White Sox

Photo credit: STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images

Guess who’s back?  Back again…. Colleen’s back….tell a friend!

While I’m very happy to return to SDI as their White Sox blogger, here it’s with mixed emotions that my first blog is on this day.  On September 11th 2001, pharm I was in my final semester at Eastern Illinois University working for WEIU-TV, sale probably planning on covering a small town story in the Charleston-Mattoon area when everything stood still on our small campus and the world watched the television in disbelief at what was happening to our great country.

I thought it would be a little bit of a #FlashbackFriday moment for me to chat with personnel from the White Sox to hear their experiences on September 11, 2001.  With the help of a few great people at the White Sox organization I was able to have a phone interview with White Sox Manger Robin Ventura to recall his experience during the attacks and afterwards.

Ground Zero on 9/11/01 Photo By: www.upi.com

What was your experience like on 9/11/01?

During the 2001 season, Ventura was playing for the New York Mets and was on the road in Pittsburgh to play the Pirates that Tuesday evening.  When he woke up in the morning and turned on The Today Show, Ventura and other Mets players saw the attacks and were shocked.  The Mets players immediately gathered in the lobby to leave the hotel and get on buses to New York.  When they came over the bridge from New Jersey to New York, they could see the smoke from lower Manhattan and Ventura recalled the smell in the air from the devastation that took place at ground zero.

The MLB response to the attacks

Being a Tuesday, the MLB had a full roster of games to be played by all teams.  Right after the attacks, the MLB Commissioner Bud Selig canceled baseball for the evening, and eventually for the week.  I asked Robin what they did during that week.  He told me that Shea Stadium was turned into a staging ground for relief personnel and equipment.  Many firefighters, emergency personnel and other volunteers came to Shea to help build relief packages.  He remembers having one practice and hitting around once, but most of the time the players were sent out around town for moral support to lift the spirits of New Yorkers.  He remembers watching the news often, as everyone did, anxiously awaiting news of survivors from the attacks, which sadly never came.

Shea Stadium Scoreboard Photo by: USA Today

Returning to normalcy, if possible

On Monday, September 17th the Mets returned to Pittsburgh to play the series that was postponed.  This was the first game back for the team and a very emotional day for the players.  The Mets ended up beating the Pirates that day 4-1, which started them on a winning streaking heading home to New York.  September 21st was the team’s first game back at Shea Stadium against the Atlanta Braves and in front of all their fans.  This pregame video from 9/21/2001 encapsulates the mood of the evening.

Robin remembers the bagpipers and the emotion that the game had as it was the first sporting event to return back to New York after the attacks. The Mets went on to beat the Braves that evening 3-2.

I asked him if he could recall any one thing that stood out most for him.  He said that he remembers during the Mets home games there were kids who would attend the game who’d lost parents during the 9/11 attacks.  He stated that watching the kids was really tough on the players and the organization.

In a press release yesterday, Major League Baseball announced that there will be a league-wide commemoration of September 11, 2001 with tributes at all Major League games on Friday, September 11, 2015. This remembrance is part of Baseball’s ongoing effort to honor those whose lives were lost and affected on that tragic day.

On-field personnel, including players, coaches and umpires, will wear caps with a side patch of an American flag during games. All MLB proceeds from sales of these caps will be donated to the 9/11 Memorial and Museum, the Pentagon Memorial and the Flight 93 Memorial.  Home clubs will mark the date with pre-game ceremonies, including a moment of silence, and the “We Shall Not Forget” MLB silhouetted batter ribbon will be displayed throughout ballparks. Additionally, special lineup cards and base jewels will be used for every game played.

The Toronto Blue Jays will wear customized caps recognizing both the United States and Canada for their game in New York against the Yankees on MLB Network Showcase at 7:00 p.m. ET. MLB Network will also feature coverage of the day’s events across MLB in its studio programming. MLB.com and MLBCommunity.org will provide complete coverage of the day’s ceremonies and perspectives through columns, news articles, multimedia and photos across the country.

