Chicago White Sox

As the regular season for Major League Baseball comes to a close this weekend, stuff (thank god for the White Sox faithful), cure the race to the playoffs is still on.  In the American League (AL) picture, the Kansas City Royals have clinched the Central division title, the Toronto Blue Jays secured their playoff spot with the division title in the East and the New York Yankees have solidified the first wild card spot.  What’s still up for grabs is the Western division title and the second wild card spot.

Currently in the West you have the Texas Rangers, who guaranteed themselves a spot in the postseason last night with a win over the Los Angeles Angels.  The Angels, with that loss, were eliminated from the division race, but they, along with the Minnesota Twins, still have an outside shot at the second AL Wild Card spot.  The Rangers have all but locked down the division with a three game lead over the Houston Astros with three games to play, meaning Texas would have to lose all three of their games while the Astros would have to win out just to force a one-game playoff for the division crown.  Maybe this isn’t the most probable scenario, but as a fan, being able to watch that exciting tie-breaker is something I’m rooting for.

To this day, nothing beats the Chicago White Sox “Blackout” game of 2008 for the AL Central division title against the Minnesota Twins.  Prior to the game, the White Sox and the Twins ended their regular season with equal 88-74 records.  I was lucky enough to score a ticket to this game and it was the greatest baseball game I had ever seen.  There was an excitement in the air at the ball park that was electrifying! The game had excellent pitching by John Danks, who pitched into the 7th inning and a rock-solid closing performance by Bobby Jenks.  The White Sox fielding was amazing including an outstanding defensive play by Ken Griffey Jr. and A. J. Pierzynski teaming up to throw out Michael Cuddyer at home plate.  The White Sox went on to win the game 1-0 on the strength of a solo home run by Jim Thome in the 7th inning.

The reason it was call the “blackout” game was because the nearly 40,000 fans in attendance were encouraged to wear all black during the game to show their support for the team.  I was also told that it was called the blackout game because it was the only game being played in the MLB that night and the outfield MLB scoreboard was blacked out.

What made the blackout game more memorable than any other game in recent history was that White Sox fans were able to celebrate an amazing victory with the team they all loved at home.  As you may remember, the White Sox clinched both the Central Division and World Series Championships on the road three years prior, so for fans this was a time to celebrate with the team and boy did we celebrate with “high-fives” dance-offs in the stands and a big salute from the players.

With a few more regular season scenarios to be play out this weekend, we can rest soundly knowing that October baseball is upon us and baseball fans are in for an exciting post-season.

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I’ve written – and deleted – something like 800 words for this column this week. When I think I’m onto something that’s at least decent and workable, ailment nope. Complete garbage. Or a stretch. Or just plain dumb. So here we are, store eight hours of frustration later, and I had to come up with something.

And look, I know that there is so much great material out there. Yes, an Orlando, Florida bar is so desperate for patrons during UCF football games that they are giving away beer when they play. I did indeed see that Jordan Spieth’s caddy made $2.1 million this season. His freaking CADDY. I also

I love the internet. Image credit: Just Rivals

saw that several NBA players entered training camp debuting new stupid hairstyles. Platinum blonde, I get. But a perm? Really? And we all know how I feel about the high-top fade.

But I just wasn’t inspired by any of it. Maybe I’ve got post-vacation cobwebs in my brain. Or I’m a little bit on edge by the fact that there is a four-legged creature hiding in my apartment somewhere and no we do NOT have pets. However, I get paid the big bucks here at Sports Divas and the show must go on. So here a few things I thought that are (somewhat…loosely…barely?) sports-related. Before we get to that, let’s talk about booze.

I’m what my boyfriend likes to call a “wine enthusiast.” I prefer red to white. I own tools to transform the taste. I’m extremely particular about my glasses. And I even double aerate my wine before consumption. Yes – when I commit to something, I give it 110%. Not dissimilar to elite athletes; I’d like to think of myself as the Ronda Rousey of vino rossi.

After spending the past two weeks drinking (and eating) my way through Italy, I feel a deeper appreciation for wine. I have specific glasses I want to purchase now that I’ve gone to a wine tasting at a vineyard in Tuscany (side note: that may be the yuppiest and douchiest thing I’ve ever written in my entire life). I’m turning more into a Merlot person than a Cabernet one because of all of the delicious Sangioveses recommended to me by Italian sommeliers (side note: and I just outdid myself). And I care a lot more about the ingredients I’m cooking with because I know exactly how well really delicious food can pair magnificently with great glass of double-aerated goodness.

That’s right folks; I get ONE passport stamp and came back cultured AF (are the kids still saying this?).

