May 2012

Your 1st Place White Sox

Tuesday, May 29, 2012
 
Fast & Furious
 
The phones won’t stop ringing here today, which is a great thing for the White Sox (and especially for PR people at the White Sox).  It is amazing how winning changes everything.  The days go quicker.  You can’t wait for first pitch.  Games fly by, and there are so many positive story lines each and every day …
 
… Chris Sale’s strikeouts, Adam Dunn’s home run, Paul Konerko’s hitting streak, Addison Reed’s ninth inning …
 
Someone might say it is a Contagion.
 
Sale’s 15 strikeouts yesterday fell one short of Jack Harshman’s club record, tying three other pitchers (Eddie Cicotte, Jim Scott and Ed Walsh, twice) for second in White Sox history.  Sale’s 15 were the most since Jason Bere struck out 14 Twins on June 28, 1995.
 
Congrats
 
Again to Paul Konerko on winning AL Player of the Week honors (any surprise there)?  PK hit .583 with four doubles, three home runs and 10 RBI in six games to win his second award of the year and sixth of his career.  He hit his 400th home run with the White Sox on May 27 vs. Cleveland and trails only Frank Thomas (448) in franchise history.
 
Hmmm …
 
Do you think those critics of the White Sox farm system over the past years noticed yesterday’s game?  Chris Sale, first round pick of 2010, struck out 15 in 7.1 IP, Gordon Beckham, first pick in 2008, singled right before Adam Dunn’s 2-run home run, and Addison Reed, third rounder in 2010, earned the save.
 
Most of us will take big league production over prospect status anytime.

Family Field Day

Saturday, May 26, 2012

On Saturday, June 16, the White Sox host what I consider one of the best charities events of the year, the Family Field Day and Garage Sale.  Now in its ninth year,  this is a fun and affordable  opportunity for fans to play catch in the outfield grass, sit the dugouts and bullpens, pose for photos on the field and make those once-in-a-lifetime memories with loved ones.  It makes for a perfect Father’s Day gift or simply a fun family outing. 

For all the collectors out there, you have the chance to purchase game-worn hats, pants, gloves and team-issued jerseys, along with used bats, balls and a wide variety of exclusive and rare White Sox gear at the Garage Sale. 

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To participate in this unique experience, you can sign up for one of three time sessions (9:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m., 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m., or 12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.) at whitesox.com. Tickets are $30 for adults and $12 for children age 13 and under. There are a limited amount of tickets available, so get yours soon!

http://atmlb.com/JW0rpz

Catching Back Up

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Been crazy around here for a number of reasons, so trying to catch back up with this blog.

Crazy windy tonight.  Game might be very interesting.

Former White Sox player Greg Norton was in the ballpark for BP today.  Great to see Norty, who brought along his six-year-old son and a friend to the game.  After retiring (makes me feel old), Norton managed at Class AAA for a couple of years before taking this year off to be with his family.

Robin Ventura, Paul Konerko and Mike Gellinger all made a beeline over to see Norton.

Stop Bullying Message

Special thanks to Brent Lillibridge, who visited McClellan Elementary School down 35th street this morning to send the kids an anti-bullying message and debut a new video released by the club: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uZkb-ZdLqsc

You can read about the visit here: http://chicago.gopride.com/news/article.cfm/articleid/29705364/white-sox-launch-campaign-against-bullying

Perspective

Fans who attend home games often know we feature a special “Hero of the Game” in the third inning when a serviceman or woman is brought out onto the field between half innings to be recognized by our fans and the teams.  The always-touching moment features a standing ovation, and members of both teams (and the umpires) stand and applaud.  We received this email from one of our honorees who is now back on duty in Afghanistan:

First Name: Michael

Subject: Hero of the game

Message:
On April 19th I was the Hero of the game. I’m in Afghanistan now and I wanted to thank you for all you did for me. It was the greatest feeling ever being down there and having the greatest fans in the world cheering for me. The only bad thing was I couldnt here what was being said. Is there any way I can get a script or video of what was said. All I heard was “Operation Iraqi Freedom” Anyways as a Service Member I think what you do for all the troops is great and I will never forget this. The Staff that made it possible, the chevy pride crew that guided me to the field, and the Players who also stood up and clapped all make serving this country the greatest job in the world and worth every sacrifice we make.

