Sunday, July 11, 2010
Winning Is Fun …
The White Sox bring a seven-game winning streak into today’s final game of the “first half.”
Gavin Floyd allowed one earned run in 7.2 IP yesterday, giving him a 1.25 ERA since June8, while White Sox starting pitchers have a 2.23 ERA in 30 games over that time. According to Elias Sports Bureau, that’s the lowest ERA for White Sox starters over a 30-game stretch in one season since 1972, when they had a 2.11 ERA from July 28 to August 29. Chicago’s starters in those 30 games: Wilber Wood (nine times), Tom Bradley (8), Stan Bahnsen (7), Dave Lemonds (5) and Eddie Fisher (1).
So as tough as it was for me to tell Paul Konerko that he had finished third in the American League’s Final Man voting, it was equally nice to tell him yesterday that he had been added to the All-Star squad in place of the injured Justin Mourneau.
Word came from MLB just 20 minutes before our game started, and I knew it would be announced in-game. Since I didn’t want Paulie to be surprised on the field or at the plate, I headed into the clubhouse to tell him.
Now, normally, I’m not in our clubhouse minutes before the game starts, so people figured something was up. I told KW, Ozzie and Joey and then went looking for PK. He was in the back, and I met him as he was walking through the weight room and into the main clubhouse.
“Congratulations,” I told him. “They added you to the team.”
Mark Buehrle walked by just then and let out a loud whoop.
The reaction from the crowd when the news was announced was just fantastic. Had to make Paul feel great to get that type of reaction from Sox fans.
When Jake Peavy went down earlier this week, a lot of fans questioned why Jeffrey Marquez was called up the next day as opposed to Daniel Hudson.
Now, the decision probably makes more sense. As a starter likely to fill Jake’s spot in the rotation, there was really no need to bring Hudson up before the next scheduled day (today), while our bullpen needed the support over the four other contests … and Marquez got to make his major-league debut on Friday night.
This way, we had protection in the pen in the form of another arm, and we held off on the Hudson move until today, when he will start.
Sergio Santos’ little son was by his dad’s side in the outfield during Friday’s batting practice as pitching coach Don Cooper and I talked near the dugout.
“What a great story,” I said of Santos.
“Unprecedented,” said Coop. “You hear of guys converting in the minor leagues, but this guy is doing it at the major-league level.
“It’s all about getting ahead. That’s true for any pitcher,” said Coop. “If you can get ahead of hitters with good stuff, you are dangerous. If you get ahead with great stuff, you are lethal.”
That stuck with me.
Saturday, July 10, 2010
As the White Sox go for victory No. 7 in a row tonight …
Very cool to open today’s Chicago Sun-Times and see this blog mentioned prominantly by columnist Sandra Guy in a story on sports teams making digital play for loyal fans.
Even nicer to read the great comments from White Sox fans and big-time blog supporters Marie McDowell and Maria Wagener. Thanks guys, for the kind comments, and thanks much more for reading all of my rambling over the years.
Blog Night V
Which, pardon my direct sale, also brings us to Blog Night V on Sunday, August 1 when we face the A’s (actually, it is a 1:05 p.m. game, but Blog Day doesn’t quite sound the same).
A couple of people have asked what happens at Blog Night. Here’s my pitch, but other fans, feel free to offer your thoughts of the ever-more-popular event …
We come to the ballpark early and meet in the Conference & Learning Center. Fans enjoy the chance to meet one another and put faces with screen names. I try to find some interesting speakers for the group — in the past I think we’ve had Jerry Reinsdorf, Kenny Williams, Rick Hahn, Ozzie Guillen, Steve Stone, Darrin Jackson, Ed Farmer, Moose Skowron, Ron Kittle (are all these names correct and did I miss anyone)? Then we have some fun with door prizes, question and answer, etc.
After that, it’s on to a ballgame and a White Sox victory.
Matt Thornton received his 2010 American League AL All-Star Game jersey from Majestic last night prior to the game. Had to give Matt goosebumps.
Friday, July 9, 2010
Winning Is Fun
Having been responsible for creating and writing game notes for many years (now long ago), I truly appreciate the great job the media relations staff — headed by Bob Beghtol and Pat O’Connell — do in generating information each and every day.
I also appreciate how tough the job can be when the team is losing or struggling, but oh, when you are winning, you can probably fill page after page with award-winning notes.
