Monday, February 28, 2011
How great to see, hear, smell and feel baseball again … even if the Sox dropped their Cactus League opener to the Dodgers, 6-5, in Glendale Monday.
The day actually started out with the great news that White Sox vice chairman Eddie Einhorn had been selected as a member of the National Collegiate Basketball Association’s Hall of Fame Class of 2011. Eddie will be honored at the Final Four and the official induction ceremony will take place just before Thanksgiving.
Surprised at Einhorn being selected for the BASKETBALL Hall of Fame, shouldn’t be.
Gavin Floyd gave the White Sox the second good start of the day, throwing two perfect innings.
“Gavin threw the ball well,” manager Ozzie Guillen said. “We did a lot of good things today. Spring training is about pitchers, for me.”
Guillen lauded Alexei Ramirez, who made a strong play going into the hole to make a tough out look easy.
“It’s our job to get him where he should be, the Gold Glove, All-Star Game,” Guillen said. “It’s my job to make sure everyone knows how good he is.”
Guillen did say that he would prefer to avoid a repeat of the Sox first inning when Juan Pierre was thrown out at third with no outs and Adam Dunn at the plate. Guillen admitted he told guys he wanted to be aggressive in spring training, but maybe not that aggressive.
“I hope he doesn’t do this during the season,” Guillen offered. “I hope it’s a spring training thing.”
Ozzie was all over poor Don Cooper this morning, having read somewhere (internet, magazine?) that Coop was only the second-best pitching coach in baseball. Ozzie admitted that he ranked somewhere “next to last,” at which point Coop was quickly noted how much he had overcome to gain his lofty perch.
Sorry, we’ve had all kinds of pretty cool photos to post the last few days but apparently technical difficulties have made that nearly impossible. A lot of the stuff was of our players at the races. At some point, we’ll get it to you.
Sunday, February 27, 2011
I wrote and posted this once but the blog devils seemed to have eaten it, so here is an abbreviated version.
Rain washed out our practices and intrasquad game. The Dodgers/Angels matchup is underway out my window, so it is nice to see baseball.
Here is our lineup for tomorrow’s White Sox/Dodgers game:
Pierre 7, Beckham 4, Rios 8, Dunn dh, PK 3, Q 9, AJ2, Ramirez 6, Morel 5. Floyd pitching.
Buehrle vs. Mil, Jackson at Cin, Danks vs. Sea and Peavy at LAA.
A few staff members attended a special party for former Sox pitcher (now retired) Bobby Howry at his home last night. Also in attendance were Scott Eyre and Keith Folke.
To FOX Sports for their White Sox piece in today’s pre-race telecast.
Saturday, Feb. 26, 2011
Start Your Engines
“What’s today,” White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper asked as he drove up in his golf cart. “NASCAR Day?”
“Looks that way,” I replied.
“Good, I like things that break up the routine,” Cooper smiled.
Today was indeed unofficially NASCAR Day at White Sox spring training with four members of Michael Waltrip Racing stopping by to suit up, take part in drills and take a little batting practice. The team is in Phoenix for this weekend’s NASCAR series (check out FOX for Sunday’s big race).
The drivers, Michael Waltrip, David Reutimann, Martin Truex and Ryan Truex, donned Sox uniforms featuring their car numbers and mingled with “Red Neck Row” in the White Sox clubhouse before morning practice.
“I’m not an athlete,” Reutimann offered to Mark Buehrle and John Danks. “I just wait five seconds and then turn left.”
Buehrle, Danks and Jake Peavy attended Friday’s race and planned to go to Saturday’s and Sunday’s as well. Danks grew up annually attending the race in Texas.
For manager Ozzie Guillen and others, the take was a little bit on the amateur racing side.
“I thought the one guy was Justin Bieber,” Guillen offered.
“You don’t do a whole lot of stretching before you drive?” Buehrle laughingly asked Reutimann.
With the drivers featuring their car numbers on their uniforms thanks to Sox equipment man Vince Fresso, Waltrip held court in the Sox clubhouse.
Once out on the field, Guillen offered advice.
“Where are you guys hitting,” the manager asked. After hearing the answer, “Oh, sheet.
“Don’t try to hit a home run, just try to get a base hit.”
After a few swings and misses and a few solid hump-back liners, Waltrip stepped out of the cage.
“I need a lighter bat,” he said.
“Do we have a wider one,” Reutimann asked as he stepped into the cage.
