Tag Archive | White Sox

RIP Orange

This will be a total stream of consciousness, but I just have to tell about grandma. My grandma died early Wednesday morning November 13, 2013. I miss her terribly. She had been sick recently, but only the way that elderly people are sick. I never really thought of her as elderly because she never acted that way. She was just this lady who went about doing her thing. It was always strange to me that she would get a senior citizen discount because she just wasn’t old to me. She didn’t even look like she was anywhere close to being someone 65 years of age or older.

Orange (yes, that is my grandmother’s name) is the reason I love baseball. She was a Cubs fan and just like all the fans before her, never saw them win it all in her lifetime. However, while I saw plenty of Cubs games while growing up, I didn’t become a fan of her favorite team. In fact when I say I saw plenty of games, I mean most of the baseball watching I did as a kid was at her house. And the only things on her television were the Cubs games or her “stories” (i.e., soap operas) and if we were in the house instead of outside, that was the choice of stuff to watch. I’m not so much into daytime soap operas much, but I’m sure if I ever turned one on, it would be the same people I saw as a kid. Continue reading


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.

Fan Girl Experieince Day 1 at SoxFest

Ozzie, Kenny and Ed Farmer

Howdy everyone! As I was looking over my notes, etc from SoxFest 2011, I realized that I had a ton of stuff that i could write about.  In fact, a lot of the stuff that I live tweeted, resulted in questions from followers and while I tried responding, ultimately, it ended up being too much to do via twitter because the responses would have been rather involved.  Therefore, because there were several topics that led to me having more opinions on things that need expansion, I will be doing a series of posts this week to discuss things that came up, such as thoughts on Rick Hahn, the white sox farm system, preparation of the guys and other random observations.

To satisfy you until then, you can read my twitter posts (conveniently collected so you don’t have to go look at my timeline) of my time at SoxFest.  As a first-timer at SoxFest, I must say it was quite well done.  I didn’t do any of the pictures or autographs, but I am not really the type to want to get pictures.  Though, I did get a picture with Ozzie Guillen, Jr. and Roberto Hernandez (closer for the White Sox in the mid-90s).  That was fun since they were just hanging out in the hotel lobby.  I also saw Alexei Ramirez just chillin’ at a table in the hotel restaurant by the lobby.  He was rather accommodating to the fans wanting pics and autographs while the day’s sessions were over.

And without further ado, here are the tweets from SoxFest.  I didn’t include any replies, so some of the things may not make sense, but you will get the gist of what was happening in the seminars.  (and please know, that yes, while there are spelling errors at times, that is what happens at times when you tweet a lot)

