Friday, November 30, 2007
Looking for a White Sox gift and a very unique place to buy it? You might want to check out SportsService’s holiday sale this weekend INSIDE the White Sox clubhouse, a place fans rarely see.
I just walked in from the clubhouse and was stunned by the crowd of fans and customers buying early Xmas gifts. The visiting clubhouse (CWS Charities items) and home clubhouse are both open.
Discounted merchandise and unique access at U.S. Cellular Field are on tap during the team’s first ever "Clubhouse Sale." New, officially licensed team merchandise will be marked down 20 to 50 percent and sold in the White Sox home clubhouse, an area of the ballpark rarely visited by fans.
Among the items you can purchase is the brand new 2008 White Sox team jacket, which MLB debuted during the World Series with the Red Sox and Rockies.
The Clubhouse Sale takes place on: Friday, November 30, 2:00 to 6:00 p.m.; Saturday, December 1, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.; and Sunday, December 2, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. On Saturday, White Sox Weekly – The Score Radio (670 AM) show dedicated to White Sox topics – will broadcast live from the visiting clubhouse from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Fans planning to attend the Clubhouse Sale should park their vehicles in Lot E and enter U.S. Cellular Field through the Stadium Club entrance, located between Gates 2 and 3. The cost of admission is $5, which is then good towards a purchase at the Clubhouse Sale. A portion of the weekend’s proceeds go to Chicago White Sox Charities, the organization’s philanthropic arm.
Legacy Bricks, benefitting White Sox Charities, will be available for purchase during the Friday and Saturday hours of the Clubhouse Sale – with the deadline to purchase bricks set for 5 p.m. on Saturday.
Chicago White Sox Charities provides annual financial, in-kind and emotional support to hundreds of Chicago-based organizations, including those leading the fight against cancer or dedicated to improving the lives of Chicago’s youth through education and athletics.
Hot Stove League
Some random biased thoughts on happenings to date:
Somewhat surprised that we have obtained the AL’s Gold Glove shortstop (replacing the much-criticized Juan Uribe) and the best middle reliever on the free agent market (Scott Linebrink) and some people are disappointed.
It’s only November 30, the Winter Meetings are next week, so please, it’s a little early to draw conclusions of any type. I have a hard time believing our team isn’t better than 2007, right now. Judge teams on Feb. 15.
On Torii Hunter … we certainly were surprised and disappointed that he signed with the Angels. The surprise is more that the Angels became involved at the last moment at dollars well beyond the next best offer. Rather than wait through the holiday to make a decision, Torii made the call late that Wednesday night. That was surprising. But whenever you are dealing with free agents, you never know for certain that you have a player until he is signed. (Remember with Jermaine Dye that even while he was in the doctor’s office having a physical, other teams were trying to top our offer. To JD’s credit, he stuck to his word and his handshake).
Scott Merkin’s last mailbag does a great job of responding to a question about Hunter.
Which leads to Linebrink. We always wait until after a free agent player has signed and passed his physical before we announce anything official. This sometimes leads to cases where rumors and speculation last a few days. But we are always going to be safe. I have several old, old press releases in my computer — one for Mark Grace — that never saw the light to day because a signing that seemed imminent eventually fell apart.
And on Aaron Rowand … check out Merkin’s interview with Aaron about his love of Chicago and plans as a free agent. Critics always like to point out former players who are critical of their last organization (whether ours or others). Here’s yet another guy who still loves Chicago, Sox fans and the Sox.
It’s time for my annual reminder, especially heading into the winter meetings, to take the hourly rumors and speculation for what it is.
Remember the he’s-staying, he’s-going Mark Buehrle saga? Remember the Torii Hunter articles recently?
Rumors will fly around the lobby in Nashville. Some have a hint of truth. Some are intentionally complete fabrications to misled, misinform other teams or make a team appear to be more aggressive/active than it really is. Media reps do their jobs trying to track down and report the truth, but often, reports and rumors are only half-true, are dated by the time they see the light of day or again, are just plan wrong.
Don’t allow yourself to get too high or too low over the coming weeks based on reports.
To former Cubs President John McDonough of the Blackhawks on his new post as club President. Maybe now he can root for his childhood team, the White Sox.
Congrats too on White Sox fans, who in a recent poll by Turnkey Sports (right) and reported in Sports Business Journal, voted the White Sox 55th among all sports franchises for "Strongest Brand." The Chicago teams ranked 13th (Bears), 48th (Bulls), 55th (Sox), 67th (Cubs) and 115th (Blackhawks).
"The Bears are a legacy brand — traditional, respected," said Turnkey President & CEO Len Perna. "But the White Sox are the real brand story here. The Sox are perceived as better managed than the Cubs, hungrier, more aggressive and more attuned to fans. They beat the Cubs in team popularity, fan loyalty, grade of ownership, sponsor loyalty and almost every other measure. Wow!"
There were some terrific memorials in the media to Rudie Schaffer, Bill Veeck’s longtime right-hand man, who passed away on Tuesday at age 96. See the release on whitesox.com for some wonderful comments by Mary Frances Veeck, who was gracious to offer her thoughts about Schaffer.
Rudie’s son, David, has been our Senior Director of Ballpark Operations for 32 years. He shares his dad’s passion for baseball and for the fans.
