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Sunny Sunday

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Matt Buys Dinner

The White Sox and Matt Thornton agreed today on a two-year contract extension (through 2013) with a club option for 2014. 

“Both sides are satisfied and I am very satisfied,” Thornton said of the deal. “It is a really exciting situation. It’s a substantial amount of money for my family and for the future of my children and hopefully their children.

“It was an easy choice with an organization like this, especially over the past five months or so, bringing in some pieces and maintaining the core guys,” Thornton said.

“They gave me a lot of security, and they put trust in me to be a part of their organization for the next three years.  My goal is to make it at least four (referring to the club option for a 4th), and hopefully, I can finish my career in Chicago. I want to be in Chicago the rest of the way.

“I expect to go out and perform the same way I always have,” the lefty said. “It means a lot that I wanted to stay here and be a part of this. I couldn’t imagine being anywhere else in the game of baseball. I love being in Chicago- the city, the fans, the organization.”

Family First

Reliever Sergio Santos didn’t want to miss his son’s first Little League game so what did he do?  Drive home to SoCal and then back this morning because the moment was too important to miss.

Talent

Manager Ozzie Guillen and infielder Omar Vizquel sat talking in the White Sox clubhouse this morning.  As I walked past, I thought, ‘How many thousands, probably hundreds of thousands of ground balls have those two guys fielded in their lives?’

Tucson

Heading to Tucson tomorrow for our Charity Game matchup with the Arizona Diamondbacks.  I’m looking forward to being back in the Old Pueblo and am debating where to eat dinner.  Klein, if you are coming to the game, let me know …

Upcoming Pitching

Edwin Jackson, Josh Kinney, Sergio Santos, Chris Sale and Charlie Leesman throw in Tucson tomorrow, while Jeff Marquez, Lucas Harrell, Nate Jones, Freddy Dolsi, Anthony Carter, Kyle Cofield and Gregory Infante hurl vs. Cleveland in the other split squad matchup.

 


 

Friday News

Friday, March 5, 2011

Victory

Apparently, all it took for us to win a spring training game was for me to return to Chicago, as Alex Rios hit a two-run homer to help lead the White Sox to a 6-1 win over the Mariners yesterday in Glendale.  At least, that was all the friendly emails and text messages from “friends” in Glendale told me.

Starting Stuff

No pressure on Jake Peavy today as he makes his first Cactus League start vs. the Angels in Tempe.  The other four Sox starting pitchers — Gavin Floyd, Mark Buehrle, Edwin Jackson and John Danks — have combined to allow NO hits in 8.0 IP with four walks and four strikeouts in the first four games of this spring.

Today’s Lineup

Pierre 7, Ramirez6, Dunn dh, Quentin9, AJ2, Morel5, McPherson3, Lillibridge4, De Aza8.

Gamer

How tough is Darrin Jackson?  He broadcast Monday’s Cactus League opener against the Dodgers after being in the hospital the night before with a kidney stone.  DJ did the game and then passed the stone.  Gamer.

Today

Watch Jake Peavy’s first start of the spring on MLB Network at 2 pm (Chicago time).

Second Try, Again

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Umpf

For the second straight day, my blog post has been eaten by gremlins and so you get a second, shorter draft … sorry

I left today’s game at Cincinnati (sunny, 75 degrees) to return to Chicago.  On my way out the door, I told KW, “Try to win one before I get back, would ya?”

Leave it to AJ Pierzynski to get a speeding ticket while driving to the game … in uniform.  Joke in the clubhouse was that the officer wasn’t going to ticket him until he saw the name on the back of the jersey.  Ozzie could hardly stop laughing.

Day started at breakfast (after a workout) with Mark Buehrle looking out the windows at the batting cages in amazement.  There was Alexei Ramirez hitting left-handed.  And doing it well.

Spring Training BP

I’ve heard from fans who are coming down to Glendale asking for the best way to see batting practice.  For home games and games close to us (Surprise, Peoria, Maryvale, Goodyear), we take batting practice at 10:30 am to 11:30 on the fields behind our complex, not on the game field.  Fans can still get close and watch the players — the area is open to the public — but you should come around behind our complex, not to the ballpark.