Day 2 (Saturday January 22, 2011) at SoxFest

  • Good Mornin! Off 2 #SoxFest. I will try to live tweet as much as possible, but if not, there will be a post on my blog about it. #WhiteSox
  • Keeping up w/system players: buddy bell says happy with how the guys do in the off season & where the system is headed. #SoxFest
  • For most part, players aren’t majorly overhauled since come from great programs. More time spent with lowe draft picks. #SoxFest
  • Foe example, Sale & B-Mo (brent morel) not tons of time given higher pick. #SoxFest
  • “Big brother” set up @ the cell cause the team here can see all affiliate teams. #SoxFest
  • Morel off-season prep: not much diff than prev. Lost weight during season as it was long. Sounds like more an idea … http://tmi.me/5NpfM
  • DJ saying now the stuff guys diff than when he was playing, such as instructional camps, camp cora. Now full-time job to prep. #SoxFest
  • Morel started season around 218 and ended around 207. Sale thinking about putting on weight! (Haha) #SoxFest
  • Bell says probably hardest thing about scouting is projecting what the guy is going to look like #SoxFest
  • Minors philosophy: take lead from KW & Oz. Try to prep guys for game. Make understand what need to do for the game. #SoxFest
  • Stress on fundamentals & making players understand the importance. Expect perfection so ask for it. #SoxFest
  • Jared Mitchell status: did afl& instructional. Doing well. Will play some major league camp. Still rehabbing. #SoxFest
  • Fan asks about how chicago factors into drafting & FAs. DJ says for him is the organization as big draw. Thinks that for anyone #SoxFest
  • Oh & “b-mo” is buddy bell’s nickname for brent morel, not mine. #SoxFest
  • Get great guys & hope that can tinker to catch “lightening in a bottle” #SoxFest
  • Org wants guys in minors to experience playoff baseball as well. Important to development. When get to najors, expected to win. #SoxFest
  • Sale throws what his catchers tell him to. He trusts them. #SoxFest
  • Sale’s delivery motion: came about due to looking for success. Started out throwing over top, but numbers were bad. Then changed to (cont)
  • Get success. Change-up greatly improved & he stArted to find success. All b/t fresh/soph year of college. #SoxFest
  • Bell doesn’t really pay attention to system rankings. #SoxFest
  • And there was much chuckling about uncle phil in connection to minor league system grading. #SoxFest
  • After the first seminar re the minors, I’m feeling psyched for #WhiteSox farm system. #SoxFest
  • Seminar room getting packed. Ozzie & KW up next! #SoxFest
  • If you’re at #SoxFest let me know as I’d love to meet fellow south side fans. ☺
  • When season ended, KW says it was either go young to compete in a few years or take what had & go all in. #SoxFest
  • KW at end of season told Paul he wanted him back & Dunn with him. #SoxFest
  • #SoxFest RT @CSNChi_Beatnik: Ed Farmer asks how many ppl have seen Adam Dunn up close. Ozzie interrupts: “How big, or how ugly he is?”
  • Oz says felt better chance w/ #Twins closer than the likes of crain or gueirrer
  • Oz hitting fungos in street clothes story quite the riot. #SoxFest
  • Well I was so good defensively, I forgot to hit. Oz to KW about I can’t hit. #SoxFest
  • Fan ? To kw about best / worst trade: kw tells oz to shush. #WhiteSox #SoxFest
  • KW thinks unfair. Thought colon 1st time good. Next one that takes to series will be best. #WhiteSox #SoxFest
  • Oz very complimentary of Jenks. Says too early to say who his closer is now. #WhiteSox #SoxFest
  • Fan asks about bringing Jermaine Dye back. KW expects him at someone’s camp since feels #WhiteSox are solid, not … http://tmi.me/5NA35
  • Kid ask ? For Oz & he says “why” ? Of who 4th hitter & why. Oz says strong middle of lineup so hard to say. Prob dunn 3 & pk 4 now. #SoxFest
  • KW: There is a big problem when I’m looking at this kid in college who is better than the guy Coop working w/ in … http://tmi.me/5NB4T
  • Sale making Mauer look infantile being discussed. #WhiteSox #Twins #SoxFest
  • If you think u worry about slow start, so do I. Oz on the changes to spring coming. #WhiteSox #SoxFest
  • ? Bout #Twins draws out KW & Oz grimmace. Fan say let’s kick their butts. #WhiteSox #SoxFest
  • 2 games against MN (thome homer) oz says, there we go it’s Oz fault. Next day when jenks gave up 4. These still kick the gut. #SoxFest
  • KW says he wishes Oz would stop talking about those games. #SoxFest #WhiteSox
  • KW talking about how Oz just brings up games from out of the blue from long ago. Pretty funny. #SoxFest #WhiteSox
  • Fans seem extremely pumped for 2011 season. #SoxFest #WhiteSox
  • Thoughts on batting rios 2: Oz says bacon is 2 now & doesn’t want to take rios bat. Ramirez & vizquel also 2 hole possibilities. #SoxFest
  • Team does think about the slow starting / cold weather adverse players. #WhiteSox #SoxFest
  • Oz doesn’t sound like he’d ever want naturals as coaches. #WhiteSox #SoxFest
  • “We’re kind of tapped out” KW on thoughts of having brought andruw jones back. #WhiteSox #SoxFest
  • Sounds like guy asking bout Jones is a huge fan of his. #SoxFest #WhiteSox
  • Oz speaking nicely of @BSLillibridge and his outfield abilities. #SoxFest #WhiteSox wish you could have made it Brent.
  • Oz wondering if fans hate Carlos Quentin. They keep asking about RF replacement. Says he thinks TCQ will step up … http://tmi.me/5NEh0
  • Good session w/ Oz & KW. Always funny. And good to see them getting along #WhiteSox #SoxFest
  • #WhiteSox fans: if you want games for apr/may get them now! Special promo now to win trip to spring training. #SoxFest
  • #WhiteSox working on a mobile app for parking stuff, etc. Also working on bar coding parking passes to move them with ur tix. #SoxFest
  • Jim Cornelison singing anthem at uscf in april. #WhiteSox also going to be doing a 10K on apr 3 in conjunction #Bulls #Blackhawks. #SoxFest
  • RT @tinyj: @veeckasinwreck @cherann23 and me having a ball at #soxfest #whitesox http://plixi.com/p/71728627// good to meet fellow peeps
  • Session on draft to majors. Questions right off the bat of comparing #Twins org to #WhiteSox #SoxFest
  • Draft philosophy or getting guys who are high impact / high ceiling. #WhiteSox #SoxFest
  • ? asked if whether players coming up are given history lessons on team. Asked cause of Bacon’s lack of knowing who Baines is. #SoxFest
  • Team does give them info btw. Rick hahn said Bacon’s lack of knowledge was fun for the team. #WhiteSox #SoxFest
  • Priority in future for latin america. Lag now due to the past scandal but Hahn feels that #WhiteSox are on the right track now. #SoxFest
  • Lots of talk & comparisons with #Twins. Seems clear goal is not to make playoffs every year, but ultimatley win … http://tmi.me/5NN6B
  • Drafting of players about getting the guys with the right tools to help team win. #WhiteSox #SoxFest