According to Bob Beghtol, Sr. Director of Media Relations for the White Sox, On Friday, September 11th, the Warrior Watch Riders will participate in a pregame parade, riding the ballpark warning track on their motorcycles with American flags.  Members of the U.S. Armed Services will be recognized on field during a pregame ceremony and take the field to meet White Sox players at their positions.

As I sit here reflecting on the conversation I had this evening with Robin, I’m reminded of the human side of the players and managers we watch on TV and from the stands.  Sure, there are days when I want to throw the remote through the TV in anger at the choices Robin makes while managing my White Sox or sit and stew over the fact that the Cubs may have a good shot at the playoffs (which will no doubt anger me further when their games are on ABC interrupting my #ShondaThursdays this fall).  But for today, one day, we all come together as Americans to remember the lives lost on 9/11 as well as the great unity and resilience that brought neighbors together in solidarity for their country.

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Category: MLB, White Sox

Oh, tadalafil the Chicago White Sox, the team you just can’t figure out.  Every time you think they’re going to take a step forward in the division, they blow it and take six steps back. The Sox are currently in last place and it’s the same consistent issues killing this team:  shaky bullpen and a lackluster defense.

What did I really expect as far as improved defense?  Adam Eaton is an improvement, but other than that, it’s about the same team as last year.  This team hasn’t had a good third baseman since Joe Crede, and that’s sad.  Sox fans, I preach not to compare your team to the Cubs, but I will in this instance.  The Sox have lost one less game than the Cubs and what really makes that sad is that at least you knew the Cubs would be horrendous, but did you really expect this with the south siders?  I didn’t expect playoffs, but never did I think last place.  I know I sound all gloom and doom, so I must remind myself that there’s still a lot of baseball left and this team features the best pitcher in baseball and a potential rookie of the year.

Red Tank Top with Batterman Logo by 5th & Ocean, Clark Street Sports: $24.99

Red Tank Top with Batterman Logo by 5th & Ocean, Clark Street Sports: $24.99

As we enter July it is time to wonder will this team be a seller or a buyer and the answer is, if they have more series like the last two they’ll try to sell everyone but Chris Sale and Jose Abreu.

Chris Sale congratulates Jose Abreu

Chris Sale congratulates Jose Abreu

The Sox are 7.5 games out of first place and 6 games under .500, not a good position, but since no one is running away in their division there’s still time to turn it around (which I say every week).

Quick Review:  The Sox snapped a five-game losing streak with a 4-2 win in Baltimore a night after blowing a ninth inning lead.  The White Sox were swept in four games by the Minnesota Twins.  One of the losses was to a pitcher, Yohan Pino who spent 10 years in the minors.  Although the team hasn’t played well, their rookie of the year candidate, Jose Abreu continues to tee off on major league pitching. He became the third youngest player to reach 20 home runs this quickly.   His 20th home run came a day after meeting with the coaches to discuss him not running on a dropped third strike.

All-Star? Alexi Ramirez

All-Star? Alexi Ramirez

News:  Scott Carroll will replace Andre Rienzo in the starting lineup after Rienzo lost his last five starts.  Minor leaguers Micah Johnson and Francellis Montas will participate in the All-Star Futures game.  Jose Abreu and Alexei Ramirez are in second place at their positions in All-Star voting.  They need your help Sox fans, go to mlb.com and vote.  You can submit 25 online ballots so do the Chicago thing-vote and vote often.

What’s Next:  Mark Buehrle awaits his former team as the Sox head to Toronto for four games against the Blue Jays.  They will return to US Cellular on June 30th to face the Angels.

ballot

 

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With the NBA Finals now finished, medicine all eyes are now on baseball. This is the time of year when many people simply tune-out and wait for the Bears preseason to begin (only 80 days remain until the start of the 2014 NFL season).