Bullpen Battle

Sergio Santos, Chris Sale, Jesse Crain and Matt Thornton finished their workouts early today and were headed out to do battle on the links, playing two-man teams.  Thornton’s expectations were low.  “105 would be a good score,” the All-Star non-golfer said.  Sale meanwhile, was actually giddy with the thought of winning the duel.

More Sale

Chris is making a special appearance tomorrow, along with AJ Ellis of the Dodgers, at the Glendale Public Library.  The duo will read to kids in support of MLB’s literacy program and Dr. Seuss’ birthday.

I remember a few years ago in Tucson when one of our former players (who will remain nameless) was a bit overmatched by Green Eggs and Ham.  Awkward moment for all.

@whitesox

For those of you who follow me currently on @insidethesox, we are moving our Twitter account to @whitesox.  Hopefully, this will be easier to find for folks, I will continue to send tweets and behind-the-scenes info and we plan to offer you even more info and feedback while basically consolidating our Twitter efforts.  And if you aren’t following us on Twitter, DO IT NOW … @whitesox

Thanks

Thanks to Dan Berstein and Terry Boers of WSCR Radio for bringing their show down to Glendale for three days this week.  Eddie Einhorn stopped in on Monday and I dropped off a nearby foul ball on Tuesday.  Busy three days!  Next week, it’s Dan McNeil and Matt Spiegel in town.  Appreciate the support and tune in to WSCR for baseball talk in March.

Viciedo, Waltrip and Yoga

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Second Setback

The Brewers handed the White Sox a 3-1 loss in our official spring training “home opener” today.

The game’s highlight came in the sixth inning when right fielder Dayan Viciedo fired a strike to third base to cut down a Milwaukee runner.  It was the second good play of the day for Viciedo, who is moving from third base to the outfield this spring.

“Two good plays out there today,” said manager Ozzie Guillen.  “He hit the cutoff man, and he threw the guy out.  I’ve got to give credit to DeBo (Daryl Boston), Harold Baines and Devo (Devon White).

“He’s in shape,” Guillen continued.  “It’s tough to play in spring training when you are trying to lose weight.”

Pregame

Today included the usual pregame fun and laughter during batting practice.

Ozzie described his conversation with NASCAR’s Michael Waltrip.

“We were in the clubhouse talking to each other and I said, ‘Hold on.  Let’s save each other a bunch of time.  You don’t understand me and I can’t understand you.’ We laughed and went our ways.”

Chris Rose and Don Bui of FOX Sports were in camp to tape pieces with several players and Guillen, who knows both well from his stints at FOX during the World Series.

Guillen laughed that it’s just like the regular season.  Yesterday, we faced Matt Guerrier and today we’ve got Greincke. 

Yoga

As part of pregame stretching, strength and conditioning coach Allen Thomas led players through some yoga moves, including lunging prayer twist and triangle poses. 

Judging from Alexei Ramirez’s form, they don’t do a lot of yoga in Cuba.

 

Sox Drop Cactus League Opener

Monday, February 28, 2011

Play Ball

How great to see, hear, smell and feel baseball again … even if the Sox dropped their Cactus League opener to the Dodgers, 6-5, in Glendale Monday.

Good Start

The day actually started out with the great news that White Sox vice chairman Eddie Einhorn had been selected as a member of the National Collegiate Basketball Association’s Hall of Fame Class of 2011.  Eddie will be honored at the Final Four and the official induction ceremony will take place just before Thanksgiving.

Surprised at Einhorn being selected for the BASKETBALL Hall of Fame, shouldn’t be.

Gavin Floyd gave the White Sox the second good start of the day, throwing two perfect innings.

“Gavin threw the ball well,” manager Ozzie Guillen said.  “We did a lot of good things today.  Spring training is about pitchers, for me.”

Guillen lauded Alexei Ramirez, who made a strong play going into the hole to make a tough out look easy.

“It’s our job to get him where he should be, the Gold Glove, All-Star Game,” Guillen said.  “It’s my job to make sure everyone knows how good he is.”

Guillen did say that he would prefer to avoid a repeat of the Sox first inning when Juan Pierre was thrown out at third with no outs and Adam Dunn at the plate.  Guillen admitted he told guys he wanted to be aggressive in spring training, but maybe not that aggressive.

