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Music Snob

music-notesThat would be me. Shows like American Idol are worthless to me. Sure, it can be entertaining to laugh at the bad singers who think they are good enough to get a recording contract and probably even sadder when some of them actually do get one.

Many times, I keep my snobbery to myself, but during baseball season, it rears its ugly head with plenty of snarky comments. It always happens with the national anthem.

I don’t think people realize just how hard that song is to sing. On a good day, I can count on at least three key changes in the singing of the song. I might chalk those up to creative license, but usually it is because the person who is singing it truly thinks he is staying on key and thus what was done is proper. Continue reading

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Backhanded Compliments

Was that a compliment? Should I take it as a compliment.

Random guy fan at Orioles game: Take him out of the Game! Can’t you see he sucks. Ozzie he just is killing us and has been bad all year long. He’s got no wins!

Me: Well, the offense hasn’t done anything and you can’t really blame Danks too much right now.

RG: Yeah, I guess so.

Me: Um, hum, especially since he’s pitched far superior than that. Wins aren’t everything you know.

RG: Huh. So you seem to really know a lot about baseball. That’s cool.

Continue reading

A Profound Sadness

Lately, I have been feeling restless and a bit lost in what I want to do with myself. Work is not exactly what I want to be doing, though it pays the bills and keeps me off the dole. Fortunately, baseball season has beginning so I have that to look forward to as well as perk me up. Speaking of sports, recently there have been some things happening that are making a lot of female sports fans and women in general feel lesser and marginalized by our society.

Earlier in the year, MLB sponsored a contest to find the ultimate fan. This person would be in a decked out place and watch all 2,000+ games this baseball season. As part of this, the winner would write a blog about the experience as well as use social media to talk and promote it. The winner was announced and it turns out to be two guys who have on-stage and acting experience. This is all fine and dandy. At first I thought, ok cool for them. Then as more details emerged, it started to make me sad. Continue reading

Such Slow Going

I’ve been bad. I haven’t been out running in a few days. I really need to go considering that one week from tomorrow, I have a 10K to run. Surprisingly, I am feeling a tad apprehensive about it because it will be the first actual 10K race I have ever done. Sure, I have run longer distances and shorter distances in races, but for some reason I feel like I have a mental block on the 10K. The plan for the morning is to do 4 miles before getting on with baseball stuff later in the day.

My fantasy baseball league is having our draft tomorrow evening and I am highly unprepared for it. This has to do with being busy with work stuff and writing. I want to get more into the writing I have been doing and maybe even write something that is novel-like and maybe get published. I’ve also lost a bit of interest in playing fantasy baseball this year, mainly because there are some in my league that seem to want to do as much as possible to make my job difficult as commisioner of the league.

In any event, I really do want to try to make Sandy K’s Brothers get to the playoffs this year and succeed. As much fun as it was the first year to put together a team full of Jews, I want to seriously compete just to show up the guys driving me nuts in the league. Of course, this will also probably require me lifting my ban on any players who play or played for the Cubs. Now to go try and figure out who to draft with my crappy draft position this year. Right smack in the middle of the picks — ugh!

no turning back

February 1, 2011 will live as a big day in my life. First, registration for the 2011 Chicago Marathon opened at midnight cst. Also, G9 Sports launched. It is now official that the new website that I am covering the White Sox is live and it is called South Side Hit Girl. Feel free to go browse it as well as all of the other sites that cover the various teams in MLB, NBA, NHL, NFL, Soccer and other sports. And feel free to leave me comments and tell me what you think about it.

As for the marathon, I was up at midnight to register because I am “slightly” paranoid that I might not get a spot if I didn’t do it early. Sure enough, the site was crashing as I tried to register, but around 12:45 am, I had my confirmation email sent that I was in fact registered. No turning back now as I will find a way to conquer the hometown race. Especially since I’ve put it out there in the universe for all to know and ask me about later.

Training won’t begin for a few months, but I am already running and prepping for some races such as the Soldier Field 10 as well as the Shamrock Shuffle and a new race that starts at the United Center and ends at US Cellular Field. I will find time to write about the training, etc, but feel free to wonder and prod me as to what I am up to.

In the meantime, go visit G9 Sports and South Side Hit Girl.

