Results tagged ‘ Sox ’
Thursday, September 25, 2014
It was cold, almost crisp, in the batting cage at 8:30 a.m. on a recent September Saturday morning. With a doubleheader later that afternoon and evening, it was going to be a long, long day.
I started to spread baseballs, dozens and dozens, out around the floor of the cage. The cameramen began to set up the shots, checking their angles.
My phone buzzed with a text.
“I’m out in player parking lot, think door is locked. PK.”
Great, Paul Konerko is getting to the ballpark hours early to shoot a video to say thanks and goodbye and he’s locked out!
A quick call to security later, Paul is in the clubhouse getting dressed, a steaming coffee in his hand.
For the next four hours, Paul served as creator, writer, director, you-name-it, as we taped his message to Chicago and to White Sox fans.
Several times during the taping, I thought to myself how perfect the symbolism was. Empty ballpark. No one around. No sound. Just Paul Konerko thinking and working in a space he has lived in — dominated, really — for the past 16 seasons. Here’s a six-time All-Star, a World Series Champion, picking up baseballs, again and again, over and over. Each baseball, a memory.
And Paul was particular about which memories to include. Sure, the World Series grand slam was in, and the parade, with a shot of his family. Home runs, too. But he also wanted some of the painful moments. The twist of his knee. The fastballs to the face. That time he just missed a pitch with the potential winning runs on base. He knew the exact situation. Opposing pitcher, count, the location of the pitch.
“That was more than a decade ago,” I told him. “I’m not sure we can even find the footage.”
But for him it was yesterday. How quickly a season goes. How quickly a career starts, blossoms and then fades.
Paul felt like the batting cage was the right place to film this because this is where the work gets done. Where the effort and sweat here leads to a key base hit outside, under the lights, with cameras and fans screaming.
But picking up those baseballs, time after time, also reminded me of something more personal. Probably like any kid who grew up playing baseball, you remember the times you hit in the cage with your dad. As I picked up those balls with Paul that day, I thought of the countless times I did the same thing as a boy with my dad. You hit a round of BP, then picked up the balls. Another 20 swings, more balls. There was a rhythm to it. There was a routine. There was shared labor, effort and sweat. There was improvement, day after day. Every day.
And then, one day it ends.
“You guys have watched Paul play for 16 years,” Paul’s dad Hank told me Tuesday. “I’ve watched him for something like 32 years. It’s going to be hard.”
I bet Paul and his dad picked up quite a few baseballs over the years. And now it’s time for Paul to begin throwing batting practice to his sons.
One ball and one line drive at a time. The way a career is built and celebrated.
Here is Paulie’s goodbye:
Just a couple of days until the Sox honor the captain. The pregame tribute on Saturday will include a memorable presentation with special guests, celebratory team-issued gifts and videos. First pitch is scheduled at 6:10 p.m. and fans are encouraged to arrive early.
Where the Action is
Hawk Harrelson and Steve Stone will broadcast Saturday’s game from Club Konerko (sections 158,159).
Quote of the Day
Paulie (with a smile) on what’s next after baseball (via Scott Merkin, whitesox.com):
“I’d really like to be good enough that I could play rhythm guitar in a bar band. If I could do that, it might trump everything that I’ve ever done in baseball.”
White Sox vs. Royals at U.S. Cellular Field (7:10 p.m., CT, CSN) in the opener of a four-game series and the final games of the 2014 season. Starters: LHP Jose Quintana (9-10, 3.22) for the Sox, RHP James Shields (14-8, 3.18) for KC.
Plays of the Day
In his final start of 2014, Chris Sale was his usual Cy Young Award-caliber self, allowing just a run and four hits while striking out 10 in six innings of work in yesterday’s loss to the Tigers. Getting a no-decision, he ended the season with a 12-4 record and a 2.17 earned run average, which will likely earn him the American League ERA title…Dayan Viciedo belted an RBI triple (click on link below).
With a pair of Ks in the first inning yesterday, Sale became only the fourth pitcher in White Sox history to compile 200 or more strikeouts for two straight seasons. His 10 strikeouts, which gave Chris 208 for the season, earned him the franchise record of 18 career double-digit strikeout games surpassing Hall of Famer Ed Walsh. According to @ckamka, Sale’s 434 strikeouts in back-to-back seasons is the most by a Sox pitcher since Walsh (509) in 1911-12.
Sale’s 10-strikeout afternoon:
White Sox vs. Royals at U.S. Cellular Field (7:10 p.m., CT, WCIU). Starters: RHP Hector Noesi (8-10, 4.39) for the Sox, RHP Jeremy Guthrie (12-11, 4.28) for KC.
Photos of the Day
Behind the scenes at Paulie’s video shoot:
Thursday, June 12, 2014
White Sox vs. Tigers at U.S. Cellular Field (7:10 p.m., CT, CSN) as the Sox shoot for the sweep of what turned out to be, because of Tuesday’s postponement, a three-game series. Starters: LHP Chris Sale (5-0, 2.06) for the Sox, RHP Max Scherzer (7-2, 3.38) for Detroit.
Sale is 2-0 with a 0.72 ERA over his last four starts at USCF.
Sox Starting Lineup: Eaton CF, Beckham 2B, Gillaspie 3B, Abreu 1B, Dunn DH, Ramirez SS, Viciedo RF, De Aza LF, Flowers.
