It’s Axelrod vs. Colon as Sox Visit A’s

Friday, May 31, 2013

Today’s News

Tonight’s Game

White Sox vs. A’s at O.co Coliseum, Oakland (9:07 p.m., CT, WGN). Starters: Dylan Axelrod (3-3) for the Sox, former Sox hurler Bartolo Colon (5-2) for the A’s.

Sox Starting Lineup: De Aza, CF; Ramirez, SS; Rios, RF; Dunn, DH; Konerko, 1B; Gillaspie, 3B; Viciedo, LF; Keppinger, 3B; Flowers, C.

Memorable Trip

Members of the White Sox Amateur City Elite (ACE) program, who were playing in a national Memorial Day tournament in Kansas City, visited the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum there over the holiday weekend.

Here are “Five Questions” with Kevin Coe, White Sox Manager of Youth Baseball Initiatives, focusing on the K.C. trip and the ACE program in general:

What exactly is the ACE program for people who are new to the concept?

ACE gives kids from the inner city, kids who might normally not be able to afford the high costs of travel sports, the opportunity to play competitive travel baseball.  They wear White Sox uniforms and we provide the funding, practice facilities and coaching staffs.  We teach them the right way to play and we begin at a very early age, with seven teams and 105 kids in the program.  Now in its fifth year, we’ve had eight players drafted and more importantly, 52 receive college scholarships for baseball.  Last year, 12 kids from our oldest team received scholarships to play baseball AND get an education.  This year, we already have kids committed to schools like Arizona and Michigan.

At what point in the season are the White Sox ACE teams?

High School playoffs are just starting in Illinois, so our high school ACE teams are beginning practice for summer league this weekend.  In fact, today is the first day of practice for some teams … weather permitting.  Our U13 and U14 teams are at the midpoint of their 60 (or so) game seasons.  Those are the kids who went to Kansas City and toured the Negro League Museum.

How did the Kansas City trip come about?

There is always a very good Memorial Day tournament in Kansas City featuring teams from Texas, Oklahoma, Illinois, Nebraska, Missouri and Iowa.  Since we were going there, we contacted Bob Kendrick, president of the Museum, and he was kind enough to give the kids a personal tour.  It was life-changing for some of the kids.  It was the first time for some to hear stories about players like Satchel Paige warming up by throwing pitches over a gum wrapper or Cool Papa Bell, who was so fast he could flip the light switch and still get into bed under the covers before the room was dark.

You mentioned the draft.  Do you expect kids from this year’s ACE teams to be drafted next week?

Absolutely.  I would expect players like Corey Ray, Marshawn Taylor and Ronell Coleman to be drafted.  All three have the option to go to college, but I imagine all three will receive a call on draft day.

What are you most proud of?

I grew up in Chicago, went to Simeon and then played baseball in college before having the chance to play professionally in the minor leagues.  I’m most proud to be able to come back to my own community and help kids imagine, dream and achieve their goals.  Nothing is better.

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 Did Your First Sox Game #MakeAnImpact On You?

 Here’s a look at our newest commercial:  http://atmlb.com/115soOb 

 “Road to Return”

I’m sure that you’ll enjoy the first two segments of a four-part series, “Road to Return,” focusing on John Danks’ shoulder surgery, rehab and return to the Sox. I’ll post the final two parts when they are available.

http://atmlb.com/19mRMGJ

http://atmlb.com/19mRfEV

Quote of the Day

Future Hall of Fame Manager Tony La Russa, who managed the Sox from 1979-86:

“I always pulled for the White Sox. I enjoyed their World Series win in 2005 almost as much as they did. Every time I’ve come back, I’ve always felt the closeness. Once the game is played and over, you can’t lose the feelings you have, the respect and the affection. I’ve always felt it and I’ve always given it back.”

 (This is the first in a series of quotes and anecdotes from former Sox that I will share with you over the course of the season from the book, What It Means to Be A White Sox, by Bob Vorwald).

Play of the Day

Axelrod, aiming to win his fourth straight start vs. the A’s tonight, obviously will not be hitting on this road trip to Oakland and Seattle.  But Ax does hold the distinction of being the only Sox pitcher to have collected a hit in interleague play this year. He singled in two at bats against the Nationals in D.C. on April 11–and even scored a run.

Tomorrow’s Schedule

White Sox vs. A’s at O.co Coliseum (3:07 p.m., CT, CSN). Starters: Jose Quintana (3-2) for the Sox vs. Dan Strally (3-2) for Oakland.

Did You Know…

…that Gordon Beckham, continuing his rehab assignment at Class AAA Charlotte, went 3-5 with a double, two runs scored and an RBI in last night’s Charlotte’s 8-4 victory over Toledo?

Photo of the Day

Mr. Peavy is 32 today!

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