SoxFest 2011 Recap — the minor league system

For my first fan girl experience of going to SoxFest, I had a fantastic time. I didn’t do any of the autograph or photograph sessions. Not that I wouldn’t have minded meeting any of the players, but I have just really never been that type of person. Once in a while, I might seek out an autograph (mainly from an author), but otherwise, I can live without getting my favorite players’ pictures or autographs. Nonetheless, spending time in the seminars this past weekend was amazing. I got to learn so many little tidbits about how things work for the White Sox organization and frankly, it made me like them a little more. With the off season moves I must admit I am impressed and am anxiously waiting for opening day 2011 to begin.

The seminar sessions covered all aspects of the team, from what is happening in the minors, things with the front office, coaches and of course, players both past and present.  Saturday’s seminars were: Next Generation 2.0; State of the Sox 2; Strategic Sox; Inside the Sox: From Draft to the Big Leagues; Feet of Fleet: Sox Speedsters; and finally Sox Sluggers: Past and Present. Sunday’s seminars were: Inside the Sox: From Draft to the Big Leagues; In the Dugout: Sox Coachspeak; Picks that Clicked: Sox Memories; Pitch Perfect: Sox on the Mound; and finally Next Generation 2. While some of the seminars were “repeats” there were different questions asked so they were not really repeating information. Lots of interesting tidbits came about.

On the minors: Buddy Bell made it clear he wasn’t a big fan of what Phil Rogers of the Chicago Tribune thinks of the minor league system or more accurately, care what Rogers thinks. The guys in the minor league system are more concerned with what Kenny Williams, Ozzie Guillen and other top management think of the players and how they are being developed. Something that Buddy mentioned was that when the baseball writers are ranking the players in a team’s minor league system, the writers are getting that information from people like himself. Bell said that when they give that information, they may not necessarily be giving up information they want out there. In other words, it is kind of a game of talking up your players in hopes of getting something you really want. I think the Braves organization has for years been the master of talking up their players, trading them for what they want and need. Of course, the most important thing when it comes to trades is to know your own players better than the other teams know your players.

The discussions of the minors drew a lot of questions and this is mainly because many fans feel that Kenny Williams has pillaged the minor league system as it is consistently ranked fairly low by Baseball America. Rick Hahn stated that the purpose of the minor league system is 2-fold: to help the major league club and to use as assets to get what you need from another team. He also admitted that the minors have had setbacks due to the skimming scandal in the Dominican Republic. Hahn thinks the team is on the right track now to improve. Hahn’s and the organization’s philosophy on how to use the minors is fine as far as I am concerned. There really haven’t been any trades that I feel have come back to hurt the White Sox. The jury is still out on the Peavy deal, however, but overall, no one who has been traded has not netted a great return for the White Sox.

In all the discussion about the minors, one thing that struck me was that in addition to it being a top-down philosophy of making sure the players from low A ball all the way up to Charlotte are doing the things that KW and Ozzie want in Chicago, but that there is an expectation of perfection. Bell repeatedly stated that they ask for it from the players. This made me start to think that while they are preaching a philosophy of fundamentals and playing the game the right way, they really work to get the players to buy into the philosophy. In my mind, it appears that if players come up and aren’t doing things you’d expect (a la comparison to the players that the Twins always seem to have on their field), it is on the players possibly not buying into the philosophy and doing those things necessary to succeed. If this is truly the case, then I would hope those players start to go with the flow rather than thinking they know what is best. After all, they are probably in the minors for a reason and not in the Big Show.

In some of the other sessions, there were questions about whether there was a “White Sox way” like there is the “Orioles Way” or the philosophy that the Twins have. As an aside, there were a tons of questions from fans about the Twins org and comparisons to the White Sox and praise for them (which annoyed other fans, especially when the praise came from White Sox players or coaches). Bell believes that basically everyone has the same philosophy of playing the game the right way. The organization from the top all the way to the bottom is all on the same page. Part of this has to do with the consistency that there has been in the coaching staff. This is helpful because as players move through the system, they know what is expected. The players also get “history” lessons on the team as well, though sometimes, they may not get the stuff right away.

