White Sox Fans Need to Show Up or Shut Up for Tigers Series

Let’s be honest White Sox fans, despite our place in the standings, the Detroit Tigers have owned the Chicago White Sox this year in every sense of the word.  The Tigers have swept the Sox in back-to-back series, crushed us in home attendance and since the beginning of the season have received all of the attention, praise and post season backing from media outside of Chicago.  According to most fans, the White Sox are done and their upcoming series at U.S. Cellular Field will be the unofficial proclamation of death for our season.  Judging by the White Sox attendance the last two home stands, White Sox fans seem to agree.  Heck, if attendance were reflective of a fan base belief in a team, even the Chicago Cubs would have a better shot at the post season this year.

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Chicago White Sox Opening Day U.S. Cellular Field Review

Jake Peavy Chicago White Sox

A week into the 2012 season it is apparent that a new era has begun on the south side of Chicago.  After several months of anticipation, White Sox fans finally had their chance to witness the team and the many new additions to the ballpark firsthand.

This was our time to see a rebuilding team, to say goodbye to some of our favorite players and to formally embrace a new manager with a completely different style in Robin Ventura.  So what were the highlights of opening day? New “must try” additions to U.S. Cellular Field

Read on to find out!

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Crosstown Rivalry Renewed: White Sox vs. Cubs 2011 Begins TONIGHT!

cubs-sox series

North side vs. South side. Red & Blue vs. Black & White. “All In” vs. “It’s a Way of Life.” This is the Crosstown Classic, a series that divides households, neighborhoods, and an entire city for six of baseball’s 162 games every year.

The Cubs travel south Monday to face the White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field for the first three games of the series. With both teams floundering in the middle of their divisions, the series might be the only substitute for a playoff atmosphere, considering the postseason doesn’t appear to be probable for either team (at least at this point in the season).

By Jacob Gregus

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Frank Thomas: The Greatest White Sox Hitter Ever

His number 35 may have been retired on Sunday, but the many stories of “The Big Hurt” Frank Thomas, the greatest hitter in White Sox history, will live on forever.

As evident by the sellout crowd at U.S. Cellular Field, who lined up outside as early as 8:00 a.m. to get a bobble head in his likeness and see his induction into White Sox immortality, the name Frank Thomas and the Chicago White Sox go hand in hand.  Here we examine why.

By: Soxman

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Should the Chicago White Sox Get Manny Ramirez?

As we creep ever closer to the September 1st waiver trade deadline, the Chicago White Sox have some tough decisions to make.  They sit 4.5 games in back of the Twins, with arguably a tougher schedule remaining: ten games alone against the Yankees and Red Sox and another west coast road trip that historically has poor results.  With the offense sputtering, is it time for GM Kenny Williams to take a chance on an offensive spark?  If so, is there any spark bigger than Manny Ramirez?

By: Soxman

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White Sox hosting Blackhawks night at the Cell

blackhawks-white-sox

The Chicago White Sox will host the National Hockey League Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks during “Blackhawks Night” at U.S. Cellular Field on Friday, August 27 (vs. the New York Yankees).  The special night will feature the presence of the Stanley Cup, and the first 20,000 fans in attendance will receive a special miniature replica of the Cup trophy (limited number available).

 Blackhawks Night at the ballpark also will include a special pregame party and on-field parade for Blackhawks season-ticket holders, in-game vignettes based around the Stanley Cup Champions, its history and players, a ceremonial first pitch from a member of the Hawks and special postgame fireworks show.  [Read more…]

Inside-Out Sox Exchange

By Soxman and Paul M. Banks

In a role reversal, our South Side super hero Soxman grabs the interview reigns to lead this week’s Sox exchange, as Paul M. Banks has been completely consumed by the three P’s…Play-offs, Politics, and Pitching (for his local softball team)

In this week’s exchange, our sports media dynamic duo discuss the AL Central race this young season, the CF conundrum, and a new piece called “Maybe or Mirage.”  What is it?  Read and find out.
 