The Chicago White Sox can’t make up their mind whether to contend or not.  At times they look like a playoff contending team, sovaldi but two games later they look like the same old losers from last season. As I say every week, there’s plenty of time in the season to make a push if they play like they did in the lastTigers series, but if the bad defensive and offensive team that played the Royals shows up time will run out steam and quickly.

The Sox are a three games under .500 at 34-37 and 4.5 games out of first place behind the surprising Kansas City Royals.

Adam Eaton Triple

Adam Eaton Triple

Quick Review:  John Danks continues to put together a nice bounce back season beating the team with the best winning percentage in the league, the San Francisco Giants 8-2. The south siders were swept by the Kansas City Royals and outscored 22-6 in the three games.  The Royals used big innings to win the games and were helped by poor defense and the pitcher’s inability to get out of the inning.  The Sox took two out of three games from the first place Detroit Tigers.  The offense was able to get to the very beatable Justin Verlander, but they weren’t able to solve the Tigers’ Ace Max Scherzer.

News:  The White Sox have been swept twice in their last three series.  While Adam Eaton has been hot others like Tyler Flowers and Dayan Viciedo have been struggling at the plate.  There were 32 White Sox runners left on base during the Royals series.

Old  friend Buehrle's perfect game

Old friend Buehrle’s perfect game

What’s Next:  The Sox finish up the brief Giants series this afternoon.  Next, the south siders hit the road for 11 games featuring the Minnesota Twins, Baltimore Orioles and they’ll see their old friend Mark Buehrle and the Toronto Blue Jays.

Special Events:  While the Sox are out of town they will host two great events for you and your family on June 21st.  Family Field Day provides families a chance to play catch in the outfield, warm-up in the bullpen, visit the dugouts and take photos around the field.  Tickets are $30 for adults and $12 for kids.  Visit Whitesox.com to purchase tickets.  You can also get in some shopping if you prefer that over the field day.  The White Sox Garage Sale is free and doesn’t require a Field Day ticket to enter.  From 9am-2pm you can purchase game-used equipment, game-worn jerseys, autographed memorabilia and collectibles.  For more information go to Whitesox.com.  Proceeds from both events will benefit White Sox Charities, so go out and have a good time while supporting a great cause.

Family Field Day

Family Field Day

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Ladies, find it’s been a while – but I’m back.  Let me start by thanking The White Sox organization for case 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”>a wonderful Ladies Night!  It was a night that included a walk-off home run, fireworks, massages and the beautiful Derek Jeter.  I talked to fathers/mothers and daughters, couples and just girls hanging out.  I met ladies from out of town who wanted to enjoy the city so they chose US Cellular and they definitely chose the right night.  Well done White Sox, you sure know how to treat a lady!  Now back to baseball…

From Ladies Night on May 23rd

From Ladies Night on May 23rd

Now that we have recovered from the devastating Blackhawks loss and there are over 90 days before football, baseball is in the spotlight and what a time to be there with the return of Chris Sale and Jose Abreu; both of them made an impact in their return.  The Sox continue to hover at or around .500 and are fighting for playoff position in their division (four games back) as well as in the wild card race (one game back).

Quick Review:  The Sox have split the first two games of the series against the L.A. Dodgers.  Losing the first game thanks to errors by Gordan Beckham and Conor Gillaspie.  The south side superstar Jose Abreu has homered in consecutive games, this man is on a mission and knows that there is more he can do when he improves at the plate. The Sox finished the home stand 6-4 with a masterful complete game victory by the ace Chris Sale.  The south siders also swept the Indians and split the 4-game series with the Yankees.

Chris Sale

Chris Sale

News:  To make room for the return of Jose Abreu the Sox optioned Marcus Semien to triple A Charlotte where he may begin working in the outfield to become an even more flexible player.  Alexei Ramirez is second in American League All-Star voting, trailing the great Derek Jeter.  The White Sox could be looking at sending three players to the mid-season classic, way to go fellas!

Alexei Ramirez All-Star?

Alexei Ramirez All-Star?

