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Starry, Starry Night

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

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Today’s News

American League 5, National League 3, in the 85th All-Star Game

Chris Sale pitched the fourth inning for the AL, making his third straight All-Star appearance…Alexei Ramirez entered the game in the fourth as well, replacing Derek Jeter at shortstop in one of the game’s most emotional moments (pictured above). He collected a fifth-inning single in his first at bat and scored on a sac fly for the AL’s fifth run. Prior to the scoring play he also exhibited some alert baserunning by getting back safely to third base when a wild pitch bounced off the backstop and ricocheted back to the catcher. Alexei reached base again on an error in the seventh and stole second base…Jose Abreu took over at first base in the sixth inning, made a fine pickup of a ball in the dirt on his first chance and flied out in the eighth in his only plate appearance.

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The Sox All-Stars pose together before game time–the first Midsummer Classic for both Alexei and Jose.

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Caps and jerseys are ready for action. 

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Chris and his son Rylan enjoy Monday night’s Home Run Derby.

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Jose and Alexei serve as the “corner men” for fellow Cuban star Yoenis Cespedes at the Home Run Derby and they backed the winner as the A’s slugger won the event for the second straight year.

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A “Red Carpet Sale” during yesterday’s All-Star pre-game parade.

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Jose and Alexei enjoy the red carpet and greet the fans during the parade.

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Jose and Alexei during BP.

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The Cuban All-Star contingent: Ramirez, Abreu, Cespedes, Aroldis Chapman of the Reds and Yasiel Puig of the Dodgers.

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Abreu celebrates with his victorious AL teammates.

White Sox All-Stars Ready to Shine in Tonight’s Midsummer Classic

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

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Today’s News

Star-Studded Sox

Our guys–Chris SaleAlexei Ramirez and Jose Abreu–met the media yesterday along with the other American and National League All-Stars in advance of tonight’s Midsummer Classic at Target Field in Minneapolis, which will be televised on FOX beginning at 6:30 p.m., CT.

Abreu on His Parents Attending the All-Star Game…

Listen to Jose talk about the excitement around his parents being in Minneapolis to see him play in the major leagues for the first time (with expert translation by my PR colleague Lou Hernandez).

Video: Jose Abreu on joy of parents seeing him in All Star Game

…And His Parents’ Joy in Their Own Words

http://www.csnchicago.com/white-sox/white-sox-jose-abreu-and-family-cant-wait-all-star-party

Here they are: Jose’s mom and dad, Jose and Daysi.

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White Sox a Major Player in MLB Cuban Pipeline

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2125637-inside-mlbs-cuban-pipeline-its-high-risk-high-reward?utm_campaign=tsipad&utm_medium=referral&utm_source=teamstream

Quote of the Day

Reigning AL Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer of the Tigers on Abreu, the MLB home-run leader at the break (via Dan Hayes, CSN Chicago):

“He’s a difference-maker. He’s such a quality at-bat. His power is unbelievable. He can take so many different pitches and just take you yard. You obviously respect what he can do. He’s changed the complexion of their lineup and allows some of their other players to do other things as well. When you have a guy like that in your lineup, anchoring it, in a way it’s kind of like what we have in Detroit with Miggy anchoring our lineup. He’s only getting better and unfortunately that’s a detriment to us.”

“Welcome to Cooperstown: Frank Thomas” Debuts Thursday

Comcast SportsNet Chicago will present a special one-hour documentary, “Welcome to Cooperstown: Frank Thomas,” a little more than a week before the Sox legend is inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame on Sunday, July 27. The special will be narrated by media personality and author Richard Roeper and will premiere Thursday at 6:30 p.m., CT, exclusively on CSN Chicago. The special will re-air at 10:00 p.m. the same night.

In addition, CSN Chicago currently has encore showings scheduled for Saturday, July 26 at 7:00 p.m., and on the day of the induction ceremony at 4:30 p.m.

“Welcome to Cooperstown: Frank Thomas” covers everything from the slugger’s childhood  as a three-sport star in Columbus, Georgia, to his historic, record-breaking career with the White Sox. The documentary will feature exclusive, candid interviews with those who played major roles in his life and career, photos and video including exclusive, behind-the-scenes access of when Thomas received the official phone call telling him he was elected as well as Thomas’ exclusive tour of the Hall of Fame with CSN Chicago’s White Sox Pre/Postgame Live host Chuck Garfien. 

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Photos of All-Stars and Abreu’s parents courtesy of Chuck Garfien.

