The holidays are quickly approaching and with that comes one of our favorite events: SoxFest.
SoxFest has always been and will always be about the fans. The interaction with the players is something you can’t find many other places, and is one of the many reasons that the guys love coming back year after year.
Check out this video showing some of the highlights of last year’s SoxFest: http://wapc.mlb.com/play/?content_id=31207221&partnerId=ed-7739263-624263993
Make sure to book by Tuesday, December 3 to receive the early-bird rate of $60 per pass on weekend passes. Weekend passes are reserved for guests that book the two-night SoxFest hotel package. More info here: http://chicago.whitesox.mlb.com/cws/community/soxfest_2014.jsp?partnerId=ed-7739263-624263993
As always, we look forward to seeing you there.
Wednesday, November 20, 2013
Last night we celebrated what has become a favorite tradition around our organization – college signing day for our Amateur City Elite (ACE) youth baseball team.
It is one of my favorite days of the year. Talk about organization pride!
Thirteen young athletes in our ACE program saw their hard work pay off as they signed that dotted line, and it was just as exciting for the parents who get to see their child not only commit to a baseball team, but to a college education. Kids signed with a range of colleges and universities, including Northern Illinois, Michigan and baseball powerhouse Arizona.
As Jerry Reinsdorf has often said to me, “The baseball scholarships are great, but what really matters is the education.”
For those unfamiliar with our ACE program, it’s a White Sox initiative to offer rising stars in the inner-city baseball community the opportunity to play baseball against other highly competitive groups on a traveling team. Baseball has become an expensive sport for youngsters. The days of playing for your local Little League team have been largely replaced by travel teams who play other elite talent at tournaments across the country. This requires the financial means to play on these travel teams, with most professional scouts and college recruiters spending their valuable time at these suburban tournaments and showcases. The resource-challenged kids who often live in the inner city lose out. That’s where our ACE program steps in by funding competitive travel teams – coached by top-flight instructors and decked out in Sox uniforms – comes in. But it’s not just about teaching baseball and developing baseball players. Ultimately, it’s about developing character in young men on and off the field while allotting chances to be seen by scouts and recruiters.
White Sox pitcher Hector Santiago was nice enough to fly in to congratulate the guys and general manager Rick Hahn addressed the group and their families, giving them advice along with his best wishes.
Rick reminded them of their coach’s team motto, “TNDO,” or “Take No Days Off,” which the players couldn’t help but chuckle at a little, as it’s a phrase Coach Kevin Coe has probably said more often than they care to remember.
But Rick told them to take that attitude with them in everything they do moving forward, in the classroom, in the weight room and on the field – take no days off.
“No matter how hard you work on the field,” the ACE kids were told, “Work twice as hard in the classroom.”
Including last night’s 2014 class, 85 ACE players have now been awarded scholarships through the program, while 11 have been selected in the MLB draft. Just as important, 99% of ACE participants have graduated from high school.
As the players introduced themselves to the audience, each had their own personal message, but the same theme – the White Sox ACE program had changed their life. It is hard to envision a program with a more rewarding result than that.
The night ended with Troy White, a former ACE player who played at Northern Illinois, addressing the group in private. White was part of the first ACE team and is a perfect example of utilizing his skills to obtain a college education and from that, more opportunities.
Now he works as a sales intern for the White Sox and certainly followed the TNDO motto and implored his ACE successors to do the same – something they’ll never stop hearing.
Baseball Prospectus, a website (baseballprospectus.com) devoted to the analysis of baseball and various metrics, released its White Sox Top 10 Prospects list earlier this week, with RHP Erick Johnson ranked No. 1 (he was fourth last year).
Johnson is followed by SS Tim Anderson, OF Courtney Hawkins, RHP Chris Beck, RHP Tyler Danish, SS Marcus Semien, 2B Carlos Sanchez, 2B Micah Johnson, CR Trayce Thompson and RHP Francellis Montas.
Anderson, the club’s first-round pick from the June First-Year Player Draft, Danish (second round pick) and Montas (acquired from Boston as part of the three-team Jake Peavy trade) all made the list after joining the Sox organization during the season. Not on the list was recently signed Jose Abreu (for obvious reasons), while OF Micker Zapata and OF Jacob May were listed as prospects on the rise.
BP adds a few interesting comments …
“… their farm system is in much better shape than it was at this point one year ago,” BP writes, “and there is some talent at the big-league level that could be part of the next winning club on the South Side.”
“All told, the White Sox appear to be headed in the right direction as they try to get back on a winning track.”
And as a parting thought from BP …
“I’ve been highly critical of the White Sox in the past – both in terms of prospects and process – but I really like their 2013 drat and the international pursuits, and the system looks much better today than it did at this time last season.”
While it is a subscription-based website, I would definitely recommend baseballprospectus.com to any fan interested in sophisticated statistical analysis of baseball.
Hahn on Hot Stove
Rick Hahn got the chance to call into MLB Network’s Hot Stove this morning to talk about ACE signing day, the offseason strategy and Hawk’s Frick Award candidacy.
If you missed it, the video can be watched here: http://mlb.mlb.com/media/video.jsp?content_id=31232467
So obviously I had the opportunity to meet Jose Abreu recently, first at dinner Monday night and then Tuesday at the ballpark as we announced his signing and introduced him to the media and Sox fans.
I was impressed. While our communication was limited, he smiled easily and his eyes lit up from time to time.
