January 2016

Day 3

Sunday, January 31, 2016
Final Day Activities

Stage 1 – Salon D – sponsored by WGN-TV
9:00 a.m. – Tom Paciorek & Mike Squires – First 175 Autographs
11:00 a.m. – Carson Fulmer & Nate Jones – First 175 Autographs
1:00 p.m. – Carlos May & Jacob May – First 175 Autographs

Stage 2 – Salon C – sponsored by Comcast SportsNet
9:00 a.m. – Alex Avila & Erik Johnson – First 125 Autographs
11:00 a.m. – Carl Everett & Willie Harris – First 250 Autographs
1:30 p.m. – Jose Contreras – First 250 Autographs

Stage 3 – Salon C – sponsored by Miller Lite
9:00 a.m. – Avisail Garcia – First 250 Autographs
11:00 a.m. – Chet Lemon – First 250 Autographs
1:30 p.m. – Zach Putnam & Daniel Webb – First 250 Autographs

Stage 4 – Salon C
9:00 a.m. – Melky Cabrera – First 250 Autographs
1:00 p.m. – Adam Engel, Ron Kittle & Trey Michalczewski – First 250 Autographs

Stage 5 – Salon B – sponsored by Hilton Chicago
9:00 a.m. – Chris Sale – First 100 Autographs
10:30 a.m. – Harold Baines & Kirk McCaskill – First 125 Autographs
12:00 p.m. – Eddy Alvarez & Tim Anderson – First 125 Autographs
Photo Stage 1 – Salon D – sponsored by Beggars Pizza
9:30 a.m. – Nate Jones – First 125 Photos
11:00 a.m. – Avisail Garcia – First 125 Photos
12:30 p.m. – Tyler Saladino – First 100 Photos
1:30 p.m. – Kirk McCaskill – First 100 Photos

Photo Stage 2 – Salon B
9:30 a.m. – Willie Harris with the 2005 World Series Trophy – First 125 Photos
11:00 a.m. – Jose Contreras with the 2005 World Series Trophy – First 125 Photos
1:00 p.m. – Tom Paciorek – First 100 Photos
2:00 p.m. – Carl Everett with the 2005 World Series Trophy – First 125 Photos
Kids Only (ages 3-14)
Autographs – Salon A – sponsored by Comcast SportsNet
11:00 a.m. – Robin Ventura – First 100 Autographs
12:00 p.m. – Don Cooper & Todd Steverson – First 100 Autographs
1:30 p.m. – Tyler Saladino – First 100 Autographs

Photos – Salon A – sponsored by Comcast SportsNet
10:00 a.m. – Jose Abreu – First 100 Photos