Alright. Enough procrastination. Here’s why I thought in 25 words or less about some sports stuff that happened over the past week.

Chicago Bears

Jay Cutler got injured in their 92-point loss to Seattle before trading away half the defense and now we’re supposed to believe in some dude whose last name reads as “fails.” This is so fun.

Chicago Bulls

Derrick Rose broke his face moments after talking about his impending free agency (two years away…) while admitting to consensual group sex with the woman accusing him of rape.

Hm.

Next topic.

Chicago Cubs

The Cubs made the post season – possibly because TD Ameritrade don’t raise no fools – but will still lose because they’re the Cubs lol

Chicago White Sox

I saw one Sox game in June where they were down by six runs in the first inning to the Pirates so you can go ahead and check on the yourself.

 

Pittsburgh Steelers

I’ll let my tweet from Monday do the talking.

The Whip and the Nae Nae

It’s over. Please stop.

 

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This week the sports blogs were all a buzz over the potential (or inevitable) dismissal of a few MLB managers. According to a Sports Illustrated story out this week, help Robin Ventura was among five MLB Managers likely to be let go at the end of the 2015 season.  Sox fans have been out for the head of Robin Ventura for the past two years because of sub par seasons. As one of my friends said, advice Uncle Jerry (Reinsdorf) is too reliant on past players becoming managers for the club. Which made me think, has there ever been good player that has proven to be good manager for the White Sox? Let’s take a look the last four managers the White Sox have had to see if their player stats can hold up to their managerial ones.

Terry Bevington
Years managed: 1995-1997
Games managed: 436
Record: 222 W vs. 214 L

Sadly, Terry Bevington had a rather forgettable time in Chicago, and he never managed at the major league level after being dismissed by the White Sox following two and a half seasons at the helm. As a player, he tooled around in the minor leagues for a few seasons after being drafted by the New York Yankees in 1974. He played in 368 minor league games between 1974 and 1980 with a career batting average of .247, but was never able to break into the big leagues. One of Bevington’s more infamous moments as the White Sox Manager happened in 1995 when the Brewers manager Phil Garner and Bevington got into a fight near third base. The funny part of this clip are announcers talking about the overreaction by the player on third base, Ozzie Guillen.  Foreshadowing perhaps…

Jerry Manuel
Years managed: 1998-2003
Games managed: 971
Record: 500 W vs. 471 L

One of the more notable names on the list, Jerry Manuel had a decent career in the MLB as a manager for the White Sox and, later, with the New York Mets. As a player from 1975-1982 Manuel played in less than 100 games over five major league seasons with the Detroit Tigers, the Montreal Expos and the San Diego Padres before starting his coaching career. Manuel’s 2004 Topps card highlights his place in a lesser-known equal-rights milestone.

Ozzie Guillen
Years managed: 2004-2011
Games managed: 1,295
Record: 678 W vs. 617 L

Known for managing the third most games in White Sox history, Guillen was passionate and emotional as both a player and a manager. He was originally signed by the San Diego Padres in 1980 as an amateur free agent before being traded to the White Sox where he spent the next 13 seasons.  Guillen’s passion made him a fan favorite on the South Side while he earned the 1985 AL Rookie of the Year award, three All-Star appearances and a Gold Glove Award. In his later career he was traded to the Baltimore Oriels, the Atlanta Braves and then finally to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in 2000 where he retired as a player at the end of the season. Guillen played in 1,993 games with a career batting average of .264.  In his eight years at the helm of the White Sox, Guillen led the team to a .524 overall winning percentage, highlighted by the team’s first World Series Championship in 88 years.

Robin Ventura
Years managed: 2012-Present (maybe 2015…)
Games managed: 468
Record: 221 W vs. 265 L

As a player, Ventura was drafted by the White Sox in 1988 and was called up to the majors in 1989.  He played for the White Sox for 10 years and spent the six seasons from 1999 through 2004 with the New York Mets, New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers.  At the end of his White Sox days, Ventura had collected a .274 batting average, one All-Star appearance, five Gold Glove Awards and the franchise’s record for most career grand slams with nine.

As you can see from recent White Sox history, a players past stats do not seem to make a difference on their managerial wins and losses.

In January of 2014, the White Sox announced they’d agreed to a “multi-year” contract extension with manager Robin Ventura. No further details on amounts or years were mentioned at that time. My hunch is that these key details were left out of any press release as a potential future exit strategy. There’s only a few more games left in the season until we’ll see what Uncle Jerry will do. If history proves itself in the same pattern of hiring from within the organization, my bet is on Bobby Tigpen who is the current a bullpen coach for the White Sox or Julio Vinas and Tommy Thompson who are managing with White Sox minor league affiliates.  But for now, we’ll just need to wait it out until the final game of the 2015 season to see if 2016 can be a more productive year on the southside.