  • And the questioning of Quentin continues. #WhiteSox #SoxFest
  • Fan asked if the guys ever advocate for KW to not trade a player because of his future potential. Interesting question. #WhiteSox #SoxFest
  • Purpose of minors: to provide assets to help team both via trade and on the team. When move a guy, doing to make #WhiteSox better. #SoxFest
  • Lauman says when moves are made, always done with eye to future. #WhiteSox #SoxFest
  • Fan asks if any reason for why a early rounder turns into a journeyman & late rounder an allstar. Answer basically luck. #WhiteSox #SoxFest
  • Fan ask why #WhiteSox don’t get fa like cliff lee, sabathia, etc. Hahn says because of allocation of resources. #WhiteSox #SoxFest
  • Hahn says team isn’t adverse but not a philosophy team embraces now & how thet allocate resources. #WhiteSox #SoxFest
  • Buddy Bell just told a guy he wears the uniform of Coop better than coop does. #WhiteSox #SoxFest
  • Bell thinks reason for premiun on catching is because when kids are young, they get moved 2 infield so not doing as much. #WhiteSox #SoxFest
  • There have been. He’s happy now. would like to be a gm someday. RT @mikeb31772: @cherann23 Any questions on Hahn’s … http://tmi.me/5NOGl
  • Oh yes, oney is! So lelvel-headed. RT @JulieDiCaro: @cherann23 but he’s such a level-headed young man . . .
  • Session next w/ Bacon, Juan Pierre &Steve Stone. Getting crowded again. #WhiteSox #SoxFest
  • Jokes about Jeff Cox’s base stealing ability. #WhiteSox #SoxFest
  • Juan Pierre talking about what he looks for in pitcher when stealing. #WhiteSox #SoxFest
  • And he’s sporting a shirt that says “beast mode” & stoney is dissing pierre’s league-leading pickoffs. #WhiteSox #SoxFest
  • Bacon- juan is going to toodle me? I’m from georgia, I don’t know the talk. #WhiteSox #SoxFest
  • Pierre is tutoring Beckham on base stealing. #WhiteSox #SoxFest they did work on some at camp cora.
  • Bacon: cox, I got to get on base to steal. #WhiteSox #SoxFest
  • Cox responds with good point. #WhiteSox #SoxFest
  • Jeff Cox is HILARIOUS!! #WhiteSox #SoxFest stoney translating for him. Pierre says now u know y we use sighs. #WhiteSox #SoxFest
  • Juan says one of best baserunning team he was part of 2003 marlins. #WhiteSox #SoxFest don’t have to be fast to be good.
  • JP says #Twins are good at it and he gets boos (of course) and he knows yeah, but still they are good. #WhiteSox #SoxFest
  • “First of all, don’t send konerko” jeff cox in talking about strength of OF arms. #WhiteSox #SoxFest
  • So sad. And well I leave at that. RT @JulieDiCaro: LOL–@OneyGuillen is threatening to fight people outside #SoxFest. I love it.
  • Sliding headfirst into 1B: don’t do it — Juan Pierre. #WhiteSox #SoxFest
  • Stone saying that you never see olympic sprinters head first diving but leaning. Great analogy. #WhiteSox #SoxFest
  • JP rather get thrown out than picked off because pick-off meant didn’t get the right kind of lead. No Fear. #WhiteSox #SoxFest
  • Steve Stone and his dry cracks are aweosme. Just discussed jose valentin base-running was pretty funny. #WhiteSox #SoxFest
  • JP says that he thinks Buehrle could pick him off. Buehrle’s had opps, but hasn’t yet. JP not sharing how he reads 56. #WhiteSox #SoxFest
  • JP wants enough bags this season to get to the world series & wim. #WhiteSox #SoxFest
  • JP’s “swim move” is his last desperate attempt to not get out. #WhiteSox #SoxFest
  • JP says that he thinks Buehrle could pick him off. Buehrle’s had opps, but hasn’t yet. JP not sharing how he reads 56. #WhiteSox #SoxFest
  • JP wants enough bags this season to get to the world series & wim. #WhiteSox #SoxFest
  • Final session today will have Frank Thomas & Adam Dunn. #WhiteSox #SoxFest
  • And I’m glad I’m getting #Blackhawks updates while attending #SoxFest today. #LetsGoHawks
  • And it is getting packed again. #WhiteSox #SoxFest
  • Walker thinks 2011 team is deepest hitting going into ST he’s seen since been hitting coach. #WhiteSox #SoxFest
  • Lots of cheers for Frank after farmio talking bout number retired. #WhiteSox #SoxFest
  • Frank says number ceremony was one of the best days of his life. #WhiteSox #SoxFest
  • Farmer selling Dunn on Chicago! Best fans, best food, etc. #WhiteSox #SoxFest
  • Frank happy & proud to spend time in chicago. #WhiteSox #SoxFest
  • Dunn getting crap for saying fav ballpark to play in so far has been wrigley. Farmer reminding crowd that dunn was a visitor. #SoxFest
  • Walker thought #WhiteSox competed well in Target Field. #SoxFest
  • I take off maybe 3 weeks. And I lift. I don’t do much running as you can prob tell — adam dunn. #WhiteSox #SoxFest
  • Dunn was recruited as a QB by UT! Fact from Farmio. Frank says should have been a lb. #WhiteSox #SoxFest
  • Farmer discussing what he’d do if his guys get hit. If they hit frank or adam, thinks 2 or 3 from other team for each. #WhiteSox #SoxFest
  • Dunn not a fan of guys dancing around on base when he’s hitting. He’s ok till 2 strikes. Says get used to it. #WhiteSox #SoxFest
  • We’ll talk — frank to adam on what he will be needing to do as DH. #WhiteSox #SoxFest
  • Dunn prefers ash over maple. Maple doesn’t bend & he doesn’t want to be the guy to kill someone. #WhiteSox #SoxFest
  • Last season was first that Dunn was a first pitch guy. (15% as opposed to 3% in prev years) #WhiteSox #SoxFest
  • Farmer: I think that heisman might be going back in a few years. Said to auburn guy Frank. #WhiteSox #SoxFest
  • Dunn’s beard: pure laziness. He cuts his own hair. Sweet. #WhiteSox #SoxFest
  • Dunn says he was sold on #WhiteSox because they really wanted to win. #SoxFest
  • Dunn’s fav nationals player prob ryan zimmerman. Been friends a long time (kid solicited this info) #WhiteSox #SoxFest
  • Franks it’s funny that Dunn has batted lead-off. #WhiteSox #SoxFest
  • Dunn retorted back “can we look at career base stealing stats” #WhiteSox #SoxFest
  • Quentin plays baseball w/ a football players mentality — greg walker #WhiteSox #SoxFest
  • I was shell shocked when I learned oz would be my manager. Frank Thomas. #WhiteSox #SoxFest
  • Corrected! RT @cherann23: Franks thinks it’s funny that Dunn has batted lead-off. #WhiteSox #SoxFest
  • Dunn says yes, any #WhiteSox can win mvp. Well maybe not AJ. #SoxFest
  • And that’s a wrap for today. Tune in tomorrow for more #SoxFest tweets.
  • Just got a pic w/ ozzie jr & roberto hernandez. Will post later. #WhiteSox #SoxFest
  • Just witnessed a proposal at #SoxFest. Don’t think couple here for soxfest though.
  • So there is a family part #SoxFest that I’m checking out. Aaaaand a guy is singing your love by the outfield now. Bad key for him.
  • The live band for karaoke is playing everything in keys too high for the singers. #aretheytryingtomakethesingerssoundbad?
  • MT @VeeckAsInWreck: Ladies and gentlemen…let’s get #soxfest trending!! It’s top ten now! #soxfest @tinyj @cherann23 @jeffrey10s @lauriewaz

