Friday, January 27, 2012

Always nice to be back at Palmer House Hilton with fellow White Sox fans kicking off the season at SoxFest.  Some Friday highlights so far:

-As I walked in the lobby today, the first person I saw: a fan wearing a Robin #23 jersey.  Great start to the weekend.

-Up in the players’ suite, the guys couldn’t have been happier to see our former bullpen coach Art “Cave” Kusnyer.  Great “Cave” stories all around…though none suitable for print.

-Saw a fan ask a long-haired Pablo Ozuna , “What’s with the hair?” Pablo’s answer: “It’s mine.”

-Opening Ceremonies started with a SoxFest first: Commissioner Selig on hand to give Jerry Reinsdorf the Commissioner’s Award for all the amazing work the Volunteer Corpshas done.  As he said to Jerry with many of the VC members on the stage: “The White Sox won this award on merit.  Congratulations on making Chicago a better place to live.”

Photo: Ron Vesely

-Jerry: “This award is for all these people up here. It’s not because of us; it’s because of you.”

-Loud ovation for all the guys during Opening Ceremonies – which also featured our first video featuring this year’s “Appreciate the Game” tagline and the players tossing souvenir wiffleballs to the fans.  And so it begins…

-First seminar: Hawk and Commissioner Selig (which started with Hawk introducing Mrs. Selig in attendance).  Some key points from the Commissioner:

Photo: Ron Vesely

> WILD CARD: “I believe in giving theams hope and faith, and the Wild Card has produced some of the best games in baseball history.  As for the expanded Wild Card starting this season, I think it will make the races more exciting.”

>VOLUNTEER CORPS: “Baseball is a social institution with a social responsibility.  The fact that the Volunteer Corps has served more than 17,000 hours…it’s just amazing.”

> DH: “For the DH to be in both leagues, it would require overall geographic realignment, which is a ways away.”

> INSTANT REPLAY: “Not dramatically expanding it right now, but we’re looking at doing something involving trapped balls and down-the-line shots involving fair/foul balls.”

> STATE OF THE GAME: “We’ve gone from $1.2 billion in revenue when I became Commissioner to over $7 billion.  The game is expanding by leaps and bounds.”

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