Little Sluggers Field – Salon A
9:45 a.m. – Stretching with Southpaw
10:00 a.m. – Robin Says with Robin Ventura
11:00 a.m. – Fielding Clinic with Carlos May & Jacob May
12:00 p.m. – Hitting Clinic with Ron Kittle
1:00 p.m. – Pitching Clinic with Carson Fulmer & Zach Putnam
2:00 p.m. – Conditoning Clinic with Allen Thomas
Continental Ballroom
10:00 – 10:45 a.m. – The White Sox Farm System – Phil Rogers with Buddy Bell, Nick Capra & Nick Hostetler
11:00 – 11:45 a.m. – The Training Room: Keeping World Class Athletes in the Game – Ed Farmer with Herm Schneider & Allen Thomas
12:00 – 12:45 p.m. – Sox Style: A Look Back at White Sox Uniforms and the Men Who Wore Them – Connor McKnight with Harold Baines, Ed Farmer, Carlos May & Tom Paciorek
1:00 – 1:45 p.m. – Chess Game on the Mound – Jason Benetti with Don Cooper, Erik Johnson, Nate Jones & Dioner Navarro
2:00 – 2:45 p.m. – Down on the Farm – Jason Benetti with Eddy Alvarez, Tim Anderson & Carson Fulmer
Day 2 Review
Kids Only Press Conference
One of the highlights of this year’s SoxFest was yesterday’s Kids Only Press Conference which saw youngsters from the age of five and up enjoy the unique opportunity to pose questions to three of their Sox heroes–Chris SaleJose Abreu and Adam Eaton. WMAQ’s Zoraida Sambolin served as both the moderator and interpreter for Jose.
So, what did we learn from the kids’ questions? You might be surprised at all the interesting nuggets that came out of the session.
We learned the following about Sale…
* The day that Chris was drafted by the Sox he was excited because it was his dream to pitch in the major leagues. He was surrounded by family and friends–and food.
* Sale’s greatest influence was his Dad, who had him playing baseball when he was practically in diapers and built a mound in the backyard.
* Sale talked about setting the franchise record for single-season strikeouts in 2015. He said he’s not big on stats, but it was exciting to go through the entire process and to see how electric the ballpark was. Chris said whenever something monumental like that happens, he goes back to when he was a kid and dreaming about making it to the majors. He said he appreciates it, but there’s more work for him to do.
* Answering a question from a youngster who changed his number from 22 to Sale’s 49 after seeing him pitch, Chris told him not to throw the curve ball at a young age even though his friends are doing it. He told the young man to just have fun because it’s “the funnest time you’ll have in baseball.”
* When asked what he’d be doing if he weren’t playing baseball, Sale said “I kind of threw my eggs in one basket, but I would be a one-man traveling Karaoke singer.”
* Chris admitted that he gets nervous before every game. He said it’s like right before you get married or take a test. You’re prepared, but always a little bit nervous.
* Sale’s favorite pitcher growing up was Randy Johnson. “I learned a lot from him, one pitch into a game or 120 pitches into the game, he had no intention of letting anything bad happen. Whether things were good, bad or it was Game 7, he was the same guy.”
* In addressing the Sox’ need to add to their current roster, Chris said that too much attention is paid to names and stats. It’s more important, he said, to have good team chemistry and putting the right pieces together with everyone having the same goal in mind.

* Chris said that pitching and defense wins games and if the Sox score three runs when he’s on the mound “we should win. If not, it’s my fault.”

