Wednesday, May 11, 2011
White Sox Charities annual Family Field Day and Garage Sale is this Saturday from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. This is one of those few events where fans can bring the family out to the park and create uniquely special memories on the field playing catch in the outfield, taking photos in the dugout and stepping up to home plate. This Saturday, the ballpark is yours, and all for a good cause.
While you’re here, don‘t forget to stop by the free Garage Sale: jerseys, bats and other equipment game-used by the players along with lots of other cool and rare White Sox stuff. The Garage Sale is from 9 a.m.-2 p.m.
Click here for the details or to buy FFD tickets in advance. See you on Saturday!
Monday, May 9, 2011
California or Bust
Heading out tomorrow to catch up with the team in Anaheim and then Oakland. Looking forward to time with the team on the road — the schedule and vibe are just different from at home. After travelling on almost every trip from 1991 through 1997 and then a little more sporadically, I do miss the flow of a road trip (of course I can do without the 2 and 3 am arrivals at times)!
So I hope to post and keep you updated from the west coast over the rest of this week.
I talked to a good friend today who had recently been in Cuba. He saw more White Sox caps than anything else during his trip (the Washington Nationals were second) and that the very first conversation he had with a Cuban was about the White Sox and Alexei Ramirez.
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.
Tuesday, May 3, 2011
Belated congratulations to White Sox left-hander Mark Buehre on career win No. 150.
This from the Elias Sports Bureau:
Paul Konerko hit two home runs and Mark Buehrle threw 6⅔ scoreless innings in Chicago’s win against Baltimore on Monday night. It was the seventh time that Buehrle earned a win and Konerko hit multiple home runs in the same game, breaking a tie with Adam Wainwright and Albert Pujols for the most such games together by current teammates.
Buehrle and Konerko’s total is now the highest for any two major-league teammates since Jim Kaat won seven games in which Tony Oliva hit at least two homers for the Twins, from 1964 to 1971.
White Sox general manager Ken Williams on recalling 9/11 on word of the death of Osama bin Laden:
“If I close my eyes and think about it, I can still smell that smell from that day. It’s something I will never forget.”
Tuesday, May 3, 2011
Several times when our players are making community appearances, they are a little anxious to get back to the ballpark and get ready for the game Today, was not one of those days.
Mark Buehrle, John Danks, Chris Sale and Matt Thornton visited the Hines VA hospital today where they talked to patients at both the Spinal Cord Injury and Disorders Center as well as the Blind Rehabilitation Service Home. From the time they set foot in the hospital, the players were fully engaged with the veterans, listening to the stories of these American heroes and were clearly in no rush to leave.
The veterans were thrilled to see the players in what appeared to be a facility full of predominately White Sox fans. When it was brought to Matt Thornton’s attention he was on one of the veteran’s fantasy baseball team, Thornton immediately quipped, “I’m sorry.” Meanwhile, Mark Buehrle was getting advice from another veteran to avoid sliding on the tarp during a rain delay again for he fears it could lead to an injury.
“I play a game for a living because of the sacrifices of these men and women,” said John Danks during an interview with a local television station. And when told by the hospital staff how much the players’ visit means, the southpaw reiterated how much he and his teammates values the experience, saying, “Trust me, this is MUCH more fun for us.”
Today was an exceptionally special day at Hines as they proudly hosted a historic stitching ceremony to repair an American flag destroyed in the aftermath of 9/11. This National 9/11 Flag is on a journey across America where local service heroes in all 50 states will stitch the flag back to its original 13-stripe format using pieces of American flags destined for retirement. Once the flag is restored and made whole again in time for the 10-year Anniversary of 9/11, it will become a part of the permanent collection of the National September 11 Memorial Museum being built at the World Trade Center.
The players were fortunate enough to be able to sew a stitch in the flag, joining firefighters from New York and local Illinois heroes who also were at the ceremony.
“This is cool,” said Danks. “I can’t wait to call my parents and tell them I saw this flag, and some day tell my kids about it.”