There were about 12 of us at dinner Monday night in a private room at Maestro’s, eating steak, seafood and watching the World Series game on television. Jose followed the game, talking to Alejandro De Aza (he’s still in Chicago awaiting the birth of a child) about swings and plays and letting out a “Wow” as a home run soared over the center field fence.
Yesterday, Jose signed his contract and then walked down to the Conference & Learning Center at U.S. Cellular Field for his press conference. Just outside the door, he took a moment to gather himself before stepping inside to begin a very different life in a very different world.
Known by his childhood nickname of “Pito” (whistle), Jose said he started to play baseball at the age of eight or so with the help of his dad. When he was named to the Cuban National Team, he asked his mother, Daisy, about what number to wear. She suggested “79” because it was unusual, would stand out and people would remember whoever wore it. So Jose will become the first Sox player to wear uniform No. 79 in a regular season game.
Following yesterday’s press conference, we walked Jose out onto the field. Our scoreboard crew ran a cool video showing the great tradition of Cubans and the White Sox (Minnie, Jose Contreras, El Duque, Alexei, Dayan and others) and the ribbon boards around the entire ballpark read “Welcome, Jose Abreu.”
Jose took a walk down the third base line in a brand-new ballpark (for him). He wiped away a tear, I imagine thinking about his familia.
“If my mother could see this …” he told a friend.
My guess is it is a moment Jose and his mom (even though she was only there in spirit) will never forget, which was what Daisy Abreu intended when she chose 79 for her son.
“He cares about this,” offered an observer. “He really cares.”
Better Be Right
One funny moment on Monday night came when Alejandro De Aza remembered an important mission. His pregnant wife, due soon, had asked him to bring her home some chocolate cake.
When the dessert menus arrived at the table, Alejandro had three choices of chocolate cake, as well as the restaurant’s signature butter cake.
Flummoxed, he reached for his cell phone to check with the boss.
“Better not screw this one up,” a fellow dinner joked.
Alejandro smiled. Big.
Baseball America has released its 2013 draft report cards with multiple White Sox draftees receiving top honors in various categories.
Right-hander Tyler Danish, who was selected in the second round by the Sox, was tabbed by the publication as the No. 2 Player Closest to the Majors among high school draftees in 2013. Danish posted a 1.20 ERA (4 ER/30.0 IP) with 28 strikeouts over 15 games (one start) between Advanced Rookie Bristol and Class A Kannapolis.
The Sox first-round pick (17th overall), Tim Anderson was ranked to have the Third-Best Pro Debut among junior college players, while shortstop Toby Thomas was ranked fifth. Anderson batted .277 (74-267) with 10 doubles, five triples, a home run, 21 RBI and 24 stolen bases over 68 games with Kannapolis. Thomas hit .319 (67-210) with 10 doubles, four triples, four home runs and 30 RBI over 51 games with Bristol.
Outfielder Adam Engel, who was drafted in the 19th round, was named the Fourth-Fastest Runner and Fourth-Best Athlete in the draft. Engel led the Pioneer League with 31 stolen bases, including stealing a season-high three bases on three separate occasions.
Third-round pick, Jacob May was rated by Baseball America to have the Fourth-Most Intriguing Background in the 2013 draft. May’s father, Lee Jr., is currently serving as the Mariners hitting coordinator, his grandfather, Lee Sr., was a three-time all-star outfielder and his uncle, Carlos, was a two-time all-star and a former first-round pick of the White Sox in 1966.
Below is Baseball America’s 2013 White Sox draft report card:
Best Pure Hitter: Tim Anderson
Best Power Hitter: Trey Michalczewski
Fastest Runner: Adam Engel/Jacob May
Best Defensive Player: Adam Engel
Best Fastball: Brad Goldberg/Thaddius Lowry/ Tyler Danish
Best Secondary Pitch: Tyler Danish
Best Pro Debut: Tim Anderson/Toby Thomas/Adam Engel/Brad Goldberg/Tyler Danish
Best Athlete: Tim Anderson
Most Intriguing Background: Jacob May/James Dykstra/Cody Yount
Closest to the Majors: Tyler Danish/Brad Goldberg
Best Late-Round Pick: Matt Ball
Friday, October 17, 2013
There’s never an end to baseball action, even when you aren’t playing in the postseason in October.
Hawk Harrelson raved about the Avisail Garcia trade on a teleconference call with White Sox season ticket holders yesterday, saying it had a chance to be the “best trade the White Sox have ever made.”
Only time will tell, but you can read more about the call here: http://www.csnchicago.com/white-sox/hawk-raves-about-best-trade-white-sox-history
Adolfo Turns Heads
In White Sox farm system news, Micker Adolfo is already making a splash. The 17-year-old, who signed a $1.6 million bonus in July, has been working in the instructional league in Arizona.
The Chicago Tribune reports more on his progress here: http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/baseball/whitesox/ct-spt-1013-afl-white-sox-chicago-20131013,0,4924051.story
The offseason is only a couple days old, but we received some good news already with word that Ken “Hawk” Harrelson has advanced as one of 10 finalists for the Baseball Hall of Fame’s 2014 Ford C. Frick Award.
The Frick Award is presented annually for excellence in baseball broadcasting by the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum and Hawk has the chance to become the fifth White Sox broadcaster to win the award, joining previous honorees Bob Elson (1979), Jack Brickhouse (1983), Harry Caray (1989) and Milo Hamilton (1992).
