Soxman’s Chicago White Sox Opening Day Diary

WGN 04-01-13

The White Sox just concluded their first home stand of the year with a winning record. Aside from pitching and homeruns defining the team thus far; another thing we know for sure is that the South Side Dark Knight Super Fan Soxman returned for his 8th White Sox opening day to pump up the fans and ring in the new year with local media. What secrets of the day does he have to share?

Read on to find out.

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Spring Sox Exchange

By The Soxman and Paul M. Banks

(PMB)  First off, I’d like to thank all the members of Soxman Nation that came out to give feedback on NBC in Soxman’s spring prospectus. We teamed up to possibly break the unofficial record for comments on the NBC homepage! Primary question out of the gate, what are your thoughts on the development of the kids most people have their eyes on: Jayson Nix, Dayan Viciedo, Aaron Poreda and Gordon Beckham…Of course, we all know these games don’t mean much, but do you like what you hear/see so far?

(SM) Spring training is really hard to get an idea of how a player will be, especially in the first few weeks because pitchers are often getting their mechanics down and even working on new pitches.

Listening to Ozzie Guillen speak, he is very impressed with all the aforementioned players thus far.
Beckham hit a game winning homerun on Sunday and smashed a 420-foot homer off former White Sox pitcher Jon Garland in the second game of the spring.

That said- I still believe he will start the year in the minor leagues.

Aaron Poreda thus far has not shown that he has developed a third pitch and cannot get anything but the fastball over the plate with consistency.  He’s likely to start in AAA as well.

(PMB) In my opinion, the biggest news this week is about starters Jose Contreras and Bartolo Colon being way ahead of their rehabilitation schedule, with Contreras possibly throwing on March 14th (originally he was slated to return midseason).

(SM) He has looked cat-like fielding grounders off the mound which is very impressive considering some said he might never play again after rupturing his Achilles last year.  It is not out of the realm of possibility that both Colon and Contreras start the season in the rotation, forcing an even larger battle for the long relief job.

Clayton Richard looked awesome in his spring training debut.  After the heroics he demonstrated late last season, he has to have the edge for any vacant pitching spot on the roster.

(PMB) Yes, Richard’s heroics down the stretch was reminiscent of the pitching boost we got in August and September of another division winning year (2005) from another rookie (Brandon McCarthy). Speaking of March 14th, don’t you have an event/public appearance on that date in my original hometown of Palos Heights?

(SM) I’ll be throwing off the mound as well.  Likely over 200 bites of Irish soda bread into my mouth as a celebrity judge for charity.  It is for Trio Bar and Restaurant’s second annual Irish Soda Bread baking contest.
It costs $10 to enter a loaf of bread into the contest with a chance to win a trip for two to Ireland! All proceeds go to charity.   Batboy will be there as well signing autographs and posing for pictures.  We hope a lot of Sox fans will come out to represent the Soxside Irish.

Loaves have to be entered into the contest by 12:30.  Judging starts around 2:00 p.m.  Trio is

located at 11845 SouthWest Highway, Palos Heights, IL 60463.  For more information call Trio at 708-448-1900.

(PMB) What have you heard about the new Camelback Ranch spring training facility that our boys share with the Los Angeles Dodgers? Any of your loyal fans made the trek so far? Has Soxman ever done the spring training experience? Flying out to take in the exhibition season is supposed to become more popular and exciting in the future as more teams move to Arizona and share facilities, making the locations more concentrated these next couple years. This will give the fan more opportunities to see more teams without having to travel much.

(SM)  I have made the trek as Bruce Parker but never as Soxman…yet.  It is a great experience as the players tend to be a lot more friendly with the fans and you do get to see a great deal of talent in a concentrated location.

The only drawback as spring training becomes more popular is that prices are beginning to creep up and in the early pre-season games most of the stars don’t see much more than an inning or two of action.
Everything I have heard about the facility has been extremely positive thus far.

There is more than 118,000 square feet of Major and Minor League clubhouse space, 13 full baseball fields and three half-fields.

The shared stadium, where most games will be played, is the largest in the Cactus League with a capacity of 13,000 which includes 3,000 lawn seats, 12 luxury suites and a party deck

(PMB) Finally, we know the Sox invited President Barack Obama to throw out the first ball on Opening Day. The Sox AAA affiliate, the Charlotte Knights have also sent out the same invitation to our nation’s 44th Chief Executive. You and I both have our seats for Opening Day, what are the odds change-we-can-believe in occurs on the pitchers’ mound April 6th? Will the world’s most powerful man stop by?

(SM)  So long as there is not a scheduling conflict with a pressing issue of national security, my gut tells me that the nation’s first fan will be there to throw out the first pitch.

President Bush did it during his first term for the Rangers.  He also threw out the first pitch at the Nationals’ new park last season.  I’ll never forget how he did an inning of color commentary for ESPN Baseball tonight after the pitch and when Joe Morgan said “we won’t keep you any longer, we know you are a busy man,”

Bush replied, “I don’t have nothing else to do right now. I can stay for another inning.”
Of course they accommodated him.

I look forward to it as it might provide an inspirational stimulus for the Sox.

(PMB) Exactly. He had important brush to clear and mountain-biking to do back in Texas.