* Sale told the youngsters that he gets excited, never scared, about facing the best players. “My gears get going facing (Miguel) Cabrera and (Mike) Trout. You find out what you’re made of. You can’t be the best without beating the best.”
* “When we win,” Chris said. “The music is playing, we’re having a good time in the clubhouse, joking, we usually have a ceremony. When we lose not so much.”
Here is the inside info we learned about Abreu…
* Jose’s greatest influence is his mother. When he was playing ball in Cuba, he asked his Mom to choose his number. That’s why he wears No. 79.
* Abreu talked emotionally about how difficult it was leaving Cuba and his son, but he left to play in the United States to make his mother proud. He also spoke about how grateful he is to MLB and the White Sox for helping him make the trip to Cuba during the offseason and to reunite with his son. Now back in the States, he admitted that when little ones are around he misses his son more.
* Asked what he would be doing if he wasn’t playing baseball, Jose said he would “attempt” to play soccer and even though he’s not that good, he would try.
* What was Abreu’s greatest home run? He answered, “the birth of my son.”
* Talking about the 2016 White Sox, Jose said he’s very confident. He didn’t promise the playoffs, but vowed to work hard to give the fans what they deserve.
* Abreu was asked who his best friend is on the team. Even though Eaton playfully raised his hand, Jose said, “all the guys are my best friends.”
* In answer to a youngster’s question about winning and losing, Abreu explained, “When we win we’re happy, when we lose it’s a very sad situation and we go home upset.”
Eaton? Let’s look at what we found out…
* Adam put together a neighborhood baseball league for a short time with his friends. His Mom even sang the National Anthem before the games.
* Eaton said that the greatest influence in his life has been his father, who knew he was going to be short and taught him to play to compensate for the lack of height with speed, etc. “Credit goes to him.” Players that have inspired Adam are former major leaguer Kenny Lofton, who once played for the Sox, and Hall of Fame legend Yogi Berra. Lofton because he played for the Indians, the Ohio native’s favorite team growing up and the fact he wore chains and cool Nikes. Yogi because of his small physical stature and his 10 World Series rings–the ultimate winner.
* Adam on the 2016 Sox: “I like the roster we have. We’ve got tremendous baseball players and better people. If we jell as a team we’ll be just fine. It boils down to getting the job done.”
* Like Sale and Abreu, Adam was asked what he would be doing if he wasn’t playing baseball. “I would love to be an occupational therapist, working with people who are learning motor skills.”
* Adam’s favorite retired players are Lofton and Jim Thome.
* Eaton on playing video games:  “I played Sega Starfox in high school and today I like Call of Duty.
* Adam’s favorite hobby is fishing. “It’s nice to be able to throw a line in, relax and unwind.”
* A youngster asked Eaton who would he most like to high-five, Adam replied, “You.” And then he called the youngster to the stage.
* Adam: “Winning is like celebrating everyone’s birthday.”
* Eaton playfully talking about new teammate Todd Frazier: “He’s definitely an East Coast guy, I feel like I’m talking to the Mafia.”
World Series Memories
Sitting behind the 2005 World Series Trophy, White Sox World Champions Willie HarrisJose Contreras and Carl Everett talked about the Sox championship season and took questions from the fans. Sox public address announcer Gene Honda served as the moderator.
Everett talked about how the ’05 team was underrated and as a group stuck together no matter what. He added that no one person ran the clubhouse–“we were all in it for each other.” 
Contreras, who said Orlando “El Duque” Hernandez was his closest confidant, pointed out that the biggest reason the Sox won is that they were a close, united team. 
Harris, who said he learned a lot from Everett and went to him if he had issues, said Carl added a fire to the team. Willie also added that manager Ozzie Guillen kept the team loose and pointed out that everybody on the team was influential, but Ozzie drove the truck well. When the Sox were losing and heads were down, the skipper did a lot.
Harris, a reserve player who entered the game in the eighth inning as a pinch-hitter, singled and scored the winning (and only) run in the decisive Game 4 of the 2005 Series, talked about the moment.
“I was sitting on the bench for eight innings, watching the ballgame. Ozzie said, ‘Willie, you ready?’ and I told him, ‘You want to win, put Willie in.’ I had no idea what would happen. I was scared as hell. I knew I wasn’t going to give my bat away, I’m going to give it all I got. I also got the support from everybody, everybody on the roster was as important as Paul Konerko and Mark Buehrle. You’re more comfortable because you know they’re there for you.”
Well, the rest is history. Willie scored on Jermaine Dye‘s base hit to give the Sox a 1-0 victory and a World Series title. 
Harris is back in the organization as a minor-league hitting coach.
Family Feud White Sox Style: Old School vs. New School
The White Sox played Family Feud during one of the seminars yesterday, pitting the Old School Sox (Tom PaciorekRon KittleMike Squires and Darrin Jackson and a fan chosen from the audience) vs. the New School Sox (represented by Dan JenningsZach PutnamAvi Garcia, a fan and WGN’s Pat Tomasulo). Chicago comedian Pat McGann played the host role.
For the record, the New School Sox were the winners.
Memories of 1993
Bo Jackson and righty pitcher Kirk McCaskill presided over a seminar with WGN’s Rich King and talked primarily about the 1993 American League West Champions. 
Bo said 1993 was “a fun year with everybody enjoying baseball and the South Side was happy.” Kirk said the Sox were a great team and thought they were going to beat the Blue Jays, but it never happened. McCaskill also talked about all the characters on that team and that for five years after he left he still heard teammate Ozzie’s voice.
Kirk, who went on record saying that “Bo is the greatest athlete who ever walked on this planet” also talked about his own ping-pong prowess, having the distinction of beating both Bo and Michael Jordan. McCaskill also was surprised by someone in the audience who asked about that talent. As it turned out that questioner was none other than Robin Ventura, who was Kirk’s teammate with the Sox.
Bo also addressed his rehab after a hip replacement:
“Rehabbing wasn’t hard. I pride myself on being mentally tough. It bothered me the first two months and it was annoying to listen to people saying I’m done. But I’ve always had the mindset that I never allow someone to tell me what I can’t or can’t do. Getting back to playing was easy. I just wasn’t the fastest guy on the field anymore.”
Frank-ly Speaking
Hall of Famer Frank Thomas, the greatest hitter in Sox franchise history, answered questions at a seminar with Hawk Harrelson moderating. 
What did we hear from Frank?
* Harrelson said Thomas could do everything on a baseball field except throw. “Know your role,” Big Hurt replied with a laugh. “I was here to hit.”
* A native of Columbus, Georgia, Frank said he was an Atlanta Braves and rooted for Brave players Dale Murphy, who stood out to him, Bob Horner and of course Hank Aaron. He was also a Dave Winfield fan. 
*The toughest pitchers The Big Hurt faced in his career were Jeff NelsonRandy Johnson when he was at the top of his game and Pedro Martinez.
* His thoughts on being a Hall of Famer: “It’s a humbling feeling. It’s the first thing people say when they see you: ‘You’re a Hall of Famer.’
It’s important to note that Frank is now a special assistant to the corporate side of the Sox business operation.
SoxFest Day 2 Photos of the Day
It was another day of fun activity at SoxFest. Here’s a sampling: Fun and games at Southpaw’s Suite; prospect Eddy Alvarez and Tyler Saladino conduct a kids clinic; a young fan takes a selfie with John DanksSox fans look for bargains at the Garage Sale; and never estimate the loyalty of White Sox fans as this bride and groom make a stop on their way to their honeymoon.