Hawk just completed his 21st consecutive season in the Sox television booth and 29th overall, and his catchphrases have become common terminology among baseball fans not only in Chicago, but throughout the country.
Check out a remix of some of his most famous phrases: http://wapc.mlb.com/cws/play/?content_id=30679589&query=hawk
The other nine worthy finalists are: Joe Castiglione, Jacques Doucet, Bill King, Duane Kuiper, Eric Nadel, Eduardo Ortega, Mike Shannon, Dewayne Staats and Pete van Wieren.
The winner of the 2014 Frick Award will be announced on December 11 at the Baseball Winter Meetings and will be honored during the July 26 Awards Presentation as part of Hall of Fame Weekend 2014 in Cooperstown. To read more about the final 10 candidates, visit www.baseballhall.org.
Sunday, September 29, 2013
This Afternoon’s Game
White Sox vs. Royals at U.S. Cellular Field (1:05 p.m., CT, WGN) in the finale of the four-game series and last game of the 2013 season. Starters: LHP Jose Quintana (9-6, 3.45) for the Sox, LHP Bruce Chen (8-4, 3.31) for Kansas City.
“Q” is 2-0 with a 1.33 ERA in his last three starts. He will be making his team-leading 33rd start, 18th at home and fifth against the Royals, and is the youngest pitcher (age 24) to lead the Sox in starts since Mark Buehrle (23) in 2002 with 34. He is aiming to become the 12th American League lefty to win 10 games this season and leads the major leagues with 17 no decisions, which is the most in A.L. and club history. He needs 7.0 IP today to join Chris Sale as the only Sox pitchers to reach the 200-inning mark.
Sox Starting Lineup: De Aza, LF; Ramirez, SS; Konerko, 1B; A. Garcia, RF; Jor. Danks, CF; Viciedo, DH; Beckham, 2B; Semien, 3B; Phegley, C.
With the regular season ending, this is my last daily post. Keep in mind that I’ll be in touch during what promises to be an active and exciting offseason.
Want some thoughts to keep you warm (and positive) during the cold winter months? Think about All-Star and Cy Young candidate Chris Sale, Quintana, newcomers Avi Garcia, Marcus Semien, Erik Johnson and others who will be part of a winning White Sox future.
Look forward to seeing you at SoxFest, January 24-26, at the Palmer House Hilton. Check whitesox.com for details.
Opening Day 2014
The Sox open the 2014 season on Monday, March 31 vs. the Twins, 3:10 p.m., at U.S. Cellular Field. We begin at home for the second straight season and seventh time in the last 10 years. See you then and there.
GM Hahn on the State of the White Sox
From Rick’s session with the media on Friday:
“At the end of the day, I feel personally responsible. There’s no two ways about it. I’m not in uniform, I’m not hitting the ball or throwing the ball, but I’m heavily involved in deciding who’s out there and in what role. It is my responsibility to maximize the number of victories this club can have, allbeit over an extended period of time and not just in one season. The way I see, it has been a very disappointing season and we’ve underachieved. I know there are a lot of people –between the players, coaches and the front office – who feel responsible, and I don’t feel any different in feeling responsible to get this thing right. It has been a very disappointing and long season, with a lot of work ahead of us, but I like the fact we’re very well aware of what needs to be done. One of the silver linings of a season like this is that we’ve been able to get going on some of these changes around the trade deadline. We’ve been able to spend a lot of time over the last few weeks and months talking about what needs to be done and have open and candid dialogue, and we’re ready to hit the ground running in the coming weeks to get this thing right as quickly as possible.”
On outsiders looking for one person to blame…
“There has to be accountability at the end of the day. Sports are a results-based business. In my position you can get a little too hung up in the results and you try to focus a little more on the process and making the right decisions based upon the information you had at the time. We all know in the end, we will be judged upon the final result; what is the end result of wins and losses. Again, we’re at a point right now where the goal is to get us to a championship caliber level on an annual basis. Ultimately, I plan or at least expect to be judged, over an extended period of time and how we get to that level. This is an unfortunate position we found ourselves in this year, but if anything it puts us in a better position in the long run. It’s nothing any of us wanted to sit through or endure, but in terms of the amateur draft and international signing bonuses, come next June or July we’re going to be in a better position, along with the players we acquired at this year’s trade deadline, to be in a better position for success.”
On Jeff Keppinger…
“Kepp would say [the shoulder injury] really didn’t affect him hitting. Personally, I think anytime you have a shoulder in need of repair it has to impact your ability to swing a bat. He’s not using it as an excuse and I’m not trying to throw him an excuse, but certainly it limited his ability to play in the field. That’s why you saw him primarily as a designated hitter or pinch hitter that last few weeks leading up to his surgery. As for [his role] going forward, the intent is to use him in the way he was initially brought here. That is as a complimentary player who can be moved around and give Robin some flexibility. The Beckham injury obviously forced him into greater playing time than we anticipated, but a healthy Jeff Keppinger can play a key role on a good team.”
Anything he prioritizes as something for the team to improve upon for next year…
“I think our runs scored going from fourth in the league [in 2012] to the bottom, our on-base percentage plummeting, the extra-base hits near the bottom are all real issues. Those are all things we’ll address here. The defense obviously slipped considerably. I did see the other day we’ve committed the most errors since 2000. We committed more errors in the 2000 season [than this season] and won 90 some odd games, which I think speaks to a margin of error with the offense. We couldn’t stomach the errors this year like we did in 2000. The offensive performance, the defense inconsistencies and our ability to run the bases are all real issues of concern. The caliber of play we’ve received in those three areas is unacceptable and it’s a priority for all of us to improve.”
