The Day Before It All Begins

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Sunday

I have favorite days and times at the ballpark, and one of them certainly is the day before Opening Day.  There is hustle and bustle as workers prepare the ballpark for 40,000-plus fans, but yet it is quiet.  Everything is clean.  The carpets have a certain smell.  The groundscrew works the field.  The air is usually crisp.  Sappy, I know, but special.  One of the cool things about my job.

Weather

While the forecast for tomorrow isn’t great, right now we are planning to wait and see what the morning brings.  It was supposed to rain all day today, and as I write this, we could be playing baseball.  So, let’s all cross our fingers that any heavy snow stays north of us.  It will be cold (high 30s) and blustery so dress accordingly.  Roger Bossard said he’ll be OK as long as we don’t get too much snow.  Anything under three inches will melt quickly on his field.

I will try to keep everyone posted on developments.

Roster Moves

After yesterday’s final exhibition game, the Sox purchased the contracts of Mike MacDougal and Corky Miller and re-assigned Donny Lucy to minor league camp.  With the moves, the roster stands at 25:  12 pitchers, Buehrle, Carrasco, Colon, Contreras, Danks, Dotel, Floyd, Jenks, Linebrink, MacDougal, Richard, Thornton; 2 catchers, Miller, Pierzynski; 7 infielders, Betemit, Fields, Getz, Konerko, Lillibridge, Ramirez, Thome; 4 outfielders, Anderson, Dye, Quentin, Wise.

Series Pitching

Monday:  Buehrle vs. Meche
Wednesday:  Floyd vs. Greinke
Thursday: Danks vs. Davies

Successful Debut

The White Sox ended our first spring in Glendale with the third-highest per game attendance mark in club history, trailing only the MJ spring and 2006 (post World Series).

Opening Day Notes

All-time record:  55-53 (2-3 vs. the Royals, 3-3 vs. teams from KC)

Mark Buehrle’s start Monday is his seventh career Opening Day assignment (2-1, 4.07 ERA), tying the great Billy Pierce for most in club history.  Mr. Pierce will be here and will be honored with a ceremonial first pitch.

Jim Thome has four career OD home runs, while JD and PK each own two.  JD is a lifetime .410 hitter on OD.

Paul Konerko makes his club-record ninth straight start at first base for the Sox.  Todd Helton (12) and Carlos Delgado (10) are the only active first basemen with longer streaks.

Four Sox players are making their first OD starts in 09:  DeWayne Wise, Carlos Quentin, Josh Fields and Chris Getz).

So, What’s Your Projection?

Before the season begins, I’d like to hear your estimates (and make everyone go on the record) for how many victories the Sox will post in 2009?  Let me know (and I’ll come up with the person(s) who nail it on October 5 (one guess per person, please).

Blog Night

Believe it or not, we’ve set a date for Blog Night … July 21.  Details will follow, but save the date.  I’ve forgotten what year this is, perhaps someone out there remembers.

Workout Day Quotes

Cold weather chased both the Royals and White Sox inside Sunday.  Manager Ozzie Guillen and OD starting pitcher Mark Buehrle met with the media.

Ozzie Guillen’s comments:

On the importance of Opening Day:

“It’s not the way you start, it’s the way you finish.  Whether it’s the first game, game No. 10 or the last game of the season, our approach needs to be the same way.  But you always want to win on Opening Day.  You want this to be a fun season and fun is winning.

“Besides the playoffs, nothing is better than Opening Day.”

On the team’s speed:

“Our ballclub is going to move a lot better this year.”

On Colon and Contreras or Contreras and Colon in the 4th and 5th spots:

“I never thought they would throw the ball that well,” Ozzie said, talking about yesterday’s outing.  He indicated that he had checked with Colon and that he was fine.  Guillen and Don Cooper will meet to discuss who is going fourth in the rotation and who is fifth based on upcoming matchups.

On Danks and Floyd and their importance to the team:

“Those two kids have a chance to be special in this game,” Guillen said, praising the scouts who recommended them and Kenny Williams for making the trades to acquire them despite criticism of the deals when they were made.

On Mark Buehrle:

“It was a weird spring for him.  He went home for the birth of his child and when he came back, the kid was already three years old.  Buehrle doesn’t need much spring training to be ready to go.  His last two outings, he was great.  Tomorrow, you’re going to see the same guy you’ve seen the last 6-7 years.”

Mark Buehrle comments:

On the OD start:

“It’s a big honor.  Going out there for Opening Day, especially with the years Danks and Floyd had, definitely is an honor.”

On tying Billy Pierce for the club record with seven OD starts:

“It hasn’t really sunk in.  What you did, history, my years here, the postseason in 2005, what you accomplished for the organization, it probably won’t be until I’m at home and my career is over until I look back and it sinks in.”

On the weather:

“I don’t know if it’s an advantage for me or them.  I don’t like pitching in cold and they probably don’t like hitting in the cold.  Some guys were giving me hard time that if I get lit up some time this April they get to see me beat up a heater again.

Monday’s White Sox Lineup

DeWayne Wise 8, Chris Getz 4, Carlos Quentin 7, Jim Thome dh, Jermaine Dye 9, Paul Konerko 3, A.J. Pierzynski 2, Alexei Ramirez 6, Josh Fields 5.  Mark Buehrle 1.