A few from today:
During the current 22-5 run (best in majors), the White Sox have gone from a season-high tying nine games under .500 (24-33) and 9.5 games out of first place to second in the American League Central, 0.5 games off the pace.
Just for fun, the 1983 team was 17-24 after a loss on May 27 and then went 22-12 to pull to 3.5 games back on July 2. They moved into first place for the first time on July 18 with a 46-42 record.
Sox are 11-1 in their last 12 at USCF.
Yesterday’s game time of 1:50 was just nine minutes longer than our rain delay on Wednesday night and was a full 30 minutes shorter than Tuesday night’s delay.
The White Sox ERA on the homestand is 0.75 (3 ER/36.0 IP).
This 27-game stretch is the franchise’s best since also going 22-5 from June 21 to July 20 of 1994. That team won game No. 28 of the stretch.
Eighteen of the last 20 games (Sox are 14-4) and 21 of 24 have been decided by three runs or less (16-5).
The five losses have come by a total of eight runs. The last time the Sox lost by more than two runs was on June 8 vs. Detroit.
Chicago is a major league-best 17-9 in one-run games, including six wins in its last seven one-run decisions.
Yesterday marked the first White Sox 1-0 win in which the run was scored in the first inning by the leadoff hitter since Ozzie Guillen on August 15, 1987 at Toronto.
JJ Putz has not allowed a run over his last 21 appearances (22 IP), the second-longest streak in Sox history, behind only Shingo Takatsu in 2004 (26.1 IP).
Only three players since 2005 have hit .290 with 20 home runs and 60 RBI at the break and not been named to the All-Star team: Travis Hafner in 2006, Justin Mourneau in 2006 and Carlos Lee in 2008. Paulie could be the fourth.
Friday, July 9, 2010
Thanks to the 200 White Sox fans and our seven players and their spouses for making last night’s White Sox Wives Celebrity Server event at Texas de Brazil restaurant (Ohio Street) such a great success. Over $33,000 was raised for Chicago White Sox Charities at the event, which featured Sox players/wives Paul and Jen Konerko, Mark and Jaimie Kotsay, AJ and Lisa Pierzynski, JJ and Kelsey Putz, Mark Teahen and his fiancee Lauren, Matt and Emily Thornton and Gordon Beckham. The players and wives manned food, beverage and dessert stations and battled one another to see who could raise the most tips on the night (results of that competition remain in debate).
As usual, the night is what it is because of our great fans who are willing to come out, have fun with our players and support Chicago White Sox Charities. Thanks.
Thursday, July 8, 2010
Final Man Vote
It was tough to head into the clubhouse today and tell PK that he had finished third in the AL Final Man vote, even though that was the expected result.
Typical PK, he thanked me, our employees who worked on the Pauliewood campaign and all of the voters who cared enough to give him support.
Tonight, Paul, his wife, Jen and several teammates and their wives are taking part in a charity fundraising event downtown as the Sox players and wives become celebrity servers for the night to benefit Chicago White Sox Charities.
Thursday, July 8, 2010
This is it, White Sox fans, our final chance to get Paulie to the All-Star Game.
Set a personal goal for votes today, and then work your hardest to surpass it.
Even though Paulie begins today in third place, we do have the advantage — along with our partners, the Rockies — in that we are both playing day games. Historically, that has led to a big surge in votes.
So vote Konerko and Cargo (Carlos Gonzalez of the Rockies) today and let’s make a big comeback happen!
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
AL Final Man Race
Paul Konerko of the White Sox moved into third place today in the American League Final Man voting, behind New York’s Nick Swisher and Boston’s Kevin Youkilis.
Thanks to all those White Sox and Rockies (and Blackhawk) fans for voting. Keep casting your ballots here.
For those of you who haven’t heard, we agreed with the Rockies to support their player, Carlos Gonzalez, in exchange for their supporting ours. And the Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks were kind enough to support our “Turn Hollywood into Pauliewood” campaign as well (follow @NHLBlackhawks).
So here’s how Paulie has a chance …
There is always a surge of voting on the final day just before the votes are tallied at 3 pm CT. (Winner is announced at 3:30 p.m. CT). It is a big advantage for any player whose team happens to being playing a home day game while the final voting is happening. And tomorrow, only two Final Man candidates are playing home day games … you guessed it, the Colorado Rockies and Chicago White Sox.