Who would you replace Robin with? Tweet me your feedback at @colreaney

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Category: White Sox

It’s been a long time since I last spoke to you.  So much has happened in Chicago sports.  Here’s a look at the busy and unpredictable Chicago sports landscape.

Blackhawks keep winning

Blackhawks keep winning

Blackhawks:  They just keep doing what they do best, see win.  They lost their goalie Corey Crawford after an accident at a concert, but didn’t skip a beat.  Patrick Sharp returned to the ice and their winning ways have continued.  Right now, this organization is a blue print for the other teams in the city.

Derrick Rose makes a statement

Derrick Rose makes a statement

Bulls:  So much was written about the man the team needs in order to win a championship-Derrick Rose.  As long as he is healthy for the playoff run I don’t care if he sits every other game.  He is back, but not completely healed so he takes what the defense gives him.  It seems others are following his lead of letting their bodies heal to be ready for the games that matter.  DRose also made headlines when he showed support for the Garner family by wearing the I Can’t Breathe shirt.  Some local sports media questioned his intelligence and motives.  He knows what he’s doing and the implications; please stop insulting the young man’s intelligence.  Pau Gasol and Jimmy Butler are the team’s MVP and Niko Mirotic has been as good as advertised.  Biggest problem besides health is the defense; they’re giving up more points so far this year.

The newest member of the Sox.

The newest member of the Sox.

White Sox:  The south siders are making moves this off season.  They have signed reliever Zach Duke, closer David Robertson and first baseman/DH Adam LaRoche.  They completed a six player trade with the Oakland Athletics getting starter Jeff Samardzija.  Pitching coach Don Cooper was downright giddy after learning about the move.  So they have strengthened their bullpen, starting rotation and hitting; now the question is will they catch the ball or will they throw away games this season.

The first step in competing in 2015

The first step in competing in 2015

Cubs:  Theo and company made a huge splash getting the best free agent pitcher Jon Lester for 6 years for $155 million, $30 million signing bonus and no trade clause.  There are many who think now that the team signed Lester they will speed up their clock to compete and look to acquire a big bat.  They signed pitcher Jason Hammel and acquired catcher Miguel Montero, with that move some expect Wellington Castillo to be traded.  Theo said they aren’t looking to trade him and apparently he told other teams that shortstop Starlin Castro is not available.  Cubs need offense so keeping Starlin makes sense.

Bears leaders searching for answers

Bears leaders searching for answers

Bears:  I saved the worst for last.  The coaches and players are bad, the front office is bad and the field is bad.  It’s just an all-around bad team.  Mel Tucker may be the fall guy, but I don’t think fans will think that is enough.  After this year many faces will be gone, and I’m not sure any of the young players are any good.  Thankfully the misery of this season ends in 3 weeks.

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Looking for a place to hang out with your girls this Friday night? I’ve got one for you – it’s capsule May 23rd vs. New York Yankees” href=”http://sportsdivasinc.com/2014/05/white-sox-host-annual-ladies-night-friday-may-23rd-vs-new-york-yankees/” target=”_blank”>Ladies Night at US Cellular on Friday, search May 23rd.  The game starts at 7:10 pm, and but get there early for the activities like:   Zumba, massage therapy, discount shopping at Chicago Sports Depot, Girl Band performs and a lucky lady and three of her friends will be randomly selected to take a picture on the field.

After all of that fun you get to see the White Sox take on the New York Yankees when the Yankees begin their 3-game series at the Cell after wrapping up on the North Side against the Cubs. This will be the last time you’ll find Mr. Derek Jeter play at games at the Cell, before baseball’s most eligible bachelor retires from the game.  Get a big group together for a perfect girls night out with music, food, drinks, baseball, fireworks and plenty of eye candy on the field!  For heavily discounted tickets to this premiere matchup, head over to www.whitesox.com/ladies

The White Sox are still under .500 at 22-24 and are eight games behind Central Division leading Detroit Tigers.  They definitely didn’t take full advantage of their schedule last week.

Week In Review:  The Sox took game one of the 3-game series at Kansas City Royals thanks to a go ahead 2-run home run by Paul Konerko.  His improving offense will be needed in Jose Abreu’s absence.  The south siders lost two of three against the team with the worst record in the American League, the Houston Astros.  They also lost 2 out of 3 against the hottest team the Oakland Athletics.  They lost games and their young star Jose Abreu.

Micah Johnson

Micah Johnson

Sox Notes:  Jose Abreu was placed on the 15-day disabled list with ankle tendinitis.  The Sox were relieved after getting the MRI results that it is nothing more to the injury.  He will remain on anti-inflammatory medication and wear a walking boot and there is no timeline for his return.  To take his place on the roster the Sox activated the sparkplug Adam Eaton.

Chris Sale continues his rehab and a decision on his return date could come after his next bullpen session.  Closer Matt Lindstrom left Monday’s game with a leg injury he suffered trying to field a bunt.  The Sox are hoping they will not have to add him to the list of the walking wounded.  Jeff Keppinger was designated for assignment and it may cost the team $7.5 million but with the emergence of the youngsters it was a move that needed to be made.  In triple A news, 2nd baseman Micah Johnson was promoted to Charlotte and is looking good on and off the field.

What’s On Deck:  After finishing up in KC the Sox will come home for four games against the Yankees.  May 23rd is Ladies Night and fireworks, May 24th is Chris Sale bobblehead and May 25th is Family Day.

Much improved Alexei Ramirez

Much improved Alexei Ramirez

My Thoughts:  Even the Sox aren’t much better record wise this year there is still something different about this team that gives you hope (not including this past week).  The defense isn’t great, but it is still much better than last year (couldn’t get much worse).  Jose Abreu is emerging as a rookie of the year candidate and is adjusting quite well to major league baseball.  Newcomer Adam Eaton has added a spark to the top of the lineup that reminds many of Scotty Pods from the ’05 season.  Other players like Alexei Ramirez, Tyler Flowers, Conor Gillaspie, Gordon Beckham and Dayan Viciedo have greatly improved their numbers and hopefully have figured it all out.  Those are just some of the reasons I feel different writing about this team.

Chicago White Sox Women's Grey V-Neck Triblend Tee with Navy Batterman Logo by 5th & Ocean, Clark Street Sports: $29.99

Chicago White Sox Women’s Grey V-Neck Triblend Tee with Navy Batterman Logo by 5th & Ocean, Clark Street Sports: $29.99

Yes, I still write a lot about losing, but I don’t feel like the losing will drag on forever like it did last year.  Last year was hard to take and I could be proven wrong by the end of the year, but with the way this team is playing and fighting every game I just don’t think I will be wrong.  Well at least I hope I’ll be right!

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cws_ladiesnight_14 2

Ladies Night at the Cell

Calling all my LADIES…Oh yes, cialis sale it’s Ladies Night at the Cell on Friday, May 23rd!  The Chicago White Sox present their annual night just for the ladies, and this year they gave us a matchup that you certainly will not want to miss: the New York Yankees.

This is the perfect opportunity to grab your girls, kick off the Memorial Day Weekend, and head out to the Cell to say farewell to the “Ultimate Bachelor”, Derek Jeter as he plays his final games at US Cellular.

As if the matchup wasn’t a big enough incentive, the Sox are offering heavily discounted tickets for this premiere matchup. Get your specially priced tickets at www.whitesox.com/ladies and receive 10% off merchandise from the Sports Depot.

Jeter Farewell Tour

Jeter Farewell Tour

First pitch is 7:10, but you will want to arrive early enough to enjoy the pre-game activities.  The Sox organization knows how to plan a night just for the ladies, check it out:

  • Zumba outside Gate 5 from 5:45pm-6:45pm
  • Make-up consultants in section 107, 154 & 156
  • 10% off all ladies merchandise at the Chicago Sports Depot (receive coupon from link to map below)
  • The incredible Girl Band performing outside Gate 4
  • $250 shopping spree giveaway at Chicago Sports Depot to one lucky lady
  • Massage therapists in section 107, 158, 159 & 535

Download event details and stadium map for White Sox Ladies Night 2014 Map HERE 

Another perk this year for purchasing the special discounted tickets? One lucky lady and three of her friends will win a chance for an on field photo opportunity.

After you enjoy all of that go grab a cold one and some of the delicious food at the Cell and settle in for exciting baseball.  It’s the South Siders vs The Evil Empire and as we know these are always big statement games.  With the explosive offense of the Sox and the depleted roster of the Yankees this is setting up to be a monster game for our boys.  Hawk Harrelson said this year’s Sox offense reminds him of the ’27 Yankees, so what better time to show it then against the Yanks themselves.

Fireworks Night on April 25th

Top off your ladies night with a spectacular fireworks display.  At the Chicago White Sox Ladies Night you will get it all:  exercise, pampering, shopping, music, drinks, food, fireworks, the Sox, the Yankees, Derek Jeter and a great time with your girls and ladies from all over Chicago.  Stop looking for something better to do and grab your tickets today at www.whitesox.com/ladies. See you there!

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