After the minor league chats, I am really excited and Buddy Bell is really excited for fans to see some of the players coming along, such as Escobar and Phegley. He said the with A.J. Pierzynski being back, the team is very deep at the catching position, which is great to hear considering that at the end of the season and A.J. being a free agent, many fans were worried. Of course, the catching situation led to questions of why it is hard to find catchers in general as well as why there seem to be more pitchers coming out of the White System than position players. For the catching, Bell says that the reason for lack of catching in general is that when kids are playing, they get pulled from behind the plate if they are good and put in the middle infield or other positions. As for pitching, the organization sees itself as a power pitching organization. Additionally, it is easier to make tweaks to a guy who pitches 90+ than it is with hitting. With hitting it’s a matter of getting reps. And as Rick Hahn said: the most important thing in the game is pitching.

For all the fans who still think the minor league system is just awful, that may be true in comparison to other organizations, but remember that the information you get is based upon what the organization wants the writers who put those lists together to believe. I admit I have been skeptical of the system as well, but hopefully when we need those guys to fill in for the players currently on the White Sox should they get injured (which they better not), they step right in and do us proud. As always, if you have questions, leave them in the comments and I will do my best to answer. There was a lot of information and I’m sure I don’t have it all here as I tried to hit the highlights and answer some of the questions I got in response to my tweets.

Next report will be on the other seminars and SAVE THE DATE White Sox Fans. To help you get into the itchiness of spring, there will be a Twee Up at The Bob Inn on March 1, 2011. Click here to get details and rsvp. And if you aren’t a White Sox fan, rsvp anyway to come hang out with baseball fans, who happen to enjoy the White Sox. Hope to see you there!

Fan Girl Experience Day 2 at SoxFest 2011

Here are the tweets from seminars from day 3 (day 2 for me since I did not attend the Friday ceremonies.  That is something to remedy for 2012). Enjoy them. Up tomorrow will be my thoughts and opinions on some of the things that I learned at the seminars.

Morning! Final day of #SoxFest starting. Like yesterday, I will be live-tweeting what’s happening. #WhiteSox

Final day of #SoxFest (@ SoxFest 2011 w/ 8 others) http://4sq.com/fjQyg5

Fans wonders if chance for #WhiteSox to draft above slot. Traditionally they haven’t & draft based on value. … http://tmi.me/5Qaxu

Did go over slot on danks & beckham. There have been guys in the past that gone over slot. #WhiteSox #SoxFest basically get the best guy.

Hahn asked again about his future. #WhiteSox #SoxFest

As for #Mets job, hahn says it wasn’t close enough fit for him. Says not going until he finds right fit. Very happy … http://tmi.me/5Qbl9

Guy asking thoughts on chicago media & specifically uncle phil’s whining bout #WhiteSox farm systemm #SoxFest

Hahn says the org isn’t paying attention to rankings etc. Care more about what helps system. #WhiteSox #SoxFest

Buddy Bell says reporters call & get info from them. Not as accurate as reporters might want. Rather critical of uncle phil. #SoxFest

Laumann & Bell care more about KW & Oz opinion than the likes of uncle phils. #WhiteSox #SoxFest

Hahn’s rejection from Jerry Reinsdorf won him $25 in a best rejection letter at Kellogg. #WhiteSox #SoxFest #Northwestern

Team philosophy being discussed. Such as oriole way, the way twins do things. #WhiteSox #SoxFest

Bell says #WhiteSox don’t do anything different pe se than twins or orioles. Basically do same thing. Demand … http://tmi.me/5QeNI

Stress of continuity in instruction and it is stressed in #WhiteSox org. Just not trumpeted as it is in twins org. #SoxFest

Great deal of continuity on pitching side. #WhiteSox #SoxFest

Fan asks about abundance of pitching vs positional prospects. Laumann says there is focus on both & harder to … http://tmi.me/5Qfod

Also scouting thing. Org sees itself as a power pitching org. #WhiteSox #SoxFest

Without pitching, you can’t win. Strong emphasis on pitching. #WhiteSox #SoxFest

Bell thinks it is easier to teach a guy who throws 90 than teaching a guy to hit. #WhiteSox #SoxFest

With hitting, bell thinks more about getting reps not mechanical tweaks like with pitching. #WhiteSox #SoxFest

