August 2009

White Sox Ultimate Auction

Tonight Only

Ultimate Auction to Benefit Chicago White Sox Charities

Sox fans may be interested in bidding on these seven amazing, one-of-a-kind prizes (like meeting Mark Buehrle on the field before a game or a special suite package) as the White Sox cap off Chicago White Sox Charities Week.

The auction closes at 8 p.m. CT tonight, so check it out now by going to whitesox.com/community

or by clicking here

Peavy Update

Jake Peavy threw just over 50 pitches in a simulated game this afternoon, facing hitters. He then went through fielding practice, the good old PFP. Everything went well.

Peavy is now scheduled to throw a bullpen session on Monday in Charlotte and then start for the Knights on Thursday night, going approx. 2-3 innings.

Saturday In The Park

Saturday, August 8, 2009

About Last Night

Other than yuck, Mark Buehrle went over the 2,000 mark for IP in his career … the White Sox turned six double plays last night, setting a franchise record and tying the American League record (14th time).  Buehrle became the first pitcher to induce six GIDPs since KC’s Dick Drago on 5/6/72 at Baltimore.

Flash

The top hitter in the AL since 6/26?

Well, the answer is Orlando Cabrera, now of the Twins, at .380, but our Gordon Beckham is not far behind in second at .368 … since 7/11, Cabrera still leads at .419, but Beckham has hit .393 since the break.

Peavy

Jake Peavy did throw a “simulated game” today in the early afternoon.  More details to follow …

Friday Night vs. the Tribe

Friday, August 7, 2009

Sox vs. Indians

Lineup: Pods 8, Beckham 5, JD 9, Thome dh, PK 3, AJ 2, Q 7, Ramirez 6, Nix 4. Buehrle pitching.

Optimism

If we are fortunate enough to take 2 of 3 the rest of the way out, all will be good.

Volunteer Corps Event

Went with Gordon Beckham, Harold Baines, Minnie Minoso and Ozzie Guillen Jr. to today’s Sox Volunteers Corps event at the Greater Chicago Food Depository.  A group of 60 Volunteers, including Meg Madden of the White Sox, Marla and Toni Baines and yours truly, put together nearly 1,000 boxes of emergency food for Chicago residents most in need.

Working on photos for the event …

Believe It or Not

So name the worst team in baseball at converting balls put into play into outs (i.e. Defensive Efficiency)?

Well, it’s not us.

According to our friends at Baseball Prospectus, here are the AL rankings entering today’s games:

1. Seattle

2. Texas

3. Tampa

4. Detroit

5. Yankees

6. Toronto

7. Minnesota

8. White Sox

9. Anaheim

10. Cleveland

11. Baltimore

12. Oakland

13. Boston

14. Kansas City

Obama Story

The story of President Obama’s All-Star Game first pitch toss just gets better and better.  Sox fan through and through …

click here to read a Sun-Times article.

 

 

Two Sox Wins

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Junior RBI World Series Results

You may have read or heard about the Junior RBI White Sox, who earned their way to the RBI World Series currently underway in Jupiter, Fla. by winning the Central Region championship.

The team opened play today and here is the first-hand report from Dan Puente, our youth baseball coordinator, who is with the team:

The White Juniors won game 2 of a doubleheader this afternoon, defeating the Dominican Republic Juniors, 2-0.  Shane Brown from Simeon threw a complete game, 78-pitch gem.  Shane worked ahead of hitters all game, keeping them off balance with an outstanding curveball and straight change. 
 
With the victory, the White Sox Juniors finish the day 2-0 and play the Urban Youth Academy Juniors tomorrow at 10:30 a.m. in the final game of pool play.  After pool play, all Junior teams (8) will be seeded based on their pool play records and then crossbracketed in a single elimination tournment beginning Saturday.  The team will have a workout day in front of scouts on Friday morning and view a minor league game in the evening at Roger Dean Stadium. 
 
 A side note:  We exchanged Sox hats with the Dominican Junior Team, they had a couple of Cuban born players and coaches on the team who were very excited to get their hands on a White Sox hat!

The White Sox Juniors won their first game, 10-1, over Montgomery RBI. Harlan’s Jabari Roberts earned the victory working 4 strong innings.
 
Go Sox!
 
