Minnesota Game 2

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Today’s Lineup

Pods 8, Beckham 5, AJ 2, PK 3, Kotsay dh, Ramirez 6, Quentin 7, Getz 4, Rios 9. Danks pitching.

PK

Paul Konerko is the latest player to be honored as Army Strong. This is a great interview with Paulie.

Perspective

A 14-year-old girl was here yesterday before the game to meet the White Sox.  Originally scheduled to meet Jim Thome, instead Gordon Beckham filled in as her host (which, no offense to Jim, but I am guessing any 14-year-old girl will pick Gordon right now!). The very special guest brought a smile to everyone’s face, and manager Ozzie Guillen invited she and her family back as his personal guests on Saturday.

I am told that ABC7 will be running a story on this special Sox fan at 4:30 pm today.

Welcome Back

Also on Saturday, we are going to host a special soldier who is returning from his deployment overseas.  His first wish: attend a White Sox game.  During his deployment, he met a special friend, a 12-year-old boy from Chicago who helped raise money to buy phone cards for soldiers overseas.  During the past year, this kind-hearted kid was diagnosed with luekemia. So now, this soldier wants to bring his new buddy to the game so they can enjoy it together. They will be my guests on Saturday.

Finally

A few days ago, I asked fans via twitter, facebook and here, to write me with their special story of why they are a Sox fan.  I told people to limit it to 25 words or less and received great replies.  This one was the winner (even though she went over 25 words).  See what you think:

Hello Mr. Reifert,

I have been trying to figure out who to send this to for a couple weeks now, and when I saw your tweet, I finally knew. My story is a bit of a long one, so bear with me. However, it is in recognition of my appreciation of the people who work for you and why I owe my summer to the White Sox. I have never had a bad time at the Cell, in fact when I am in the gift shop or at the concession stand, I regularly strike up a conversation with the workers; this particular game was an exception though.

My story starts in the spring when I (finally) started rooting for the White Sox hardcore as in paying attention to the games, transactions, news, etc. It had been two years since that happened (back when I was in high school). Anyways, it even gave me my career goal, which since I’m in my third year of college, needed to happen…. become a sports writer. I started following the Sox Machine blog (Jim even let me write a few recaps), along with yours and Chuck Garfien’s and even signed up for Twitter to get the game updates since I’m often at school or work during games.

 But the reason I truly owe my season to the White Sox is because after four years, it gave my Dad and I something to talk and laugh about. When I was a jr. in high school, my Mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. She has since made a full recovery but it definately took its toll on the relationship between me and my Dad because all of a sudden, there was nothing light hearted that we could talk about.

Until this summer. It took my dad about a month to come to terms with the fact that his little girl was now a Southsider (he was born and raised a Cub fan and although he was pretty diehard, he was realistic enough to know when they were bad and stop watching). After that month though, he and I would talk more than we had a long time. He made sure he knew who the players were and what they accomplished so that we could talk about it when he got home from work. When Buehrle threw his Perfect Game, I was in Ohio visiting some friends. Without me even calling to ask him, he taped the recast of the game and the next day bought all the papers and surprised me with them. The night Konerko had his three home runs, we were at that game. He had been telling his bosses that I was a huge Sox fan and wanted to be a sports writer, so they gave him the tickets to that game and we went with my cousin and my uncle. It was funny because every time Paulie hit a home run, he would clap but he would tease me by not standing up because he was a Cubs fan. It was cold that night, and he kept offering to buy me a sweatshirt since I didn’t have one with me. I kept saying that I was ok and that it wasn’t necessary (mostly because I knew how much they were) and we went home that night with a lot of laughter and memories and the promise that we would do it again next year.

Unfortunately, there won’t be a next year because my dad passed away very suddenly in his sleep on September 3rd. It was an incredible shock to everyone, but especially myself because a few days earlier, I had painted my room with him and we talked about the Sox game that was on while we painted. The next night, Thome and Contreras got traded and we talked about that. The last conversations we had were about the Sox. All I could think about the day he died was how I should have let him buy me that sweatshirt, because then I would have that final memory with him. The story has one final twist though. I was supposed to go to a game the Sunday after he passed with my friends, and at my Mom’s insistence, we did. Before we left, my Mom and I were going through some of his stuff, and we found some money. She gave it to me so that at the game I could buy that sweatshirt. I had Upper Deck seats but could not find a sweatshirt that I liked in the gift shop there. I asked the lady working there, Ann if I could go down to the big store on the main level. Both Ann and her superviser (I apologize because I don’t remember her name) were sympathetic and the superviser escorted me downstairs where I found the sweatshirt.