Most valuable thing in the game: PITCHING! #WhiteSox #SoxFest

Fan asks if #WhiteSox would have made deal that #Cubs did for Garza. #SoxFest

Hahn: know ur guys better than other team does. Also know if willing to trade doesn’t mean given up farm. Also … http://tmi.me/5QglG

If trade moves from 80 to 83 wins maybe not worth it vs 90 to 93 wins. #WhiteSox #SoxFest

Fundamentally there are no untouchables. #WhiteSox #SoxFest

Fan ask about 2007 season & if trade of john danks/ floyd. They’d have listened, but again, look at big pic. #WhiteSox #SoxFest

Message on player development, every guy is diff & every guy has to be treated as such to best develop them. #WhiteSox #SoxFest

Bell speaking highly of little Danks (jordan) cc: @AJRoxMyWhiteSox. #WhiteSox #SoxFest

Bell anxious for fans to see some of the guys from the minors such as phaegley, escobar, few others. #WhiteSox #SoxFest

Keep your ears perked and eyes open for stuff on Escobar. Bell is really excited about him. #WhiteSox #SoxFest

Next session: what goes on in the dugout. #SoxFest. #WhiteSox

Oz, harold baines, stoney, jeff cox, juan nieves #WhiteSox #SoxFest http://plixi.com/p/71971802

Oz says last few days of ST tough due to the last couple roster spots, making sure guys healthy coming back to chicago. #WhiteSox #SoxFest

Oz says has it easy cause he trust his coaching staff. #WhiteSox #SoxFest

Baines tells players how many outs there are, to look at OF & he keeps an eye on Oz in case Oz wants that guy to run. #WhiteSox #SoxFest

Cox says he has to pick up Oz. You just have to see Cox. Beyond hysterical!!!! #WhiteSox #SoxFest

Oz just busted on Cox’s english speaking ability. #WhiteSox #SoxFest

Cox & Oz just complimented AJ on his base running intelligence. #WhiteSox #SoxFest

Talking about how there is too much info for guys now. #WhiteSox #SoxFest

Back in the day, just talked the game. Now 30 second after at bat, can go see it. #WhiteSox #SoxFest

Stoney: good managers understand what his players can do. Great managers understand what their players CAN’T do. #WhiteSox #SoxFest

Stone considers Oz in great group. #WhiteSox #SoxFest

To be a closer, mentally harder to prepare. OZ #WhiteSox #SoxFest

Jenks was very tough mentally according to Oz. #WhiteSox #SoxFest

Oz demands a lot of his coaches. #WhiteSox #SoxFest

Oz calming guys: juan & harold. #WhiteSox #SoxFest

If you think oz stories are good, you have to hear jeff cox’s. #WhiteSox #SoxFest

Lot of questions on closers which leads to conversation on how game has evolved. #WhiteSox #SoxFest

Oz not a fan of the quality start stat. #WhiteSox

How many innings you want ur guy to go? Um 9??? #WhiteSox

Baines: I don’t like strike outs. You’re not helping your team. #WhiteSox #SoxFest

“Joe crede was awesome” — Oz #WhiteSox #SoxFest

Joe was also weird. Not because he was quiet but because he would stare at his glove for an inning. — Oz. Oz loves joe. #WhiteSox #SoxFest

When cabrera & dye were fighting in kc, people ask oz why he didn’t stop. Oz -i I want to see them fight. #WhiteSox #SoxFest

Dye cabrera fight came up because of players policing themselves & not it being on the manager. #WhiteSox #SoxFest

#WhiteSox #SoxFest session 3 sox memories. Ron karkovice, dj, roberto hernandez, jose valentin. http://plixi.com/p/71981653

Jose Valentin best times with sox games against cubs. Also talking about fight against detroit. #WhiteSox #SoxFest

Best 5 yrs of career spent in chicago — Jose Valentin #WhiteSox #SoxFest

Karko talking about sitting behind Fisk. Karko says was a good exp those 5 years. #WhiteSox #SoxFest

Hernandez says his being behind thigpen was similar to karko fisk situation. #WhiteSox #SoxFest

No. 1 reason hernandez is guy he is he credits to thigpen’s mentorship. #WhiteSox #SoxFest