 
Dan

Congrats to the kids, not necessarily for today’s victories, but for the commitment and hard work it’s taken them to get this far.

 

Random Musings

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

 


080409-Buehrle-Grp.jpgBig Win

How big was last night’s walk-off victory (thanks, Scotty Pods) without Bobby Jenks?

Ticket Deals

Hopefully, you all already know this, but specially priced $9 and $27 tickets are available for tonight and tomorrow’s game.  Tomorrow, the first 20K fans receive a very cool oversized re-print of Mark Buehrle’s Sports Illustrated cover shot.

Da Mayor

Speaking of Buehrle, Mark, his family, DeWayne Wise and I visited Mayor Daley at City Hall this afternoon.  The Mayor presented the city’s proclamations to the guys, posed for a few photos, talked White Sox baseball and then showed us all around his office suite.  Quite impressive.  The Mayor was particularly proud of his desk — originally used by his father — and spoke with great pride about his children and grandchildren.

Twitter

I read a couple of comments on my blog about my missing a day or so of posting every now and then.  Guilty.  But once again, I will tell everyone that I do Tweet on a daily basis, usually many times a day.  You can follow me @InsideTheSox on twitter or on my facebook page (where my twitter posts appear as well).  Thanks to the great people at mlb.com, my most recent tweet always appears at the top of this blog.  I use twitter now to post the lineup, update you with breaking news and offer quotes and comments, literally, right from the dugout before the game.

For example, today, as I rode in the lino down the City Hall with Mark and DW, I was tweeting. Real time is so cool.

From DeWayne

Telling Mark Buehrle’s dad about the Perfect Game: “Four guys did not move the entire game.  They just sat on the bench in the same spot.  Whole game.”

And DW didn’t realize it was perfect until the sixth inning.

“Then I went inside into the weight room and worked up a sweat, thinking I might get in the game.  When I was in the game, I figured I would need to make a diving catch because the ball always finds the new guy.”

Strange But True

This is really true … really.

We received a yellow postcard from a fan today, addressed to “Bobby Jenks, stud closer.”

It began … “Bobby, what a man you are … (and no, Bobby didn’t write this to himself) … pitching so soon after a kidney stone episode.”

The fan then recounts his own, painful experience with kidney stones, and then writes …

“The one’s taped here passed with NO displeasure”

I’m reading this and think, Oh My God.

Sure enough, up in the left-hande corner is a piece of scotch tape. But torn from the middle is the apparent kidney stone, apparently lost in the mail.

Thank you, U.S. Postal Service.  Thank you.

Golf

I live a good life.

This was my Monday (off day).

At 7:30 am, Harold Baines, Mark Salas and I played a quick 18 holes at Harborside Golf Course, site of our 2009 Field of Greens Charity Golf Tournament (August 20).  Harold beat Mark and I, and we just finished the round when the rain came.

After a shower and some work, I rushed out to Cog Hill for my 3:30 tee time with Ed Farmer.  Farmio is always good for an eclectic crowd and today was no different at Dub’s Dread.

Garrett, a grad of Illinois where he played on the golf team and a future professional, joined us as did Mike Small, head golf coach at Illinois (and a great, patient man).

Now, I am a pretty average to poor player and here I was playing with Farmer (who might as well be a professional golfer), Garrett (who will be) and Coach Small, who is playing in next week’s PGA Championship and appears in about 8-9 PGA events each year.

One of these things certainly didn’t belong here (me).

And who joins us on the fourth hole … Bo Jackson.

Needless to say, I generally hit last and prayed my incompetence did not distract Mike from his tournament preparations.

But on No. 9 … magic happened.

For those of you who don’t know Dubs, the ninth hole is a killer.  A Par 5, it’s long, with trees on both sides all the way up to an elevated green that is protected by heavy traps.

And understand that when we play, we don’t just hit from the back tees, we hit from the back of the back box.  In some cases, I couldn’t even see the fairway.

I have never, in many rounds at Cog, never even pared the monster.

But the golf Gods shined on me Monday.

I cracked a drive, best of the day (let’s just say I hit my second shot last of the group).

I hammered a five wood up the fairway to about 140 yards.

The wind was in our face (do I sound a little like Farmer on a broadcast), so I hit a little knock down seven iron to about eight feet.

And then, amazingly enough, I drained the putt for a bird.