On if he connects the dots between last year’s collapse and this year’s performance…
“I look at them as two separate things. Obviously, you can trace our disappointment back a calendar year given how we finished the 2012 season, but I don’t think there was anything endemic that the 2012 team carried over and soured this season. We had a 2012 team end a season spending 110 or so days in first place and first in the division in run differential. We finished that year with the idea that the team would carry over the success and be able to compete in 2013. We did that knowing there was going to be a core change in the team come 2015 just by the nature of Konerko’s age and contract status of Dunn, Rios and Peavy. There was going to have to be a new core here for 2015 and as we sat here a year ago deciding whether to take a step back and solidify the core for 2015 or do what we feel is in our best interest as we transition to that core. Obviously, it did not work out as we had hoped or intended and we got the chance to start focusing on the future sooner given the way this season has unfolded. For me, the way 2012 ended we owed it to the players in the clubhouse and White Sox fans to follow the nature of if we had the opportunity to win to maximize that opportunity. Again, part way through the season that focus switched.”
On if he needs three years to fully evaluate Robin Ventura…
“I don’t know if there’s a magic number of games or time to have a true sample of what a manager is capable of doing. If anything, we’ve seen a very wide spectrum of situations Robin’s had to confront in his first two seasons. I think he’s met the challenges this team has put in front of him the last two years, the good and the bad. I think at the end of the day coaches and managers are judged on results, but it’s also about communication, enthusiasm and the ability to get the most out of players. He’s certainly had some challenges here, but I think Robin’s met all of them very well.
“I think at the end of the day all of us, me included, are evaluated based on player performance. Fundamentally, that may seem unfair at times because we’re not the ones in between the white lines, but as a front office executive who picks the players who play and the coaches who put them in positions to succeed, there has to be accountability with where we go with that performance. I don’t want to get into coach by coach and going through evaluating each guy, just as I wouldn’t sit here and go through each player. It’s disrespectful to say ‘this player had a good year and he’ll be back’ or ‘this player won’t be.’ Certainly, though, we’re all accountable for the performance on the field even though it’s the players who are doing the performing.”
As a person who grew up as a fan of Chicago baseball, what does it mean to have two teams with a combined 190 losses?
“It is really unfortunate. I can’t speak to anything on the other side of town; I simply focus on our own performance. Part of the reason I took this job is because summertime baseball in this town in important. Perhaps I have too lofty of a view of its importance in this town, but I look back at this past summer and look at it as a wasted summer. There was an opportunity, in our opinion, to perform better than we have, and we failed to meet that. Certainly if things had gone better on the other side of town it would’ve segmented for at least some of Chicago to feel better about the summer, but we certainly didn’t meet our obligation to entertain and get people excited about baseball. Ultimately, I feel that’s what our responsibility is.”
“A lot of the performance of the pitching staff does come from what the catchers are doing. So while it is easy to look at a guy hitting .190 or another that is hitting .210 and say ‘oh these guys aren’t getting the job done,’ that’s really only part of the equation. Catching for a young guy at the big league level is a huge job in terms of pregame preparation, sticking to the game plan and pitch-to-pitch focus. I do feel our catchers deserve a fair amount of the credit for what our pitchers have been able to accomplish. Obviously offensively we’ve fallen short. Production from that position, along with other positions, hasn’t met what we envisioned. There’s two ways to go about it. Either the guys we have improve or we get someone from outside the organization.”
The development of the young pitchers…
“I certainly think we’ve gotten the most out of our young pitchers and helped them develop. You look at a guy like Jose Quintana who took a step forward this season or Chris Sale who has finished the season strong, who in my opinion is a viable Cy Young candidate. The Jose’s and Chris’ of the world deserve credit, along with Don Cooper, Bobby Thigpen and our training staff. But the catchers are part of the conversation too.”
How you would grade yourself…
“If it’s going to be for a one year basis, frankly, I look at these things as pass/fail. We won’t win the last game at the end of October and be crowned the champions, so we didn’t accomplish what we intended to accomplish. That may be black and white, but that’s how I view it. I will say there’s been a lot of progress in this organization as a whole. It’s been continued progress with the amateur draft, our presence internationally, the development of some of our internal prospects – Marcus Semien, Micah Johnson, Erik Johnson- who have taken steps forward this year. I think we’ve added to that prospect base and I think we’ve also purposely, as we went about building the team this year, not make any moves that were going to compromise our long-term competitiveness. I feel good about the health of the organization, I feel good about where we are from a scouting standpoint, I feel good about our reputation in the international market and as painful as it has been to sit through this year, come next June and July we’ll have about $15 million to spend on the amateur draft and international market to further solidify our direction to a long-term sustainable success. But if you’re going to look at the one season evaluation, we’re not winning the last game of the World Series and that’s not a passing grade.”