No, Michael, we thank you.  God bless.

Remembering

With Kevin Hickey’s passing and funeral this week, we’ve now lost two important members of the White Sox family this season.

You’ll see our players wearing patches to honor Bill “Moose” Skowron and Kevin “Hicman” Hickey the rest of this season.

Losing Kevin was tough on our entire team.  When the bagpiper began Amazing Grace at the end of his funeral service on Tuesday morning, I don’t think there was a dry eye in the place.  A tough, tough emotional day.

Hicman was one of a kind.  Definitely South Side.  Definitely proud to be a White Sox.

I was supposed to play golf with Hick and Mark Salas after our workout on April 5, the day Hic didn’t show up for our workout.  EMT’s found him in his hotel room and rushed him to the hospital.  He never really came back to us after that.  Man, I will miss him.

AJ Pierzynski and Don Cooper showed great courage in speaking at Tuesday’s funeral.  AJ talked about all of Hickey’s exhortations from the bench during a game (“Show him your credentials, Paulie!” … “Crown him!” … “You’re better than him!”) and remarked that Hickey would be the happiest guy in heaven because of the three-game sweep of the Cubs.

Cooper joked that Hickey probably was already nagging God.  “What can I do to help?” he imaged Hickey asking incessantly.

No one worked harder.  No one took more pride in wearing a big league uniform.  Another dear friend lost.

Roland Hemond came up for the service and pulled a beat up sheet of paper out of his coat pocket.

“Look at this, look at these numbers,” he said to me, pointing at the line.  “Hickey against George Brett, 0-15 for his career.  Wade Boggs, 1-11 …”

Warming Up

“Hey, Alexei,” Ken Williams called out to Alexei Ramirez today as BP ended.  “Look at the scoreboard.  It’s 84 degrees! You don’t need to wait until June 1,” he said laughing.

Alexei broke into a big smile.

Williams on Comcast

KW sat down with Pat Boyle of Comcast last night before the game.  Catch it here: http://www.csnchicago.com/pat_boyle_podcast

Friday, May 18, 2012

Below is an email that one of our staffers received yesterday. We liked it so much that we had to share it with you.

Hi Jo.I hope this finds you well and I wanted to share this with you. Jason and I went to the Sox game in Anaheim last night & sat behind our dugout.. There was a little boy, about 6 or so, decked out in head to toe Konerko gear, just like his father. Every inning break, he would run down to the dugout and shake his glove, hoping for a ball. The other kids (angels fans) were bigger than him & he kept walking past me to go back to his Dad, disappointed. I turned to the Dad and said “Next time, I’m taking your kid down there myself…”

At the inning break, I looked to my right & there was the kid, waiting for my help. I said, “OK Tommy, lets do this!” I held him up a little and he was shaking his glove, Paulie spotted him and pointed right at him so all the other kids knew to stay away, and he rolled the ball on the dugout right into little Tommy’s glove! We were jumping up and down like crazy, he was so happy and when he got back to his Dad, he just started crying… he finally turned around and said thanks with the biggest smile and tears in his eyes.

Long story short, Paul Konerko made that kid feel so important, he will probably never forget it so I want to say THANKS TO HIM!!!…It was a great night (that would have only been better if we won).

GO WHITE SOX!!
Best Regards,
Gina M.

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Paulie also made the day for one of our twitter followers (@itsmarthab). You can see some of her tweets here.