And that is it for the tweets from day 2. Since there are so many, I will do a separate post from day 3 and i apologize for the long post.  If you have any questions about what some of the abbreviations mean, just ask as I realize there may be people who are not white sox fans reading this and therefore don’t know the nicknames for players, coaches, etc.

Definitely a Hot Stove or at least it is warming up

Just when I thought the White Sox hot stove was going to barely turn on, today they turned the burner on high and made huge news.  Such huge news that LeBron’s return to Cleveland took a backseat on sports talk radio this afternoon and there was no Bears talk.

In case you haven’t heard, the White Sox signed free agent Adam Dunn.  The same Adam Dunn that Kenny Williams has had an obsession with (because he wants more power and if it comes from the left side, like Adam does, BONUS).  There were other moves involving the Sox, which I will get to later in this post, but the huge news was Dunn.  The signing won’t be official until tomorrow afternoon at a press conference at 2 pm CST, when presumably Dunn might be introduced.  In any event, KW in his usual manner is keeping quiet on the whole thing even though every media outlet is reporting it is a done deal.  So done in fact that the Sun-Times’ Joe Cowley said it had been done for 24 hours from what he was hearing.

In any event, I know I should be thrilled about the Dunn signing, but in truth I am not sure how I feel.  This is probably because I am not a complete sabamatrician.  I appreciate stats in baseball because they can help to compare players and tell you things about them, but I also like to judge players upon what I see them do.  In my opinion, fantasy also contributes to this over reliance on stats as well (more on that in another post).  I know that thanks to Money Ball, stats are far more important in the game in evaluating talent and players, but I still can’t bring myself to put more stock in them than what I see on the field.  In any event, next season will be fun listening to Hawk Harrelson call games because he will actually have to start discussing stats potentially as opposed to just watching the game.

I GET that Dunn is superior to ANYONE who filled the Designated Hitter role for the Sox last season given the abysmal numbers put up primarily by Mark Kotsay and Andruw Jones last season.  However, if Dunn gets his hands on a glove to be used a ton in the field, his offensive output will be negated by his lack of being able to play defense.  There is no place to hide him on the field.  I am still not a fan of Dunn’s strike out rate and I fear he is going to do it at times when I least want it to happen.  I know many say that outs by a strike out are the same as if a guy hits a liner or flies out because it is still an out (unless it is in a situation where a guy is at 3rd with less than 2 outs or a guy is at 2nd with 1 or no outs), but I think that a strike out is worse because no contact has been made and with a liner or fly ball, I believe the baseball gods have a say whether that ball finds a piece of fair ground to land on.

My other issue is with Dunn is I think he is old.  Yes, he is only 31, but I still see that as on the wrong side of awesomeness.  He’s been relatively healthy, but the deal he is getting is 4 years at $56 million.  I am not a fan of the amount of the money spent on Dunn.  The years I can live with, but if for some reason Dunn starts to break down, then this deal will just look horrible.  It may be premature to think horrible deal, but it isn’t unprecedented in sports for a guy to get big money and years and then turn out to be a huge bust.  Finally with Dunn, I still question whether he is a guy who is committed to being a full-time DH.  When the Sox tried to acquire him at the 2010 trade deadline, he balked because he feels he can play the field and that he is not a designated hitter.  Only problem with that is that Dunn is the only person in baseball who thinks he can play the field.  I hope he is fine with being a DH because he is terrible with a glove.

As I started writing this post, I found out that the White Sox have reached an agreement with AJ Pierzynski for 2 years at around $8 million.  This is good.  I have thought that of the free agents we were losing, he was the one that needed to be a priority.  I didn’t think that Tyler Flowers was ready to handle the pitching staff and after Victor Martinez went to Detroit, the available free agent catchers left a lot to be desired.  This news I know made a friend of mine on twitter extremely happy as her twitter handle is about Pierzynski.

In brief comments made today by KW, he has said that Paul Konerko is now the priority in bringing him back.  There are rumors that he is close to signing and if he does come back, The King, Dunn and Rios in the middle of the White Sox lineup makes me think that I won’t need to prepare for a 4th place division tie finish.  Apparently, there has been money found to be able to land Dunn and still bring back The King.  I really do hope PK will come back, but if he doesn’t, I do understand why he wouldn’t as I have said previously.

