Meeting in Motown and the Double Duty Classic
Tuesday, July 9, 2013
White Sox vs. Tigers at Comerica Park, Detroit (6:05 p.m., CT, WCIU) in the opener of a three-game series. Starters: LHP Jose Quintana (3-2, 3.69) for the Sox, Justin Verlander (9-5, 3.54) for Detroit.
Sox Starting Lineup: De Aza, CF; Ramirez, SS; Rios, RF; Dunn,1B; Keppinger, DH; Gillaspie, 3B; Viciedo, LF; Beckham 2B; Phegley, C.
Jake Peavy threw 76 pitches today in a simulated game at Comerica Park. He reported that he felt fine afterward and has made some progress since his last bullpen (in St. Petersburg). If all goes well, a rehab start is next on the agenda.
One of the best days each year – especially in a year like this – is our annual Double Duty Classic event, which celebrates and commemorates the old Negro Leagues East-West All-Star Game. Amateur minority players from our ACE youth baseball program and a few standouts from across the country (Sox 2012 first round draft pick Courtney Hawkins played in the game) play an exhibition game wearing replica Negro Leagues uniforms. Today’s game, the sixth annual, drew upwards of 4,000 fans, mostly Chicago youth groups on outings from their day camps. The atmosphere is always fun.
Prior to the game, we hold a forum for the players and their families that centers on the history of the Negro Leagues, explains who Ted “Double Duty” Radcliffe was and his importance to baseball in Chicago, and offers advice to the kids on their future, whether in baseball or not.
“Double Duty,” of course, was a star in the Negro Leagues as both a pitcher and a catcher and a baseball legend in Chicago, his adopted hometown. Word is that Radcliffe, who lived to be 103, got his nickname from the famed writer Damon Runyon because he caught and pitched in successive games in the 1932 Negro League World Series.
This year, WBEZ and NPR correspondent Richard Steele was the emcee. Steele was joined by 94-year-old Dr. Timuel Black, a former advisor to both Dr. King and President Obama, and by Ken Williams, Sox executive vice president and former GM.
“You have to protect your history,” Williams told the 35-or so players. “You have to keep it alive.”
Dr. Black explained his own history – his grandparents were slaves – and how important faith and optimism have for people.
“It is about survival, progress and a belief,” he said. “Impossible … we can get that done this week. Miraculous? … that might take us a little longer. But one of the best examples is baseball. Jackie Robinson. He was not just a great baseball player. He was chosen by Branch Rickey because he also was best equipped to succeed in all the other areas that were important at that moment.”
Robinson, Black and Williams stressed, didn’t just have athletic ability. He also had intellect.
“Baseball is the best sport to prepare you for life, in my opinion, because it is built on failure,” Williams said. “You need discipline and you need to show up. A lot of people are afraid to show up because it is too risky.”
“You may lose today’s game,” Black told the kids. “but you will win tomorrow.”
He stressed the importance of using role models and adults as guides.
“What do you want to be?” he challenged the athletes. “Not just today, this week or this year, but in your future and in your life.
“What do you want to be? What do you want your neighborhood to be? Your city? You cannot do it alone.”
Here is a link to Phil Rogers’ column in today’s Trib about the Double Duty Classic and the impact that the Sox, spearheaded by Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf, have made in the community.
Quote of the Day
I think the following excerpt from Rogers’ column is worthy enough to underscore here:
“Chicago never has had a baseball owner who has done as much public good as Reinsdorf,” Rogers wrote. “And, unless Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg buys a team, probably never will.”
Play of the Day
Josh Phegley’s homer in the third inning of last night’s game was his second in two days. He joined Magglio Ordonez (second and third career games in 1997) as the only players in franchise history to homer in consecutive games within their first three career contests. Josh also joined Brent Morel (2010 vs. Royals), Josh Fields (2011 vs. Tigers) and Carlos Lee (1999) as the only White Sox players to homer in his first at-bat at U.S. Cellular Field. And Phegley is the first rookie in franchise history to drive in a run in each of his first three career games (RBI became an official stat in 1920).
White Sox vs. Tigers at Comerica Park (6:05 p.m., CT, CSN). Starters: RHP Dylan Axelrod (3-5, 4.97) for the Sox, RHP Rick Porcello (5-6, 4.82) for Detroit.
Did You Know…
…that Gordon Beckham, in the sixth inning of last night’s loss to the Cubs, became the first Sox player to steal home since Juan Pierre did it on October 2, 2010?
Photo of the Day
Phegley heads for home.