There being too many nice guys in the clubhouse…
“I think the won-loss record is a prism you judge clubhouse chemistry through that affects your verdict. If our record was reversed, I think we’d be getting a load of credit for having 25 good guys who all work hard, don’t ruffle feathers and are all pulling in the same direction and a cause of praising our clubhouse. Given things haven’t gone well and you haven’t seen a guy turn over a buffet table or something, people think there’s an edge missing. I do think there’s a bit of a chicken and an egg issue. I will say Robin and the coaches have addressed issues privately, behind closed doors and that may not be satisfactory to people on the outside who want to see that anger and passion, but quite frankly it’s how we prefer it to be handled. We like to keep clubhouse issues as clubhouse issues. I do feel that having an edge and having a fight and having an approach to every pitch, both offensively and defensively, can make you stronger and better. I don’t feel like we were missing that, per se, and I do feel that having bad clubhouse chemistry can make a good team worse. But I don’t think there was a missing element on this team and that it was the reason that we’ve performed the way we have.”
“We have to get better, and we have to get better quickly. We feel we’re in a good position from a pitching standpoint. Given the starting pitching that we already have under control, whatever turnaround that needs to take place here, we hope to minimize the time that takes. Quite frankly, getting a guy like Avisail Garcia at the trade deadline shortens that time as well. We’ll enter this offseason knowing there are a few areas that we know we need to improve. Our decision is to get those pieces and improve as quickly as possible. However, we aren’t going to do a band-aid approach that will move the arrow slightly just for 2014. I don’t want to sit here saying we won seven more games and we’re headed in the right direction. Instead, we’re going to make moves whether they’re in free agency or trade that continues to feed this effort towards a long-term success. If we do sign free agents on shorter term deals, part of that may be to allow for our prospects longer time to develop. The intent is to aggressively address our needs and get this thing turned around as quickly as possible.”
Potentially landing a big-time free agent…
“It is certainly conceivable, yes. As in terms of budgets nothing has changed from Jerry’s approach and you’ve heard that repeatedly. Now we will have, due to where we finished, we are going to have sizable expenditures in the amateur draft and internationally. Those two things will be fully funded up front and looked at as fixed costs. Is it possible from there that we’ll have enough money to sign a player in free agency, absolutely. Again, we’re going to shy away from a short term fix and get this thing right so we’re in a position to contend annually for the postseason. If a high-priced free agent is going to fit, it’s not going to be for just 2014, it’ll be a vision for the next few years after as well.”
“I think it has to be about maximizing wins over a period of time and that’s what people want to come to see. Now, I will say the brand of baseball we’ve played, I can understand why it hasn’t been appealing to people. It doesn’t appeal to me. Some of the areas where we want to improve will resonate with fans and our intent is to give them a brand of baseball that they associate more with what they want to see. Ultimately, to make a splashy move in hopes of selling some tickets isn’t as important as establishing what we want to here for the long term.”
“We’ll handle it the way we’ve handled it the last two times. We’re going to let everyone get away for a few weeks and exhale. Then we’ll sit down with Paulie face-to-face about what he wants and how he’s feeling and what he hopes to accomplish next year, as well what the team’s going to look like and how he’ll potentially fit. I think he needs some time right now himself just to get away and think through his options. I think we’ll address that fairly early in the offseason so we’ll have some direction probably before the GM meetings, roughly.”
Where Konerko fits after his playing career…
“I don’t want to push him down that route or suggest that’s where it’s headed. There’s a process here that needs to take place. I will say, regardless of what happens, he’ll be remembered as the face of the franchise for this important period of White Sox baseball. One that obviously includes a World Championship as well as several big moments he played a part in. Personally it’s not my call, but I expect to see his number on the wall here someday. I know from my standpoint, if he so chooses, has a lot to add to a baseball operations department or player development department. There’s always going to be a spot here in some capacity, whenever that time comes.”
“He obviously was the face of the franchise here for a very important time. He not only was a stabilizing force and a productive force in the middle of the lineup for well over a decade, but he was a go-to guy in the clubhouse for a lot of guys. He continues to define what it means to wear a White Sox uniform and represent himself on and off the field the way we want our players to be. Whenever he looks back on his time here I hope he does with a great deal of pride and he should. He was and is and will continue to be a tremendous White Sox.”
Quote of the Day
Whatever the future brings, Konerko has established himself as a Sox icon, one of the most productive and beloved players in franchise history–ranking second in games, homers, runs batted in, total bases and extra base hits, third in hits and fourth in walks. Here’s a tribute from his friend and former Sox teammate Mark Buehrle:
“Paul is one of the true professionals in the game. He was the guy that you knew was the leader of the team and everybody looked up to him. He was one of my better friends on the team, just a good guy and outstanding player who plays the game the right way.”
Play(s) of the Day
The Sox tied their season high with four homers (click link below) in last night’s 6-5 victory over the Royals. Adam Dunn (No. 34) and Conor Gillaspie (13) smashed two-run blasts while Marcus Semien (2) and Jordan Danks (5) hit back-to-back solo shots in the second inning. Semien also was a triple shy of the cycle, adding single and a double…Erik Johnson went 5.1 innings, allowing three runs and five hits for his third win. Addison Reed came on in the ninth to record his 40th save.
Did You Know…
…that the Sox started seven rookies last night–Gillaspie, Semien, Johnson, Leury Garcia, Avi Garcia, Jordan Danks and Miguel Gonzalez?
Photo of the Day
To loyal White Sox fans, young and old alike, 2014 can’t come soon enough.
Saturday, September 28, 2013
White Sox vs. Royals at U.S. Cellular Field (6:10 p.m., CT, CSN). Starters: RHP Erik Johnson (2-2, 2.82) for the Sox, RHP Yordano Ventura (0-0, 1.59) for K.C. Johnson owns a 2.82 ERA with 14 strikeouts over his first four career starts (three quality starts).