Now that I have this last gift from my dad, I will never be cold at a Sox game again. Ann brought a smile to my face in a time where that didn’t happen much and I truly am greatful for her compassion, just as I am thankful for the summer that I had with my dad that led to many final memories. I stuck a scorecard and a pencil with my dad as a reminder to him of the summer and I figure that while I know he is watching over me, he will also watch over the Sox. So the next time an error is made, a fly ball is dropped or  the ball just takes a funny hop, think of it as my dad smiling down on the guys, but also having a little fun with them because they turned his daughter into a Sox fan.

I appreciate you taking the time to read this. It truly is great to be a Sox fan.

Kate

PS, forgive some of the repetition, writing this was much harder than I thought it would be.


 

24 Comments

Trying to make me cry Scott? Good grief. Kate’s story got me! My sympathies to her and how wonderful of the staff to take the time to help her. These are the stories to get me through the final 2 weeks. Yes, I gave up a few weeks ago, but still love my Sox.

I have to say this much: already we are better than tonight in the fact that we have managed to score a run. Let’s go White Sox!!

Way to go, Becks!!! And we have the lead – let’s keep it!!

GO SOX!!!

Peggy

And I missed it because I had to restart my computer. *sad face* But I’m still lovin’ my Becks!!

Thank you for sharing Kate’s beautiful, albeit sad, story. My heart goes out to her.

All right. All tied back up, courtesy of Paulie and Becks.

Looks like the Sox pitchers are throwing batting practice for the Twinks tonight!

But we couldn’t keep it that way for very long.

…and we couldn’t get back enough runs in the end. Kudos to our guys for all their big hits tonight, but we keep truckin’ on in the countdown to the end of the season.

Our new song for the end of this year… Free falling by Tom Petty………. maybe after we’re “officially” gone, we can start playing loose…… and win a couple before the end of the year?…. Go Sox’10……j.k.

Sorry for the negativity of my previous post. All things must come to an end as “they” say, and mercifully our season is almost over.

WHAT A YEAR!!!

Think back to ’05 and remember how our Boys fought and found ways to win games. This ’09 team is the antithesis of that most wonderful season. We continually find ways to lose games. If it didn’t hurt to see this happening so often, it would truly be funny. Not funny haha, but funny as in stretching the laws of probability.

If we’re ahead, our bullpen blows the game. If our starters are strong, the offense is asleep. and if all else fails, we fail to turn the double play, or give the other team an extra out or two, just to help THEIR cause.

We all know we can’t hit against unknown pitchers who endlessly turn in Cy Young caliber performances against us. We can’t score that runner from third with less than two outs. We’re slow and rely on the home run too much. This latter has been the case since the turn of this century, and I contend that this year (’09), we haven’t lived up to our usual HR totals. This year we haven’t hit enough homers! If we had the usual 200+ that we normally hit, we might have won a few more games.

We all know the above is what we can’t do. But, what can we do? Well, we’re loose! (witness the gum on the cap of Ramon Castro tonight and others previously). And now we’re spending money for players ( Rios, Peavy) That’s a departure from the White Sox norm. Hopefully they are just two of others to come in the future. We’re nice guys and great in the community. So far all that hasn’t won anything except for that magical year 2005.

Maybe that year was a fluke? I hope that it wasn’t, and I’m encouraged by some of our young players. Maybe ’10 will be our year too? We will have to wait and see about that though.

The thing that troubles me most though is all the rhetoric about playing sound fundamental baseball that’s supposedly been our goal for these past four years (’06-’09). I don’t see it. Hawk talks about how fundamentally sound the Twins are, so why can’t WE see some of that same type play, especially if we’re supposedly trying to do just that?

I can only conclude that there’s something we aren’t privy to, that is continually changing this dynamic. Is it a lack of chemistry in the clubhouse? Is Ozzie the problem, being as laid back as he seems to be? Is it Walkers fault for not getting our guys to hit line drives or at least sac flys? JR seems to be willing to sign expensive free agents. Is it Ken Williams for not getting the RIGHT players? Is it a combination of all the above? Is there something else entirely that causes us to underachieve? I don’t know the answer to any of these questions, but I sure do hope that our Management Team does.