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Quest for BP Crosstown Cup begins

Thursday, May 17, 2012

The quest for the BP Crosstown Cup begins tomorrow as the White Sox head to the North Side for a three-game set.  The action begins tomorrow at 1:20 pm.  This season marks the first time in the history of the interleague series that both teams enter with rookie managers. We’ve put together some Cubs-Sox series facts for your enjoyment.  BP Crosstown Cup Facts & Figures

Big Hitter

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

On Monday, White Sox designated hitter/first baseman/leftfielder Adam Dunn spent time talking to Sox season ticket holders on a special conference call.  Here are a few of his select comments from the conversation:

Q: Later on this week, you are scheduled to play the field. Are you excited about that?

A: I’m hearing that I’ll be back in the outfield a little bit. That will be exciting. It will be fun, a little change up for me.

 

Q: You’ve played the field before. You’ve played first base for us, sharing time with Paul Konerko. The newspaper today says you’ll be playing in the outfield. Is this true?

A: Yes. It’s something I’ve done my whole career, so it’s not too foreign for me. Anytime I can get on the field, especially during interleague when there is no DH, I would much rather play in the outfield or anywhere I can play instead of sitting on the bench.

 

Q: It’s great to have you back to your old self. What made the difference?

A: It’s really nothing mechanical. I think this time last year I really wasn’t as healthy as I would have liked. That resulted in some bad habits I wasn’t able to get out of. This year I have been 100 percent healthy and feel like my normal self.

 

Q: Do you think that you playing in the field, rather than DH, has helped you this year?

A: This year I’ve gotten a bit more acclimated. That was a much bigger adjustment than I had anticipated. If you know my personality, you know I’m not the type to just sit there and twiddle my thumbs. I’ve got to be doing something all the time. Robin’s done a really good job with letting me get out there usually about once a series. I don’t know if it’s helped, but I certainly like being out there and having fun.

 

Q: How has the coaching staff been? Have they been helpful to you this season?

A: Yes. I feel like I got to hand pick the coaching staff. I’m serious. It’s everyone. It’s as good of a coaching staff as you could put together. They relate to the players so well. Everyone has the utmost respect for all the coaches. That’s hard to find.

 

Q: How does the support from the fans impact your performance at the plate?

A: It’s huge, especially at home. You’re used to getting booed. You’re used to getting talked about on the road. It adds to the pressure. Hitting is so hard, and when you add just a little pressure to an already high-anxiety at-bat, you start pressing. And once you start pressing, bad things happen. It definitely makes it easier to go up there more relaxed, more focused on getting on base and driving in runs than “I’ve got to get a hit, I’ve got to get a hit, I’ve got to get a hit.” It’s definitely been a lot better.

 

Q: Are there times in games where you take a different approach in hitting?

A: Absolutely. Let’s say there’s a guy on third base with two outs and all you have to do is hit a ground ball or a fly ball to get him in. That’s probably the one time that you’ll see me change my approach the most. Again, when there are two outs and nobody on, I’m trying to get us a run on the board. I’m always looking for that pitch. Is that the right way to go about it? I don’t know, but it sure is nice when you can get there and get an early lead on a two-strike homer.

 

Q: Are you able to help some of the younger teammates when they’re at the plate?

A: I’ll do anything to help these guys, but they for the most part are so talented. They’ve done this their whole lives. I think guys put so much pressure and so much emphasis on the wrong things about hitting that they just forget the basics. I know I did last year and I’ll never do that again. It’s basically “see ball, hit ball” and people put so much emphasis on mechanics and this and that. Next thing you know, they’re forgetting the main thing and that’s getting a good pitch and hitting it.

 

Q: How did you keep up your morale last year?

A: Baseball does not define me as a person. It’s a job. I enjoy doing it. As far as the morale, every day I thought, “This is the day. This is the day everything is going to change and get back to normal. This is the day I’m going to help the team win. I can’t take back what happened previously, but maybe I can do some things that will help us win today.” There’s no use in sitting around pouting about it because nobody cares. That’s something I was fortunate to learn at a very young age.