Plays of the Day
On the strength of a seven-run sixth inning against Detroit ace Justin Verlander and his bullpen mates, the Sox tamed the Tigers last night for the second consecutive game, 8-2…Jose Abreu launched his 19th homer and added a pair of singles, Gordon Beckham and Conor Gillaspie each drove in a pair of runs and John Danks gave up just two runs, six hits and two walks while striking out six as he earned his fifth victory of the season.
Jose hit a homer in back-to-back games for the third time this season and second time against both the Tigers and Verlander. Abreu now has joined Wally Berger (20 home runs in 1930) as the only players in baseball history with 19-plus homers in their first 52 career games.
Watch Abreu go deep:
Sox Notes of Note
The White Sox are second in the American League with a .275 batting average with runners in scoring position, including .371 over the last four games…the Sox also are hitting .288 as a club with seven homers and 27 runs scored in their last six games…they have homered in eight of the last nine games…the Sox are 5-0 in their last five games against the AL Central…Our starters own a 3.12 ERA in 20 games since May 20, the Sox bullpen owns a 0.86 ERA over the last eight games and a 1.69 ERA with five saves in the last 12…Danks has a 1.55 ERA over his last four starts, holding his opponents to a .178 average. he has recorded a 2.96 ERA in seven starts at home this season…Adam Eaton tripled last night–accomplishing the feat in back-to-back games for the first time in his career…Alejandro De Aza is hitting .400 during his five-game hitting streak…the Sox have acquired outfielder Matt Tuiasosopo, 28, from the Blue Jays for cash considerations and reports to Class AAA Charlotte. Tuiasosopo has played in 152 major league games with the Mariners and, most recently, the Tigers in 2013.
World Cup Fever in the White Sox Clubhouse
With the World Cup kicking off today in Brazil, a couple of Sox teammates, Brazilian Andre Rienzo and Cuban Alexei Ramirez, have initiated a friendly wager.
If Brazil wins, Ramirez will have to be photographed wearing a Brazilian jersey. If Argentina wins, Rienzo will have to don and be photographed wearing the jersey of his country’s fiercest rival.
“I hope Brazil wins, because if I get a picture of me (with the Argentina jersey) people will kill me,” Rienzo admitted.
Here is Rienzo (with his arms around teammates Javy Guerra and Eaton) and teammates showing off their World Cup pride. Other Sox (from left to right) are: Dayan Viciedo, Jose Quintana, Ramirez and Abreu. (Photo compliments of the Trib’s Colleen Kane).
Hey Sox Fans, Say Hello to Phil the Chimp
Quote of the Day
Danks talking about the Sox after last night’s game:
“We’ve had a good feeling from the get-go. We’re not looking at the scoreboard or the standings. We’re just trying to win every game we can.”
White Sox vs. Royals at U.S. Cellular Field (7:10 p.m., CT, CSN). Starters: LHP Quintana (3-6, 3.59) for the Sox, RHP Jeremy Guthrie (2-6, 4.10) for Kansas City.
Photo of the Day
Avi Garcia is 23 today.
Saturday, June 7, 2014
White Sox vs. Angels at Angel Stadium, Anaheim (9:05 p.m., CT, CSN). Starters: LHP Chris Sale (5-0, 1.59) for the Sox, RHP Matt Shoemaker (3-1, 3.54) for LA.
Chris will be making his eighth start of the season. In his last start, on Sunday vs. San Diego, he allowed just one run, two hits, walked none and struck out nine in his sixth career complete start. It was also the first CG by a Sox pitcher this year.
He owns an 0.72 ERA with 33 strikeouts and a .051 opponents average over his last four starts. Since he returned from the disabled list, hitters are 3-56 against him and he still hasn’t given up a hit to a left-handed batter this season (0-32).
Sale is 3-0 with a 0.36 ERA in six career appearances against the Angels. He earned the win in his last start against the Halos, on May 17, 2013 in Anaheim, striking out 12 in 7.2 innings pitched.
Plays of the Day
Adam Dunn went 3-5 with a two-run homer (No. 10) and three RBI and Alejandro De Aza connected with a solo blast (No. 5) in last night’s loss to the Angels…Conor Gillaspie and Alexei Ramirez each added a pair of hits. Gillaspie is now hitting .340, Ramirez .321…Scott Carroll gave up a lone run and a pair of hits in 4.1 innings of relief.
Here’s Dunn’s homer, the 450th of his career, which gives him sole possession of 36th place on the all-time list, passing Jeff Bagwell and Vladimir Guerrero.
The First-Year Player Draft concludes today with Rounds 11-40. The Sox picks will be reviewed in tomorrow’s post.
Here is a comprehensive rundown on how the Sox fared yesterday on Day 2.
Quote of the Day
Dunn on the historical significance of his 450th:
“People don’t realize you say the name Jeff Bagwell and Vladimir Guerrero and, not that long ago, they were really two of the best in the game. Obviously, growing up an Astros fan, Bagwell and (Craig) Biggio were the kings. Numbers are cool when you are done playing and sit back and tell your kids about them.”
White Sox vs. Angels at Angel Stadium (2:35 p.m., CT, WGN). Starters: RHP Jose Quintana (3-5, 3.31) for the Sox, LHP C.J. Wilson (6-4, 3.05) for the Halos.
Photo of the Day
De Aza unloads.
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.