West Coast Dreaming
Friday, May 6, 2011
A lot of little things to catch up with today, so hang with me …
Today is the last day in the office for Lou (Luis) Hernandez, our director of public relations. Lou has been a tremendous asset for me, for the communications department and for the Chicago White Sox organization over the past five years. He will be sorely missed on many fronts and in many ways. It says a lot about Lou that the reason he is leaving us is to give back to the community as the executive director of the Rauner YMCA. And on his way out the door, he purchased a season ticket plan, so I should thank Lou for his support!
Congratulations to Flowers Communications Group on its winning a Golden Trumpet at today’s Publicity Club of Chicago meeting for our third annual Double Duty Classic. Marty Maloney and Joanna Aguirre attended from our staff. FCG does a terrific job for us in promoting the DDC, as well as our other initiatives in the African-American market. The DDC is an annual symposium and amateur baseball game at U.S. Cellular Field that celebrates and promotes the Negro Leagues, the history of Blacks in baseball and the future of baseball in the AA community. This year’s game is June 29.
Congratulations as well to my friend John LaSage, who received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the meeting today. John didn’t know it at the time but he impacted my life when he worked with Michael Jordan. John may have written the shortest press release in history. “I’m Back!”
Our poor play of late even managed to ruin one of my favorite days of the season. On Wednesday, Chicago White Sox Charities announced its grant donations for this year, totaling 39 agencies and $1.63 million in aid to Chicago. Christine O’Reilly, executive director of CWS Charities, and her staff do a tremendous job raising monies each year (thank you White Sox fans), and the best day is when we get to give it back to those in our community in need. We partner with the McCormick Foundation on some of the donations, some CWSC covers by itself and we spend additional dollars to support our Volunteer Corps and programs like Youth Baseball, DDC and Amateur City Elite. Jerry Reinsdorf and Ozzie Guillen presented checks to the groups before Wednesday’s game in an on-field ceremony. To date, CWSC has donated $16 million to Chicagoans in need since its inception. I personally am very proud of playing just a small, small part in this big, big success.
Fans can now donate to Chicago White Sox Charities by texting PITCH to 50555. A $5 donation will be made each time you send a text.
I snuck out and tried to play some golf at Ruffled Feathers Thursday morning just to avoid thinking about baseball for an hour or two. It was cold, really cold. It’s tough enough to play golf when you can feel your hands. Around the third hole, I saw a guy on his mower, headphones and hardhat on, calmly cutting lines into the fairway.
“That’s what I am doing once my career as a PR guy is over,” I told my playing partner. “No stress.”
In addition to Lou’s departure, another employee, Meg, left this week. She sent around a touching email as she left:
“When I was about 10 years old, I took a tour of the Old Comiskey Park. Our tour guide was a young woman*, which isn’t really that extraordinary, but it had never occurred to me before that women worked in baseball. So that day it became my goal to grow up and one day work for the White Sox. Surprisingly, after those many years of hype, the reality of working here did not disappoint. There are many people to thank for that, but first and foremost are the many coworkers I have had here. I have learned a great deal from all of you and consider many of you friends. Please know I will miss you all.
Thanks again and Go Sox!
*It was Christine O’Reilly, true story.”
I spent my morning at the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new “Lou” Jones Metra Stop at 35th Street. The stop is beautiful and gives so many fans from the South and Southwest suburbs a new, quicker, cost efficient and time efficient way to get to and from the ballpark! Jerry Reinsdorf, Howard Pizer and Congressman Bobby Rush attended the ceremony, along with a host of other VIPs and dignitaries.
During lunch yesterday with Michael Huff, president of our Bulls/Sox Academy and fill-in television broadcaster during Tuesday’s no-hitter, we were talking about no-hitters we had witnessed. He reminded me that not only was he with the club for Wilson Alvarez’s no-hitter on 8/11/91, but he was a defensive replacement involved in a key play to save the no-hitter.
Every no-hitter has one or two amazing defensive plays. In Wilson’s case, it was a line drive hit in between center fielder Lance Johnson and Huff, a defensive replacement for Dan Pasqua in right field.
“I cam charging in for the ball,” Huff said, “and my momentum was taking me into a slide to catch it when I heard Lance say, ‘Whoo’ (a sign that he had it), so I veered off behind him, and Lance made the play. Saved the no-hitter.”
Rich King of WGN-TV produced and edited a 30-minute piece on Jerry Reinsdorf’s 30 years as Chairman of the Chicago White Sox. The program airs tomorrow (Saturday) night at 7 pm CT on WGN and is followed by our pregame show and then our game with the Mariners at 8 pm.
I sent around an email to all White Sox staff today reminding them of the airing.
“Thanks,” Jerry told me, sarcastically.