“I hope he doesn’t do this during the season,” Guillen offered.  “I hope it’s a spring training thing.”

Ribbing Coop

Ozzie was all over poor Don Cooper this morning, having read somewhere (internet, magazine?) that Coop was only the second-best pitching coach in baseball.  Ozzie admitted that he ranked somewhere “next to last,” at which point Coop was quickly noted how much he had overcome to gain his lofty perch.

Photos

Sorry, we’ve had all kinds of pretty cool photos to post the last few days but apparently technical difficulties have made that nearly impossible.  A lot of the stuff was of our players at the races.  At some point, we’ll get it to you.

Try Again

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Rain

I wrote and posted this once but the blog devils seemed to have eaten it, so here is an abbreviated version.

Rain washed out our practices and intrasquad game.  The Dodgers/Angels matchup is underway out my window, so it is nice to see baseball.

Tomorrow

Here is our lineup for tomorrow’s White Sox/Dodgers game:

Pierre 7, Beckham 4, Rios 8, Dunn dh, PK 3, Q 9, AJ2, Ramirez 6, Morel 5.  Floyd pitching.

Upcoming Pitching

Buehrle vs. Mil, Jackson at Cin, Danks vs. Sea and Peavy at LAA.

Bobby Howry

A few staff members attended a special party for former Sox pitcher (now retired) Bobby Howry at his home last night.  Also in attendance were Scott Eyre and Keith Folke.

Special Thanks

To FOX Sports for their White Sox piece in today’s pre-race telecast. 

NASCAR Day

Saturday, Feb. 26, 2011

Start Your Engines

“What’s today,” White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper asked as he drove up in his golf cart.  “NASCAR Day?”

“Looks that way,” I replied.

“Good, I like things that break up the routine,” Cooper smiled.

Today was indeed unofficially NASCAR Day at White Sox spring training with four members of Michael Waltrip Racing stopping by to suit up, take part in drills and take a little batting practice.  The team is in Phoenix for this weekend’s NASCAR series (check out FOX for Sunday’s big race).

The drivers, Michael Waltrip, David Reutimann, Martin Truex and Ryan Truex, donned Sox uniforms featuring their car numbers and mingled with “Red Neck Row” in the White Sox clubhouse before morning practice.

“I’m not an athlete,” Reutimann offered to Mark Buehrle and John Danks.  “I just wait five seconds and then turn left.”

Buehrle, Danks and Jake Peavy attended Friday’s race and planned to go to Saturday’s and Sunday’s as well.  Danks grew up annually attending the race in Texas.

For manager Ozzie Guillen and others, the take was a little bit on the amateur racing side.

“I thought the one guy was Justin Bieber,” Guillen offered.

“You don’t do a whole lot of stretching before you drive?” Buehrle laughingly asked Reutimann.

With the drivers featuring their car numbers on their uniforms thanks to Sox equipment man Vince Fresso, Waltrip held court in the Sox clubhouse.

Once out on the field, Guillen offered advice.

“Where are you guys hitting,” the manager asked.  After hearing the answer, “Oh, sheet.

“Don’t try to hit a home run, just try to get a base hit.”

After a few swings and misses and a few solid hump-back liners, Waltrip stepped out of the cage.

“I need a lighter bat,” he said.

“Do we have a wider one,” Reutimann asked as he stepped into the cage.

Look closely on Sunday and you will see a White Sox All In logo on Reutimann’s Toyota car.

 


Waltrip.jpgGone And Forgotten

So I dutifully called my wife last night after dinner to check in and say hello.

“We’re watching a movie,” she replied. 

“Oh, which one?”

“Unstoppable.”

“Oh, what’s that about?” I asked.

“Denzell Washington.”

???

“No, what’s the movie about?” I clarified.

“Denzell Washington.  Can I talk to you later?”

 

To watch footage of Mark Buehrle and NASCAR’s David Rutimann film a promo for tomorrow’s big NASCAR race at the Phoenix International Speedway click here

To watch footage of Ozzie jokingly referring to NASCAR driver Ryan Truex as Justin Bieber click here. For his response click here.

