Thursday, March 10, 2011
Salt River Fields
Wow. Walking into the Arizona Diamondbacks’ Salt River Fields is literally like stepping into a big league park. Definitely add it to the must-see Cactus League stops …
Congratulations to the Dbacks and Colorado Rockies on such a magnificent ballpark and complex. You can see that many of the architectural touches of Camleback Ranch Glendale show up here as well. Nice to see.
Earlier today, at Surprise, the White Sox seemed to be playing a home game based on the crowd, and after Gordon Beckham’s first-inning homer tonight, it sounds like lots of White Sox fans in attendance here in Scottsdale.
Win and A Loss
The Sox scored three times in the ninth inning today at Texas to beat the Rangers, 7-6, but the win came with a steep loss.
Dayan Viciedo, who on Wednesday was named by manager Ozzie Guillen as the best surprise thus far in camp, was lost for 3-4 weeks with a fractured right thumb suffered when he was hit by a pitch … and just when he was swinging the bat well and looking great in the outfield.
“He needs to play,” Guillen said Wednesday. “Whether here or there (minors), he needs to play.”
Now, he needs to heal.
Veteran shortstop Omar Vizquel tripled in his first at-bat today, showing he remains forever young. Watching Vizquel catch a pop up remains one of those special moments you anticipate and savor. I remember when he was with Cleveland, he would, at times, flip around and catch popups with his back to the infield.
Funny, Scary Moment
As Mark Teahen’s home run ball sailed into the White Sox bullpen in left field, Rangers outfielder Craig Gentry ran into the bullpen gate in pursuit. The gate flew open, hitting Donny Lucy, who was catching in the bullpen, and Gentry tumbled into the unsuspecting Lucy. Everyone was fine and a bad accident was avoided.
Cooper All Access
I previewed an upcoming Sox video of pitching coach Don Cooper during today’s game (with Kenny Williams looking over my shoulder and laughing). Among the Coop insights:
To Mark Buerhle as he warmed up in the bullpen before a ST start: “Perfect. Way to follow my instructions.”
And to former Sox OF Mark Kotsay, who started that day for the Brewers: “Talk to Buehrle. He’d let you drop a bunt base hit down if you let him pick you off!”
Keep an eye out for this and other videos at whitesox.com.
To Steve Stone who reportedly shot a 73 today.
Going to School
Hawk Harrelson joined me and Kenny Williams in the booth Wednesday at Scottsdale Stadium as Jake Peavy pitched for the second time this spring.
Among the banter … Rocky Marciano, tipping pitches, Peavy’s performance and how to watch a baseball game from the bench.
“If it wasn’t for Galen Cisco and Cito Gaston, I wouldn’t be sitting where I am today,” said Williams. “And you can add Pat Gillick and Paul Beeston to that list. They took the time to answer my questions, and I’m not sure why they made time for just another player. But I learned so much during my time in Toronto.”
“When we played,” Hawk said. “You watched the game. You looked for guys tipping pitches, how pitchers attacked hitters, things like that.”
As Peavy walked from the mound after allowing just an Aubrey Huff homer, Hawk exited on his own, saying, “I’ve seen what I came here for. See you Friday.”
To Luis Salazar, who was injured in a freak foul-ball incident Wednesday.
This morning, as I worked out (P90X Plyometrics for those of you who care … like my wife), White Sox trainer Herm Schneider explained how Salazar was one of the first players to ever undergo an MRI when he injured his knee playing for the Sox, and that together, Schneider and Salazar developed one of the first protocols for coming back from an ACL tear.
“He was a hard, hard worker,” said Schneider.
Crosstown Tweetup (Spring Training Edition)!
Editor’s Note: Key components of my crack staff are back in Chicago planning for Opening Day and tomorrow, they will host our first annual Spring Training Tweetup (details below). So I asked Lou Hernandez, our PR director, to put together info about the tweetup in case fans in Chicago want to attend. He wrote the info below, but note my personal comments, inserted in bold.
This is one of my favorite times of the year in Chicago. Which, admittedly, is a stretch since in 21 years, I have NEVER actually been in Chicago on March 11. Sarasota? Yes. Tucson? Yes. Phoenix? Yes. But I honestly have no idea what it is like in Chicago in March The mercury is slowly and steadily on the rise (sometimes too slowly), the river will be dyed green this Saturday as revelers all boast about their “Irish” roots and baseball is just around the bend. Imagine St. Patrick’s Day in the desert. Not the same as Chicago. In honor of all of those – particularly the baseball part – it is tweetup time again White Sox fans.
Hundreds of Sox fans This is True, so if you plan to attend, sign up now already have signed up for our first tweet up of the year at Bull & Bear (431 N. Wells St, Chicago) this Friday afternoon (2 p.m. CT) to watch the White Sox square off against Cubs at Camelback Ranch-Glendale in Arizona on Comcast SportsNet Chicago.
So go to www.whitesox.com to sign up and join Southpaw, legendary club ambassador Minnie Minoso and White Sox front office staff, along with other Sox fans. Signup now because space is limited.
There will be prizes throughout the game – including a player-autographed bat, jersey, Twitter t-shirts I have heard some are autographed, even one by Gordon Beckham and bobbleheads, along with the grand prize: two tickets to White Sox home opener on April 7.
Don’t forget to follow the White Sox official Twitter feed – @whitesox.