Sox Starting Lineup: L. Garcia, CF; Beckham, 2B; Gillaspie, 3B; Konerko, 1B; Dunn, DH; A. Garcia, RF; Semien, SS; Jor. Danks, LF; Gonzalez, C.
Paulie on Paulie
From yesterday’s session with the media:
On the impending processing of deciding his baseball future…
“One of the things I wanted to do coming into this season, regardless of the result, was that no matter what happened, I wanted to go home and take maybe a month to get away from baseball. That was my plan coming into this season which I decided on – along with the help of talking to other players, athletes and friends who have faced a similar decision.
“However, my decision is based on the premise that there is a choice given to me by the organization and they want me to come back. Right now, I don’t know that. I haven’t spoken to the White Sox formally about the decision, but this is all set to the backdrop of them wanting me to come back. Ultimately my mind could be made up for me because right now I don’t know what my choices or options are from their end.”
On his physical and mental state affecting his decision…
“Right now, the physical end is probably a bigger factor. Mentally, I think you can always rebound. This isn’t the first rough season I’ve had. But, the older you get it’s easier to let things go quicker. You do get beat up a little more mentally each year, but ultimately you get better at handling it. But, physically you just have to know your body. When you talk about the offseason and Spring Training, those are big commitments that you have to want to do. The season doesn’t start on April 1. For me, it starts mid-November. So, you have to know that you’re willing to go through that. It’s a long year and you have to know if you’re up for it physically.
“You can never totally know with certain injuries. There are some things that are isolated and once you get past it, you know that will never bother you again. But, other things you just know that’s never going away and it may hang around as a nagging injury. Again, that’s something over the next month or so todetermine. It’s not just games, but it can take a toll traveling, during Spring Training, the offseason and all of those things.”
On finishing his career with the White Sox…
“That’s always been my goal. Again, I don’t know the options that will be made available to me. But, when I signed back here in ’05 I felt like that could be it, and after 2010 it has brought us to this point now. That’s always what I have envisioned, finishing my career with the White Sox.”
On how the decision has weighed on him throughout the year…
“Every season, since I was seven years old, I’ve know I would continue to play the next year. If I do play next year however, that would probably be my final year. There are just so many factors, like traveling to different cities and then thinking ‘Am I going to see this person again or ever be back here?’ Looking back, I didn’t like going through that and not knowing the answer. I wasn’t sure enough coming out of Spring Training to decide one way or the other if this would be my final season. If I had made that decision, I probably would have had a better year personally for me either way the decision went. However, that doesn’t excuse the season we have had as a team. There’s just so much that is in your control as well as out of your control.”
On how the results of 2013 will factor into his decision…
“That’s a huge determining factor, it may be the biggest. You only go through this sort of thing once, so you seek the advice of other people who have been through it. It would be nice to go out on top with a winner or having your best season, but looking at the other side of it, this is how careers are supposed to end. Not everybody gets to do it exactly how they want. When things aren’t at their best, that is what closes you out, when you’ve decided you’ve had enough if things aren’t going the way you want them to. I can see it both ways. You’re always taught to fight throughout your career to overcome the bumps in the road, no matter what happens, you get up and fight again. It’s a matter of whether or not I’m in the mode of wanting to get up and fight.
“I just think taking a month off and away from the game will help. The more you don’t play, I think the needle will always move towards wanting to play. I just have to determine how much of that feeling is real come November.”
On the possibility returning to play as a part-time player…
“The only place I could do that is in Chicago. My family likes it here, my kids love it here and it’s a great place to be in the summer. I’ve always held myself to a high standard, production-wise. If I do come back in any capacity, I may have to lessen those standards somewhat. Production can be done in a variety of ways, it’s not just hitting home runs and driving in runs. If I’m going to come back, I have to be better working with the young guys and helping them out, instead of being so consumed with myself and following my own routine.
“Again, that role has to exist for me here though. I don’t know what the roster will look like yet, that will be determined by Rick and the front office. I’m very conscious of earning my way onto the playing field, and not having to have a favor done for me. Since I was a little kid, I feel like I’ve earned my way, and right now, I’m not sure I can say that for next year. That’s a concern for me. I don’t want to put anybody in a tough spot. I want to be back here because it makes sense for me and the White Sox, because this organization has always been honest with me and treated me well. I’m not looking to power play somebody into a job, because that’s not who I am.”
On the possibility of Sunday being his final game…
“It’s crossed my mind. But regardless of knowing whether or not it will be my last game going into it, I’m going to go about it the same way as every game. I’m still going to come in, hit off the tee, take batting practice, get ready and go play. I don’t know how else I would go about it or how much more I would do. I don’t get too caught up in those sorts of things. I could play Sunday and look back a month from now and find out that was my last game. That’s possible, but I don’t know what other way to go about it right now.”
On the possibility of playing for another team next season…
“I’d have to weigh my options if I decided I wanted to play again but the opportunity of playing for the White Sox wasn’t there. It would be tough to go somewhere else to play for just one year. It would come down to how much I really just want to still play the game of baseball. There are a lot of factors that will go into it. But, right now I don’t know what options will be presented to me.”