Look closely on Sunday and you will see a White Sox All In logo on Reutimann’s Toyota car.
Gone And Forgotten
So I dutifully called my wife last night after dinner to check in and say hello.
“We’re watching a movie,” she replied.
“Oh, which one?”
“Oh, what’s that about?” I asked.
“No, what’s the movie about?” I clarified.
“Denzell Washington. Can I talk to you later?”
To watch footage of Mark Buehrle and NASCAR’s David Rutimann film a promo for tomorrow’s big NASCAR race at the Phoenix International Speedway click here
Friday, February 25, 2011
Advertising Shoots, Ozzie BP and Sliding Practice
“This is boring,” White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen announced as he drove up to a practice field today during Day 1,432 of fielding practice, hitting practice, throwing practice and baserunning practice. It’s time for games to begin (Monday).
Guillen did take the mound today, throwing BP for the “first time in something like 10 years.”
After AJ and Chris Sale earned a chance yesterday, Paul Konerko and Adam Dunn got their turn today to star in this year’s television spots as part of the team’s advertising campaign.
When I got the shot list this morning, it included a notation for “Konerko’s Body Double.”
I couldn’t resist, placing the paper on Paulie’s chair.
“Yeah, I saw that,” he laughed. “Then I saw the guy and thought, ‘He doesn’t look anything like me. How are they going to make this work?'”
The magic of television. I just wish I could have seen PK’s body double up close.
To Jerry Reinsdorf and Kevin Hickey. Two peas in a pod.
NASCAR drivers David Reutimann, Martin Truex Jr. and Ryan Truex are scheduled to be in camp tomorrow morning to take part in some drills, run around, hit some balls, catch some balls and not get hurt. Michael Waltrip will come along and the group is expected to bring a ton of media as well. All are in town for this weekend’s NASCAR events.
Sunday’s intrasquad game (weather permitting), will include pitchers Kyle Cofield, Freddy Dolsi, Nathan Jones, Anthony Carter, Kyle Bellamy and Charlie Leesman.
Media Guides Arrive
A rite of passage each spring. The 2011 Chicago White Sox Media Guide has arrived.
Spring Training Action Begins
Few people knew this — and you won’t find these results anywhere but here — but the White Sox took two split-squad staff softball games from their counterparts at the Dodgers last night in the inaugural interleague office games. With the wins, the Sox improve to 2-0.
Both White Sox teams cruised behind strong pitching performances from manager of scoreboard operations Jeff Szynal in one game, and community relations coordinator Stacy Tsihlopoulos, who each went the distance.
Szynal kept the Dodgers off balance all night, and, along with community relations manager Danielle Disch, both made dazzling athletic plays in the field limiting the NL rivals to just three runs through the first five innings.
The White Sox had more than enough offense in both games and overcame public relations coordinator Marty Maloney’s two ground outs to the pitcher with bases loaded in the same inning, stranding six runners and earning a year’s worth of ridicule. (yes, that is true, six LOB in one inning. It supposedly was so ugly that I MADE Marty write this section of the blog entry).
With the two blowout wins, the White Sox strengthened the wide-spread belief that the American League is far superior to the National League. Good times were had by all and no injuries were reported. A special thanks to assistant director of media relations Pat O’Connell for helping organize the battle.
Thursday, February 24, 2011
Exciting news: To celebrate the kickoff of our Cactus League schedule this Monday against the Dodgers, both teams are challenging our Twitter followers with a #Camelback Trivia Tweet-off. Just follow @whitesox and @dodgers on Twitter this Monday starting at 2:05 PM CT for your chance to win Sox prizes throughout game, including:
- Frank Thomas Bobbleheads
- Matt Kemp Gold Glove Bobbleheads
- Autographed Baseballs from Paul Konerko, Alexei Ramirez, Rafeal Furcal and James Loney
- Tickets to see the Dodgers and White Sox again later this Spring at Camelback Ranch-Glendale
- Tickets to see the Dodgers and White Sox this May at US Cellular Field
Both teams will Tweet out trivia questions throughout the game. The first fan to correctly answer each question will win a prize.
Thursday, February 24, 2011
Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf was in camp today and wandered out back as the team took infield practice and worked on ground balls.
“Pressure’s on,” Ozzie yelled to the guys, jokingly, “Jerry’s watching.”
The team worked on fielding bunts, with the first baseman fielding the ball and either firing to third base or to first depending on the call.