Other Sox action today:  As expected, Bobby Jenks was non-tendered.  For those not super baseball contract savvy, it means that the Sox chose not to offer him a contract and he is now a free agent.  Jenks still had arbitration eligibility and the Sox decided after his declining production as the closer (he was still getting the job done, but just not as well) along with his expected raise getting him close to $9 or $10 million to walk away.  Alexei Ramirez opted out of his contract for 2011 and the Sox picked up a club option on him for $2.75 million.  This was a great move.  Ramirez deserves every bit of the money he will be earning over his previous salary of $1.1 million.

Overall, I think I am mostly feeling positive about moves that are occurring. In some ways I wonder if my not being fully happy about the Dunn thing makes me a bad sox fan, but KW has done some things of late that have made my white sox lose their luster they have had for so long.  Granted, he isn’t the only culprit, but I feel like he is more to blame than others might be.  This could  be because I am so hungry to win again and make Minnesota look silly.  Because I HATE the Minnesota Twins (but maybe not completely hate them).

There are still questions to be answered, such as who will be the closer.  Matt Thornton is more than capable, but I think he might think too much and doesn’t have a short memory, which are things I don’t want my closer to have.  I want him thinking very little and I certainly want him to have an incredibly short memory.  Plus, Thornton is the best set-up man and he is a great lefty specialist if you need him there.  There is still possibility that JJ Putz could be closer, but I think he is going to walk for the best deal and I don’t see that coming from the White Sox.  The bullpen aside from the closer still needs help and the middle relievers out there are very underwhelming.  Also, I still think Carlos Quentin is an issue.  If he can be traded for a productive bat that can FIELD, then please send him packing.  As great as he was in 2008, I won’t miss him.  His “intensity” thing is getting old really fast and I think he is more destructive than productive.  I am sick of waiting for him to be good for a bit then getting in a huge funk because he had a bad at bat.

2011 is looking like the final hurrah in getting another championship.  The starting pitching is there and the offense clearly looks better than it could have been.  Really all I want is a team that has top notch pitching top to bottom, stellar defense and enough offense to score one more run than the opposing team.  I don’t need a team of sluggers but want a good balance of everything needed.  (Guess that makes me kind of old school in terms of not wanting a team that out slugs everyone to win it all). If the teams doesn’t go all the way in 2011, then maybe there could be whole sale changes in the front office with the GM going and the Manager going.  Not to mention that if KW does stay, he will have to do the one thing he has never done here and that is the dreaded rebuilding.  With the state of the farm system, I might have to prepare myself for a number of years of bad baseball on the south side.

Best of

It is the baseball off season and it can be a lonely time in the world of sports for baseball fanatics like me. Fortunately, in January of 2009, the MLB Network was launched and that was something to pacify my time until real games began. It became a place where if I were not watching a hockey game (my “winter” sports obsession) or some tv show, my tv was usually on this network.

Surprisingly, there is a lot of good stuff on the network and over the past two years it continues to evolve and get better. Aside from having shows that tell you the latest goings on with the Hot Stove, there is also original programming.

One of the shows I have come to enjoy a lot is called Prime 9. It is a show that does a countdown of the top 9 whatever in baseball. Some of the subjects include best pitching seasons, best short stops, left fielders, cinderella season, etc. There are usually ground rules as to how they went about assessing things and they even say the point is not to make a definitive list, but to start debate.

This past week’s episodes were the best double play combos and (unique) worst uniforms. The episode about the keystone corner duos was fun to see. Only 2 of the combos on the list have i actually seen in action and from what I remember, I understand why they were listed. The other 7 in the list, I have only seen highlights from. The show also does a good job of not only showing highlights of those who played before I was aware of baseball, but also having others explain why those made the list.

The list of best double play duos is

9.  Joe Morgan and Dave Concepcion

8. Jackie Robinson and Pee Wee Reese

7. Lou Whittaker and Alan Trammel

6. Roberto Alomar and Omar Vizquel

5. Nellie Fox and Luis Aparicio

4. Joe Gordon and Phil Rizzuto

3. Bill Mazeroski and Gene Alley

2. Johnny Evers and Joe Tinker

1. Bobby Grich and Mark Bellanger

The uniforms episode was awesome to see.  This was a chance to look back at some of the fashion choices that teams have had over the years.  Of course, most of these choices came from the color tv era.  Some of the uniforms you just couldn’t appreciate unless you saw them in full technicolor glory.  And at times, it would look like your tv was puking with all the fanciful choices made.  Of course as I watched this, I was wondering who on earth the owners of the teams at the time consulted in coming up with the particular colors, etc.  It was also interesting to hear what some of the players had to say about wearing some of the worst uniforms that could have ever been thought of.  This show also reminded me of some teams, like the Dodgers and Yankees that have only had a couple uniforms throughout their history and imagining those teams wearing anything other than their normal uniforms would probably cause me to keel over from shock.  Camouflage uniforms were not included because those are to honor the troops (and I am all for doing whatever can be done to honor them and what they do for me.)

The most unique (worst):

9. San Francisco Giants and their orange jersey (back when it was a regular part of the rotation and not just on fridays) and the orange stockings.

8. Florida Marlins (in particular, the teal colored sleeves when they first came into existence)

7. Anaheim Angels (this was the uniform pre-2002 that had the wings, pinstripes and the periwinkle blue sleeves)

6. Cleveland Indians and the RED uniforms of the 70s.  The players they talked to about this uni were united in their dislike of looking like giant peppers or ketsup

5.  San Diego Padres’ uniforms from the 70s that were brown and mustard colored.

4. Kansas City / Oakland Athletics.  These uniforms were due to Charlie Finley with the Gold and Green and it sort of fit in with his marketing of the players and various nicknames they had.  Seems to have worked as there is still the green, gold and white that you see in Oakland.