On his future in baseball after retiring as a player…
“Right now, I can’t see myself doing anything in the game. It would be a while. Because of the age my kids are, I wouldn’t want to miss something with them that I couldn’t do because I took a job in baseball. I have some other interests and things I could do from or around home to keep me busy for a while.”
Fan Appreciation Day
Tomorrow is Fan Appreciation Day at U.S. Cellular Field. In addition to Family Sunday events, select players plus Sox coach Harold Baines and Ron KIttle, both stars on the 1983 “Winning Ugly” White Sox, will sign autographs for kids before the game. Additionally, 1,300 prizes will be given away and youngsters can run the bases post-game.
Play(s) of the Day
Gordon Beckham hit a solo homer, his fifth of the season, and Alexei Ramirez tripled and singled in last night’s loss to the Royals.
Quote(s) of the Day
GM Rick Hahn announcing yesterday that Robin will be back as Sox skipper in 2014:
“Robin has met the challenge this team has put in front of him over the last two years, both the good and the bad, extremely well.’’
Ventura on returning next year:
“I am motivated to be back and happy to come back and turn this around.”
White Sox vs. Royals at U.S. Cellular Field (1:05 p.m., CT, WGN) in the final game of the four-game series and last game of the 2013 season. Starters: LHP Jose Quintana (9-6, 3.45) for the Sox, LHP Bruce Chen (8-4, 3.31) for Kansas City.
Did You Know…
…that Dayan Viciedo is hitting .333 with seven doubles, four homers, 19 RBI and 16 runs scored over his last 29 games?
Photo of the Day
Gordon puts in on the board.
Friday, September 27, 2013
White Sox vs. Royals at U.S. Cellular Field (7:10 p.m., CT, CSN+). Starters: LHP Chris Sale (11-13, 2.97) for the Sox, RHP James Shields (12-9, 3.21) for Kansas City.
Sale is among the American League leaders in numerous categories: Complete Games (4, 1st); Strikeouts by a Lefthanded Pitcher (221, 1st); Strikeout/Walk Radio (4.91, 2nd); Strikeouts (221, 3rd); WHIP (1.05, 3rd); Quality Starts (23, T3rd); Opponents On-Base Percentage (.278, 4th); Strikeouts/9.0 IP (9.52, 5th); Opponents Average (.225, 5th); Opponents Slugging Average (.350, 5th); ERA (6th); and Home ERA (2.79, 8th).
* His strikeout total this year is the most strikeouts in a season by a White Sox lefthander in team history.
* He ranks fifth in strikeouts in club history for a single season behind Hall of Famer Ed Walsh (269 in 1908, 258 in 1910, 255 in 1911, 254 in 1912).
* He is attempting to set Sox single-season records in strikeouts per nine innings and strikeout-to-walk ratio.
* He is the eighth pitcher in Sox history (15th time) to work at least 200 innings and have 200-plus strikeouts in a season.
* Has six career 12-plus strikeout games, tied with Juan Pizarro and Ed Walsh for the most in team history.
* Chris is the fastest pitcher in franchise history to reach 200 K’s in a season (193.2 IP, 27 games) and 500 career strikeouts (472.1 IP).
* His .133 average vs. lefthanded hitters is the third-lowest in the major leagues.
Sox Starting Lineup: Jor. Danks, CF; Beckham, 2B; Ramirez, SS; Dunn, DH; Konerko, 1B; A. Garcia, RF; Viciedo, LF; Semien, 3B; Phegley, C.
PK spoke to the media before today’s game. Among the highlights:
* He’s going to take a month off before making a decision whether or not to play next year.
* If he does come back, 2014 will be his last season.
* He could make a list of 20 reasons to come back and another list of 20 reasons not to.
* For the first time going back to his youth, he doesn’t feel he’s earned his way onto next year’s team. He said his role would have to make sense for both him and the Sox.
* He indicated that if he does come back, production can be evaluated in a number of ways so he would consider a different role and working closer with the young players.
A Special Thank You
I thought I’d share this e-mail we received today from a fan named Ben. It never ceases to amaze me what an act of kindness at the ballpark can do:
I am writing to tell you about a heartwarming event which occurred last night during the game with the Royals. Just before the game started, a family of four, Dad, Mom, Daughter, Son, walked down to their seats in the 18th row of section 120. Not that unusual, except the little girl, about 9 years old with pigtails and glasses, struggled mightily to get down the stairs. She had braces on both legs, held Mom and Dad’s hands and made her way down to her seat. The thing which struck me the most was the smile on her face, she was just happy to be at the ball game. Her journey looked painful to me but didn’t seem so to her.
I was sitting about 7 rows behind them and a section over. Each time there was a break in the action, her Mom and brother would help her to her feet. Her brother would rise too and the two of them kept trying to get on the scoreboard. They kept smiling the whole game but never made it onto the scoreboard. As the 6th inning approached, two young ladies from your Chevy Pride Crew were standing behind sections 122 and 123, waiting for the 7th inning stretch.
I walked up to the two young ladies from your Chevy Pride Crew (I did not catch their names but looking at your web site, I believe one was Kathleen). I asked them if they had any pull with the in stadium cameramen. I explained to them the story about the little girl. They said they would see what they could do.
