team,

and with Jerry Owens and Josh Fields in Class AAA Charlotte, we have offensive depth should we need it.

There’s a long way to go, certainly, and injuries may play the biggest role over the coming months, but count me among the optimists.

Big Numbers

Since 1970, the best SO/9 IP ratios by relievers:

1. Eric Gagne, 2003 LAD … 14.98

2. Billy Wagner, 1999 HOU … 14.95

3. Brad Lidge, 2004 HOU … 14.93

4. Octavio Dotel, 2008 CWS … 14.81

Alex

Spoke to Alex Fernandez today.  The former first-round pick is going to join scout Pepe Ortega and represent the White Sox at the First-Year Player Draft on June 9.

Alex is coaching and running a youth baseball team in Florida and stays very, very busy.

 

Thoughts During The Game

Sunday, May 25, 2008

No-Hitters

Seems this year that when you go to a White Sox game, you have a good chance to see a near no-hitter … either way.

Overheard at the game when Jose Contreras (who was outstanding) gave up his first hit:  “Do you think Hawk just turned to his wife sitting on the couch and said, ‘Cancel the postgame show?’”

Best Sign

Fans sitting over our dugout (in clear view of the national ESPN audience) with a sign reading:

“Yankees and Red Sox highlights next on SportsCenter”

Sox Fans

Certainly are a unique breed …

Where else can a first-place team be described on a reply to a blog post as “being between a rock and a hard place.”

Do you think that was written with a straight face?

It may be too soon to be optimistic, but can we at least be nuetral until June?

Bang

Game over.  Nice coming out party for Carlos Quentin on national television.

Put it on the board.

 

 

Wow

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Something very special just happened before the game, and I wanted to blog it before my attention was diverted by something a silly as a victory or a loss in a ballgame.

And the special moment came solely because of the class of Sox fans.

Prior to tonight’s game, military veterans and their families, say 250 people, took part in an on-field parade, running from center field all the way around the warning track.

As the group was introduced, fans began to stand and applaud.  Not just a few.  Everyone.  The roar became contagious. 

First the group encountered starting pitcher Jose Contreras in left center field as he prepared for tonight’s outing.  The Cuban native shook hands and said hellos.  Mark Salas, our bullpen catcher, shook hands and thanked the group of men and women.

Now a standing ovation, fans along the base lines held out their hands to high five and thank the veterans.

Angels players and coaches stood in their dugout exchanging high fives.

Still the fans stood and applauded, contnuting all the way around the ballpark as the group walked the warning track.

Great moment, all because of the spontaneous response from thousands of Sox fans.

You should be proud.

I was proud of Sox fans tonight before a first pitch was ever thrown.

(Let’s see if anyone in the media considers this worthy of mention)

 

Sunday Night Lights

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Tonight’s Lineup on ESPN

OC, SS; AJ, C; Q, LF; Dye, RF; Thome, DH; Crede, 3B; Swish, 1B; BA, CF; Rocket, 2B.  Contreras pitching.

Konerko

Ozzie hopes he is able to play tomorrow in Cleveland.

“I can pinch run him if I need to tonight,” he joked.

Odds and Ends

ESPN’s Jon Miller stopped in to see Ozzie before tonight’s game.  Credit him for doing his homework.  He ran the usual questions for a manager:  health, offense, bullpen, Contreras’ keys (throwing strikes, getting ahead of hitters so that his forkball and breaking ball are more dangerous, etc.  “He’s healthier than last year,” Guillen indicated, explaining that Contreras battled back and hamstring pain for much of 2007).

Ozzie’s youngest son, Ozney, is in town over the holiday weekend.  A sophomore at PACE High School in Miami, he plays the outfield.

Already receiving letters from colleges and professional teams, he’s known as the best baseball-playing Guillen.

 

Saturday vs. Angels

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Today’s Lineup

OC, SS; AJ, C; Q, LF; Dye, RF; Thome, DH; Crede, 3B; Swish, 1B; BA, CF; Ozuna, 2B.  Danks pitching.

Notes and Stuff

Spent the morning at The Best of the Midwest Soccer Tournament near Lowell, Ind. and then headed back for a game.  I’ll be back there tomorrow morning for that highly-anticipated U-11 Boys game against Rockford United.

Anyway … Bobby Jenks is one save shy of 100 for his career … today’s starter, John Danks, ranks among AL leaders in ERA (8th, 2.94), opponents OBP (12th, .294), baserunners per 9.0 IP (12th, 10.9), quality starts (T12th, six) and opponents BA (16th, .239).

Danks’ line through nine starts in 2007:  3-5, 4.59 ERA, .282 OBA, 10 HR allowed

Through 2008:  3-3, 2.94, .239, 3 HRA

Orlando Cabrera leads the majors in fielding percentage by **** at .996

Making News

This from veteran baseball writer Ken Rosenthal on Carlos Q.  Worth a look and a read.

Sox vs. Angels

Friday, May 23, 2008

Tonight’s Lineup

OC, SS; AJ, C; Q, LF; Dye, RF; Thome, DH; Crede, 3B; Swish, 1B; BA, CF; Rocket, 2B.  Floyd pitching.

News and Notes

PK is going to get a couple of days off (unless needed to PH) to try and rest his sore hand.

We did place Juan Uribe on the DL (retro to 5/16) and brought up DeWayne Wise from Class AAA Charlotte (.338-8-18) to take his place.

Also, Danny Richar is beginning a rehab assignment at Charlotte.

Earlier Today

Attended ESPN 100′s Lunch with a Legend today at Morton’s downtown as Jerry Reinsdorf sat down with Tom Waddle and Marc Silverman.

They covered a variety of Bulls and Sox topics, and you can listen in at the ESPN 100 website should you care.

Link

Interesting article from Baseball Prospectus, to read it click here.

Fisk

Great to see The Commander, Bo, Kittle and Roland Hemond last night.

Funny moment from the clubhouse … Nick Swisher introduced himself to Fisk, saying Nick Swisher, “Dirty 30,” and laughing.

Ozzie chirped in … “Did you say .230 or Dirty 30?”

“Hey,” said Swish faking hurt feelings.  “I’ve had too many low blows lately.  Keep them up here.”

Roland related a great story about Rich Gossage.

Roland and Chuck Tanner used an off day to fly to Cedar Rapids while Gossage was with Class Appleton.

“Chuck had Goose throw from the back of the mound so that he had to pull down on the ball as he finished,” Roland said.  “The start before he had walked a bunch of guys.  After they worked on this, he went on to win 18 games.

“At the end of the summer, Gossage asked me what I was thinking about him for the next season.

“The Big Leagues,” Hemond answered.

And a Hall of Fame career began.

Classic

During BP one of our players ran past Jerry Reinsdorf and asked,

“So who has the final say, you or John Paxson?”

Stats and Stuff

We are 5-0 in our last five games against the LHP and 7-1 in the last eight … last time we won nine straight was 6/15-24/06 … the Sox lead the AL with 30 quality starts and rank third with a 3.46 ERA … the Sox have hit .327 with runners in scoring position over the last 12 games.

What’s Important

Among his many duties, Ron Kittle often is asked to visit fans who might be home or in the hospital struggling with their health.

Last week, he stopped by to see a season ticket holder at his home.

They talked White Sox, baseball, etc. during the visit.

The Sox fan passed away from his illness the very next day.

We received a call from the family saying how special and important it was to our fan and to them that his final hours were spent talking baseball and laughing with a favorite Sox player.

That’s how spending a few minutes with a fan can change lives, no matter if it is a case of days or years.

 

 

Fisk Night

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Tonight’s Lineup

OC, SS; Ramirez, 2B; Q, LF; Dye, RF; Thome, DH; PK, 1B; Crede, 3B; Swish, CF, Hall, C.  Buehrle pitching.

Crazy busy.  Great to see Bo, Pudge, Roland, Kitty, Walk and Ozzie all having fun in the clubhouse.  Seemed like 1991 again.

More tomorrow.

Bulls News

Tuesday, May 21, 2008

Celebration

High fives and whoops of joy in the owner’s suite tonight, and not just because of early game home runs by White Sox Carlos Quentin and Jim Thome.

The crowd in the suite was stunned when the Bulls beat all the odds and won the first pick in this June’s Draft.

“I’m thrilled,” an elated Jerry Reinsdorf said.  “We’re all thrilled.  This is great for the organization and great for Bulls fans.”

Cell phones around the room immediately exploded when the drawing was held just as the White Sox vs. Indians game got underway.

 

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