September 2010

Paul Konerko Talks to the Media About His Future

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Paul Konerko

Q:  What clicks in your mind when you know it’s the right fit?

“I think you just try to make the best decision at that moment. Five years ago, it was to come back here. Where it’ll be this time around, I don’t know. We’ll have to find out as we go. There’s just so many different little factors to it.”

Q:  A sense of how much the White Sox want you back or how much you want to be back here?

“Hopefully, I’m in their conversation as far as being brought back. Until then, nothing is probably going to happen. I have no sense of the market or anything like that. I don’t have any illusions about anything. I just want to take it as it comes. It’s about just going out and having a good year because that’s what you should do. Now, whatever comes my way, comes my way. I’ll handle it. When you start to get into a situation where you’re expecting this or I should get this because that guy got this, that’s when you get let down and get disappointed and get into a place you shouldn’t go to. I really don’t have any of that. All I want to do is do what’s right and at this moment, I honestly don’t know what that is. I don’t know what I want. I’ve played this whole season with blinders on and tried to just do my job the right way and didn’t give too much thought. I knew it’d work itself out.”

“Now getting to the end here, going into the offseason, it’s more nervous that way because now that’s going to be out of my hands and you just kind of have to go wherever this thing takes me.”

Q:  Have you thought about how much longer you want to do this?

“Obviously it helps when you see yourself doing well on the field, and this year I felt like some of the adjustments that I’ve made over the last year or two mentally to approach this game has made it easier for me to get through. It never gets easier. Your body is always on a slow decline but you try to just maintain and stop the clock the best you can. Mentally, I think I have a good system going on now to get ready for each day. These seasons take a lot out of you, every year, even the good ones, they bring you down. They are tough. I feel like I have more in the tank, not because of the physical side of it but because of the mental side. I feel like I can crunch things better and get through a little better than I used to.”

Q:  Emotional side separate from the business side?

“Of course there always is, but the way I look at it, coming into the league from the minors, was to come in and play in a place for 10 years straight at one position. That was the only goal I ever had because I knew that if I did that, all of the other stuff would come. I feel lucky and fortunate. I want to be here. I’d have felt a lot emptier had it not worked out here the previous time. I’m a White Sox no matter if I go play somewhere else. That’s why I’ll be thought of, that’s what I’ll think of in my career. I feel good about the fact that I accomplished what I wanted to accomplish coming into the big leagues.”

Q:  Your presence in the clubhouse as a mentor and role model …

“I think I enjoy it more because I have a better idea on how it’s done. A few years before, I think I may have looked at it like that, but I’m not sure I was quite earning it the right way. I felt a little bit like it was contradicting. If I couldn’t handle myself the right way, how I was going to tell anybody else? Now I feel like I can say something to Beckham or Carlos. I just want to be one of the guys like everybody else in there, but I wouldn’t shy away from it, I don’t shy away from it and I know a winning team has to have a couple of those guys. If you stay 10-12 years in one spot, you’re that guy whether you want it or not because that’s the way it is in this game.”

Q:  Ever want to manage?

“Never say never, but no. I feel like this game can only get one good chase from me and that’s it. That’s why I respect these guys because they come back and coach and manage.”

Q:  Hometown discount to stay in Chicago?

“I don’t know.  I’ve got a family to think about and how I fit it on the team and all the things that go into that. So it’s not just all about that I’ve made a lot of money in this game. There’s so many little parts that were there last time and now there are even more this time. You’ve now got kids that are walking around, there’s just so much more to it than to say I’ll take a discount. I’d never just say that. It could be a better deal than everybody else’s and I decide to go somewhere else just because of what I’m feeling for myself and everybody involved at that moment. That’s just the honest truth.”

Q:  How important is the clubhouse culture?

“It helps that all of the guys in there I respect, and I like, this is a great group of guys. That always helps. Believe me, when you sit down with a piece of paper and you do the pros and cons of playing here in Chicago, there’s a lot of pros and they outweigh the cons.”

Q:  Playing for Ozzie …

“It’s good. That is stuff that when you win a World Series with people, no matter how rocky it may get after that or how much you don’t win after that, you always kind of have that special place for those guys who you were with along that journey. When it comes to who runs the team and all of that, the people upstairs are going to make all those calls and again, those are pieces of information when it gets to be November or December and all of the stuff starts coming in and you have to start making decisions, of course it matters who the players are, who the manager is, who is the hitting coach.”

Q:  How does geography play a role?

