Counting Down

Friday, April 2, 2010

Opening Day Preparations

Work continues here at the ballpark in preparation for Opening Day on Monday (and the weather forecast keeps getting better and better … but no jinxes)


The White Sox take on the Braves tonight and tomorrow before heading home for a 10 am workout on Sunday (closed to the public).  First pitch comes at 1:05 p.m. Monday.

Preseason Prognostications

The Sox have been picked everywhere from second to fourth in the AL Central, but How about this shout-out from Ken Rosenthal of FOX?

Two Great Left-handers

Mark Buehrle is scheduled to make his eighth career Opening Day start on 4/5 vs. Cleveland, breaking a tie with Billy Pierce for the most in club history.  Buehrle made five straight season-opening starts from 2002-06 and then again in 2008-09, while Pierce started the openers
in 1951-52, ’54, ’56-59 … Buehrle’s streak of five consecutive Opening Day assignments from 2002-06 was the longest by a Sox pitcher since Wilbur Wood made fi ve in a row from 1972-76.  Buehrle has gone 2-1 with a 3.99 ERA (17 ER/38.1 IP) and four quality starts on Opening Day, while Pierce was 4-3 with a 3.31 ERA (20 ER/54.1 IP) in season openers.

Mark Buehrle and Billy Pierce’s Opening Day starts:
02 W 6.0 2 1 1 2 5
03 L 7.0 6 2 2 3 1
04 ND 6.2 8 3 2 1 1
05 W 9.0 2 0 0 1 5
06 ND 4.0 4 3 3 1 1
08 ND 1.2 7 7 7 1 1
09 ND 5.0 6 2 2 3 3

51 W 9.0 10 3 2 2 6
52 L 8.0 6 3 3 4 4
54 L 6.1 11 5 4 3 5
56 W 9.0 5 1 1 3 5
57 W 11.0 8 2 2 3 9
58 L 6.0 9 4 4 1 6
59 W 5.0 7 4 4 1 1

Other Notes of Interest

Paul Konerko is expected to make a club-record 10th straight Opening Day start at first base for the White Sox … the Sox projected lineup features five players who will make their first Opening Day start with the club (Gordon Beckham, Andruw Jones/Mark Kotsay, Juan Pierre, Alex Rios and Mark Teahen).

How the projected lineup has fared on Opening Day:

Pierre — .321-0-1

Quentin — .000-0-0

Konerko — .370-2-12

Jones — .200-3-4

Kotsay — .250-0-0

Rios — .467-2-4

Pierzynski — .300-1-4

Teahen — .235-0-1

Ramirez — .000-0-0

Historic Heroes


1959 – Nellie Fox hit a game-winning, two-run home run in the
14th inning, to lead the Sox to a 9-7 victory at Detroit.
1960 – Minnie Minoso belted a pair of home runs, including the
Sox last Opening Day grand slam, vs. the K.C. Athletics.
1981 – Carlton Fisk, in his return to Fenway Park, hit a dramatic,
three-run home run in the eighth inning to lift the Sox to a 5-3 win
against Boston, his former team.
1996 – Frank Thomas hit the earliest home run in major-league
history when he connected on a fi rst-inning, two-run shot off
Seattle’s Randy Johnson on 3/31/96 at The Kingdome.
1999 – Darrin Jackson broke a 2-2 tie with a two-run home run
in the fi fth inning at Seattle, and Paul Konerko hit his fi rst home
run in a White Sox uniform, a two-run shot.
2002 – Mark Buehrle (23) becomes the youngest Sox pitcher
to make an Opening Day start since Britt Burns (22) in 1981.
2005 – Buehrle and Shingo Takatsu combine on a two-hitter in
the White Sox 1-0 victory over Cleveland.
2006 – Jim Thome, playing in his fi rst game with the White Sox,
hit a three-run homer vs. Cleveland, his former team, to lead the
Sox to a 10-3 victory.
2008 – In a 10-8 loss at Cleveland, Thome became the fi rst
White Sox player since Sammy Sosa in 1991 to hit two home runs
on Opening Day.
2009 – Thome hit a game-winning, three-run homer in the eighth
inning and Buehrle tied Billy Pierce’s franchise record with his
seventh Opening Day start in the Sox 4-2 win over Kansas City.

Not Really Celebrating

This year marks the 70th anniversary of Bob Feller’s Opening Day no-hitter against the White Sox on April 16, 1940.  Feller will be at the ballpark Monday as a guest of The Chicago Baseball Museum, and will be appearing downtown on Tuesday to talk about his 70-year-old feat.