 

 

 

The Fans Have Spoken: Sale is an All-Star

Thursday, July 10, 2014

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Today’s News

Final Vote

Thanks to the best fan base in baseball, Chris Sale has won the American League’s Final Vote and will join White Sox teammates Jose Abreu and Alexei Ramirez on the American League All-Star squad next Tuesday night in Minneapolis.

Chris is the fourth White Sox player to win the AL Final Vote, the most of any team, following in the footsteps of Scott Podsednik (2005), A.J. Pierzynski (2006) and Paul Konerko (2011). 

And a big congratulations and thank you to all my extraordinary colleagues in the White Sox organization who have been working 24/7 since Sunday to make sure Chris was an All-Star for the third straight year.

This Afternoon’s Game

White Sox vs. Red Sox at Fenway Park, Boston (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.

Quintana is 2-0 with a 0.94 ERA, 31 strikeouts and .188 opponent average in his last four starts, all of the quality variety. Jose currently owns a 15.2 scoreless innings streak and has allowed just one earned run over the last 25.2 innings. He is one of 13 American League pitchers since 2012 to work seven-plus scoreless innings at least eight times.

Sox Starting Lineup: Eaton CF, Beckham 2B, Abreu 1B, Viciedo LF, Ramirez SS, Konerko DH, Sierra RF, Flowers C, L. Garcia 3B.

Plays of the Day

Sale was brilliant last night, allowing a run and four hits along with six strikeouts in 7.2 innings, but the bullpen couldn’t protect the Sox’ late lead in the 5-4 loss to the Red Sox…Abreu and Conor Gillaspie each went 2-4 with a homer–it was Jose’s major-league high 28th (tied) and Gillaspie’s third of the year and second in as many nights (click on links below)…Alejandro De Aza was a homer shy of the cycle.

http://atmlb.com/1r9xmcC

http://atmlb.com/1r9AWUf

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Sox Notes of Note

Abreu’s 28 homers, 48 extra-base hits and 192 total bases are the most by a first-year player before the All-Star break since the first All-Star Game was played in 1933. He also has 70 RBI, is slugging .627 with a .961 OPS…Sox starting pitchers own a 2.61 ERA in the last 16 games (since June 23). It’s the best mark in the AL and third-best in the majors…Sox first-base prospect Rangel Ravelo now owns a 25-game hitting streak for Class AA Birmingham, second longest streak in the minor leagues this season…Class AAA Charlotte catcher Josh Phegley has been named to the 2014 International League All-Star team. Phegley, who spent part of the 2013 season with the Sox, leads all IL catchers with 13 home runs this season. He joins teammate Tyler Saladino, previously elected as the IL’s starting shortstop, as the Charlotte representatives for the Triple-A All-Star Game on Wednesday, July 16 in Durham, NC.

Quotes of the Day

Everything (almost) you ever wanted to know about Chris Sale via @danhayesCSN:

* Most ice cream cones consumed in one day: 5 (twice).

* Number of tattoos: 2.

* Most calories consumed in a day (estimate from John Danks with help from trainer Allen Thomas: 5,000-6,000.

* Healthy foods he eats: “I’ve never seen him dig into a salad or eat broccoli,” said Tyler Flowers.

* Favorite movie: “I’m not really a movie guy.”

* Favorite saying: (with help from Flowers): “Was that a good pitch?” said after hanging a slider.

* Favorite baseball venues to visit: Yankee Stadium, Target Field.

* Go-to karaoke song (with assist from Flowers): “Man in the Mirror,” Michael Jackson.

* Most random fact about him (assist from Danks): “He’s really good at ping pong.”

* Favorite vacation spot (assist from Danks): “He always talks about Jamaica.”

* Number of remote-controlled cars owned: One because he gave the second to Daniel Webb.

* Favorite video game: “Putting me on the spot. Three-way tie between NHL, FIFA and Call of Duty (Zombie mode).”

* Favorite snack food: “Pretty much anything. Whatever I can get my hands on.” Said he “goes off” at Wendy’s.

* Sport he’s good at besides baseball (with an assist from Danks): “He’s a pretty good golfer.”

Tomorrow’s Schedule

White Sox vs. Indians at Progressive Field, Cleveland (6:05 p.m., CT, CSN+) in the opener of a three-game series and the finale of the seven-game road trip leading up to the All-Star break. Starters: RHP Hector Noesi (3-6, 4.90) for the Sox, RHP Corey Kluber  (8-6, 2.86) for the Tribe.