3. Pittsburgh Pirates.  These uniforms were from the 70s and while the Yellow and Black colors wasn’t a big deal, the sheer number of uniform combinations was mind-boggling.  Their poor equipment guy

2.  Houston Astros of the late 70s / early 80s.  These uniforms had a bit of a rainbow look to them.  Surprisingly, it is one of the common ones for throw-back uniform looks and you can see a lot of people wearing them in the stands at times.

1. AND THE MOST UNIQUE / WORST UNIFORMS?????  Feel free to guess.  As I was watching the episode, I was thinking the entire time, if this particular team’s uniform didn’t appear on the list, the people who put the list together really just did a huge injustice with the concept.  Seeing it as the worst however, I couldn’t agree more with the list makers.  Fortunately, on throwback uniform days, this team has NEVER sought to resurrect these uniforms, which is the best thing ever.

RIP 2010 White Sox

So long, farewell, Auf wiedersehen, good night.  Rest in Peace 2010 Chicago White Sox.  You provided me with a lot of fun, a lot of frustration and a lot of what if for a season that was better than 2009, but somehow felt far worse in 2010.  Perhaps the feeling that 2010 was worse than 2009 was because of the acute awareness that we were going on 5 years of the last time you got to the promise land.  Maybe it was because I was listening to sports talk radio more and the various hosts and pundits were speaking with such urgency and hunger for a championship, that I was starting to crave it more.  Or, perhaps it was the bravado of the general manager who put this together with the pitching that made it all seem like it should happen.  In any event, a toast to the season past and looking forward to another long grind in hopes of a championship in 2011.

It is fitting that I write this today on the 5th anniversary of the Chicago White Sox winning the World Series in 2005.  I know in the coming weeks, there will be lots of changes coming to the team.  I’m pretty sure Mark Kotsay (who felt he was underappreciated) and Andruw Jones (who did his thing for a couple of months then went back to bad) will not be back with the team.  I don’t think Omar Vizquel will be back, but he still is in great shape and may want to play and mentor young players.  Questions remain with whether Paul Konerko will be back and I don’t think he will be.  There is also a question at catcher.  My guess is the White Sox will low ball A.J. Pierzynski and it will be up to the market to see if a team wants A.J. for more years and money than the White Sox will offer.  Of course, there are issues at 3rd base.  After the 2010 season, I don’t see Mark Teahen getting that job unless he goes to Camp Cora (assuming Joey doesn’t get a managerial job) and becomes a better 3rd baseman than Brooks Robinson or Mike Schmidt defensively.

The middle infield looks good.  I expect that for 2011, Alexi Ramirez will continue to develop into an elite shortstop and I have no doubt that Gordon “Bacon” Beckham will also continue his development as a 2nd baseman.  The outfield for 2011 also appears up in the air to me as it seems to me that only Center Field is set.  Alex Rios was quite the pleasant surprise for 2010 given how he was a disappointment when he came to the Sox in 2009 after a waiver wire deal.  Carlos Quentin still frustrates to no end.  After watching what he can do and then seeing how he gets in his own way when it comes to hitting, he is clearly his own worst enemy.  From what I see, he looks like a guy who over thinks everything and could benefit from some days of just going out, playing the game as just that – A GAME and having fun.  I know that is easier said than done, but if he could do that, he might actually be the player that everyone thinks is there.  The other annoying thing with him is that in 2010, he was playing Right Field as though he had never fielded there in his life.  Some of the routes he takes to catch fly balls made zero sense and he at times would make the worst left fielder look like an all-star if that guy played in right.  Given how much of an enigma Quentin is, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him traded this off season. 

Juan Pierre was much better than I thought.  Although, at the beginning of the season, I was not one of those fans who was pining to bring back Scott Podsednik as I think he is beyond baseball stupid and while Pierre and Podsednik are basically the same type of player and would put up similar numbers, I’d much prefer to have a guy who had baseball intelligence to one who was just as dumb playing the game as you could find.  Granted, Pierre didn’t make as much contact or get on base as much as sabermatricians would like, he was serviceable enough in the job that I was ok with things for the most part.  Whether he will be back next season, not sure, but if KW can find a better lead-off option then I am all for that. 

The pitching staff.  Those were the guys who were touted at the start of the 2010 season as being the savior of the team and would-be leaders to the Promised Land.  With a starting 4 of Buehrle, Peavey, Floyd and Danks, how could this team not go far?  Not to mention having Freddy Garcia as a number 5 could be fine.  And if he wasn’t, you had a few guys in the minors who would work as a serviceable 5th starter.  Sadly, the pitching staff got off to a bad start.  That, going along with lack of offense made of a recipe for a bad start to the season.  It seemed if the hitting was there, the pitching wasn’t.  If the pitching was, there were not enough runs scored to support it.  Eventually, it all did come together, but then the bullpen faltered down the stretch and alas, the season came to an end for the White Sox. 

