As the ultimate reward for their loyalty, today the White Sox gave season ticket holders an unprecedented opportunity to chat with pitcher John Danks, pitching coach Don Cooper and new hitting coach Jeff Manto. The event was facilitated by long-time White Sox and Chicago Blackhawks public address announcer Gene Honda.
As both a journalist, super fan and yes season-ticket holder, I must admit that this was without a doubt the best reward the White Sox have ever offered their most loyal fan base in addition to an exceptional platform to promote their upcoming Sox Fest event, scheduled from January 27th through January 29th.
The White Sox opened with left-handed pitcher John Danks, who despite going 8-12, with a 4.33 ERA in 2011, is expected to become the Sox opening day pitcher and staff ace due to the departure of Mark Buehrle, who signed with the Miami Marlins in the off-season.
Danks, who signed a five-year, $65 million contract extension over the winter, spoke with the poise and diplomacy that you would expect of a leader. While many fans, experts and sports writers believe the White Sox are entering a re-building phase, Danks remains optimistic.
“While some great players have been traded, there is a lot of talent left on this team,” Danks said. “We may have lost some great arms in Mark Buehrle and Sergio Santos, but we also got some great arms for the future.”
While entertaining a variety of questions ranging from his comfort level pitching to Tyler Flowers to his the prospect of playing a major league game with his brother Jordan Danks patrolling the outfield, Danks even revealed the hitter he fears facing most.
“Michael Cuddyer,” he said. “A.J. and Buehrle would joke I should get the ball when I got him out because it was a historical event,” Danks said.
Danks also shared very candid feelings on Chicago White Sox fans.
“They let us hear it when we do something good, and they let us hear it when we do something bad,” Danks said. “That’s a good thing too because we should be held accountable for the way we play.”
On the season ahead, Danks looks forward to working with new manager Robin Ventura and believes there will be differences in working with his new skipper.
“Ozzie was pretty loud and vocal,” Danks said. “Robin’s style appears different. While I lobe Ozzie to death, he’s all I’ve known. I’m excited to work with Robin.”
UP NEXT: Don Cooper and Jeff Manto