Feel Good

This from an email sent in by a fan:

My eight-year-old son and I recently attended spring training in AZ and were very pleased with the players from the White Sox organization. While we did not have the opportunity to attend a game, we did watch the White Sox practice before the Dodgers/Giants game at Camelback on 3/31/10. Several of the players were accomodating and encouraging towards the children, but I was especially impressed with relief pitcher Randy Williams. While most players get easily annoyed by ‘persistent’ children, Randy was very friendly and gave the kids ample attention. My son, who aspires to be a left-handed pitcher, especially enjoyed the interaction (as did I, since he handled my teasing back very well). I think it’s great that some players go out of their way to inspire kids, and this reflects well on the White Sox organization.  We look forward to seeing the White Sox play when we next have the opportunity. Thanks, Terra

Your Picks

Let me know who you think will lead the White Sox in the following statistical categories:

Batting Average

Runs Scored

Home Runs


Stolen Bases

Pitching Wins

Lowest ERA



Save your answers and let’s compare them in September.

Sox Shots

Remember, we are asking every White Sox fan attending Monday’s game to take a photo of the first pitch from your seat and send it in to  We will compile an online scrapbook of the moment (and really any other shots you want to take and send in to us that day) for all Sox fans to visit later Monday and in the week ahead.  Our goal is to create a virtual, 360-degree series of photos — all done by our fans — of Mark Buehrle’s first pitch.

Remember to send your photo in on Monday …

dugout home.JPG

away dugout.JPG





Intruiging Opening Day lineup, without Gordon Beckham……..


And, to play the game (even though it’s gonna be difficult to make out my answers, since the comment section on MLBlogs is a source of agony)

Batting Average: Juan Pierre.
Runs Scored: Gordon Beckham.
Home Runs: Carlos Quentin.
RBI: Paul Konerko.
Stolen Bases: Juan Pierre.
Pitching Wins: Jake Peavy.
Lowest ERA: Mark Buehrle (there, I said it!)
Strikeouts: Jake Peavy.
Saves: Bobby Jenks.

Many of the baseball “experts” at ESPN are also picking the Sox to win the division including Morgan, Sutcliffe and Hershheiser.

For a historical look at past Sox opening days (published before the start of the 2005 season) go to:

This team will go as far as the pitching takes them…it should be good enough to stay in the race until July when Kenny can upgrade the areas he thinks needs it. Remember Brooks Boyer was quoted as saying to the media that advanced ticket sales were the strongest since the 2006 season. That means the funding should be there if they need say, another bat, or another relief pitcher.

Mark Liptak

Batting Average: Gordon Beckham

Runs Scored: Gordon Beckham

Home Runs: Carlos Quentin

RBI: Carlos Quentin

Stolen Bases: Juan Pierre

Pitching Wins: Gavin Floyd

Lowest ERA: John Danks

Strikeouts: Jake Peavy

Saves: Bobby Jenks

I predicted the Sox to win the division and lose to the Yankees in round 1.

I’m feeling like a kid Christmas Eve night! I can’t wait for tomorrow! Praying the weather holds.
Ok my predictions:
Batting Average: Beckham

Runs Scored:Beckham

Home Runs: Quentin

RBI: Quentin

Stolen Bases: Pierre

Pitching Wins: Peavy

Lowest ERA: Danks

Strikeouts: Peavy

Saves: Thornton

I love my team but lots of questions for scoring runs. I think our pitching will be stud, but the question is will we be able to score enough runs to get the wins. The Sox take the division if we can produce runs.

Looking forward to the 2010 White Sox, also known as the Nancy Faust swan song season. By the way, does anyone know how I can get a copy of the “Crowd Pleasing Favorites LP” that she produced. Is it still available in the White Sox gift shop? Gonna stop by next weekend to find out.

I do have faith that we will produce runs.

Don’t jinx the weather! I’m bringing my 6 week old daughter for her first Sox game. We’ll have four generations of Sox fans at the park tomorrow.

Just got done watching on Superstation WGN one of the most amazing shows I’ve seen in a long time. “What It Means To Be A White Sox.”

If you have the chance to see it (I don’t know if it will be shown again) you absolutely have to.

They talked to numerous guys who wore the uniform…great players and people like Bill Melton, Billy Pierce, Donn Pall, Ron Kittle, “Jungle” Jim Rivera, Robin Ventura, Gary Peters, Joe Horlen, Luis Aparicio…literally a role call of some of the greatest White Sox players in the last 50 years.

But to me what really made the show, was actual film and TV footage from the 1950’s, 1960’s, 1970’s and 1980’s. I’ve got a lot of stuff in my video White Sox library but some of the stuff shown tonight I didn’t even know still existed.

Honest to God, watching some of it brought tears to my eyes.

I just wanted to alert all of you about the show.

Again one of the finest White Sox documentary / shows I’ve ever seen!

Hope all is well with all of you and HAPPY OPENING DAY!

Mark Liptak

i saw the special… at least most of it… it was pretty cool seeing some of those dick allen, greg luzinski and ron kittle highlights. my dad was also at the horlen no hitter so that was cool to see. it was pretty well done.


Thanks Mark, I did watch it and it did bring tears to my eyes.. made me all kinds of excited about today’s game, which needlesstosay, went pleasingly well!

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