 

Boring Day

Friday, February 25, 2011

Advertising Shoots, Ozzie BP and Sliding Practice

“This is boring,” White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen announced as he drove up to a practice field today during Day 1,432 of fielding practice, hitting practice, throwing practice and baserunning practice.  It’s time for games to begin (Monday).

Guillen did take the mound today, throwing BP for the “first time in something like 10 years.”

After AJ and Chris Sale earned a chance yesterday, Paul Konerko and Adam Dunn got their turn today to star in this year’s television spots as part of the team’s advertising campaign.

When I got the shot list this morning, it included a notation for “Konerko’s Body Double.”

I couldn’t resist, placing the paper on Paulie’s chair.

“Yeah, I saw that,” he laughed.  “Then I saw the guy and thought, ‘He doesn’t look anything like me.  How are they going to make this work?'”

The magic of television.  I just wish I could have seen PK’s body double up close.

Happy Birthdays

To Jerry Reinsdorf and Kevin Hickey.  Two peas in a pod.

Speed Week

NASCAR drivers David Reutimann, Martin Truex Jr. and Ryan Truex are scheduled to be in camp tomorrow morning to take part in some drills, run around, hit some balls, catch some balls and not get hurt.  Michael Waltrip will come along and the group is expected to bring a ton of media as well.  All are in town for this weekend’s NASCAR events.

Pitching

Sunday’s intrasquad game (weather permitting), will include pitchers Kyle Cofield, Freddy Dolsi, Nathan Jones, Anthony Carter, Kyle Bellamy and Charlie Leesman.

Media Guides Arrive

A rite of passage each spring.  The 2011 Chicago White Sox Media Guide has arrived.

Spring Training Action Begins

Few people knew this — and you won’t find these results anywhere but here — but the White Sox took two split-squad staff softball games from their counterparts at the Dodgers last night in the inaugural interleague office games.  With the wins, the Sox improve to 2-0.

Both White Sox teams cruised behind strong pitching performances from manager of scoreboard operations Jeff Szynal in one game, and community relations coordinator Stacy Tsihlopoulos, who each went the distance.

Szynal kept the Dodgers off balance all night, and, along with community relations manager Danielle Disch, both made dazzling athletic plays in the field limiting the NL rivals to just three runs through the first five innings.

The White Sox had more than enough offense in both games and overcame public relations coordinator Marty Maloney’s two ground outs to the pitcher with bases loaded in the same inning, stranding six runners and earning a year’s worth of ridicule. (yes, that is true, six LOB in one inning.  It supposedly was so ugly that I MADE Marty write this section of the blog entry).

With the two blowout wins, the White Sox strengthened the wide-spread belief that the American League is far superior to the National League.  Good times were had by all and no injuries were reported.  A special thanks to assistant director of media relations Pat O’Connell for helping organize the battle.

Announcing the #Camelback Trivia Tweet-off!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

camelback prizes.jpg
Exciting news: To celebrate the kickoff of our Cactus League schedule this Monday against the Dodgers, both teams are challenging our Twitter followers with a #Camelback Trivia Tweet-off.  Just follow @whitesox and @dodgers on Twitter this Monday starting at 2:05 PM CT for your chance to win Sox prizes throughout game, including:

  • Frank Thomas Bobbleheads
  • Matt Kemp Gold Glove Bobbleheads
  • Autographed Baseballs from Paul Konerko, Alexei Ramirez, Rafeal Furcal and James Loney
  • Tickets to see the Dodgers and White Sox again later this Spring at Camelback Ranch-Glendale
  • Tickets to see the Dodgers and White Sox this May at US Cellular Field


Both teams will Tweet out trivia questions throughout the game. The first fan to correctly answer each question will win a prize. 

To begin following the @whitesox on Twitter, click here.


Groundhog Day 8

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Pressure

Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf was in camp today and wandered out back as the team took infield practice and worked on ground balls.

“Pressure’s on,” Ozzie yelled to the guys, jokingly, “Jerry’s watching.”

The team worked on fielding bunts, with the first baseman fielding the ball and either firing to third base or to first depending on the call.

On one play, Paul Konerko’s throw to third skipped, and Mark Teahen made the play at third.

“He’s all in,” Konerko called out.

“He’s a grinder,” someone added.