In the bottom of the sixth, one of the young ladies walked down the aisle with two t-shirts in hand and sits down behind the family. She talked to the family for a couple of minutes and then presented the kids with the t-shirts. Their eyes got real big and their smiles were as wide as the Grand Canyon. When the young lady from the Chevy Pride Crew left, she did not get to see all of the excitement she created. That little girl was on Cloud Nine! The family stayed until the 8th inning, the little girl clutching her t-shirt. This was better than being on the scoreboard, she could take the shirt with her. After struggling up the stairs to leave, smile still on her face, she got into a wheelchair, which I had not seen before. The Security Guards were asking her about her t-shirt and she told them about the special young lady who gave one to her and one to her brother. The Security Guards gave her enthusiastic high fives.
The family left but your team put a huge smile on the face of a little girl! I am sure she will be a White Sox fan for life. I want to thank the White Sox and especially the two young ladies from your Chevy Pride Crew for making a lifetime memory for a little girl and her family, it was so touching to see!
“Like Sands Through the Hourglass, So Are the Days of Our Lives”
For a few of the cast members of the long-running soap opera, Days of our Lives, their lives included a visit last night to U.S. Cellular Field to throw out the ceremonial first pitch (plus an appearance in the Sox #SocialLounge).
Play(s) of the Day
Paulie hit his 12th homer of the season, a solo shot, and 434th of his career while Adam hit No. 33, also a solo blast, and No. 439 in last night’s 3-2 loss to the Royals…Andre Rienzo was solid in a quality start, allowing just two earned runs and four hits in 6.0+ innings.
Here’s Dunn’s monster home run, which was just shy of the rightfield concourse and estimated at 442 feet: http://atmlb.com/1fKY5XR
Quote(s)of the Day
GM Rick Hahn on the Sox status:
“We’re well aware of what needs to be done. We’re ready to hit the ground running… to get this thing right.”
Sox Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf on the tenure of Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig, who yesterday officially announced he will be retiring in January of 2015:
“When you step back and view the dramatic transformation Major League Baseball has undergone during Bud Selig’s tenure as commissioner, it is truly quite astounding. A social institution with a long and rich history like baseball is often very resistant and slow to change, yet Commissioner Selig has introduced dramatic, sweeping innovations to improve the game like expanded playoffs, comprehensive drug testing and competitive balance. These changes have left a lasting impact on baseball, most importantly for the fans of this great game. At his heart, Bud is a baseball fan, and that perspective has driven all he has done during his time as Commissioner. That is his legacy.”
White Sox vs. Royals at U.S. Cellular Field (6:10 p.m., CT, CSN). Starters: RHP Erik Johnson (2-2, 2.82) for the Sox, RHP Yordano Ventura (0-0, 1.59) for K.C.
Did You Know…
…that Konerko’s homer last night tied him with Juan Gonzalez and Andruw Jones for 42nd place on the all-time home run list? Dunn is now three behind Dave Kingman for 38th place.
Sox Notes of Note
Tyler Flowers spoke to the media yesterday. He said he was ahead of schedule in his rehab and will begin his normal offseason routine in December as usual. Flowers said his shoulder bothered him on and off all season, but refused to use it as an excuse. Tyler said he hopes to be back with the White Sox next season to prove he can play, but understands it’s a business…Jeff Keppinger underwent successful surgery on his right shoulder yesterday at Rush Medical Center. The procedure involved a debridement of the right shoulder–no surgical repair was necessary. Keppinger is expected to recover in 2-3 months and will be ready for spring training next season…Sox great Frank Thomas, like Keppinger a native of Georgia, has been elected to the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame. The Big Hurt, from Columbus, will be inducted next February 22 in Macon.
Photo of the Day
Our All-Star lefty makes his last start of the season.
Thursday, September 26, 2013
White Sox vs. Royals at U.S. Cellular Field (7:10 p.m., CT, CSN) in the opener of a four-game series that will end the regular season. Starters: RHP Andre Rienzo (2-2, 5.04) for the Sox, RHP Jeremy Guthrie (14-12, 4.09) for Kansas City.
Sox Starting Lineup: De Aza, CF; Semien, SS; Gillaspie, 3B; Konerko, 1B; Dunn, DH; A. Garcia, RF; Viciedo, LF; Beckham, 2B; Anderson, C.
Hawk on MLB Network
Hawk Harrelson will serve as a guest studio analyst on MLB Network’s MLB Tonight show during the network’s coverage of the ALDS and NLDS on October 4 and 5. Hawk will work with various MLB Network hosts and analysts from its studios in Secaucus, NJ.
Days of our Lives cast members are scheduled to appear at tonight’s game to throw out ceremonial first pitch and visit the #SoxSocial Lounge.
Play(s) of the Day
Avi Garcia homered (No. 7) and singled, Dayan Viciedo drove in a run with a single and Alexei Ramirez and Jordan Danks each had a pair of base hits in last night’s loss to the Indians.
Quote of the Day
Paulie on Robin (from a Scott Merkin piece on whitesox.com):
“He’s just steady. He doesn’t change. The fact that he’s held it together with what he’s had to witness all year, with the rest of the coaches, I could tell you there probably are a lot of staffs and managers that this could have been really bad with what happened. But hopefully this is the last time he has to go through something like this.”
White Sox vs. Royals at U.S. Cellular Field (7:10 p.m., CT, CSN+). Starters: In a battle of aces, it will be LHP Chris Sale (11-13, 2.97) for the Sox, RHP James Shields (12-9, 3.21) for K.C.
Did You Know…
…that with two more hits last night Avi Garcia is batting .373 with a triple, four homers, 15 RBI and 11 runs scored in his last 19 games?
Photo/Video of the Day