Tuesday, May 3, 2011
Yesterday, we announced the news about the new team store opening this fall at U.S. Cellular Field, just east of Gate 5 and next to Bacardi at the Park. And if you haven’t seen the renderings yet, I think you’ll be as excited as we are. It’s going to be a two-level, 13,000-square-foot store – one of the largest of its kind – and be stocked with all White Sox merchandise imaginable along with other local professional and collegiate teams. Plus, it’ll be open year-round.
Since this is a store for our fans, we’re also giving you the opportunity to name it. Submit a name suggestion, and if your submission is selected, you’ll win a $500 team-store shopping spree!
Put your creativity to the test for a chance to be immortalized in White Sox history. Enter today.
Sunday, May 1, 2011
60 Years Ago Today
The great Orestes “Minnie” Minoso made his Chicago White Sox debut after being acquired via trade from the Cleveland Indians.
With his appearance at Comiskey Park, Minoso broke the team’s “color line,” as the White Sox became the first sports organization in Chicago and sixth Major League Baseball team (four years after Jackie Robinson) to feature a Black player.
Minoso homered in his very first at-bat, although the Sox went on to lose to the Yankees, 8-3.
As part of today’s pregame ceremony, we are going to present Minnie with a number of framed items and momentos, including the sports pages from the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times (thanks to both papers for providing copies from their May 2, 1952 editions), and a great photo of Minnie on the mound at this year’s Opening Day by Bob Judelson. Both the State of Illinois and the City of Chicago have declared today, “Minnie Minoso Day.”
What I love was a comment from Minnie as he described his arrival in Chicago. Always known as “Orestes,” he wondered who in the world was this guy named “Minnie!”
The Daily Sun Times from May 2, 1951 is priceless (well, actually the banner says it cost 4 cents).
Its story features quotes from HOFer Stachel Paige, who was surprised by the Indians trade.
“The Sox got a good man in Minoso,” Paige told the paper. “I rate him No. 1. I’ve been around baseball some 23 years, and if there’s one thing I know, that’s a baseball player when I see one.
“He’s the fastest. That man’s fast as lightning.”
The Tribune is equally classic, with a left-hand “Wake of the News” column by Arch Ward, and headlines of “Derby Trial Captured by FanFare.”
Reporter Irving Vaughan covered the game, which also featured a home run by Yankee rookie Mickey Mantle.
Buried down in his game story was the line … “The Cuban born Negro …”
It was the only mention I could find of Minoso’s race and the important moment that occurred that day in May.
As Jerry Reinsdorf said before today’s game …
“When Minnie homered in his first game with the White Sox on May 1, 1951, it wasn’t just a personal triumph for a great baseball player, it was a blow that helped change baseball and change the Chicago White Sox organization forever.”
Go-Go Sox baseball had arrived.
If someone had told you in March that Carlos Quentin would rank among the league leaders in several offensive categories and Phil Humber would maybe be our best starter through April, would you have thought the team was struggling?
As poorly as the team has played to date (and thank you to everyone who has continued to attend, watch and listen because we have not played up to your faith), there is reason to stay optimistic. In an era with the wild card and a crazy scheduling, postseason hopes for teams on September 1 can appear bleak, but a dominant finish or a fortuitous schedule can make a huge difference.
In our case, we have just 12 games with AL Central foes between May 1 and the All-Star Break, while 47 of our final 69 contests after the ASB are against division competition. We are going to have the opportunity, head-to-head, to beat the teams we need to beat. We will just have to be in a position to do it.
Saturday, April 30, 2011
This morning, the White Sox hosted a service event along with Mark Teahen, the White Sox Volunteer Corps and Constellation Energy. Together we planted four trees, placed mulch and fibar on the playground and cleaned up Armour Square Park. The event kicked off the new environmental sustainability partnership between Constellation Energy and the White Sox.
The below photos capture highlights from today’s event.