On one play, Paul Konerko’s throw to third skipped, and Mark Teahen made the play at third.
“He’s all in,” Konerko called out.
“He’s a grinder,” someone added.
At least they are watching our advertising.
After the drill, Guillen joked that, “The Big Donkey (Adam Dunn) is going to have a sore arm and a sore back tomorrow.”
Ozzie And The Grounds Crew
Ozzie, as all our fans know, will talk to anyone and everyone. A favorite audience during spring training is the grounds crew here in Glendale. In fact, Ozzie annually takes the crew out for dinner during the spring. That tells you a lot about the man.
I was told that Rose Salas reads everything about the White Sox online, and her husband, Mark (a good friend, better friend than golfer, but you knew that), asked me to wish her a happy birthday today. So, Happy Birthday, Rose. Mark said he was buying you a new car, so surprise …
Mini camp for 50-60 minor leaguers starts here tomorrow. It gives them a head start on the spring and gets them down and working out before regular spring training begins for the minor leagues next month. Finally, Nick Capra will have something to do! (joke)
Sunday morning, I received a very cool message via my LinkedIn account.
Here is what it said:
Subject: Hi Scott, true story about the 1968 Sox (Ken Berry & Cisco Carlos)
First off, thank you very much for accepting my connection request, it’s really appreciated!
I’ll try to be brief, but I would like to share a true life story about the classy Sox Team of 1968 & how they converted a SoCal boy to becoming a life long Sox fan!
It was the summer of 1968, I was a young boy & the Sox were in Anaheim playing the Angels. It was a weekend series. Saturday was a day game & Ken Berry hit a foul ball that made a direct line right at me. I caught it on the fly like like it happens every day. I was thrilled beyond belief (my only foul ball ever by the way). A Major League Baseball, I was on Cloud Nine.
I had tickets for the Sunday game as well. My buddy & I got there early to try to get Mr. Berry to sign the baseball. I was never able to get close enough to him. I got a few autographs but not Ken Berry’s.
After the game we worked our way over to where the Team Bus was parked (security was not so tight back then). It took us awhile but we made it (our seats were in the top level of ths stadium). By the time we got to the bus Ken Berry was already on it & the bus was about to leave. One of the last players on the bus was a right handed pitcher named Cisco Carlos. I asked him if he would mind getting Mr. Berry’s autograph (I quickly explained, as best as a kid could, why I wanted the autograph). He looked at me for a few seconds & said, “sure kid, give me the ball”.
He was gone what seemed like for 3 days. I just knew the bus was going to leave & my ball with it. Finally the bus door opened & Cisco Carlos tossed me the ball and said, “here ya go kid”. I was at a complete loss of words, every player on the team signed my ball & Ken Berry’s signature was right in the middle.
I have shared this story with lots of people over the years how these players, how these class act men, impacted a young boy forever & they had no idea. How their positive actions were so huge, so lasting. I have used the story at public speaking events & 1 on 1 as an illustration as to how one’s actions can have such a huge, & at times, leave a life long impact on a person.
I have made several attempts to try to find Mr. Berry & Mr. Carlos to let them know what a huge positve effect they had. To date, I have not been successful in my quest….
If there is any way at all Scott that you could reach out to these two mean thank, it would be greatly appreciated.
As an aside, I have never been to a Sox game but thankfully our company, that I Co-Founded, plans to be expanding into the Midwest this summer. My life long goal/dream is to watch a Sox game in Chicago, this summer will be that moment.
Sorry for this lengthy message but I wanted to do the story justice.
So of course, I am going to help Craig send along his thanks to Ken and Cisco, and I look forward to seeing Craig in Chicago sometime this summer. Great story about how a random event created a fan for life.
We tell our players over and over the power of a few seconds and the impact they can have on the rest of someone’s life. One minute, a hello, an autograph, a smile, can impact another life forever. That’s a pretty cool gift and a pretty awesome power. Thankfully, so many of our guys over the years get it, understand it and accept it.
Our crack BBDO advertising team is down for today and tomorrow to shoot additional commercials for this summer. I’d like to tell you more, but I can’t because the story lines are top secret. Stay tuned over coming weeks and we’ll let you in on the secret before the rest of the world.
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Peavy Returns To Mound
With pitchers again throwing live BP to White Sox hitters, Jake Peavy’s two turns on the mound again dominated the day in camp with media lining the fences.