“I’ve never even pared this hole,” I explained in surprise.

“You still haven’t,” Coach Small laughed.

Chicago White Sox Charities Week

For thos of you out here the next three days … tonight, kids from our Youth Baseball Team will be selling special Sox Tags to benefit charity, tomorrow, we’ll be selling game used baseballs at tables in the outfield, and Friday, White Sox player wives will be selling special Mystery Brown Bags (containing signed items, including some balls by HOFers), all as part of CWS Charities Week (to celebrate everything charity does each year, to highlight our programs and to thank fans for their tremendous support).

Saturday is where you come in …

All pregame and during WGN’s telecast, seven different, very amazing prizes will be up for bid in our Ultimate Auction.

For details on the prizes, click here and be wowed …

To bid during the game, go to whitesox.com/ultimatebid and make your best offer.  Take a minute to read the prizes. Some are once-in-a-lifetime (like meeting Mark Buehrle on the field or sitting in on a broadcast with Hawk and Steve).

 

 

 

 

Brett Ballantini

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Several people read and enjoyed Brett Ballantini’s comment to my blog the other day and have recommended it to others.

To make it a little easier for all to find, here it is again …

(So note, this is Brett, not me.  The only thing I don’t want to have happen is his very last line, but otherwise, great post, Brett.  Enjoy)

BRAVO Ken Williams!

Not once, but twice he swoops in and makes a deal others could not. Other GMs might have had their feelings hurt by Peavy’s rejection in May–as a fan I’ll admit I was turned off–but not our guy.

The tide is turning now. Writers and analysts are being dragged kicking and screaming over to his side. No longer is he considered inexperienced or even underrated, now everyone recognizes he’s the most aggressive GM in sports, with a feel for players that can’t be taught.

Williams gets it: Trade future potential for immediate impact every time. Beckham is a rare case, a player so good he bulled his way into a role quickly. Richard, even Poreda, had a chance to make the big team and never look back, as Beckham did. We wish our young pitchers all the best in San Diego. As Williams himself would say, the best trades, both teams win, and perhaps this is one. But considering Williams’ history, things don’t look good for San Diego.

I did a little, unofficial research on just how brilliant our GM has been over his nine years. I count only four deals where Williams gave up a veteran who had any measure of success in his post-White Sox career: Keith Foulke (for Billy Koch in 2002), Carlos Lee (for Scotty Pods in 2004), Aaron Rowand (for Jim Thome in 2005), and Javier Vazquez (for Tyler Flowers in 2008). Give KW a mulligan for Foulke (Koch was ill and didn’t know it, and one eventually amazing year of Neal Cotts did come back in the deal). The Lee and Vazquez deals were not lopsided and represented essential moves to preserve team culture. Rowand was just the opposite, a deal that hurt us chemistry-wise, but it’s impossible to claim we got the short end of that one–it’s a draw at worst.

Now consider how KW has done in trading away and acquiring young players–and keep in mind the White Sox are more often buyers than sellers, so the deck is stacked against him to come away looking good when it comes to young players. But in nine years, Ken has brought in Damaso Marte, Cotts, Matt Thornton, Gavin Floyd, John Danks, and Carlos Quentin as relative unknowns. He’s dealt away Miguel Olivo, Jon Rauch, and Chris Young. Most would agree the four best players from this group are Matt, Gavin, Danks, and Q.

Now consider the players Williams has signed who were completely off most team’s radars, guys he acquired for “free” from a talent-surrendered perspective: Esteban Loaiza (later dealt straight-up for Jose Contreras!), Bobby Jenks, Tadahito Iguchi, Alexei Ramirez, and Shingo Takatsu. Those players alone (including Jose) represent roughly 15 seasons high-quality play we benefited from just because the Sox were smart enough to grab them.

Finally, KW made major deals for two players who ultimately flopped: Todd Ritchie (in only Williams’ second major deal as GM) and Mike MacDougal. And yet, in neither deal did we surrender players who “haunted” us in any way.

So by any measure, over nine seasons, Ken Williams has traded countless prospects–NONE who became a star (wonder why the Trib never touts Arizona’s “steal” of Chris Young from the White Sox any longer? CY is south of the Mendoza line these days). Allowing for the tricky circumstances surrounding the Billy Koch trade, he’s never been outright pickpocketed in a deal. He has, however, by under-radar signing or trade, picked up Thornton, Gavin, Danks, Q, Jenks, Contreras, Iguchi, Lexi, and Takatsu for nothing.