Photo of the Day

Your 2014 White Sox All-Stars:

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Sox Shoot For Four Straight Wins With “You Know Who” on the Mound Tonight

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

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Today’s News

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.

Although Chris is in the lead, we can’t stop now. Voting continues until tomorrow’s 3:00 p.m., CT, deadline so give Chris your support at whitesox.com or mlb.com/vote or text A5 to 89269.

Tonight’s Game

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:

http://atmlb.com/1qTFfVU

Tonight’s Watch & Vote Parties

http://atmlb.com/1qVs4E7

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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

Tomorrow’s Schedule

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:

http://atmlb.com/1qW05Eh

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Chris Sale = Must-See Baseball

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

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Today’s News

White Sox vs. Indians at U.S. Cellular Field (7:05 p.m., CT, WCIU). Starters: LHP Chris Sale (4-0, 1.89) for the Sox, RHP Justin Masterson (2-3, 5.32) for Cleveland.

Chris was masterful against the Yankees last Thursday in his first start since returning from the disabled list. He pitched six scoreless innings, allowed just one hit and struck out 10. In his last two starts he owns a 0.69 ERA with 20 strikeouts and a .049 opponents average.

Tonight’s Game

Sox Starting Lineup: Eaton CF, Beckham 2B, Gillaspie 3B, Dunn 1B, Ramirez SS, Viciedo RF, Konerko DH. De Aza LF, Flowers C

Plays of the Day

Dayan Viciedo connected with a three-run homer, his fifth blast of the season (click link below), Conor Gillaspie went 4-4 with three doubles and an RBI and Alexei Ramirez and Alejandro De Aza each added an RBI in the Sox’ 6-2 victory over the Indians yesterday…Jose Quintana got credit for the win, his third of the year, allowing just two runs, five hits and a pair of walks while striking out five. Jake Petricka (1.0 IP), Zach Putnam (0.2) and Scott Downs (1.1) finished it off with three scoreless frames. Downs earned his first save.

http://atmlb.com/1mu3OnY

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Abreu Loses Boot and Resumes Baseball Activity

No longer in a walking boot, Jose Abreu took 25-30 ground balls, threw for 10 minutes and hit off a tee in the indoor batting cages before yesterday’s game and worked out again today. Barring any setbacks he should be back in the lineup the first day he’s eligible to come off of the DL–Monday, June 2 when the Sox will be in Los Angeles playing the Dodgers. 

More Abreu: Jose is third among first baseman, behind only Miguel Cabrera and Albert Pujols, in the first AL All-Star voting results.

All-Star Alexei?

Speaking of All-Star voting, Ramirez is a strong second behind Derek Jeter among AL shortstops. It’s no wonder he’s getting that kind of support. He ranks at the top of the league in the following key offensive categories: average (.320), homers (7), RBIs (36), slugging percentage (.483), OPS (.838) and hits (65).

Sox Notes of Note

The White Sox have won seven of their last 12 games and now lead the season series against the Indians, five games to three…Sox starters own a 2.86 ERA with 41 strikeouts and a .200 average over the last seven games…Quintana has never lost to Cleveland (3-0 in nine appearances, seven starts). He has a 2.68 ERA against the Tribe…Gillaspie set a career high yesterday with his four hits. His previous high was three. He’s hitting .529 against Cleveland this season and .350 overall…Ramirez is hitting .376 with three doubles, two triples, five home runs and 22 RBI at home this season.

Catch of the Day

It has to be this grab by Eileen Depesa as Tyler Flowers‘ bat flew into the stands during yesterday’s game. Take a look and give her a save for keeping it away from the baby in the row behind her.

http://whitesox.tumblr.com/

Bears in the House

The Bears will take center stage the next two nights for the ceremonial first pitch. Charles “Peanut” Tillman will do the honors tonight and Kyle Long tomorrow night.

Quote of the Day

Lino Diaz, the White Sox’ director of cultural development and interpreter, on Abreu’s workout yesterday:

“He got all the work he needed to do and felt no pain at all. He’s feeling really good.”

Tomorrow’s Schedule

White Sox vs. Indians at U.S. Cellular Field (7:05 p.m., CT, CSN) in the finale of the three-game series. Starters: RHP Hector Noesi (0-4, 6.82) for the Sox, RHP T.J. House (0-1, 6.43) for the Tribe.

Photo of the Day

Happy 46th Birthday to The Big Hurt, HOF 2014. Here he is on top of the world (figuratively and almost literally) on the observation deck of the Empire State Building in New York a day after he experienced the thrill of being elected to the Hall of Fame.

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