This year we were for the most part healthy, just like we were in ’05. Who knows how that crucial aspect of this game will impact on next year? That’s why when you have the pieces in place to make a run at a post season spot, you MUST get there, because you never know what will happen next year.

I started with an apology for my previous post and now I’ve bared my thoughts and probably many of yours as well. This, then is all for me folks. I wish all my many friends whom I’ve met either in Tucson ( Maria, Pat, Scott) and at Blog night III ( Donna, TQ, Helene, TC, Kenwo/Kitty, Larry, and others I’m failing to mention), and all the rest of you whom I’ve enjoyed a written relationship with through the auspices of this Blog Site of Scott’s (Peggy, Kris, MariE, Jen, Amy, Lisa, Nina, Josh Vickey), and all the others from previous years:too numerous to mention:I wish you all health, happiness and prosperity. May (most of) your dreams come true and may you smilingly live in the bosom of your family for decades to come……. Later all…… j.k.

Thanks for putting into words what I cannot, JK. I have been trying for weeks (and 2+ hours tonight) to articulate my thoughts about this season, but I come off sounding like a less-articulate Liptak. (Where is our old friend these days?)

Other than a perfect game and a couple of milestone homers, WAS there something positive? Guess I need more time.

JK, I don’t think I could have said it better myself. This year was definitely a roller coaster, and it was nice to be a contender for about 2/3rd’s of the season. While all of the negatives have been widely discussed, I feel I should reflect on the positives of this past season and start looking forward to next year…

-Dye and Konerko hit their 300th career homeruns back-to-back in the same game. According to Elias, it is the first time in baseball history this has been done, and more importantly, we got the win that day.

-The Return of Scott Podsednik. I’m sure when many of us heard he had signed that minor league contract, we didn’t think he was going to have an impact on the team. But due to injuries, Pods gets his second chance in a White Sox uniform, and boy did he make the best of it. I can remember Ames’ excitement when she heard the news of him being called up, and it will probably be my lasting memory of all of this. Although he was not in the same form of his 2005 season (though, I don’t think any of us expected this to be the case), he provided stability and consistency at the top of the order for the rest of the year. Add on top of this a couple of walk-offs and home runs and I don’t think any of us can complain with the job he has done.

-The return of Freddy Garcia. While this one can be argued about the impact on the team, like Pods, it was great to see another former player get another chance with the team. Surprisingly, Garcia has not pitched that bad and has given us a few quality starts since being called up. With Contreras gone and our front 3 for 2010 being Buehrle, Floyd, and Danks, Garcia may have a great chance to make our rotation next year. Let’s hope he continues to build on the success he’s had this year.

-The acquisitions of Alex Rios and Jake Peavy. Time will tell if these moves will work out for us, but you have to like Kenny William’s aggressive style. I heard a quote on my local sports talk radio station that I think applies here. “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” Benjamin Franklin is the author of this quote, but the talk show host was using it in reference to the acquisitions of Brett Favre and Michael Vick by the Vikings and Eagles respectively. Likewise, Kenny knows that you have to shake up the order of things sometimes to get the most out of your ballclub, and when something isn’t working currently, he’s not afraid to make moves he feels is necessary to better our team. Even though Rios hasn’t contributed consistently for us since he joined the team, I agree with TC that we should wait to see what he does for us starting next year since we have him for the long term. The same applies to Peavy, but it was nice to see him score the first of many wins to come for him in a White Sox uniform.

-The rise of Gordon Beckham. Becks is our Rookie of the Year even if he doesn’t get the honor. Since his meteoric rise to the big leagues, he has become a doubles machine and a solid guy to have in the #2 spot. He has done a great job transistioning over to 3rd base and he will be a great talent for us in the years to come. Plus, how many of you have “Your Love” by The Outfield in your playlist now? I know I do. :)

