Double Dipping

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Today marked about the fourth time this spring that I have written a blog post and hit save only to have it disappear.  So as I sat down to yet again re-write a post, my wife suggested, “Why don’t you just type it in word first.”  Good advice.

Blackhawks

Several White Sox players and staff, not to mention many, many fans, headed over to watch the Blackhawks 2-1 win over the Coyotes just an hour or so after our Cactus League game ended.  A.J. Pierzynski dropped the ceremonial first puck, and he spent time looking for a BHawks jersey to wear to taunt the Coyotes.  “I did wear my Blackhawks cap today,” Pierzynski offered, admitting he doubted the Coyotes would allow him to done the sweater of the opposing team.  Also scheduled to attend the game were Gordon Beckham, Giant Aaron Rowand, Sergio Santos and both Danks brothers, among others.

Peavy

Today’s news focused on Jake Peavy.  The Sox pitcher has been shut down for a day or so because of soreness (described as excessive discomfort) in his right rotator cuff.  He has been given medicine help to fight the tendinitis and will be re-evaluated in 24-48 hours.  Peavy said he might play catch tomorrow and was not ready to rule out his start on Thursday, but manager Ozzie Guillen said postgame that Peavy was unlikely to make the start.

Lookout

Several years ago in Tucson my family ventured to a spring training game.  Sitting in the outfield, I watched on television from the press box as Carl Everett’s home run soared right toward my wife and three small children.  Being a soccer player, my wife’s reaction was to kick out her leg and deflect the ball with her foot – all of which was caught on TV by the WGN cameras.  She limped for days.

Well, history does repeat itself.  Today, my daughter, son and two friends headed out from the safety of the net behind home plate to right field late in the game.  My daughter lives in fear of getting hit by a foul ball. Once again, with WGN cameras running, a home run sped right toward them.  They ducked and scattered and the ball bounded off the rocks right back to where they were sitting.

Upcoming Pitching

Buehrle Monday night at SD, Jackson on Tuesday at Sea and Danks Wednesday vs. LAD.

Yesterday

I took in Saturday’s game at Oakland as a fan, sitting above our dugout with my dad.
A few random observations …

Neat how A’s 3B Kevin Kouzmanoff played catch with a young fan from the stands during pregame.

Always love the fan reaction – no matter where we are – to Omar Vizquel (cheers) and A.J. Pierzynski (boo’s).

“What’s the matter with AJ,” A’s fans shouted, “he’s a bum,” others answered in a call and response.  Soon the many Sox fans in attendance had enough.  “He may be a bum, but he’s OUR bum,” one challenged.

At Salt River Field on Thursday, I exited the ballpark with a thousand other fans to see Vizquel quietly sitting on a bench outside the ballpark.  “Waiting for your ride?” I asked the future Hall of Famer.  “Yes,” he smiled and laughed, shades on, unnoticed.

Great to see Bert Campaneris and Ferguson Jenkins but am I really that old?

Sox fans joked with third base coach Jeff Cox about Paul Konerko’s nifty base running on Friday night.

“Yeah, and you all are telling me, ‘Don’t send Konerko,'” Cox laughed in reply.

Funniest thing that happened on Saturday involved coach Mike Gellinger.

Two strikes into the first inning, umpires realized the White Sox didn’t have a first base coach (Harold had the game off).  Always the good soldier, Gelly headed out of the dugout.  But as he headed out, he caught his toe on the dugout step and went down in a heap to a collective gasp (and then laughter) from the crowd.

“I just hoped nothing would show up on You Tube,” Gelly said this morning, adding that if it did, he had an explanation handy.  “I was just doing it to keep guys loose.

“The guys in the bullpen thought somebody pushed me out of the dugout.”

They say when you go to a baseball game, you always will see something you never saw before.  True for me on Saturday.  I have never seen an umpire hurt himself by making too aggressive of an “out” call at first base.  He almost punched himself out, but luckily was able to remain in the game and is day-to-day, like us all.

Everyone should sit close to the diamond at least once to hear Jake Peavy grunt and talk to himself on the mound.  Worth the price of admission.

The toughest three outs of any Cactus League game are ALWAYS the last three.

Out With A Bang

As pans and trays loudly crashed to the cement floor of the White Sox kitchen at lunchtime, a smart aleck offered:

“Hey, did someone drop their glove?”

2 Comments

So I know I’ve said this every year I’ve gone, but if you are a big baseball fan and you have never been to spring training, go put it on your bucket list now. Besides the hope of a new season and warmer weather, spring training gives baseball fans access to their favorite team that they will never get in the regular season.

Sunday My husband, son and I traveled to Camelback Ranch. We did not have tickets to the game that day, but wanted to catch the boys practicing that morning. I am so glad we did. When we arrived, the pitchers were off in one area doing infield drills and the rest of the team was split up between two areas. My husband stayed with the pitchers, I grabbed my camera and split time between the split squad, and my son Kevin perched himself by the fence between the two fields knowing that all players passed this point to leave the field. He was armed with his Sox cap and sharpie! All three of us walked away with great stories and memories.

My husband watched pitchers lauging and doing infield drills. He had conversations with the bullpen coaches and even walked away with a baseball.

I watched batting practice that got me VERY excited for the season. Dunn, Konerko, and Quentin put on quite a hittling show. I was not only close enough to hear Ozzie’s uncensored conversations with various players, but was able to hear Lillibridge ask one of the Guillen boys for frequent NCAA updates, Konerko hassling Dunn during infield drills, and Walker making sure everyone did all their drills. The guys are relaxed and much looser than you see during the regular season. They frequently stop and say hi or engage in conversation as well.

Kevin hit the jackpot with autographs. Nearly every player stopped to sign MANY autographs. Hawk signed autographs and even Billy Pierce made an appearance signing for many people. (He also got a big chuckle from the group when someone called him a legend and he said “thats a nice way of saying I’m old!”)

The best part of the day was before we left. While most of the players had already gone into the clubhouse to get ready for the game, AJ worked on the field with Walker on one field, and Vizquel was being interviewed on another. Kevin was determined to get one last autograph from one of them. The crowd of fans in the area thinned out, but there were a handful as determined as Kevin. He was not disappointed. AJ came over and either signed or took pictures with every last person standing there. We asked him if he was going to the Hawks game that night “I better be, I’m dropping the puck” While he said he wanted to wear his Hawks jersey, he didn’t thing the Coyotes would appreciate it. He did add though “I’m going to try and sneak my Hawks hat on though” (again he did not disappoint and did exactly that after he dropped the puck!) This is what I’m talking about though. In the regular season we would never have had the opportunity to pose for pictures, have conversations with players, or overhear some of the conversations we did. Spring training is a whole different experience. All three of us walked away from there with memories that will last us a lifetime.

We are catching a few more games before coming home but once again had to tell you all GET DOWN HERE!! I promise you won’t regret it!

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