“Again, all pieces of the puzzle. The older you get, you start taking heat just for being older. You kind of get a little chip on your shoulder with that type of stuff. Obviously, you want all of the pieces to be together. You want this, you want that but you have to be a little more flexible as you get older because sometimes there may not be as many teams who want you because of that reason, so you might have to be willing to play somewhere you never thought of playing. Over the last year, year and a half, I’ve conditioned myself and conditioned my family that that may be the case so prepare and I think I am. I think I’m prepared for nearly everything.  I think I did a good job last offseason coming in with the process going down and the way I was going to do it. I haven’t wavered off of that now.”

Q:  DH or first base?

“I’m not opposed to DHing. I think I can play first. I think I had a good year at first. I think the first half, I had one of my best years at first. Honestly, the last couple of weeks, they keep stacking these left-handers to try and get me, but ultimately I want to play first because that’s what I know. I’m probably more open to it now, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to play first.”

Fun Note From Elias Sports Bureau

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

A Fun White Sox Note:

Dayan Viciedo, 21 years old, had a walkoff single for the White Sox on Tuesday.  He’s the youngest player to have a game-ending RBI for the White Sox since Ozzie Guillen drew a game-ending walk in his 16th career game in April 1985.  Guillen had only nine subsequent walks that season.

Source: Elias Sports Bureau

Ozzie And Kenny Pregame

Monday, September 27, 2010

Ozzie Guillen

Some of what Ozzie said to the media prior to today’s game …

Q:  You spoke with Jerry …

A:  “We talked about the ball club, what we want for next year and what we expect. He wanted to know about my feelings and I told him that everything was cool. I expect to be here and like I said in the past, I want to be here. Everything is great. Hopefully we can continue to move on and make this organization the way we want it to be.  I spoke with Kenny, we cleared everything up about our situation and our situation here. I’m very satisfied and happy about what they’re thinking. I don’t expect anything different, to be honest with you. I’ve been working for Kenny for seven years, Jerry for 20, and it’s cool. That’s what I want, that’s what we want. Go out here and everything be the same. At least it was out of my mind about what I want to hear and what I want to know. It’s out there and we just need to move on.”

Q:  Do you want to be back here?

A: “Yes. I never said I don’t want to be back here.”

Q: Content with contract …

A:  “I never will get out of my contract unless they want me to. I never said I wanted an extension. I never did in 2006 and they signed me back in 2007 when I was very bad. The contract is not the issue. The issue was that I have family and I wanted to know exactly where I stand. I was thinking about having some business here in Chicago and I don’t want to lose money out of that business and I’m very glad at what I hear and very excited at what I hear. I never denied that I wanted to be a White Sox for the rest of my life.
I’m very glad we talked about it and I will be back with the White Sox next year. I want to be back with the White Sox next year. They want me and I do too. That is something that I very good. It’s good for the ball club, it’s good for the team, it’s good for the free agents that may come here knowing who will be here. We are cool and we can talk about the ball club and what we need.”

Q: Where do you stand with Kenny?

A: “Better than yesterday. Hopefully worse than tomorrow. We have work to do. Not on the field. Our work ethic is very good. What we get paid to do is very good. We are going to get better about what we do in the past. Our communication is going to be better and I think hopefully we can go back to normal. That’s what we want. That’s what he wants and that’s what I want. Hopefully everything moves forward for good.  I never ever say I want to leave Chicago. We owe it to people, we owe it to the fans, we owe it to the media and the players to put this thing together. We will move in the right direction, I promise that. You can ask me two weeks later, 10 weeks later, everything will be better. We know we are going to move on in the right direction, with the right attitude and that’s what I want.”

Kenny Williams

Talking to the media pregame …

Q:  Meeting went well with Ozzie …

A:  “Yeah. We ended the meeting talking about the baseball team, which is how you want to end any sort of meeting. It’s all about the team, the players and getting the most out of the players and getting back to the playoffs. We can get all of the other stuff out of the way, like we did. It was very short, I asked him directly did he want to be here, did he want to be the manager of the Chicago White Sox?  He said that was all he had ever wanted. He said he’d never asked for an extension. He did want to know what his status was and I told him directly that I never wanted to have another manager with the Chicago White Sox while I’m sitting in this chair. It was very simple, very to the point.”

Q:  Why do you think guys would be concerned?

A:  “Well, the waters haven’t been as smooth as they were in the past, you may have noticed. There’s been a lot of peripheral things that have gotten in the way. But I don’t blame him. I wish it weren’t so public, and I expressed that to him and he understand how I feel about it. When a man stands in front of you and says ‘I understand what your concerns are, I understand what you expect and I’d like to move forward and get back to where we were,’ you wipe the slate clean and go get ‘em.”