SM: Well I guess you can say two weeks into the 2009 MLB season, it’s pretty easy to see exactly why so many experts had a hard time predicting the AL Central.  Three teams are tied for first place and the Cleveland Indians are the only team that is obviously struggling.  As I said on opening day, every team in this division has question marks and thus far, as we both agreed, the Royals are much improved. 

The secret to the Sox pulling ahead of the bunch will be consistency.  While Sunday’s offensive “broiling” of the Rays was great, the Sox entered Sunday’s game in a fashion reflective of 2008.  They were hitting .218 with runners in scoring position.  With our starting pitching looking fairly solid thus far, it appears as though we must improve this number if we are going to repeat as AL Central Champs.  Your thoughts?
 

PMB: First off, I’d like to say thank you for the introduction and taking the lead in this exchange as I’ve been ridiculously busy this week. We’ve had two exceptionally positive developments early this season: the Indians getting off to a very slow start as you pointed out. Last year they had a wretched beginning and never quite recovered. If they don’t kick it into high gear soon, they could be talking about 2010 by June.

Secondly, Paul Konerko (.341, .388 OBP, 11 RBI) is off to a great start: exactly what he needed after such an off year in ’08. Perhaps you were right about Paulie taking his strong finish down the stretch of last season to then carry it into the start of 2009? Jermaine Dye (.370, .388 OBP, 9 RBI) and  Carlos Quentin (.426 OBP, 7 HR, 13 RBI) are joining him in having phenomenal Aprils too.

I have to agree with you that clutch hitting will be the key. I get sick of Sox fans complaining to me “we’re just too reliant on the home run again, like last year.” There’s nothing wrong with homers…when you’ve got guys on base. The “table setters” at the top of the order in ’07 weren’t able to put out the proverbial plates, dishes and silverware so the “big-boppers” in the heart of the order could feast. And that’s why 90 losses occurred. If we get hits and draw walks at the top of the order (so far Brent Lillibridge leading-off  is clearly not the answer) then we’ll continue to have series just like the one concluded Sunday- one pitch away from sweeping four at Tampa Bay. Seriously, where was this offense last October at the Trop?

Speaking of Soxtober, I just want to throw in a mention that the White Sox had the opportunity to visit the White House today and Barack told me he wants to see them back there soon- as World Series Champions. 
 
 

SM: Among other things, part of the reason for the offensive inconsistency was the lack of a lead-off hitter (leading to Lillibridge obtaining that opportunity) and a somewhat unsettled position in CF.  With Dewayne Wise out 6-8 weeks, it appears as though Brian Anderson has been awarded full-time starting CF duties until he proves he cannot handle them.  Jerry Owens has also been re-called from AAA but appears to be nothing more than a pinch runner at this point.  Making things interesting the Sox re-signed 2005 WS hero Scott Podsednik to a minor league deal. 

The Sun-Times also resurrected the Aaron Rowand rumors last week, and The Washington Nationals floated a rumor that the Sox may have interest in bringing back Willie Harris.  To make things even more interesting, there have been other rumblings the Sox could call up Gordon Beckham and move Alexei to CF.  What do you see as the most likely scenario?

PMB: DeWayne Wise (up until 08) was a career minor leaguer for a reason, I don’t expect him to really augment his game when he returns. He earned the job simply because as the Dave Matthews Band once put it, “they’ll make the best of what’s around.”

I saw Owens go hitless (and remain hitless on the young season) in AAA the night before Easter, when I was in Charlotte. He has speed, but nothing close to the tools necessary to become a consistent major league hitter.

“Mr. Anderson” (cue the voice of the Matrix villain) is on what his 17th chance? 18th chance? I’d like to know when we can officially give up on him and maybe trade him while there’s still has some value. He’s a great defender, he’ll have to continue showing increased patience at the plate, because this is plan A.

Can Gordon Beckham make the jump directly from AA? Some of his towering homers in spring training make that seem plausible. Then again, it’s spring trainin, and owning Cactus League pitchers is a far cry from tearing up Scott Baker or Cliff Lee during the middle of an August pennant race.