He again threw two 20-pitch “innings,” and most importantly, he walked off the mound feeling fine as he was followed by an ESPN television crew. As always, the right-hander stopped to sign autographs for fans.
Peavy post workout:
“It’s another step in the right direction,” Peavy said of his day. “It’s been a long, long process and the past few days have been as grueling as far as getting your arm in shape, trying to pass the test, so to speak.
“When you throw 40 pitches, two sets of 20, like you are almost simulating two innings then take just a day off then come back and do it again and get through that, it’s obviously a good sign. I’m excited about it. There is some soreness, but, just sitting around with some of the other guys and them talking about their soreness and trying to get through it as well. We got some good work in today, I’m not sure effort-wise how much was there, but I did throw everything and threw the ball where I wanted to throw it.”
On how he felt following his second stint on the mound against hitters:
“I feel pain-free,” the Cy Young Award winner continued. “I feel normal. Obviously, I have some stiffness and soreness, but I feel normal and that is something that I haven’t felt in quite a while.
“We are going to go outing to outing. We are going to evaluate the situation. Right now, I’m on schedule just like the other guys. I’m doing nothing any different than any of the other guys. Read between the white lines, if I can keep going with the guys, I want to be ready to go. But, like I said, we are going to re-evaluate the situation every time I’m on the mound. I have to talk to the doctors, talk to Hermie, I have to go in there and report in and tell them pitch-by-pitch how it felt, and that’s not only the training staff but the doctors who want to document everything. We are going be cautious and if there is a point in time they hear something they don’t like, or I feel something I don’t like, I’m sure we will back off.”
On another diamond, lefty John Danks followed Matt Thornton on the mound.
“I know I’m throwing about 15 mph slower,” Danks called in to catcher Josh Phegley, half-way apologetic.
ESPN In The House
John Kruk and Tim Kurkjian spent the morning in camp as part of ESPN’s annual tour to spring training sites.
Kruk caught up with old minor-league roommate Ozzie Guillen amid laughter, while Kurkjian talked with Buddy Bell, who Tim got to know when he was a beat writer covering the Texas Rangers.
I gave Tim a hard time about having to wear a suit for 30 consecutive days, while Buddy focused in on the ESPN bus, which features renderings of Kruk and Kurkjian on the back, much to their chagrin.
“We shot a promo the other day that showed me driving the bus,” Kurkjian joked. “Me. I look like a freshman at Duke. And they have Kruk sitting next to me in the piece. Now he looks like a truck driver!”
I had to look twice today when I drove past Adam Dunn and Paul Konerko fielding ground balls during infield. PK is not a small man, but Dunn makes him look like a high schooler …
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
Full Squad Workout
Paul Konerko, Carlos Quentin and the rest of the 2011 White Sox took to the fields for their first full squad workout of the spring.
Prior to the workout, Konerko spoke to the media in the hallway outside the clubhouse to avoid the “throngs” impacting other players.
As PK began, AJ walked past the huddle.
“Make sure you mention how much money I gave up so they could re-sign you,” he joked.
“Yeah, AJ, the most selfless act in sports,” an observer added.
Among many topics, Paulie was asked whether or not the White Sox were the favorites in the AL Central.
“It’s all on paper,” the Captain answered. “It doesn’t mean anything until you go out and do it. It’s a cliche, but it’s true.
“Until someone knocks them (the Twins) off, they are the champions.”
He was asked about setting and surpassing statistical goals for the season.
“I don’t think numbers. I think about work, approach, things like that,” he explained, making the point between the difference in being focused on an end vs. the means to reach those ends. “We’re talking about results. Focus on how you work every day, your approach, how you’re going to attack each day.”
Then he was asked about what it was like to come back into a clubhouse where so many other players thought so highly of him.
“Allegedly,” he replied. Smiling.
Now On The Tee
Adam Dunn and Edwin Jackson showed up for their tee time yesterday at a local course only to be paired with Hall of Famer George Brett and a friend. How’s that for random luck.
And can you imagine how far Dunn can hit a golf ball?
This from Steve Stone today when told that Omar Vizquel might consider managing once he’s done playing:
“He’ll be too old to manage by then.”
Stone complimented Dunn’s uniform No. 32, the same number he wore while toiling on the mound. The reason? Sandy Koufax, of course.
Very special congratulations to Roland and Margo Hemond on Roland’s being named the second Buck O’Neil Lifetime Achievement Award winner today by the Baseball Hall of Fame. The honor is so well deserved.