Q:  What if an organization asked to speak with Ozzie about managing their team …

A:  “I’d tell them that Ozzie is not interested and that he wants to be the manager of the Chicago White Sox. That is what he communicated to me – he did not want to go anywhere else, he wanted to be the manager here. So I would deny permission.”

Q: Objectives for the team are remaining the same and not moving into a building mode, just want to win?

A: “Every year I go through three different scenarios – where we are currently, which right now, is kind of middle of the road. Yes, we have potential to be that notch above, but I’ve got to look at where we are right now. You look at going out and adding necessary pieces through free agency or through trades where you think you can compete for championships. After that, you take a look and you say ‘Well if we have to go the other way because of budgets or my ‘eye in the sky’ thinking just isn’t going to work, then what’s the best young team we can put out there?’ It wouldn’t be the typical rebuilding process because we’ve worked really hard here to make sure that we’re never in a position for a total rebuilding project. If you just look around the field, we’ve got good, young players under 30 that are some of the better players in the league, so I don’t think that’s necessarily the case. If you have to then filter two or three young guys around that, position-player wise, well, that’s going to be called ‘rebuilding’ but in our minds it’s still going to be with the mindset that we’re trying to win. Once you start using that ‘R’ word, you create a different kind of mindset.”

Q:  What has Jerry relayed to you about what he wants out of this relationship?

 

A: “Jerry wants us to win. Figure it out, and win. If somebody doesn’t want to be here and go down the journey that we’re on, then we’ve got to make changes. But if everybody is on the same page, then let’s figure it out.”

Bob Shaw

Monday, September 27, 2010

Condolences

We all are very saddened at the loss of former White Sox pitcher Bob Shaw, star of the 1959 pennant-winning Go-Go Sox, who passed away last Thursday after losing his fight with liver cancer.

Shaw, 77, went 38-25 with a 3.53 ERA in 126 games (71 starts) with the White Sox from 1958-61.  The right-hander went 18-6 with a 2.69 ERA in 1959 as the Sox claimed the AL title.

He won Game 5 of the World Series, beating Sandy Koufax and the Dodgers, 1-0, in Los Angeles.

 

Ozzie Pregame

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Ozzie Guillen’s Pregame Comments

Q: How badly do you guys need a sweep?

Ozzie: “We don’t need a sweep, we need to win the first game. I’m not going to sit here and say we need a sweep or we need to win the series, hopefully we do, but we’ll see what happens. A sweep of Minnesota is not easy. Sweeping a big league team is not easy. We’re going to go out there, play hard, play the best we can and see what happens.”

Q: Is Jenks available?

Ozzie: “No. I don’t know where he is right now or how he feels. He’s got to throw in the bullpen and after that we’ll decide what we’re going to do with him.”

Q:  Have you pitched to Cuddyer the way you have wanted to this season considering the way he is hitting and the numbers he is putting up?

Ozzie: “If we had thrown to Cuddyer the way we want, he wouldn’t be hitting .600 or whatever he is hitting against us. I think this guy swings the bat good against us over his career, not just this year. Hopefully we will figure it out for this series, he has been doing a lot of damage.”

Q: Do the close games offset the fact that the Twins have had your number in the last couple of years or so?

Ozzie: “We play good against them, they are just beating us. We have played good against them in the past. When we play against them we always compete very well and hopefully we will do that today.”

Q: They haven’t had the same problems that the White Sox have had against the Central division …

Ozzie: “Those guys are better than we are, that’s why they’re six games up. They play good, they have a good team. They play good all year long. Remember, we were 12 games behind and we were able to catch them. We had them, we just let them go. I don’t know why people don’t give them credit. They are playing good baseball and they don’t beat themselves. They throw strikes and they play great fundamental baseball. That’s why they are what they are. They don’t miss opportunities.”

Q:  Are they good because of their talent or the way they play?

Ozzie:  “Everything. They play fundamental. They don’t beat themselves. They execute very well. They don’t try and do more than they can. I think they are way, way underrated. They might have two or three big names but I think they know how to play the game.”

Q:  Is this the best Twins team since you have been coaching?

Ozzie: “They are missing the big boy and they still produce. They are missing Morneau and all of the sudden they have Jimmy (Thome). Thome is helping them a lot. I think their left fielder is having a good year. Cuddyer is having a good year, they didn’t have a third baseman and they found Valencia. They are good and they go about their business the right way.”

Q:  The event last night …

Ozzie:  “It was good, it was good. I think it was great. It was the first step of what we want to do and I think it went great. Hopefully we will continue to do it. Hopefully I stay here long enough to continue to do it. It was a

Salsa and Stars Recap

Tuesday, September 14

Even though the team was off yesterday, quite a few guys still put their star power to work by attending Ozzie’s ‘Salsa and Stars’. The event was in support of the Ozzie Guillen Foundation, which benefits children touched by cancer and enhances educational opportunities for underserved youth.

