Monday, April 2, 2012
As much as you love arriving in Arizona in February, you are equally pleased when the day arrives to depart and get the season underway.
“As much as I love this place,” one veteran of the clubhouse said, “I’m still happy to leave.”
It’s time, and everyone is excited to get the season going.
One Last Time With RV in Glendale
Manager Robin Ventura met with the media prior to the game for one last time in Glendale. The exchange:
What’s your overall evaluation of spring training?
I’m happy with it. I mean where you start, when guys come in they’re getting to know me; I’m getting to know them and the staff, everything else. They’ve done everything that we’ve asked of them. Most importantly, nobody’s seeing Herm [Schneider] a lot, so that’s the most important part. You kind of go through spring and see guys that are trying to find their swing and just get into that and be ready for the season. So I’m happy with it.
Do the guys that are looking for ‘bounce-back years’ (Dunn, Rios, Beckham) look ready?
Yeah, you know for me it was more mental in them than it is the physical and the ability. I think the ability is there. Every season is different, so to see them come in, the way that they’re motivated when they came in was important. I’m happy, and they just need to keep that going.
Is the batting order you’ve used the one that you like?
Yeah, for right now it is. That’s not guaranteed to be the Opening Day one. That’s one of the things I’ve messed with all throughout spring is putting guys in different spots; not necessarily how that game goes but just how we like it and the way it goes through the lineup.
What about Adam Dunn do you like in the No. 3 spot?
He gets on base a lot. Even though he might strike out a little bit, he does walk a lot. To me that’s a good thing right in front of Paul [Konerko].
Are you excited about Opening Day being just four days away?
Yeah, I think everybody’s really ready to get out of here and get going. You can only play games that don’t mean something for so long, and guys are pretty happy to be getting out of here today and getting closer to when everything counts.
What’s been the biggest difference for you from when you first started until now?
It’s just been a process. Everybody’s trying to feel each other out as far as personality and what you see, and the work we’ve asked them to do. So that part’s different. They understand what we’re asking them to do, the accountability and what’s expected. It’s nice to get to this point.
When will you make the decision on the closer?
Hopefully when we’re winning in the ninth [inning] in the first game. I hope to do that.
Does it matter to you whether he’s left handed or right handed?
No. I will know, and they will know. I just don’t feel the need to tell everybody and make a statement about it.
Even in Houston?
No. I just don’t see a need to do it.
Is there something to be gained by holding that announcement back?
Maybe. Maybe not. When we go into the game they’ll at least know who’s going, the guys will.
Do you know now who that is?
Is that because you have several choices?
I have choices. I think we have an idea, it’s just I don’t want to say it right now.
Are you afraid to go with a young guy?
No. I mean he’s definitely a possibility. So are Addison and Matt and Jesse.
Is it nice to have so many choices?
Yeah, I feel good with the way our back-end of the bullpen is.
Have there been any surprises for you this spring?
Yeah, you see a guy like Nate Jones who’s kind of come through, didn’t necessarily have a spot when you visualized it and then all of a sudden you go through spring and see how he’s progressed and done things. Those are the good surprises.
How impressed have you been with Hector Santiago?
I’ve been impressed. You hear things about certain guys, but to witness it – and it’s not just his ability, it’s how he carries himself, his personality- he’s been fun to watch.
Going into the season with a healthy Jake Peavy has got to be good?
Yeah, it is. That’s the most important part for me yesterday was him getting through that and feeling good and coming in here today and feeling good.
How’d you enjoy your first spring in this role?
It was fun. It’s busy, I can tell you that. There’s a lot of work to it.
Rock Chalk or UK
We are scheduled to arrive in Houston around 9 pm, so hopes are that we will catch the second half of tonight’s NCAA Championship game.
Assistant Trainer Brian Ball (a UK grad) and Nate Jones (a Kentucky native) are strongly rooting for the Wildcats, while third base coach Joe McEwing is cheering loudly for Kansas.
“Kentucky Basketball and Kentucky bourbon,” Ball said. “Two of the best things in life.”
To prove it, he went back in his office and showed off two bottles he intends to use to celebrate tonight’s Kentucky win (or perhaps nurse a loss).
We spent some time researching White Sox ties to UK and KU and to the states they represent. The results were a little sparse.
Twenty White Sox alumns came from Kansas, while 20 more from the state of Kentucky. Notables from the state of Kansas included Fred McMullin, Ron Schueler, and Neil Allen, with Allen being the most recent. From Kentucky came Lee Tannehill, Chris Snopek, Marv Foley, Brian Drahman, Joe Cowley, Joe Hall, Jon Rauch, Josh Stewart.
Three Sox also went to the University of Kentucky — Marv Foley, Rod Bolton and Jeff Abbott, while none attended Kansas (that we could find).
The best story of all belonged to former Sox outfielder Joe Hall (1994). Hall actually was named for longtime Kentucky basketball coach, Joe B. Hall.
You cannot find a nicer, more considerate person than Nancy Nesnidal, who has worked with Sox general managers back to Larry Himes. She truly makes this office run each spring, and no one is a better packer.
To give you an idea of how thoughtful Nancy is, she came to my earlier this spring with a concern. Our ballpark is right next to a small airfield. For the first three years, a stunt plane would often fly about, doing loops and flying all around the complex. The plane was gone this spring.
“Do you think the pilot is OK,” Nancy asked me with legitimate concern one day.
“Sure, I heard him early one morning before you got here,” I told her … which was not really true but I didn’t want Nancy to spend the spring worrying about some unknown flier.
Anyway, Nancy is constantly on me to recycle. I get notes on my desk. She goes through my trash looking for plastic bottles and aluminum cans, and she singlehandedly had a recycling bin placed in our dining room.
Today’s note left on my desk said simply: “Please Recycle.”
“Did you see my note,” Nancy asked, smiling.
Sure did, Nancy, sure did.
My day started by taking a photo of manager Robin Ventura and his son, Jack, as they came into the clubhouse today, both dressed in suites for today’s trip.
“Want me to take a photo,” I asked. “My guess is mom is going to want that.”
Quote of the Week
On seeing coach Joe McEwing bouncing around the clubhouse at 7 am recently …
“Who dropped a quarter in Joe today?”
Opening Day Tweet-Up
With excitement swelling as Opening Day nears, we decided that the best way to celebrate Opening Day away was by throwing a Tweet-Up at Bacardi at the Park!
This free event includes complimentary food and soda, as well as discounted drinks. Prizes will be awarded throughout the game via the hashtag #letsgosox! Special guests will also be making appearances throughout the game.
Our Opening Day celebration starts at noon with the White Sox, the Score, Bacardi at the Park and of course, White Sox fans.
There’s a catch–to be admitted to the event, you’ll have to pay close attention to our Twitter account @whitesox and our Facebook page in the coming days for details. That’s all I can say for now, but we hope to see you there!