 

Q: Do you prepare yourself a little differently when you know you’re either on the field or DH?

A: I’ve taken the same routine each and every day regardless of whether I’m DH or playing the field. The only difference would be that obviously I’m in the cage hitting a little bit more during the game because I’m not out on the field playing. Other than that, I take the same pre-game approach. My day is pretty much consistent.

 

Q: How tough was the transition from being an everyday player to DH?

A: Again, it was a lot tougher than I had anticipated. It sounds really cool just to go out there and hit four or five times a game. What people don’t realize is how hard it is to stay in the flow of the game and stay loose for four or five at-bats. That’s why routine is really, really big for me, especially being DH.

 

Q: How are you enjoying the city of Chicago this year compared to last year?

A: Last year, I would come home, lock my door and shut my blinds and not enjoy my favorite city. I’ve said it from day one, this is my favorite city. This year I feel like I can take the family out to some restaurants that we like to go to and go out and see the city. We’ve been able to do that a lot more this year than last year. It’s such a great city. Last year, I feel like I deprived my family by not taking them out and enjoying it.

 

Q: Do you really get a chance to enjoy the city while you’re here in Chicago, or are you pretty much here just to play?

A: It’s a lot easier to see the things you like to see because we don’t have to be at the field until (later in the day). Like this morning, we have a little breakfast spot we like to get up and go eat at. It’s great. This is your home city. I’m here more than I am at my home city in Texas. I can’t think of a better place to call home for six to eight months.

 

Q: How does it feel to silence all your critics from last year with all your home runs this year?

A: That’s something I don’t even think about. Last year was last year. I can’t take it back. I know it wasn’t me. I know what I’m capable of doing if I’m healthy and I play every day. The number one goal is to go out and play in as many games as I can and just be me. At the end of the year, the numbers will be what they are and it will make everyone happy. We’ll go on to next year.

 

Q: What is your thought process as you approach an at-bat?

A: I’ll have a plan each and every at-bat, whether it looks like it or not. Depending on how I think they’re going to pitch me at that at-bat or the situation or this and that, I sell out. If that pitch isn’t there early in the count, I’ll take it. A lot of people ask, “How do you take that pitch?” I’m not able to swing at balls early in the count that I’m not sitting on or really thinking about, which leads to high walks because I get myself in good hitter’s counts and I don’t swing at bad pitches. It also gets me into bad counts, 0-1, 0-2, really quick. I don’t know. If you can help me out with that one, it would probably solve a big problem.

 

Q: Is there one thing you want to say to all our season ticket holders?

A: Absolutely. I want to thank all of you for the support. I promise you we will definitely turn it around. Personally, I would like to thank you for sticking with me. We’re going to have a few more good years here and hopefully bring another championship back here to Chicago. Thank you.

Robin Ventura Pregame

Monday, May 14, 2012

Here are a few of manager Robin Ventura’s comments from his pregame session with the media:

On if beating Detroit is more significant than other teams:

“No, it just means they are a very good (team) and that they are in your division so they’re important. It’s weird because it’s a two-game series, but then again they’re a good team and you want to play well because they’re in your division. They’re good, we’ve got John (Danks) going today.”

On if he pays attention to the standings:

“Not really, not this early. You kind of want to know where you’re at, but you realize it’s still a long way to go and even for them, you know they’re going to play well at some point. It’s nice to play well early.  Again, you play well early, you go on that All-Star Break and it changes so every series is important, not the end of the world, but you want to play well especially against a team that’s as good as this and is in your division”

On Jesse Crain’s progress:

“He threw yesterday and he was okay so I think in a few more days he could come back.”

On what he’s looking for out of John Danks tonight:

“ With him it’s just the consistency. He has been able to spot a lot of his fastballs and he’s one of those that throws a lot of pitches that hitters swing or miss at so if they’re not swinging at him then it doesn’t always look pretty. He’s a battler and he’s tough to hit against if he’s got it going. His last outing he was fine and he grinded through it and was fine so it’s one of those that if he hits his spots and has his location, he’s though to hit.”