Day 2



January 30, 2016

Today’s Activities


Stage 1 – Salon D – sponsored by WGN-TV
9:00 a.m. – Jose Contreras, Carl Everett & Willie Harris – First 175 Autographs
10:30 a.m. – Ed Farmer, Darrin Jackson & Steve Stone – First 100 Autographs
11:30 a.m. – Chet Lemon & Mike Squires – First 175 Autographs
1:30 p.m. – Carson Fulmer, Jacob May & Trey Michalczewski – First 175 Autographs
3:00 p.m. – Ron Kittle & Tom Paciorek – First 175 Autographs

Stage 2 – Salon C – sponsored by Comcast SportsNet
9:00 a.m. – Adam Eaton & Avisail Garcia – First 250 Autographs
11:00 a.m. – Dan Jennings & Nate Jones – First 250 Autographs
1:00 p.m. – Alex Avila & Dioner Navarro – First 250 Autographs

Stage 3 – Salon C – sponsored by Miller Lite
9:00 a.m. – Bo Jackson * – First 250 Autographs
*While Bo is not able to sign memorabilia, he will sign SoxFest photos of fans posed with him or a complimentary 8″x10″ action photo provided by the White Sox.
11:00 a.m. – Kirk McCaskill & Robin Ventura – First 250 Autographs
1:00 p.m. – Jose Abreu – First 250 Autographs

Stage 4 – Salon C
9:00 a.m. – Chris Sale – First 250 Autographs
11:00 a.m. – Erik Johnson & Tyler Saladino – First 250 Autographs
1:00 p.m. – Frank Thomas – First 250 Autographs

Stage 5 – Salon B – sponsored by Hilton Chicago
9:00 a.m. – Zach Putnam & Daniel Webb – First 125 Autographs
11:30 a.m. – Eddy Alvarez, Tim Anderson & Adam Engel – First 125 Autographs
1:00 p.m. – Todd Steverson – First 125 Autographs
2:30 p.m. – Melky Cabrera – First 125 Autographs


Photo Stage 1 – Salon D – sponsored by Beggars Pizza
10:00 a.m. – John Danks – First 125 Photos
11:30 a.m. – Melky Cabrera – First 125 Photos
1:00 p.m. – Adam Eaton – First 125 Photos
3:00 p.m. – Chet Lemon & Steve Stone – First 125 Photos

