The Day Before It All Begins
Sunday, April 5, 2009
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.
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.
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.
Monday: Buehrle vs. Meche
Wednesday: Floyd vs. Greinke
Thursday: Danks vs. Davies
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).
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.