On where to draw the line with the amount of discussions a coach has with a player about hitting:

“I think patience is key. There are some times when you give them a kick, but again I realize how tough it is because it’s not always that easy, especially getting critiqued everyday over and over about it. For them, they have to realize that they can’t get it all back in one day because it’s a consistent thing day in and day out of coming here and having the proper attitude of coming in and working at it and seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.”

On if it’s hard to decide when to stop discussing hitting issues with a player:

“There’s a fine line there of when you’re talking to them, how much you’re talking to them about it and you can’t talk to them about it every day because it becomes an overwhelming thing. They don’t necessarily want to hear it every day either so its back and forth of just conversation about it, but most of us have played so we get what they’re going through and I get that but they can’t lose confidence.”

On if he ever left for a two-day, West-Coast roadtrip during his career:

“I don’t (remember doing so), but I don’t make (the schedule) so we just play these, leave here tomorrow and come back pretty quick. It is odd that you fly out to the West Coast and then come right back and have a day game, but I think everybody will be fine.”

On Adam Dunn’s impact on the offense:

“It’s big. I don’t see a lot of people that expected him to be hitting third so what he brings to the lineup as far as power and getting on base has been fine. It’s a big thing that you kind of get a good hold of what people were seeing last year compared to what they’re seeing now and the credit goes to him, coming in the way he did at spring training.”

On how much Sale solidifies the starting rotation:

 “It’s fine for him to be in there and a plus for us, for me, you look at it the same way you did coming out of spring training — you have a pretty good set of five guys that you’re rolling out with on a consistent basis.”

“Going to Bat” Against Breast Cancer

May 12, 2012

For the seventh year, Louisville Slugger has created special pink bats for Major League Baseball players to use during Mother’s Day games on Sunday, May 13 to raise awareness for breast cancer.  Only this year’s bats are not just pink…they are hot pink.

White Sox players who will use the new pink bats tomorrow include Alejandro De Aza, Adam Dunn, Eduardo Escobar, Brent Morel, AJ Pierzynski, Alexei Ramirez and Alex Rios.

In addition to playing with pink bats stamped with the MLB breast cancer awareness logo, players and on-field personnel will wear pink wrist bands and a symbolic pink ribbon on their uniforms.  Commemorative dugout lineup cards also will be pink to show support for the cause.

After tomorrow’s game, the hundreds of players who used the pink bats will sign them before they are put up for auction.  The bats also will be sold at the Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory and online, all in support of Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

Aurora (Ill.) resident Cori Cammarano was selected as the White Sox 2012 Honorary Bat Girl winner for her admirable commitment to “Going to Bat” in the fight against breast cancer.  She will take part in pre-game activities and be honored on-field at Sunday’s game.

 

White Sox Volunteer Corps: Day of Service

May 9, 2012

On Saturday, May 12, hundreds of White Sox Volunteer Corp members, including current White Sox players and front office staff, will come together to participate in the “White Sox Day of Service,” in partnership with City Year.

This year’s major Volunteer Corps service event will take place at Kozminski Community Academy, a K through 8 public school in Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood, which is in need of significant improvement and refurbishment.  Members of the White Sox Volunteer Corps participating in the event will be painting walls, halls and murals, building benches and bookcases, cleaning playground areas, among other service activities.

Anyone who has participated in White Sox Volunteer Corps events in the past understands the significance and value a day of service can provide the community.  The completed work will help provide a better, more conducive learning atmosphere for children facing difficult socio-economic situations, as well as help the school improve its facilities without impacting the budget.

Volunteer Corps members will be shuttled to the school from Lot C of U.S. Cellular Field.  The Opening Ceremony at Kozminski begins at 9:00 a.m. and work is scheduled to finish at 2:00 p.m. Lunch and water will be provided.