I can only hope that the ensuing off-season will bring together a group of guys to fit with the existing starters (and all those guys come back healthy – I’m looking at you Jake Peavy) and few position players that will not only compete, but actually win in 2011.  Some advice for KW:  for the love of god, please get off the obsession with Adam Dunn.  And while you are at it, stop obsessing with other players you’ve been looking at / after for quite some time and trying to make them members of the White Sox.  Go get the best players out there, hell even dream and get in the Cliff Lee sweepstakes.  And please stop going after washed-up has-beens who you think you can catch lightening in the bottle.  News-flash – you won’t because there is really nothing to be caught (see how that Jones experiment worked?  Good while it lasted and not there when it was needed most).  Stop trying to bring the Kansas City Royals to the south side, unless you are talking about bringing Zack Greinke or Joakim Soria here.  Lastly, please don’t disappoint me and other fans with bringing in bad players or giving out bad contracts that make it impossible to move those players later when you realize those players are bad.  

And now back to my regularly scheduled watching of post season baseball, hockey and the occasional football game.

Love-Hate Relationships

Relationships. So many different kinds we have in life. We have so many with relationships with people such as lovers, friends, parents, siblings, co-workers, frenemies, virtual friends. We also have them with objects. Some of us even have them with sporting teams.  And yes, I would be one who has a relationship with sporting teams.  Most of the time, I have a great deal of love for my White Sox.  But there are times when the team plays so badly that I hate them.  On the flip side of that, I generally have a bit of a hate for the Minnesota Twins and Detroit Tigers.  Rarely do I have much love for either of those teams.  I can’t say that I have that kind of emotion for the Cleveland Indians or Kansas City Royals, but that is because those teams have been so bad for such a long time, that they don’t worry me as being any real competition or threat to the White Sox.

However, the Minnesota Twins really test my patience as far as a love hate relationship goes with something.  I was very excited and actively rooted against them in the 2010 playoffs against the Yankees.  I was an unabashed fan of the Yankees and it was because I dislike the Twins getting to the playoffs so much.  Granted, the reason they were there was because they played well and my White Sox blew it on so many occasions.  The Twins have also owned the White Sox like the Yankees have owned the Twins.  As much fun as it was to enjoy the Yankees making the Twins look silly, it was also painful to watch.  Mainly because I missed that my team wasn’t in the playoffs.

Of course, at the same time, watching the Twins make the playoffs yet again, made me wish that my team had an organization like the Twins do in a lot of ways.  If there is one nice thing I can say about Kenny Williams, the general manager for the White Sox it is that he is aggressive and will take a chance at finding lighting in a bottle and getting that key piece that is needed.  Something that truly irks me about the organization though is that from top to bottom, I don’t see everyone being on the same page.

In examining the Twins organization, they stress that what players do at the Major League level is the same stuff they expect from players in instructional league.  Players don’t advance to the next level until the organization is satisfied that a player will do things the right way.  This was super important for the Twins because they are a small market team that didn’t have a lot of revenue to go a buy the necessary pieces that were needed for a championship.  Because of this, they had to ensure their home-grown players were ready when they moved to the next level.  What is so cool about this (and irritating if you support a team NOT the twins) is that if a player at the Major League level gets hurt then the guy who is in the minors can easily be plugged in to that position and fill that void left.  It is as if the MLB player didn’t disappear because the guy who replaced him is more than adequate to handle things.  This is especially noticeable when it comes to defense.

I truly hate, yet am supremely envious of this.  Generally, the Twins are one of the best defensive teams in MLB and they rarely beat themselves with dumb mistakes that will lead to runs being score by the other team, whether by error or giving the other team extra outs to make plays.  When guys go down, they don’t miss a beat.  And this fact about the Twins makes me love them and hate myself for loving an “enemy” so much for what they do top to bottom.  Great examples from the 2010 season was early on, Joe Nathan, their closer had to have Tommy John surgery, which meant he was done before the season even began.  The guy who filled in for him, did an ok job and then at the trade deadline in July, they went and picked up a guy to help them out even more to help solidify the bullpen.  The 3rd baseman, Danny Valencia who ended the season did not appear in the line up for the Twins until June and he just slide right in.  He came up big for the team late down the stretch run as well.  Very few of the players on the roster are not home-grown.  And seeing how well they play, I am envious and kind of hate that they have so much GOOD home-grown talent. Of course, the player i love-hate the most is Joe Mauer.  He is their catcher and the way he goes about playing the game as well as the daily beating he takes as a catcher is just amazing.

On the other hand, when I see these things, it makes me sad that my team’s farm system is so depleted.  For the most part, I am on board with the idea that prospects are good for using to obtain pieces that are proven that will help you with the ultimate goal of winning a championship.  However, when I see the major league players who seem to be completely lacking in any concept of fundamental play, such as if you’re throwing a relay play from the outfield to make sure you hit the cut-off man to prevent the base runners from advancing, I get very sad because it seems to so rarely happen that those fundamentals are put into play.   In the past 10 years, the white sox have had VERY FEW players on the roster who are home-grown talent.  On the 2010 roster, only 1 pitcher and 1 position player for the entire season were home-grown.  And when injuries happened, it seemed like the replacements were just not quite ready, but as a fan I had to deal with those guys because there wasn’t anyone else to fill in.

I know many sox fans may disagree with me because there seemed to be a lack of hitting during the season and some of the players who filled in were relatively good with the bat, but in my opinion, those guys were horrible with the glove and that hurt the team more due to possibly committing an error and the pitcher being  unable to pitch over it or maybe giving the opposition more than 3 outs to work with.   What I can hope is good news is that in the last few years the White Sox have been doing some overhauling of the minor league system and perhaps there will be a little more focus on truly developing prospects as opposed to developing enough to trade them away.  Thus far, none of the prospects trade away have burned the team, but who knows when that day will actually come.  I would just like to once in a while see some home-grown talent and if the team needs to call upon those guys, I won’t be watching that guy playing with a bottle of tums worried he is going to be beyond horrible handling a glove.