Jerry Reinsdorf, who is a board member of the HOF, wanted to be with Roland this morning when he received the news, so he scheduled a meeting with Roland at 10 am at the Dbacks offices just so he could see his reaction.
Roland, as emotional a guy as you will ever find, was stunned by the news. Jerry had to dial Margo for him so that Roland could tell his wife the new. Jerry called me afterward to let me know it was official, and you could just hear the joy and happiness in his voice. A pretty good way to start a day, don’t you think.
Monday, February 21, 2011
With full squad reporting tomorrow, the final day of pitchers and catchers in camp featured our pitchers throwing live batting practice to a few of our hitters who had arrived in camp early.
And that included Jake Peavy.
As John Danks warmed up on one mound, his manager Ozzie Guillen arrived on the scene, shouting, “Give me a helmet, give me a bat.”
Startled, John looked up and then laughed.
“C’mon,” he said, encouraging his manager.
Ozzie passed (although that would have made for good video).
On another field, Peavy and Edwin Jackson prepared to throw to BP stints to Sox hitters.
At first, he drew little attention, but as Ken Williams and others from the organization pulled up in golf carts to watch, more and more media filed over.
Like the other hurlers, Peavy threw two different rounds and then headed in for conditioning.
“Today went well,” Peavy offered. “It was a step in the right direction. I threw 40-50 pitches, just like everyone else.
“Tomorrow is a big day to see how the arm responds.”
Peavy explained that he put a little more on the ball today, threw breaking balls for the first time and went at about 75 percent. He did all that with no pain.
“It’s not how he looks, but how he feels,” Guillen said of Peavy after the workout. “To me, he looked nice and free, not tight. I’m very pleased that Jake was able to go out there today and see hitters. I like the way he threw.”
Following Peavy was reliever Matt Thornton, who was warming up on a side mound under the eye of pitching coordinator Kirk Champion.
“Starting pitchers have to have their special mound,” Thornton teasingly said as he tried his own form of groundskeeping, dragging his spike across the divots made by Peavy and Jackson. The point he clearly made was that “real” pitchers like relievers just deal with whatever conditions they inherit.
Festivites were interrupted by a rare visit to the back fields by assistant trainer Brian Ball.
“Brian, welcome. You like our facilities?” the manager crooned.
Everyone piled on, including pitching coach Don Cooper.
“Brian,” he called out. But before Coop could finish the dig, “Baller” beat him to it.
“What do you need Coop?” Ball asked. “Did you overexert yourself? Are you overheating?”
As pitcher after pitcher took the mound on one of three diamonds, it soon was Mark Buehrle’s turn.
“Mark, Mark,” Ozzie yelled from an adjoining field.
“I’m working,” Buehrle responded, literally in mid pitch. “Shut up!”
Click here to view video of Peavy pitching.
Sunday, February 20, 2011
More rain. More cold. Really cold today.
Workouts were curtailed and pitchers threw off the mounds under a protective roof this morning as White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf made his first appearance of the spring in camp.
Reinsdorf would prefer no one notices, but he does celebrate a certain number this week. Click here to read a nice story by Scot Gregor of the Daily Herald, the longest tenured White Sox beat writer.
“Don’t worry,” I said to Jerry today. “75 is the new 50.”
“I’m not going to live to be 75,” Ozzie added, laughing.
Hooray, because ace groundskeeper Roger Bossard took the ribbing today.
“You think people have it nice in the White Sox system,” joked Ozzie, “Listen to this …
“Ken Macha, manager of the A’s, called my office and said, ‘Is that your car?’
“What car?” Ozzie asked.
“The Porsche in the players’ parking lot.”
“No, why?” Macha and some partners in crime had covered a Porsche with piles of paper as a practical joke, thinking it was Ozzie’s.
“Oh, the Porsche?” Guillen figured out. “No, that’s the groundskeeper’s.”
“The groundskeeper’s!” Macha replied in shock, immediately sending out staff to clean up the mess.
“Not only that,” continued Ozzie (as he re-told the story today he kept nudging and heckling Roger), “He only drives that car when it’s sunny. When it’s rainy, he drives …”
Laughter all around. Poor Roger.
Ozzie Guillen makes his annual spring training appearance on WGN-Tv tonight during the 9 p.m. news. Dan Roan travels out to the skipper’s house to visit with Ozzie live. I wonder if DH, Ozzie’s dog (actually, the dog is probably Ibis’) will make an appearance?