To be a part of the White Sox Day of Service or for more details, please visit:  http://mlb.com/cws/community/vc_cityyear.jsp

Congratulations Philip and Jake

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Congratulations to tonight’s starter Philip Humber and his wife, Kristan, on the birth of their first child, son John Gregory last night during our game.  That’s a heckuva way to start a season … Perfect Game and first baby.

Congratulations as well to Jake Peavy on being named the American League’s Pitcher of the Month for April by going 3-1 with a 1.67 ERA.  The award is the fifth monthly honor of his career.  With Peavy, Humber (Player of the Week for his Perfecto) and PK (Player of the Week this past week), the White Sox have enjoyed a nice run of national recognition.

Home Run In a Phone Booth

Alejandro De Aza hit the most amazing, wind-blown, smoke-hidden double you’ve ever seen last night.  If you didn’t catch it (because the Indians couldn’t), click here: http://www.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?content_id=21080365&c_id=cws&partnerId=aw-6248658214734654885-1024

 

RV

Here are some of manager Robin Ventura’s comments to the media before today’s game:

On Jake Peavy’s start to the season and his Pitcher of the Month award:

“He’s definitely earned it. He’s been great. I don’t think you can ask for anything more out of him. ERA and just the way he’s pitching, plus the innings and the complete games, looking at him in spring training and what he went through in that process of getting healthy, it’s great for us but it’s real good for him too.”

On Gordon Beckham’s game last night:

“That’s something that can get him started. It has to start somewhere and that’s something that builds confidence. The home run is nice, but the two other hits for me were bigger than the home run. It’s the way he did it, the way the at-bats progressed, that kind of stuff is more promising and looks better than just one home run.”

On if he feels more comfortable now than he did last month:

“Yeah, it’s a month into it, so you get more into a routine and understand your guys, who you’re playing and all that kind of stuff. The baseball part, I still feel the same as far as what’s going on and being aware of things. Who you’re facing, how your guys are feeling and stuff like that are good.”

On the hardest part of being a new manager:

“The hardest thing? It’s different. It’s not like I’ve done it before, but again you’re learning different people and you want to put them in successful situations and that’s the thing you’re looking for. It’s not always that easy, but you have to find a way for them to be positive and get them in the right spot so they can actually be good.”

On if he’s found that he needs to manage each player differently:

“You treat people differently. Paul (Konerko) gets treated different than everybody else. I treat everybody fairly, but he’s just treated differently because he has a track record and watching him go about his business, I don’t feel like I need to watch him on a daily basis. Conversations I have with him are pretty simple, but everybody else, younger guys you kind of watch and you get a different feeling one way or another about them.”

On how involved he is in instruction with his other coaches:

“Things I understand (I get involved in). Like, I understand third base and first base better than they do, so I’m probably more instructional in that than I am with other things. I don’t talk about the catching or the outfield, but things that I understand better than them I’ll probably get more into instruction, just looking at things and mentioning things to either Brent (Morel) or Adam (Dunn), Paul he knows first base better than I do, so I don’t talk to him about it.”

On if he talks to and shares his ideas on hitting with Hitting Coach Jeff Manto:

“Yeah, we have a lot of the same ideas and philosophies that are just constants and that’s part of being a staff and what we want to do as a team, a lot of it is the same and I don’t see a difference there. But sometimes it’s better to hear it from someone else than it is to hear from the same person over and over again.”

On if Konerko could be a player manager or a manager down the road:

“He couldn’t do it. I know he couldn’t do it. He could be a manager down the road, but he couldn’t play and do that.”

Why?

“There’s just too much work to do.”

Could you have done it?

 “Absolutely not.”

On if he’s surprised other people did it and did it successfully:

“Yeah, I am. I think it’s a little different now. It’d be hard for someone to do it now.”

On what would be the hardest part:

“Doing this right here, everyday. Having to do this, answer questions about it and then go out and perform.”

On how he rates the media:

“It’s alright. I can handle this.”

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