My King is most likely leaving me

Paulie.  The King.  The Captain.  Harvester of Sorrow.  Class Act.  One of the nicest players ever.  Hard Working.  Generous.  Unassuming.  Even keel.

When I think about Paul Konerko, the first baseman for the Chicago White Sox, the above are many of the words that come to mind when I think about him.  And I probably have seen his last game as a member of the Chicago White Sox.  Fortunately, the team ended the 2010 season at home so I was able to go to the last few games and see him play.  As it was the final game, I had to go and am glad I did.  Admittedly, I had thought about not going to the game because I could have done a ton of stuff at home, but given that it could very well be the last time I see Paul take an at-bat in a sox uniform, hear Harvester of Sorrow by Metallica played as his walk-up music.  I had to attend this game.  It was also potentially the last game that A.J. Pierzynski plays as a member of the White Sox as well, but with Paul, it felt more like saying good-bye to a really reliable friend who was leaving.

On thursday, Sept. 30, 2010, Paul had a session with the media where he discussed his upcoming free agency and what the future may hold for him.  The comments that Konerko made struck me as extremely honest and frankly quite refreshing to hear.  Granted, they were not exactly something a long time fan of his would want to hear, but I greatly appreciate his honesty as over the years, I feel that I have come to expect nothing less of him.  A few things that struck me that Konerko said with regard to his free agency had to do with what he was looking for in terms of expectations, the “home town” discount and how to catch the Minnesota Twins.

With regard to catching the Twins: “The Twins are a good team, a great team, and more than that they go about it the right way.  You have to go out and catch them.  They’re not going to come back to you.  With the talent and the people here we can do that if we tidy up some tings and get a little better with some things and move their way, move toward. them.”  With regard to tidying things up and whether that meant on or off the field, Konerko said, “A little bit of both, a little bit of everything.”

I can only speculate about what he means when he says a little bit of tidying up off the field, but it does make me wonder if the drama off the field between Kenny Williams, the GM for the White Sox and Ozzie Guillen, the manager did actually get to the players and potentially mess with what the players were trying to do.  The off the field drama was in my opinion ridiculous.  I really hope it wasn’t a distraction to the players, despite it keeping the Chicago sports media busy with things to talk about on a never ending basis.  The statement also makes me wonder if there is still some anger in the fact that Ozzie said no to the idea of Jim Thome, who is an incredibly close friend of Paul’s coming back to the sox for the 2010 season.   As much as Ozzie has said blame him for the decision, I think Kenny is to blame just as much since as the GENERAL MANAGER who brings the players to the team to be managed, he could have brought Jim Thome back if he really wanted to do it.  Unless the ultimate motive was to make Ken Williams look as good as possible while throwing his manager under the bus.

In terms of expectations for free agency, I like and appreciate that Konerko is not going into things thinking he should get a particular number of years and / or money to continue playing.  He seems to want to see what the market is for his services and then go from there in deciding what to do next.  Last off season was not kind to veteran players.  Jermaine Dye ended up not playing in the 2010 season because of what he was looking for in terms of position (not keen on being a DH), length of contract, etc.  He had offers to play, but for him the situations presented were not to his liking, so he sat out.  Perhaps he will play again in 2011, but who knows.  Johnny Damon was another veteran who it took some time to sign because of what he was looking for in terms of salary and playing time.  He eventually ended up with the Detroit Tigers, but for only one year.  While things were unkind to veterans in the 2009 off season, I did hear that Konerko could set the market for the 2010 free agent first baseman class.  Either way, I hope he can get what is most beneficial to him and allows him to enjoy playing the game a few more years.

The most surprising of the comments is that money isn’t a huge factor.  In discussing his future, Konerko is very honest in that he has his family to think about since he has a 5 year old and a 2 year old.  Or as he said, real little people walking around.  From the comments, it really seems that he is probably going to leave Chicago, even though he would like to stay.  In his comments he said that even if the white sox give more money / years, he still may end up leaving.  In other words, there isn’t necessarily a home town discount to keep him.  This is because of uncertainty in the direction the team is going, where he would fit into those plans and something that he stressed, but whether there is a need for him from any team.

Overall in listening to his comments, I get the sense that while he feels he has a few more years left to play, he would be ok with not being offered anything this off season.  He said his goal when he was in the minors was to make the majors and play in one place for 10 years at the same position.  He’s accomplished that with 2 additional years to boot.  And as a long time white sox fan, I greatly appreciate everything he has done for the team.  Mainly though, based on everything in total, I feel as though I have seen the last of Paul Konerko playing in a White Sox uniform.  The comments regarding more years / money from sox vs. another team really do it for me.  Surprisingly, I am ok with that.  For some time, I have felt the team needs to move in a different direction to get back to the world series and if in order to accomplish that goal, Konerko and the White Sox need to part ways, then so be it.

He has given me immense joy watching him play with my favorite team and for that I will always be grateful for what he did.  I have never attended Sox Fest so I have never met him, but from those who have, they say he is a wonderful person.   I do have an autographed photo and signed ball by him and I love that I have these items in my collection of white sox stuff.  Thank you Paul for the time you’ve been here and I really do hope things align in the universe so that you can finish your career and retire as a member of the White Sox.  Whenever you do hang it up, I have no doubt that Jerry will erect a statute to commemorate your service on the outfield concourse.