18 Comments

Thanks for all the OD information, Scott. I am so anxious for tomorrow to arrive, and like everyone else, I’m just praying that the snow stays away. So, what changes should we expect to see at the Cell, other than the players on the field?

I’m pretty excited about 2009, and my projection for the season record reflects that: 93-69

I’m even more excited to see that the Blog Night IV is already scheduled. I’ve marked my calendar… now who should I call for tickets?

Great post Scott! I am so excited I can hardly stand it!! I hope we get to have a game tomorrow. I’m not optimistic about the weather.

I’m going to go with 89-73.

I have also marked blog night and am ready to order tickets. Maria is right, it is number 4. Stay warm tomorrow Maria and bring us home a winner!!

I say 161-1. Our bullpen will let a 4-run lead dissipate in the ninth and we’ll lose a game to the . . . . . . . . . . Mariners!

After all, we gotta give Proud to Be Your Spud Liptak at least one day to gloat and rip our ‘pen!!!!

Oh, and to make it even better, our blown 4-run lead will be a 4-0 margin thanks to four SOLO home runs from our “home-run-or-nothin” offense!!

Seriously, I say 92-70 or whatever it takes (like last year) to win the damn division.

This is my first post, but I read the blog and comments all the time. I love all the behind the scene info. I even went to Blog Night last year with my family. I can not wait to go again.

I am so thrilled the season is starting. This means the weather has to be getting warmer.

My family has a yearly tradition of recording our baseball predictions (for both Sox and Cubs) on our kitchen calendar. This year I picked 91-71. Hopefully I will be right. :-)

I’m going to be the optimist thus far and say a good 95-67. But I don’t put much stock in predicting.

The 21st is lil’ brudder’s b-day, so it may be a family game for me. I’ll submit the idea, though. Would it be cool to bring them if they agree?

I’m pumped up for the season to start! I think the Sox are going to surprise even themselves this year! My prediction 92-70!

Looks like I’ll have to call in sick on Tuesday instead of Monday now. Let’s kick off the 2009 campaign with a win!

And my prediction for the season is 88-74. Our division is probably the most competitive in all of MLB, but I feel 88 wins will be enough to get the job done again this time around. Go White Sox!

Very difficult to pick this season. This team has so many question marks. If all goes right they could win 93-95 games…if the “kids can’t play, th”ey have injuries and so forth, they could win 75.

I’ll split the difference and guess 85 wins.

Keep in mind, in this division, that could easily be enough to “contend.” Every team in the Central has serious flaws and in the case of the Tigers and Twins they have a number of guys on the DL already.

Also keep in mind the Sox do have one thing going for them that the other teams don’t…if they are in it at the trade deadline, Kenny will have the OK to go out and spend some more to get what he needs. (Right now, according to one of the beat writers I recently interviewed for another site, he doesn’t have permission to add payroll but ownership won’t stand in his way at the deadline if they can see “light at the end of the tunnel no matter how small” (direct quote))

This is going to be an interesting year and Kenny’s biggest gamble of his G.M. career.

Good luck guys!

Mark Liptak

Very difficult to pick this season. This team has so many question marks. If all goes right they could win 93-95 games…if the “kids can’t play, th”ey have injuries and so forth, they could win 75.

I’ll split the difference and guess 85 wins.

Keep in mind, in this division, that could easily be enough to “contend.” Every team in the Central has serious flaws and in the case of the Tigers and Twins they have a number of guys on the DL already.

Also keep in mind the Sox do have one thing going for them that the other teams don’t…if they are in it at the trade deadline, Kenny will have the OK to go out and spend some more to get what he needs. (Right now, according to one of the beat writers I recently interviewed for another site, he doesn’t have permission to add payroll but ownership won’t stand in his way at the deadline if they can see “light at the end of the tunnel no matter how small” (direct quote))

This is going to be an interesting year and Kenny’s biggest gamble of his G.M. career.

Good luck guys!

Mark Liptak

88-74…hope that is enough…tough division

Hi Scott,

Well, since my prediction nailed it last year (90 wins *and* the division), I’ll go with the same one again: 90-72, and they win the division.

Let’s hope they do even better than that, but I’m sticking with a winning number :-)

Go SOX!!!
Peggy

Ugh the weather has made me extremely disappointed! I wait all damn winter for opening day and then when it finally gets here it snows again! Terrible planning by mother nature. My prediction is for the Sox to win 86 games and the division. For those who have facebook or visit southsidesox you can see my entire major league predictions.

I have our opponent for the opener actually finishing in 2nd place this year with 83 wins.

I guess I can go one more day….but my students are going to catch hell if they act up that is for sure!

KenWo

I was going to pick 90 wins, but I don’t want to have the same pick as anyone else, so I’m going to become optimistic and say 94.

87… And not just because it’s the only number left in range. But yeah, mostly that.

Here’s my pick – 89-73 to win the division.

GO SOX!

MariE

My projection for this year is 87-75. I wish they’d win more, but I’m trying to be realistic here. lol

Oh, and come on! SNOW? in april? this is ridiculous!
Sox, you’ll do fine in 2009!

89 wins for the men in black.

I don’t think anyone picked 96 wins and somewhere I heard that I’m supposed to expect the unexpected so that’s my guess.

Will be there tomorrow with the husband (who graciously gave up going to the Bulls game–sitting in the Harris Club, no less!) and friends. Bring on the Irish Coffee!!

Nina

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