Photo Stage 2 – Salon B
9:30 a.m. – Harold Baines – First 100 Photos
10:30 a.m. – Adam Engel & Carson Fulmer – First 100 Photos
11:30 a.m. – Avisail Garcia & Dioner Navarro – First 100 Photos
1:00 p.m. – Carl Everett with the 2005 World Series Trophy – First 125 Photos
2:30 p.m. – Dan Jennings – First 125 Photos

(Kids Only: ages 3-14)
Autographs – Salon A – sponsored by Comcast SportsNet
9:30 a.m. – John Danks – First 50 Autographs
1:00 p.m. – Ken Harrelson – First 100 Autographs
2:00 p.m. – Harold Baines – First 100 Autographs

Photos – Salon A – sponsored by Comcast SportsNet
12:00 p.m. – Daniel Webb – First 100 Photos

Little Sluggers Field – Salon A
10:00 a.m. – Fielding Clinic with Eddy Alvarez & Tyler Saladino
12:00 p.m. – Hitting Clinic with Todd Steverson
12:45 p.m. – Mazda Pride Crew Kids Relay Race with Alex Avila
1:30 p.m. – Clinic with Nick Capra & Nick Hostetler

Kids Only Press Conference – Continental Ballroom
11:00 – 11:45 a.m. – Zoraida Sambolin with Jose Abreu, Adam Eaton & Chris Sale


Continental Ballroom
10:00 – 10:45 a.m. – Your 2016 White Sox – Ken Harrelson with Rick Hahn and Robin Ventura
11:00 – 11:45 a.m. – Kids Only Press Conference – Zoraida Sambolin with Jose Abreu, Adam Eaton & Chris Sale
12:00 – 12:45 p.m. – 2005 World Series Memories – Gene Honda with Jose Contreras, Carl Everett & Willie Harris
1:00 – 1:45 p.m. – Old School vs. New School Family Feud – Pat McGann with Avisail Garcia, Dan Jennings, Zach Putnam & Pat Tomasulo vs. Darrin Jackson, Ron Kittle, Tom Paciorek & Mike Squires
2:00 – 2:45 p.m. – A Look Back: ’93 Memories – Rich King with Bo Jackson & Kirk McCaskill
3:00 – 3:45 p.m. – Beat Writers’ Banter – Darrin Jackson with Scot Gregor, Dan Hayes, Colleen Kane, Scott Merkin & Daryl Van Schouwen

Waldorf Room – 3rd Level
3:00 – 3:45 p.m. – A Conversation with Hall of Famer Frank Thomas – Ken Harrelson with Frank Thomas – PRIVATE SESSION PREMIUM UPGRADE


Day 1 Review
Opening Ceremonies
Sox public address announcer Gene Honda served as the MC, Southpaw kicked off the festivities with a dramatic run up the runway to the stage and 40 members of the Sox were introduced to an estimated 1100 tried and true White Sox fans in the Opening Ceremonies at SoxFest yesterday afternoon in the International Ballroom at the Hilton Chicago.
Sox past, present and future were center stage and were introduced and greeted with enthusiastic applause. The group included former Sox stars Ron Kittle, Chet Lemon, Kirk McCaskill, Harold Baines, Bo Jackson, Jose Contreras, Carl Everett, Willie Harris and Carlton Fisk, GM Rick Hahn, amateur scouting director Nick Hostetler, radio broadcasters Ed Farmer and Darrin Jackson, new TV voice Jason Benetti, TV broadcasters Steve Stone and Hawk Harrelson, pitching coach Don Cooper, hitting coach Todd Steverson, manager Robin Ventura, top Sox prospects Tim Anderson, Eddy Alvarez, Adam Engel, Carson Fulmer, Jacob May and Trey Michalczewski plus 2016 White Sox Alex Avila, Melky Cabrera, John Danks, Adam Eaton, Avi Garcia, Dan Jennings, Erik Johnson, Nate Jones, Dioner Navarro, Zach Putnam, Tyler Saladino, Daniel Webb, Todd Frazier, Jose Abreu and Chris Sale.
Jose received a framing commemorating his accomplishment in 2015 of being only the second player in big-league history (Albert Pujols) to hit 30 homers and drive in 100 runs in his first two seasons. Sale was presented with a ring in honor of setting the franchise’s all-time single-season strikeout mark.

