Saturday, May 8, 2010
First, The Baseball
Paul Konerko returns to the lineup tonight after missing two games with a sore neck.
We also announced today that Frank Thomas, The Big Hurt, is going to fill in for Steve Stone next weekend, joining Hawk Harrelson in the booth for our three games in Kansas City.
Once again, today’s Volunteer Corps events at Perspectives/IIT School and the Boys & Girls Club of Little Village were an unbelievable success, thanks primarily to the hundreds of White Sox fans who came out on a cool day to work hard and give back. I spent my day painting a basketball court for the kids, as well as the Chicago skyline on the side of the building.
Marty Maloney, who did a great job organizing media coverage of the day, is going to provide a story about the day for me to post later, but in the short-term, here is video and some photos (well, a lot of photos) from the day …
First the video …
And here is a story about today from Marty Maloney of our PR staff:
Nearly 500 White Sox fans signed up to volunteer today, but the day had to be a disappointing start for all of them as they arose to dark, damp, windy and extremely cold conditions. Surely this would limit the amount of people who showed and would keep enthusiasm tempered? That was actually not the case, not the case at all. Hundreds of members of the White Sox Volunteer Corps were in Lot C of U.S. Cellular Field today, stretching, jumping around, exercising, and even dancing. Sure, some skeptics might think they were doing it just to stay warm (and many of them were), but they were genuinely excited to kick off the second year of the Corps. They were, as City Year Chicago loves to say, “Fired Up.”
Governor Quinn again showed up to give some words of encouragement at the Opening Ceremonies and thank the White Sox for their charitable and community efforts. All of the players and coaches were introduced, 10 of them total. They were: Freddy Garcia, Sergio Santos , Matt Thornton, Juan Pierre, Andruw Jones, Jayson Nix, Omar Vizquel, Don Cooper, Jeff Cox and Juan Nieves . Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf and General Manager Ken Williams then each spoke, thanking the fans for their commitment and expressing how impressed they were with the number of volunteers.
From there it was to the service sites, half the crowd to Perspectives/IIT Math & Science Academy and half to Little Village Boys & Girls Club.
Reinsdorf and Williams were at Perspectives/IIT, and seeing them sit together is not an unusual sight. They do it almost daily, whether it is at batting practice or in an office, talking about player transactions or the latest standings. However, seeing them at a table painting a mural together while trying to stay “inside the lines” was a scene that can certainly be described as different. To their credit, they were into it, very focused. They wanted to help, just like everyone else there.
Juan Pierre also was painting, and struggling at first, before one of the fans he was paired with gave him some tips. He excelled from that point forward, at least in his mind.
Over at the Little Village Boys & Girls Club, the volunteers had to stop upon Omar Vizquel’s arrival. They were not in awe of the shortstop, they were stopped by the shortstop because he wanted to teach everyone the proper way to paint.
All the players and coaches were busy, working right alongside the fans. Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE was enjoying themselves. It was now noon and the team was scheduled to leave at 11:30. Jayson Nix refused to go until his mural was finished. The same went for several of the other players. Meanwhile, Ken Williams was no longer painting in the gym – he was outside helping build the baseball field. White Sox Executive Vice President Howard Pizer also was building the field and had some serious concerns about the slope of the pitcher’s mound while the usual author of this blog was literally on his knees painting the out of bounds line on a basketball court.
It was around 12:15 or 12:30 when the team was finally persuaded to go back to the ballpark. The Volunteers Corps did not skip a beat. Sure, they are fans, but they were not out to ask for autographs or even talk about ballclub, they were clearly there to work.
As the day was winding to a close, some former White Sox stopped by the service sites to thank everyone and offer encouragement.
Ron Kittle thanked everyone except for one of the teenage volunteers who seemed more concerned with texting and complaining than working. Kittle let him have it as only he can, and this poor kid ended up working very hard in that last hour.
The day ended around 3:00 p.m. and the difference is amazing and so are the totals. Today’s Volunteer Corps:
– Painted 140 murals
– Painted and constructed 14 benches
– Constructed 6 cubbies
– Constructed 3 bookshelves
– Painted 14 rooms
– Painted a gym, cafeteria and two full hallways
– Refurnished 5 planter beds and built 3 planter beds
– 54 outdoor plywood shapes
– Built a baseball field
– Painted an outdoor basketball court (lines, keys, logos and center circles)
It is a great start to the year, and just the first project of many the Volunteer Corps hopes to accomplish.