If I was an opposing team’s GM, if “Ken Williams” or “White Sox” shows up on my Caller ID, I don’t pick up the phone!

The Week Ahead

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Homestand

If you are planning to catch a Sox game soon, the rest of this homestand next week might be a great opportunity.

In honor of Mark Buehrle’s Perfect Game, tickets for the three-game series with the Angels are specially priced ($9 and $27 … for innings and batters retired, get it?), and giveaways are planned for all three games to commemorate his gem.

Click here for details on the special series.

And next week is also our first ever “Chicago White Sox Charities Week,” with events each day to raise funds and awareness of Chicago White Sox Charities. Giving back is part of who we are as a team and as an organization, and all this week we plan to highlight opportunities for fans to support our CWS Charities efforts, not to mention win some pretty cool stuff.

On Tuesday, fans at the ballpark can bid on the jerseys off our player’s backs.  On Wednesday, we are going to have players from our various youth baseball teams in the stands selling Sox Tags to raise funds.  Thursday, we have hundreds of game-used baseballs for sale (if you never snagged one of those foul balls, here’s your chance to get a game ball for a reasonable price), and Friday, wives of White Sox players will be selling “Mystery Brown Bags” during the game. These bags can contain anything from a signed ball from a current team member to a signed baseball by HOF Carlton Fisk or Luis Aparicio!

And then Saturday, we are holding a special in-game auction — termed the Ultimate Auction – during the WGN telecast. Fans at home can bid on very special prizes — things like a broadcast experience with Hawk and Steve to a “Suite” night where fans receive a suite to a Sox game, Hawks game and Bulls game.

Thanks to WGN and Pat Tomasulo (assuming he comes back from the stand-in gig for Regis on the Regis and Kelly Show), Saturday’s game will feature auction items all during pregame and the matchup with the Indians.

To bid, fans should go to whitesox.com/ultimatebid

For more details, click here.

We are very proud that CWSC had donated nearly $15 million to local Charities and causes since its inception. We certainly could not offer that level of support without the willingness of our fans to attend our special events, buy Sox Split Raffle tickets and support our efforts in so many ways. We also want this week to be an opportunity to celebrate what our fans mean to us and how they help us give back to Chicago.  The White Sox are so much more than just a baseball team when it comes to Chicago, and that is a responsibility we take very strongly.

Fun Read

Saturday, August 1, 2009

This from FOX Sport’s Ken Rosenthal …

A Story of Dexter Carter

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Part of a Trade

RHP Dexter Carter was part of yesterday’s trade with the Padres as the 22-year-old joined Clayton Richard, Aaron Poreda and Adam Russell in the deal.

He is 6-2 with a 3.13 ERA in 19 starts with Kannapolis this season and boasts an impressive 143 SO to just 32 BB in the Sally League. Carter features a four-seam fastball and a big overhead curveball in his arsenal.

I heard an interesting story about Dexter yesterday and thought I would share it.  I think it shows how important scouting and player development are in building assets for an organization, whether those assets manifest themselves at the big league level for us or as part of a deal to acquire other talent.

Our area scout Chuck Fox had liked Carter since high school.  In 2008 at Old Dominion University, Carter scuffled, going 3-4 with an 8.76 ERA in 12 games.  But Fox still liked the kid and liked his arm.  He recommended we draft Carter, and we took him in the 13th round despite the poor college season.

Newly signed, Carter reports to Great Falls.

During his very first bullpen session, the kid’s pitches are all over the place.

Curt Hasler, our pitching coach at Great Falls, sees a mechanical problem immediately and makes a suggestion.

He draws a line on the mound and says, “Make sure your foot lands on or past this line.”

Carter, to his credit, makes the adjustment on the very first pitch.

Everyone’s eyes lighted up.  We were on to something.

And Carter went on to go 6-1 with a 2.23 ERA for Great Falls as they captured the league title.

And somewhere along the line, a Padres scout saw him, liked him and Dexter Carter helped get us Cy Young Award winner Jake Peavy, with an assist to Chuck Fox and Curt Hasler.

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