More O.C. highlights
The Sox will be celebrating the 25th anniversary of the ballpark this season and during the opening ceremonies a video was shown of highlights through the years, leading up to 2016.
This season’s retro racers were also revealed, representing four of the finest Sox players who have performed during this era–Ozzie Guillen, Jack McDowell, Magglio Ordonez and Hall of Famer Frank Thomas.
The club also paid tribute to two Sox legends who passed away in 2015–Minnie Minoso and Billy Pierce–and acknowledged the deaths of former Sox Jim McAnany, Walt “No Neck” Williams and Jim O’Toole.
Closing the out the ceremonies was the introduction of adorable five-year-old Sox fan Drew Duszynski (shown below with Saladino and Garcia) who recently had a kidney transplant from of all people, a Cubs fan.


Photos Aplenty

There were certainly myriad photo ops yesterday among the media availability, opening ceremonies photo and autograph sessions and othe activities. Here are a few below, in order: Frazier enjoying his time with a young fan, Sale chatting with the media, a group of Sox assembling for a short break after meeting with reporters, prospects Anderson, May and Michalczewski hamming it up for the camera, Lemon talking about his days with the White Sox, the retro racers guarding the memorabilia case and a nice tribute to Minoso and Pierce.








SoxFest Day 1 Quotes of the Day

–Hahn on the ’16 Sox:
“We are pleased with where the team sits. A year ago there was a fair amount of optimism and frankly we’re a stronger team…and we’re not done. We’ve been extremely aggressive and creative and doing everything we can to win.”
–Ventura on avoiding another slow start by perhaps making some changes in Spring Training:
“Maybe you can have guys play longer in games, having them play six innings instead of three and have the lineup play together more.”
–Lemon on beginning his career with the Sox:
“I had the opportunity to play in the big leagues at 20-years-old with the Sox, playing with vets like Ralph Garr and Richie Zisk. I realized I’d have to work really hard to play in the majors.”
–Fisk, when asked to compare Sale to pitchers in his era and to predict the lefty’s future:
“Back in the day, nobody threw like Chris Sale with that angle–he just shoots the ball up there. He’s not going to have better stuff, but his experience should allow him to learn more about himself and the process of what it takes to get someone out.”
–Frazier on batting in the same lineup as Abreu:
“I’m looking forward to protecting the big guy.”

Photo of the Day
The #SoxSocial Lounge is definitely the place to be.

Sox Annual Family Reunion Gets Underway Today


Friday, January 29, 2016

Today’s News

Everything You Need to Know About SoxFest 2016


A SoxFest Press Conference For Kids Only


Faces of the Franchise

More than 40 White Sox, including front office execs, manager Robin Ventura, coaches and former, current and future Sox players will be front and center at SoxFest beginning today at the Hilton Chicago.

Among those players scheduled to appear (and pictured below in order) are newly-acquired All-Star Todd Frazier, ace Chris Sale, premier slugger Jose Abreu, top prospect Tim Anderson and Sox legends Bo Jackson, Chet Lemon and Hall of Famer Frank Thomas. A full list of the scheduled attendees are included in the schedule above.


Quote of the Day

Sox Director of Public Relations Sheena Quinn on SoxFest:

We are celebrating the 25th anniversary of the ballpark, so we wanted to make sure that we brought in guys from all generations and eras of White Sox baseball. It’s going to be a nice range of people…(Attendance) has definitely exceeded what we thought our goals would be. We are really excited about the number of people.

Sox Spring Training Update

–Non-Roster invitees to Spring Training:


–New Sox Spring Training uniforms:


–Check out the Sox Spring Training broadcast schedule shown below. Jason Benetti and Steve Stone will be behind the mic.


RIP No Neck

–Outfielder Walt “No Neck” Williams, a fan favorite on the South Side from 1967-1972 during a 10-year major-league career, passed away January 23 at the age of 72.


Photo of the Day

And the fun begins…