Heading to Nashville on Sunday for a week of meetings, briefings, hours in KW’s suite waiting for scouts and other club’s to call back on trade talks and Thursday’s Rule 5 Draft. Exciting stuff. I’ll try to keep you posted as best I can.
Ozzie calls the winter meetings, "A big high school reunion," where everyone hugs you and says hello, how ya doing, but doesn’t really care.
I call it Roland Hemond’s annual party (since everyone there loves Roland and has one degree of separation from the man).
You know when your Friday starts with a 7:45 am car accident (kids were OK), your day can only get better …
Then you hear a radio commercial for insurance where the announcer says, "We can insure anyone. We even insured a 40-year-old man with high blood pressure."
Great, thanks. Must be some other baseball PR guy.
Thursday, November 29, 2007
New acquisition Scott Linebrink had this to say during his conference call this afternoon:
Why the White Sox:
“They were one of the biggest suitors. Kenny Williams came to Texas to meet with me and my wife and explained that the White Sox had been trying to get me for three years. Plus, they seemed to have the most pieces in place. There were only about three teams that were really aggressive. I think it’s a case where middle market teams are not willing to spend money on a middle reliever."
On His “Struggles” in 2007:
“It was a challenging season for me, especially with the birth of our first child about five days after I was traded from San Diego to Milwaukee. If you look at my numbers, I had about a four-week period where I struggled, but I rebounded to pitch pretty well in September (2.31 ERA, 13 SO/11.2 IP).
“It’s very important for me to come back and have a good year. There was nothing mechanically related to my struggles last season. I’ve been working out for over a month now, and I will come to spring training in the best shape of my career and ready to get outs.”
“Petco Park is definitely a nice place to pitch, but keep in mind we had to play in Arizona, Colorado and Philadelphia, and I didn’t do anything different there. When you change your philosophy or approach based on the park, that’s when you get in trouble. I will continue to be aggressive in my approach regardless of where I pitch.”
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
Back Into Circulation
After too long a break (my apologies), I’m back in the blog saddle again.
Introducing Orlando Cabrera
New shortsop Orlando Cabrera called in from Columbia this afternoon to speak to the Chicago and international media with his reaction to yesterday’s trade.
Cabrera, who won a Gold Glove Award this season with the Angels, just returned from his honeymoon.
"My wife and I were surprised," he said. "We’re really happy and excited.
"I really, really, really take this news with a lot of joy. We’re looking forward to coming to the City of Chicago."
Orlando was asked if he was concerned about his age and future production coming off what was the best season of his career.
"Every year, in my opinion, I keep getting better and better," he said, pointing out that Alex Rodriguez just turned 32 and is talking about signing a long-term contract. "The work I do on my body, my attitude, my mind, what I put into the game. If I’m healthy, I’m going to put up good numbers and help my team win games."
Cabrera has spoken with Ken Williams, Ozzie Guillen and bench coach Joey Cora.
"What they told me is what I had read recently," he explained. "They said, ‘Welcome, but we’re not done yet.’"
Cabrera also discussed being reunited with Guillen.
"It can’t be better for me," he said. "It’s a great challenge. Playing for one of the best defensive shortstops of an era, the 1980s and 1990s, will be a challenge every day. I’ve never played for a guy who knows my position maybe better than I do. He likes to win and likes to tell the truth."
Torii, Torii, Torii
Rumors continue to circulate that the White Sox remain in the Torii Hunter derby. Think what the addition of two Gold Glove performers could do for our defense.
It’s that time of year …
This afternoon, we designated OF Scott Podsednik for assignment and purchased the contracts of four players, C Cole Armstrong, RHP Jack Egbert, RHP Lucas Harrell and RHP Adam Russell.
We now have 10 days to trade or release Scotty Pods. He will always hold a very special place in White Sox history because of his 2005 season and his line shot into the right-center field stands to win a World Series game. When healthy, he was truly exiciting on the basepaths, and I certainly respect how hard he worked, and how frustrated he was, by the injuries that plagued him in 2005, 2006 and 2007. Here’s wishing him all the best in his career going forward. I’ll never forget that rainy, misty, cold October night when he hit his shot.
Armstrong, 24, had a good year at Class A Winston-Salem, while Russell, 24, impressed in big league camp last spring training. Harrell, 22, missed last year following shoulder surgery after a very good 2006 campaign.
Egbert, 24, went 12-8 with a 3.06 ERA in being named a SL All-Star at Class AA Birmingham. He struck out 165 to rank second in the league. In the Arizona Fall League, Egbert went 1-0 with a 3.26 ERA and 17 strikeouts in 19.1 IP.
Former White Sox PR director, Paul Jensen, who served as the Fall League’s PR maven, raved about Egbert yesterday when he and I attended our groundbreaking ceremony in Glendale.
Speaking of …
It seemed surreal yesterday in Glendale to hear Vin Scully emcee the groundbreaking event. Jerry Reinsdorf and Ken Williams attended the event on behalf of the Sox (I guess you can count me and Bill Melton, too). Construction us underway on the project, which will be completed in time for Opening Day 2009. If we can find a suitable replacement for Tucson, we will be there in 2009. Here are a couple of architectural renderings: