Tuesday, July 8, 2008
Vote For JD
At the end of day yesterday, MLBAM announced that JD was a close second to Tampa Bay’s Evan Longoria in the Final Man voting, which ends Thursday at 4 p.m. CT.
So come on White Sox fans! Time to mobilize.
You’ve succeeded in helping Scott Podsednik reach the 2005 game and A.J. Pierzynski the 2006 Midsummer Classic. JD certainly is deserving, so let’s show him the way.
This morning, we are announcing a special offer. Anyone who votes for JD from this morning until polls close will be eligible to win one of six autographed Jermaine Dye jerseys … so keep voting (unlike regular All-Star voting, there is no limit to Final Man balloting).
We also reached an agreement with the San Francisco Giants yesterday on a trade of sorts. I told them we would encourage our fans to vote for Aaron Rowand in exchange for San Francisco fans voting for JD.
As someone from BAM told me yesterday, “How cool that a team would want to support a former player.”
“It’s Aaron,” I replied. “If you knew him, you’d understand.”
So vote for JD and vote for A-Row. We can re-unite Aaron and Joe Crede in New York next week.
And so how did JD spend his off day Monday?
Along with Harold Baines and Ken Williams, he took part in a special forum for young African-American ballplayers at USCF and then stuck around to watch a few innings as those same high school stars played in the “Double Duty Classic,” an brand new event meant to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Negro League East-West All-Star Game and to pay tribute to the tradition of the Negro Leagues at old Comiskey Park.
The morning’s forum, hosted by ESPN’s Michael Smith, featured three panels. The first was made up of historians Larry Lester of the Negro League Hall of Fame in KC, Eddie Bedford a professor at Western Michigan who will hold a special Negro League convention later this month, Adrian Burgos, a professor from Illinois who specializes in Latin baseball history in this country, and Sharon Robinson, Jackie’s daughter who now works for MLB.
The second panel featured JD and HB talking about their personal experiences and offering their insight and advice to the young players.
Finally, Ken Williams spoke to the group about how young players should approach their lives and the game of baseball. Williams talked about taking advantage of opportunities presented and the responsibility each person has as just one member of a long timeline of history.
The 1:30 forum was attended by several VIPs, including The Rev. Jesse Jackson, Hall of Famer Frank Robinson, Jimmie Lee Solomon of MLB, Darrell Miller of MLB, Jerry Reinsdorf and members of the Radcliffe family, for which the exhibition was named. Negro Leaguers like Hank Presswood, Minnie Minoso, Walt Owens, Ernest Westwood and Al Spearman attended.
Following lunch, nearly 1,000 fans attended the nine-inning game, which ended in a 4-4 tie when the West team scored twice in the bottom of the ninth inning.
The day was a resounding success, most importantly for the kids who got to play on a major league field in front of family and friends, but also for everyone in attendance who learned about the Negro Leagues and had a chance to see some great young talent take the field in old-style uniforms.
It was another moment that made me proud to work for the White Sox.