Hernandez says fans are best in the world & chicago is home to him. #WhiteSox #SoxFest

DJ loves the family feel of the org in chicago. #WhiteSox #SoxFest

DJ telling story of at bat against randy johnson. Very funny explaining the team getting along well. #WhiteSox #SoxFest

DJ says that playing on the team w/ hernandez, valentin, karko & the other guys was so great. #WhiteSox #SoxFest

Questions about thoughts on 94 strike season & feelings on it being done. #WhiteSox #SoxFest

Hernandez says 94 team was best they had. Belived they would be back. #WhiteSox #SoxFest

For Valentin, 94 was his rookie year. Painful cause got chance to play everyday then done. #WhiteSox #SoxFest

Karko says he felt as Hernandez felt. While team fell short in 93, 94 was a better team. #WhiteSox #SoxFest

What was the worst nickname hawk gave u DJ? DJ response — all of them. #WhiteSox #SoxFest

DJ didn’t enjoy facing greg maddux. But he really hated the soft-tossing lefties. #WhiteSox #SoxFest

DJ did like facing Joe Magrane. #WhiteSox #SoxFest

Valentin’s mustache more gray, so trimming it down low. Fan told jose that he and his friends love it. #WhiteSox #SoxFest

Talk of the massive man that is adam dunn. #WhiteSox

Juan nieves, edwin jackson, sergio santos, farmio. #WhiteSox #SoxFest http://plixi.com/p/71992259

Santos discussing his first time going into a mlb game to pitch. #WhiteSox #SoxFest

Jackson discussing his no-hitter. Funny due to pitch count and no one realizing it, ever other team. He was working … http://tmi.me/5QzEr

Jackson also talking about adjustment with #WhiteSox made with nieves & coop. #SoxFest

#Fact Jackson drafted by #Dodgers as an OF. #WhiteSox #SoxFest

Jackson tries not to focus on where pitches go & what they look like during warm-ups. It’s just warm up time. #WhiteSox #SoxFest

Jackson doesn’t like pitching at places where ball flies. Such as yankee stadium. Detroit he likes. #WhiteSox #SoxFest

Santos loves that Chicago is great sports town. Wants all the teams to succeed, except one. #WhiteSox #SoxFest

After pitching, jackson & santos both say don’t go to bed right away when get home (night game) due to being so wound up. #WhiteSox #SoxFest

Juan Pierre 1st guy at park and will get there around 11:30 am. #WhiteSox #SoxFest

Nieves & Coop won’t ask the pitchers how they feel. They know the guys will say they feel great. Give benefit … http://tmi.me/5QBnE

When Jackson came to #WhiteSox wanted to not be the weakest link (team was on a roll at the time) #SoxFest

Jackson not big on making excuses. (On his performance in AZ) #WhiteSox

Santos enjoys challenge of facing hitters. #WhiteSox #SoxFest

Jackson didn’t like facing l gonzales or mike lowell. #WhiteSox #SoxFest

Both jackson & santo say that twins are tough to pitch to. #WhiteSox #SoxFest

Reason to look forward to valentine’s day in 2011 — pitchers & catchers start reporting! #Baseball #MLB

Last session: jeff cox, dj, bacon, brent morel #WhiteSox #SoxFest http://plixi.com/p/72002776

Steve stone unfortunately not around to translate for Jeff Cox. #WhiteSox

Discussing the verbiage used & how it is understood. Bacon just learned what drifting means. #WhiteSox #SoxFest

Jeff Cox: a closed mouth gathers no foot. Oz is not always right, but he’s never wrong. #WhiteSox #SoxFest

Bacon discussing his struggles & all the advice not registering. #WhiteSox #SoxFest

Stories of omar vizquel “lecturing” bacon & making some plays on dj. #WhiteSox #SoxFest

Bacon excited about the infield play this season. #WhiteSox #SoxFest

Bacon wants to try doing more bunting this season. #WhiteSox #SoxFest

And that’s a wrap on #SoxFest! Will have a write up soon. Hope you’ve enjoyed my updates. #WhiteSox

There you have it. Although this post and the previous one were long, I hope you got valuable information (both funny and serious) about the wonderful team that many of us love. I’m just glad that my tweets didn’t land me in twitter jail during the event as that would not have been good.