At least they are watching our advertising.

After the drill, Guillen joked that, “The Big Donkey (Adam Dunn) is going to have a sore arm and a sore back tomorrow.”

Ozzie And The Grounds Crew

Ozzie, as all our fans know, will talk to anyone and everyone.  A favorite audience during spring training is the grounds crew here in Glendale.  In fact, Ozzie annually takes the crew out for dinner during the spring.  That tells you a lot about the man.

Happy Birthday

I was told that Rose Salas reads everything about the White Sox online, and her husband, Mark (a good friend, better friend than golfer, but you knew that), asked me to wish her a happy birthday today.  So, Happy Birthday, Rose.  Mark said he was buying you a new car, so surprise …

Mini Camp

Mini camp for 50-60 minor leaguers starts here tomorrow.  It gives them a head start on the spring and gets them down and working out before regular spring training begins for the minor leagues next month.  Finally, Nick Capra will have something to do! (joke)

Cool Story

Sunday morning, I received a very cool message via my LinkedIn account.

Here is what it said:

Subject: Hi Scott, true story about the 1968 Sox (Ken Berry & Cisco Carlos)
Hi Scott,

First off, thank you very much for accepting my connection request, it’s really appreciated!

I’ll try to be brief, but I would like to share a true life story about the classy Sox Team of 1968 & how they converted a SoCal boy to becoming a life long Sox fan!

It was the summer of 1968, I was a young boy & the Sox were in Anaheim playing the Angels. It was a weekend series. Saturday was a day game & Ken Berry hit a foul ball that made a direct line right at me. I caught it on the fly like like it happens every day. I was thrilled beyond belief (my only foul ball ever by the way). A Major League Baseball, I was on Cloud Nine.

I had tickets for the Sunday game as well. My buddy & I got there early to try to get Mr. Berry to sign the baseball. I was never able to get close enough to him. I got a few autographs but not Ken Berry’s.

After the game we worked our way over to where the Team Bus was parked (security was not so tight back then). It took us awhile but we made it (our seats were in the top level of ths stadium). By the time we got to the bus Ken Berry was already on it & the bus was about to leave. One of the last players on the bus was a right handed pitcher named Cisco Carlos. I asked him if he would mind getting Mr. Berry’s autograph (I quickly explained, as best as a kid could, why I wanted the autograph). He looked at me for a few seconds & said, “sure kid, give me the ball”.

He was gone what seemed like for 3 days. I just knew the bus was going to leave & my ball with it. Finally the bus door opened & Cisco Carlos tossed me the ball and said, “here ya go kid”. I was at a complete loss of words, every player on the team signed my ball & Ken Berry’s signature was right in the middle.

I have shared this story with lots of people over the years how these players, how these class act men, impacted a young boy forever & they had no idea. How their positive actions were so huge, so lasting. I have used the story at public speaking events & 1 on 1 as an illustration as to how one’s actions can have such a huge, & at times, leave a life long impact on a person.

I have made several attempts to try to find Mr. Berry & Mr. Carlos to let them know what a huge positve effect they had. To date, I have not been successful in my quest….

If there is any way at all Scott that you could reach out to these two mean thank, it would be greatly appreciated.

As an aside, I have never been to a Sox game but thankfully our company, that I Co-Founded, plans to be expanding into the Midwest this summer.  My life long goal/dream is to watch a Sox game in Chicago, this summer will be that moment.

Sorry for this lengthy message but I wanted to do the story justice.

Respectfully,
Craig

So of course, I am going to help Craig send along his thanks to Ken and Cisco, and I look forward to seeing Craig in Chicago sometime this summer.  Great story about how a random event created a fan for life.

We tell our players over and over the power of a few seconds and the impact they can have on the rest of someone’s life.  One minute, a hello, an autograph, a smile, can impact another life forever.  That’s a pretty cool gift and a pretty awesome power.  Thankfully, so many of our guys over the years get it, understand it and accept it. 

Finally

Our crack BBDO advertising team is down for today and tomorrow to shoot additional commercials for this summer.  I’d like to tell you more, but I can’t because the story lines are top secret.  Stay tuned over coming weeks and we’ll let you in on the secret before the rest of the world.

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