Sox Shoot For Four Straight Wins With “You Know Who” on the Mound Tonight
Wednesday, July 9, 2014
The #TargetSale Campaign: Behind the Scenes
It’s been a terrific week so far for all of us with the White Sox. We’ve won three in a row with Chris Sale on the mound tonight and we are immersed in the excitement of the #TargetSale campaign to get Chris on the American League All-Star squad via the Final Vote.
I’ve been asked numerous times about our strategy in the Final Vote since we have been successful three times in the past with Scott Podsednik (2005), A.J. Pierzynski (2006) and Paul Konerko (2011). Like anything else, a lot of thought and planning is involved even though we don’t get any inside info until the day the All-Star rosters are announced.
Beyond the general planning and creating a strategy, here are three key factors:
1. First and foremost is that you have to have a great player with All-Star credentials. I think most baseball fans would agree that Chris absolutely fits that criteria. He is undoubtedly one of the best pitchers in baseball, is already a two-time All-Star and is having an outstanding season.
2. You have to have a passionate and engaged fan base to get on board. And it doesn’t hurt that they’re social media savvy to boot. Well, I’m happy to say that the Sox have exactly those kinds of fans and it’s been proven in the past with our three winners and this year with Sale leading the voting up to this point. And the fact we’ve once again formed an alliance with a National League club–the Washington Nationals and Anthony Rendon (#Vote Rendon)–and others like Sale’s alma mater, Florida Gulf Coast University, extends our reach even further. It seems those strategies are working so far as Chris has great support in the Midwest, the greater D.C. area extending into Pennsylvania and other parts of the Northeast plus his home state of Florida.
3. You need an internal organization whose staff enjoys the challenge and is eager to display its creativity to make it happen. And if you’ve been following our social media you have to agree that it’s obvious that my Sox colleagues, about two dozen of them, have risen to the occasion with some outstanding work–and are having fun doing it.
How did we come up with the slogan #TargetSale? It actually came from a brainstorming session among GM Rick Hahn, manager Robin Ventura and me shortly after we got the news from MLB on Sunday morning that Chris was in the Final Vote. With the All-Star Game at Target Field in Minneapolis, it just seemed like it would be something that would resonate. We then met with a larger group of Sox staffers and got more ideas, but none was better. I have to say that it really helped to have Rick and Robin as part of the process. Rick was responsible for coining the priceless “Punch A.J.” slogan in ’06 right after Pierzynski’s altercation with the Cubs’ Mike Barrett and Robin always has good ideas about these things.
White Sox vs. Red Sox at Fenway Park, Boston (6:10 p.m., CT, CSN). Starters: LHP Chris Sale (8-1, 2.16) for our Sox, RHP Rubby De La Rosa (2-2, 2.51) for their Sox.
Sale is set to make his 14th start of the season and fifth on the road. He is 5-1 with a 2.10 ERA and two complete games over his last nine starts and 3-0 with a 2.57 ERA and 28 Ks over his last four. He earned the win in his last start, July 4 vs. the Mariners, as he allowed one run and six hits along wth 12 strikeouts over nine innings–his seventh career complete game. Chris is limiting left-handers to a .121 average with one extra-base hit in 2014.
Sox Starting Lineup: Eaton CF, Beckham 2B, Abreu 1B, Dunn DH, Ramirez SS, Gillaspie 3B, Viciedo RF, De Aza LF, Flowers C.
Plays of the Day
Conor Gillaspie cranked a two-run homer (No. 2) in the sixth inning, breaking a 3-3 tie and giving the Sox the lead for good, and was a triple shy of the cycle as the White Sox won their third straight, 8-3, over the Red Sox…Jose Abreu went 3-4 with a pair of doubles and was on base for Gillaspie’s blast…Alejandro De Aza singled and tripled in a run…Ronald Belisario tossed 2.1 scoreless frames in relief of winning pitcher John Danks (8-6) and Eric Surkamp pitched a scoreless ninth. The Gillaspie round-tripper:
Tonight’s Watch & Vote Parties
Sox Note of the Day
In addition to three victories in a row, The White Sox have won five of their last six games and eight of the last 11. Our .727 winning percentage since June 27 is the fourth-best in the major leagues.
Quotes of the Day
White Sox vs. Red Sox at Fenway Park (3:05 p.m., CT, CSN) in the finale of the four-game series. Starters: LHP Jose Quintana (5-7, 3.20) for the Sox, Jon Lester (9-7, 2.73) for Boston.
Photo/Video of the Day
Tyler Flowers‘ Top 10 things batters say when facing Sale: