Let’s get it started again…

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7d660eba28252014746b5b96b6d5bc7c.jpg.gifHello again, friends! Having failed to post here for a very long time (February 2015), I have decided to shake off the dust and scrape away the cobwebs that have accumulated on All Things White Sox and blog about my favorite baseball team.

There are many reasons for my having seemingly abandoned this site for so long, one of which would be the very dismal and pointless 2015 baseball season for the White Sox, which was supposed to be a vast improvement over the very dismal and pointless 2014 baseball season!  That didn’t work out so well, and, thankfully, fall and winter arrived and I had the Blackhawks adventures to winning the Stanley Cup to enjoy and carry me through.

Primarily, though, my lack of attention here is a result of devoting my blogging efforts to Down Many Roads. But I’ve missed writing about baseball, and hope that there will be some readers (Sox fans or not) who will jump aboard—again, or for the first time—and share some thoughts and memories about the experiences of being a White Sox fan.

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Minnie Minoso (Wikipedia)

Minnie Minoso and Billy Pierce left us last year, and Eddie Einhorn recently. To say that there are many, many memories to share here about each would be a vast understatement. Stay tuned.

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Eddie Einhorn (wsbt.com)

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Billy Pierce  (Wikipedia)

My goal right now is to post once a week, and I look forward to hearing about others’ experiences as well.

My feeling is that it’s long overdue to get this started again, so let’s do just that!

Until next time…

 

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Thoughts of spring training in the midst of winter’s chill…

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Spring training - A Cactus League game between...

Spring training – A Cactus League game between the Cubs and the White Sox at HoHoKam Park (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Spending the last few days running the trusty Honda snow thrower, and cleaning up with the snow shovel, I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m ready for those wonderful four words: Pitchers and catchers report.

Yep, and that will happen very soon—February 19, to be exact. And a few days later, the rest of the position players will be in full workout mode in the sun of Arizona.

As a youngster, I would forget about my White Sox during the winter months. Not because I didn’t care about them, but because I was too caught up in Indiana high school basketball and following my favorite Fort Wayne Komets of the International Hockey League.

Then, as February got going during those years, I began to see small stories on the sports pages and perhaps a brief mention every now and then on the evening TV sports that Major League spring training camps would be opening pretty soon. I would begin to think about those wonderful spring days ahead, and winter wouldn’t seem so long!

Spring training in those days always seemed so very far away. Sarasota, where the White Sox trained and played their spring games at Payne Park, was way down in Florida, as were most other teams’ camps, but I had no idea about what the fields or facilities looked like. It wasn’t Comiskey Park on Chicago’s South Side, that’s all I knew.

Having never been to Florida, or anywhere else in the South for that matter, I was quite unfamiliar with the lay of the land, other than it must be vastly different from my home in Huntington, Indiana. Places like Pompano, Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Tampa, Bradenton, and Vero Beach sounded like sunny villages far, far away. And, I guess, to a young boy of 11, they probably were!

In my mind, I tried to picture and imagine what these remote, out-of-the-way Florida outposts looked like. Were there palm trees in the outfield? Were there orange groves all around? What did the players do when they weren’t working out or practicing? Oh, so many youthful questions!

Of course, today it’s pretty obvious that the players and coaches and managers report to training camp ready to get another season started. The players, for the most part, are well conditioned and in playing shape right away. Not so in the days of my youth when I’d hear and read stories about players checking in overweight and in need of a few weeks of running and a strict regimen of exercise and a diet more conducive for getting in shape. It must have been pretty interesting to see those players arrive at spring training camp and hit the field for the first time to begin the arduous process of grinding into condition under the hot, Florida sun.

Just thinking about some of my youthful imaginings of White Sox spring training all these years later, has me chomping at the bit for the next couple of weeks to fly by and have all players happily in camp and diligently taking the first steps to becoming a pretty good team in 2015.

The White Sox haven’t been in Sarasota for several years, but I’m pretty sure the Arizona sunshine has done just as well during the weeks of spring training as they did all those years ago. And just as it was about this time way back when, I’m getting excited for the return of the White Sox! What winter chill?

See you at the ballpark!

Spring Training, Vero Beach, Florida, 1994, by...

Spring Training, Vero Beach, Florida, 1994, by Rick Dikeman (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

I’m back and ready…

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U.S. Cellular Field on Chicago's South Side. H...

U.S. Cellular Field on Chicago’s South Side. Home of the Chicago White Sox (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

OK, it’s been much too long since I’ve attended to—or even thought about—this particular blog. With other writing tasks enough to fill up most mornings (when I write), I have been very neglectful of picking up where I left off on All Things White Sox.

These past few months, however, I have climbed out of the doldrums of trying to find good things to share and write about concerning my favorite baseball team, getting an extremely well-timed kick in the rear from the Chicago White Sox themselves!

With their recent acquisitions of Jeff Samardzija, Melky Cabrera, and David Robertson, there is definitely a spark of life in a team that had become mostly irrelevant last year, a year we will not dwell on as this blog gets going again. Suffice it to say, the three above-mentioned players are not just run-of-the-mill bodies pulled from a discard pile. Without a doubt, the bullpen woes we witnessed time and again are already fading from view, and Cabrera’s offensive skills and outfield play will be welcomed with open arms.

Perhaps the promise that showed in the young starting pitching staff, with the addition of Samardzjia, will now reach its wonderful potential, knowing that their quality starts won’t be washed away through the efforts of an inept relief corps. We can only hope. And if those hopes are reached, who knows what other kind of fun-to-watch baseball is going to take place at U.S. Cellular (Comiskey Park, always!)

It will be important for Robin Ventura to be that good manager that many think he can be if the Sox are to make this one of those good summers. Abreu, Eaton, Ramirez, and others need to step it up, provide the day-to-day leadership, and win games they should win, and steal some they shouldn’t!

At any rate, I’m back here and plan to post my thoughts weekly about Sox-related topics from the current team to those from the past. Coming soon: My thoughts about train travel and what it must have been like when the Major League teams got from place to place via the rails.

See you at the ballpark…

English: Outside of Old Comiskey Park Chicago 1986

English: Outside of Old Comiskey Park Chicago 1986 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Beer Mugs & Seat Cushions: Those Great Give-Aways!

One of my favorite memories. Post a couple of years ago.

All Things White Sox...

English: Game action at Comiskey Park, Chicago... English: Game action at Comiskey Park, Chicago, Illinois, USA. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Nail biting my way through another bottom of the ninth inning the other night, as the Sox managed to hold off Kansas City (Kansas City again!) for a much-needed victory, I flashed back many years ago to a game where the fans witnessed a blown save, (I believe Skip Pitlock was the culprit on the mound for the Sox). And in one massive effort that looked as though it had been pre-planned, the large Comiskey Park crowd on Seat Cushion Night showered the entire field with those White Sox seat cushions. Of course, not wanting to part with my own, I remain firmly seated, refusing to send mine sailing off into the night skies.

For many years, that seat cushion hung in my garage and always was a reminder of those many give-aways that owner Bill Veeck made…

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Farewell for a while…

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Alternate logo, introduced in 1990

Alternate logo, introduced in 1990 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It has been exactly two months since my last post here on All Things White Sox, and I am going to be doing everything but completely abandoning this blog for a while. Trying to manage two blogs and give them each the effort they are due has become way too difficult.

The new season has been interesting, and there are many bright spots for this year’s team. There are also some glaring weak spots that have to be taken care of very soon. And though I would love to be able to spend time a few days a week with this blog dedicated to the adventures of my favorite team, I’m unable to do so.

I will be posting now and then and, if the Sox fortunes should turn in miraculous circles down the road, I’ll find more to write about. Of course, there’s always the fun history to deal with, and I will never be too far away from the memories I have stored in my White Sox “archive” of a mind.

Most of this summer, up at the cottage in Michigan, I’ll be working on my next book and several short stories that I want to publish by fall. So to anyone stopping by here in the next few months: Thank you, and don’t give up the ship just yet! I’ll never be too far away from All Things White Sox.

Until next time…See you at the ballpark!

Chicago White Sox Baseball

Chicago White Sox Baseball (Photo credit: Kwong Yee Cheng)

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Opening Day-2014–edging ever closer…

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Mom's barn

Mom’s barn (Photo credit: photo516)

Now that I can actually see nearly 100% of the grass in my front and back lawns, I actually have hope that spring will appear once again. Of course, if past springs in northern Illinois are the rule, it will be cold, damp, and dreary for most of April.

However, simply being  without snow and ice and wind chills in the negatives is something to bang the drum about.

Even today’s rain and fog are OK: No shovels or snow throwers required to deal with them!

U.S. Cellular Field, grounds crew preparing th...

U.S. Cellular Field, grounds crew preparing the field. Chicago Illinois. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Thus, I’m keeping my fingers crossed that Roger “the Sod Father” Bossard and his intrepid grounds crew will have U.S. Cellular Field in pristine condition when Monday, March 31 rolls around.

And, again, if the past is the rule, there will be no doubt that Roger and company will have the field in spectacular condition.

Even as miserable and lousy as last season was, I’m really getting that “itch” for this year’s campaign to get going.

Paul Konerko

Paul Konerko (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Generally speaking, there seems to be a greater sense of urgency during this spring training–to avoid another season like last year–and some new faces are on the scene.

In my next post, I’ll write about these additions to the Sox as well as my thoughts about the remaining veteran regulars: Konerko, Dunn, Beckham, et al.

In the meantime, I’ll keep a watch on the weather as spring officially creeps in on the 20th and use my transcendental powers to send good weather out to Roger Bossard so he can work his magic once again! Go, Sox!

See you at the ballpark

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Call to the Hall for the “Big Hurt”…

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Time right now for only a short blurb about Frank Thomas, “The Big Hurt,” being voted into the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame. I think it is great and that he got in on the first ballot. I had the opportunity to watch Frank from the very beginning, and I always knew that there was something special about his hitting talents. And he served pretty well for several seasons as a regular first baseman, a fact that many overlook when they think of him strictly as a designated hitter.

In the days ahead, I will share my thoughts and memories of Frank’s White Sox career. It’s always terrific when something good happens to a Sox player, and this definitely is something very good. Congratulations, #35. I’m looking forward to writing several posts about the life and career of the Sox’ greatest all-time hitter. 🙂

Season’s Greetings, Sox Fans!

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Alternate logo, introduced in 1990

Alternate logo, introduced in 1990 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

OK, where were we?

When I last posted in late September, after the dismal baseball season mercifully came to a blessed end, I was not a happy person in regards to all things White Sox. In fact, I couldn’t even become inspired to post anything about the memorable players and incidents from the past and voluntarily put myself on hiatus from this blog.

I am happy to report, though, that I have not leapt from any ledges or other dangerous precipices and have actually begun to look forward to those warm days of spring training when hope is in the air and the talk of a winning season is abundant and uttered by fellow fans near and far! I don’t really have any reason to think that the 2014 campaign will be any better other than it really can’t be any worse! 

As I understand things, GM Rick Hahn is attempting to be active in making some deals to fill some holes that really need filling. The other day the Sox traded for a center fielder /lead-off man named Adam Eaton. He comes from the Diamondbacks with pretty good credentials. In exchange, the Sox sent them pitcher Hector Santiago.

I kind of hate to see Santiago go, but, on paper, the deal seems to be something that will bolster the Sox’ outfield defense and provide them a solid hitter at the top of the order. Both of these areas are critically in need of improvement!  As always, we shall see how this works out. But it’s a start, anyway, for the long, long climb back to being a decent and fun team to watch and follow night after night.

I also get the feeling that Rick Hahn might not be finished, either. And having Paul Konerko signed back for one more season is a good thing, too. A good, hard-working guy that he is, Paulie deserves to finish his career as a White Sox player. The Sox fans deserve it as well. 

Now, it’s time to wait out the cold and snow and imagine what a new season might be like and never again think about what 2013 served up. Is it beyond the realm of human understanding to think that the Sox could climb from the lowly depths of last season and be a legitimate contender in 2014? That would be a wonderful Christmas present!

 Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, Sox fans everywhere!

English: The Chicago White Sox World Series Ch...

English: The Chicago White Sox World Series Championship trophy, on display at U.S. Cellular Field during the 2006 season. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Last Call!

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May this season Rest In Peace! About the only good thing is that the Sox didn’t lose 100 games. Safe journeys, Sox players and coaches and manager, as you all scatter to your private lives and a winter for contemplating what you need to do to avoid the debacle just mercifully concluded today.

When spring training rolls around, will you be older and wiser for having gone through this drudgery and misery this season? Will you have it in you to be better? We shall see. We’re still Sox fans, but this season will be best forgotten and never mentioned again!

Peace!

Last Call!!

Last Call!! (Photo credit: get directly down)

The end of the road for this season…Not soon enough!

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Dear fellow White Sox fans who read this blog: September has found our team playing out the string, and we can take whatever we want from all of this, depending upon our state of mind as we scan back over this debacle of a season. Are we angry? Frustrated? Hopeful? Disappointed? (Add your own adjective to whatever suits your present state of mind.)

I happen to believe that there’s room for each of these words to describe this waning Sox season. That said, there’s really no need to spend time writing glowing things about some of the promising youth that got shoved into playing at the Major League level this season–out of necessity.

Suffice it to say that a true Sox fan need not jump off any ledges because there isn’t

English: Chicago White Sox Insignia

English: Chicago White Sox Insignia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

much hope for the future. Instead, there’s much to be positive about. But, only time will flesh all of that out. Spring Training next year should be interesting, and I hope that the Sox will approach it with an attitude better than what they historically have done. I think stressing winning at all times should be the mark of a team, and not just to go through the motions. But, there again, we shall see.

I have been quite lax in keeping this blog up to date throughout the summer, and other than an occasional post regarding past teams, players, fans, and announcers, I will step away from it until next spring when I think I’ll have the anger, frustration, and disappointment washed from my system! I welcome any comments and thoughts from other long-time Sox fans who felt let down this season. What do you think?

See you at the ballpark…