In summation, White Sox centerfielders are starting to remind me of Bears Quarterbacks (prior to the Jay Cutler signing) or Bulls low-post players. There’s obviously no blue chip stock in the portfolio, so the best thing you can do is take your collection of junk bonds, and rotate them in a way that you could try to maximize your return.  

  
 

 

SM: Ok so as the Sportsbank is trying to keep postings shorter, we will close out with a new section on the Sox Exchange.  Maybe or Mirage, where we hit 5 quick points on the White Sox and offer our opinion whether it is a sign of things to come or something likely to fade quickly.  Remember, no answer can be longer than 20 words!  Let’s play ball…
 
Scott Podsednik will play CF for the White Sox in 2009.
 
SM:  Mirage.  From 2005 to 2007, Pods played only 10 of 330 games in CF for the Sox.
 
PMB: Mirage. The Sox player with the all-time hottest wife is washed up. This acquisition is 2008 Loaiza signing version 2.0


 
Alexei Ramirez will suffer the sophomore jinx.
 
SM: Maybe.  He’s getting nothing but breaking balls and swinging at everything.  Pitchers adjusted.  He needs to as well.
 
PMB: Maybe. I thought his seeing more time further down the order would relieve pressure and loosen him up, wrong on both counts.

Brian Anderson remains the everyday 2009 CF.
 
SM: Maybe.  What other choices are there?  He’s still a free swinger but is also walking (.429 OBP).  Defense is always solid. 
 
PMB: Maybe. He’s turning into our Shawon Dunston, numerous chances to fall short of years of high expectations.

Mike MacDougal will turn things around.
 
SM: Mirage.  A 12.46 ERA and a 3.23 WHIP.  He’s pitching scared and likely needs a change of scenery.
 
PMB: MIRAGE. I was genuinely angry that he was granted a roster spot coming out of Glendale

The Nick Swisher Trade was a Bust.
 
SM: Maybe.  He’s back.  Evaluate the trade by also looking what we gave up to get him in 2008.  Ugh.
 
PMB: Maybe, well actually a huge certainty. Maybe he just didn’t fit in well with Ozzie and the Sox clubhouse?

Soxman, great job with this new feature! I could see this becoming a regular staple here on the Sox Exchange.

Sox Park will Have Major Upgrades in 09

By Paul M. Banks

Whatever you call U.S. Cellular Field: Sox Park, Comiskey II, The Cell, you must admit the park has come a long way since it opened in 1991. Prior to hosting the All-Star game in 2003, the park began a series of major projects augmenting the park into a warm and friendly baseball-going experience. One prominent detail from 2003, the exploding fireworks within that year’s All-Star game logo, is prominently featured in 2009’s facelift. The same logo catches the eye at the new entrance/atrium at Gate 5.

“It’s something that is our mark because of the fireworks from the exploding scoreboard and you’ll also see the same exploding fireworks on the façade of gate 4,” said Lou Hernandez, director of Public Relations. Fireworks have been a big part of the team’s brand awareness since the Bill Veeck era- when colorful designs shot up to the sky from the “exploding scoreboard” following wins and home runs.

 

Media were allowed to view the U.S. Cellular Field improvements on Thursday, and the demonstration of the team’s new out-of-town scoreboard was another impressive sight. It features dynamic color resolution and up-to-the-second updates on statistics and scores. “It’s all through Major League Baseball’s computer and the advantage of this one is you can see whose up, who’s on base, what just happened and it will flip over to every game in baseball,” said Scott Reifert, Vice President of Communications.

Down the stretch last year, you might remember how irritating and frustrating it was waiting until they posted an update of the Minnesota Twins (or other teams we needed to lose during the pennant race) score, and by the time they did it was outdated. This year, you’ll have a gigantic, enhanced version of Yahoo Game-Tracker available on the wall behind right field to keep you up to speed.

The media tour also included an inside look at the trainer’s room, specifically the new hydrotherapy room at the ballpark. It was kind of like sports bar meets the Sybaris as three massive pools (therapy, cold plunge, and communal hot tub) are centered in a room with four plasma televisions. With all the new upgrades, the White Sox home continues to maintain its place as Chicago’s most state-of-the-art baseball facility.