So while you are sitting at work, watching or listening to the White Sox game, vote, vote and then vote some more. We have to take advantage of this opportunity. Will it be enough to get Paulie ahead of the Yankees and Red Sox? We’ll see. There might be too much room to make up. But we aren’t going down without a fight.
Today’s Campaign News
Today, movie star, Chicagoan and White Sox fan Michael Clark Duncan (Green Mile), taped a promotional message in support of Konerko’s campaign.
And a group of volunteers from a local Boys & Girls Club came out to USCF and created their very own Pauliewood Walk of Fame in honor of Konerko. Go to my twitter feed @InsideTheSox to see video and photo.
Juan Pierre and Darrin Jackson took our RBI baseball teams to a local Dick’s store this morning to help the athletes buy supplies for their upcoming trip to the RBI regional playoffs. (Thanks to ***** for giving each kid a gift card for the shopping spree).
Pierre said all of the kids were buying tape and he wondered why?
“Then I realized that they all wanted to tape their wrists to look like the pros,” he laughed. “And I remembered that we did the same thing when we were kids.”
Video and photos of this store visit can also be found @InsideTheSox.
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
Pierre 7, Ram 6, Kotsay dh, PK 3, Q 9, AJ2, Jones 8, Viciedo5, Lillibridge4. Peavy pitching.
I gave Paulie the latest voting update today as he ate lunch in the clubhouse, and he joked about the reality of going up against the Yankees and Red Sox.
“It’s pretty amazing,” he said of the fan support during this Pauliewood campaign. “I just appreciate all of the support.”
Keep voting for the man at …
News & Notes
The White Sox are a season-best five games over .500 at 43-38 … the Sox are 8-1 in their last nine home games … Carlos Quentin has seven home runs since 6/22, most in the majors … he also ranks second in RBI with 16 (one behind A-Rod) … the White Sox 19-5 record since 6/9 is the best in the majors during the stretch.
Harold Baines on an elliptical machine after undergoing knee replacement surgery on June 18.
Monday, July 5, 2010
Vote, Vote and Vote Again
Let’s turn Hollywood into Pauliewood. Yes, yes, we know that Anaheim isn’t close to Hollywood, but we’re from Chicago, anything in Southern California HAS to be close, and it seemed to roll off the tongue better than our other options.
In fact, we were working on a few ideas this morning when at the last moment, a White Sox fan, @StateStSports on twitter, shot me a DM mentioning “Pauleywood.” It struck a note with our crack designer Gareth Breunlin, and the rest is history.
Thanks to all those fans who voted, click here to keep voting, and here’s some of the images from the day …
I’m guessing he was the unanimous Pick to Click tonight!
“To me, that play (the first inning catch by Carlos Quentin), then we scored early, got everyone pumped up.”
Is he the only player in Major League history whose OPS is directly tied to game-time temperature?
“The missile is starting to get hot,” said Guillen. “That’s the great thing about this streak. It’s not the same guy every day. That’s how teams win games. You don’t have to rely on one guy.”
Prior to tonight’s game, the White Sox held a 15-minute ceremony to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the opening of Old Comiskey Park (July 1, 1910). Gene Honda was the MC, while historian Rich Lindberg, pitcher Bill Pierce and Comiskey great grandaughter Patti Bellock all spoke to the crowd. The ceremony took place on the center field concourse near the sculpture of team founder and ballpark visionary Charles A. Comiskey.
Sunday, July 4, 2010
Happy 4th of July Everyone
Congrats to reliever Matt Thornton on being named to his very first American League All-Star team. Great addition in order to create late-inning matchups and help the AL win the game and claim World Series home field advantage.
But We Have Some Work to Do
White Sox fans, once again you need to rise to the occasion — voting early and often — in order to vote first baseman Paul Konerko onto the All-Star Team as the AL’s Final Man. You did it for Scotty Pods and AJ, now let’s do it for Paulie.
Every time you vote, you become eligible to win one of 10 signed Paul Konerko jerseys. Along with the jersey, you will get two tickets to our game on August 14 vs. Detroit, and the 10 winners will have the opportunity to meet Paul during batting practice before that game (my guess is that he will be more than happy to thank his loyal fans.
A great tagline has always helped any campaign. Remember “Vote for Scott” and “Punch AJ?” Let us hear your best ideas for this year’s Final Man vote.
Some early ideas from fans: Klick Konerko, Pick Paulie, Crown the King … others?