 

The ambiance was electric as one by one, players and coaches began to arrive. Among them were Paul Konerko, A.J. Pierzynski, Juan Pierre, Alex Rios, Mark Teahen, Omar Vizquel, Freddy Garcia, Dayan Viciedo, Gregory Infante, Greg Walker, Mark Salas and Juan Nieves.

 

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Ozzie and Ibis kicked off the night by being the first couple to hit the dance floor. Pretty soon Garcia, Vizquel and Nieves (among others) could be seen singing and dancing alongside of them; at one point Vizquel even jumped on stage and took over the drums.

 

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The fun-filled atmosphere was maintained by NBC Chicago’s Zoraida Sambolin and Omar Ramos of Univision Radio’s La Kalle who both served as emcees. At one point Sambolin was even spotted sharing a dance with our G.M. Kenny Willams.

 

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Ozzie’s inaugural ‘Salsa and Stars’ managed to be a hit. Special thanks to the performers, players and fans who came out to support the cause.

 


 

 

Big Series

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Showdown Time

Certainly, White Sox backs are against the wall.  Let’s see what these next three days bring.  Do we need to sweep, or is a series victory enough with just a few games left on our 162-game schedule?

Worth Noting

At 55-31, the White Sox own the best record in baseball since June 9, better than Philadelphia (53-35) and Minnesota (51-34).  The Sox have won nine of their last 13 games, and tonight’s starter, John Danks, is 3-1 with a 2.94 ERA in his last five starts vs. the Twins at home.

Entering tonight, Juan Pierre needs just one stolen base to move past Barry Bonds (523) and into sole possession of 32nd place on the all-time list.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Sunday’s win marked the first time the Sox ever allowed six runs in the first inning at home and came back to win the game.

Paul Konerko, who recorded his 27th career multihomer effort on Sunday, moved past Joe DiMaggio (360) into sole possession of 70th place on the all-time homer list.  He also passed Luke Appling (1,118) and moved into second place on the Sox all-time RBI list.

Triple Crown?

PK ranks among the AL leaders in home runs (2nd, 36), RBI (T4th, 104) and average (5th, .322).  The last White Sox player to rank in the Top 5 in the AL in home runs, RBI and average was Albert Belle in 1998.  Belle finished second in homers and RBI and third in average.

TweetUp

Thanks to all who purchased tickets to Thursday night’s Tweetup at the ballpark.  Details will follow via email and twitter.  The event sold out, so thanks for the great response.

Salsa

Thanks as well to everyone who attended last night’s Salsa & Stars event downtown as Chicago White Sox Charities and the Ozzie Guillen Foundation combined to raise money for kids in need in Venezuela and the United States.  We plan on posting details about the evening later, so check back.

Tonight

We also will post Q&A from manager Ozzie Guillen’s pregame media session, so check in later to read his thoughts heading into this all-important series with the Twins.

 

Salsa and Sox!

Thursday, September 2, 2010


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On September 13, White Sox Charities and the Ozzie Guillen Foundation will hold a very special, and historic, event – Salsa and Stars with Ozzie Guillen & Friends – the foundation’s inaugural fundraising event in the United States.  The event, a fundraiser to help families and children in crisis served by White Sox Charities and the Guillen Foundation, is going to be highlighted by what has been described to me as a “once-in-a-lifetime” salsa jam session with Ruben Blades, Tito Nieves, Gilberto Santa Rosa and Ocho y Mas.

“Salsa and Stars with Ozzie Guillen & Friends” will be held at the River East Arts Center, here in Chicago, and along with the salsa jam session guests will enjoy unlimited cocktails and hors d’oeuvers, have the opportunity to participate in a spectacular live and silent auction, and will receive some very special personal gifts from Ozzie.

I can tell you that both Ozzie and his wonderful wife Ibis have been intimately involved in the planning of the event.  The Ozzie Guillen Foundation, founded in 1998 by Guillen and his wife Ibis, is one of the most trusted and respected organizations of its kind in Venezuela.  Established with the goal to improve the lives of children touched by cancer and their families, the foundation has expanded its reach to support foster children and families, and to enhance educational opportunities for some of Venezuela’s most underserved youth.

It promises to be an extraordinary night for White Sox Charities and the Ozzie Guillen Foundation…don’t miss it, get your tickets today!

Tickets ($350 each) for the event are available here at whitesox.com or by calling (312) 674-5387.

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