-Last and certainly not least, we have Buehrle’s perfect game. It is a memory that will last me a lifetime. Like many of you, I was watching the game on MLB.tv (and blogging here), figuring Buehrle was doing his usual thing……working fast and getting outs. And I’m sure there was a moment for the rest of you like it was for me when I looked at the box score and had that first realization that something magical was going on. The bloggers knew it, Scott knew it and tweeted about it, and others soon rushed to a tv or radio. We cheered with each successive out and bit our nails at the close calls. And I can only imagine the collective ruckus we all caused when Dewayne Wise made what I feel is one of the best catches in the history of baseball. I will never forget Jason Bartlett’s grounder to Alexei and throwing my hands up in the air when the ball reached Fields’ glove. I will never forget Hawk’s voice as he made the call of the final out and the subsequent screams of joy afterward. And I will never forget Buehrle’s smile as he placed his hands on his head and was mobbed soon afterwards by his teammates.

There have been many great things to come out of this season, even if our chances are now very slim of making the playoffs. But the most important thing I take from this season is seeing the behind the scenes’ perspective from Scott and seeing all of the great charity work the White Sox organization does. I commend the players, staff, and most importantly all of the volunteers for their hard work and sacrifice.

I also want to thank all of you in this blogging community for making a lonely Virginia White Sox fan feel welcome. You don’t know how great it is to be able to talk with other White Sox fans that are just as passionate about the team as I am. Hopefully, I can make the trip up to Chicago for a future Blog Night so I can meet some of you in person and finally watch a White Sox game in The Cell. Here’s hoping we win a lot of games in this last stretch and gain some momentum for the following season. Go White Sox!

Kate, thank you for sharing your story. It has helped me put this bad season in the proper perspective.

As of today the Sox are 851-760 (.528) this decade (regular season only). It will finish as the Sox sixth decade over .500. They are 8444-8263 (.505) in their eleven decades. The best decade is the 50’s 847-693 (.550). They were over .500 in seventeen consecutive seasons from 1951-67.

Thank you, JK and Josh for your great comments, and thanks to Scott for all the wonderful behind-the-scenes stories.

I agree, there were some definite highlights (and lowlights) during this season. For someone who’s been a lifelong Sox fan, this season is fairly typical – they break your heart more often than not. Tantalizing with talent and flashes of brilliance, and then settling back down into lackluster play. JK, I don’t know any better than you do why our guys can’t play consistent defense, or get clutch hits, or hit off new, young pitchers. I do know that if those weaknesses aren’t overcome, the Sox will remain a 3rd place team, because other teams figure that stuff out.

I agree that the return of Pods was a major highlight, as was the rise of Gordon Beckham. If only Alexei’s second year had been as brilliant as his first year. If only Carlos Quentin had been healthier for more of the year. If only, if only….

Buehrle’s perfecto will remain a magical memory for me for a long, long time. And the classy way he handled the publicity, and shared the glory with Ramon Castro and DeWayne Wise just made it all the better.

I love our team, I think they are first-class gentlemen on and off the field. I hope they can loosen up, because that just might be the key to winning the rest of their games. I hope for the best for the rest of this season, and look forward to next year, as all Sox fans always do!

Go SOX!!!

Peggy

Anyone know why Pods isn’t playing tonight?

Why did Buehrle only pitch a little over 3 innings? I guess it was not going well?

Was that DYE who just hit a homer? Man, I thought he had already checked out for the season. Way to go!

Buehrle didn’t have his best outing – in those 3 innings he gave up 3 runs and 5 hits.

Looks like we may be on the comeback trail now. Maybe we can avoid being swept – I hope, I hope!

Ok… seriously??? JD hits TWO two-run homers in the same night? What are the chances? Something sure lit a fire under him!!

Wow, the eulogies are coming already? Thought we had a few games left to play this year.

Speaking of which, who is pitching on Friday anyway? Last night on the telecast, Hawk said it would be Peavy, but the website says its still Freddy. And speaking of pitching, how good did Thor look last night? 98 mph on the gun! Wow!

Say what you want about this team. During crunch time (the last two months) they are 20-29.

Wow! Kate’s letter put tears in my eyes. God Bless her, her family and our White Sox!

I always get sentimental at the end of our season…..this year is no different.

I’m gonna miss Klein and Josh’s posts on here but you know guys, there is always facebook! i know Klein’s not a fan but initially, neither was I, but it’s not bad at all! Consider it Josh and Klein.

Thank You White Sox for another season of play, even though, we are not where I know we could’ve been. See you all again next year!

Lisa M

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