What’s Next:  The Sox will continue their west coast trip with two more games against the Dodgers and new left fielder and might I add beautiful Matt Kemp and three against the L.A. Angels

New left fielder and a little disgruntled Dodger, Matt Kemp

New left fielder and a little disgruntled Dodger, Matt Kemp

My Thoughts: I don’t’ know about you, but hovering around .500 and fighting for playoff position is a pleasant surprise.  As Rick Hahn and the Sox were putting together this team I didn’t think they would be competitive and who knows where they’ll end up because there’s still time for a swoon.

White Sox Black Triblend Women's T Shirt with Distressed White Vertical "Sox" Logo by Fifth and Ocean, Clark Street Sports: $34.99

White Sox Black Triblend Women’s T Shirt with Distressed White Vertical “Sox” Logo by Fifth and Ocean, Clark Street Sports: $34.99

 

Their bullpen is still suspect due to injuries and their defense can still cost them a game, but it just doesn’t feel like they’ll go through a terribly long losing streak like the Boston Red Sox.  The Sox are exciting to watch because you never know what can happen or who will be the star.  What makes this resurgence even better?  It was done the right way; with a mix of youth and veterans who can teach the young players how to win and persevere through hard times.  I’m not going to guarantee an above .500 record or a playoff berth, but I will guarantee this team will keep you on your toes, delight and anger you.  It’s baseball baby and it’s one of the greatest reality TV shows, so sit back and enjoy every twist and turn.

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He may not be a big name (yet!), see but there’s a few reasons why you should know White Sox prospect Scott Carroll.

As our HAM of the Week, diagnosis Carroll gave up just one earned run in 7 1/3 innings in his MLB debut in yesterday’s 9-2 winner versus the Tampa Bay Rays. He’s the first rookie to pitch a win in the past four years and the second Sox starter to win in his first major league game in the past 14.

The 6’4”, 215-pound Carroll was called up earlier last week from the Triple-A Charlotte Knights, where he was 3-1 with a 1.57 ERA and 13 strikeouts in four starts, to fill in for the injured Chris Sale.

Scott Carroll, http://www.chicagonow.com

The Kansas City, Missouri native attended Purdue University to play football, serving as the backup quarterback to former Bears quarterback Kyle Orton. Carroll transferred to Missouri State University, where he was the starting quarterback and top pitcher on the baseball team. Carroll entered the 2006 MLB Draft and was drafted by the Los Angeles Angels in the 16th round, but did not sign. He was selected by the Cincinnati Reds the following year as the third round pick.

The 29-year-old RHP spent the past eight seasons in the minor leagues, where he is 27-38 with a 3.95 ERA and has 385 strikeouts in 138 games and 107 starts. He moved from the Class A Dayton and Class A-Advanced Sarasota in 2008 to Double-A Carolina in 2010 before being released by the Reds.

He was drafted to the White Sox as a free agent in July 2012, and was sent to Double-A Birmingham before being promoted to the Triple-A Knights. He pitched in the 2012 winter league in Venezuela but nearly quit the sport after blowing out his elbow and undergoing Tommy John surgery.

Carroll returned to the mound in July and had a 3.29 ERA in 11 combined starts between Rookie-Bristol and Birmingham. He wrote on his journey to recovery in the most sincere and respectful way.

He’s persevered, and it’s clearly paid off. The White Sox are on their second replacement pitcher (after LHP Charlie Leesman struggled against the Texas Rangers the prior weekend), and with Carroll’s win, I’m guessing the organization is heading in the right direction while we wait for Sale’s return.

In addition to his pitching skills, he has serious comedic chops:

At first glance, we think Carroll’s looks are very similar to those of former HAM of the Week and Blackhawks defenseman Nick Leddy. The chisled jaw, the scruff, the brown mullet, the hotness, they both play for a Chicago sports team…We could go on and on.

He’s witty on social media, too:

Given his age and his athletic ability, I think it will take some time for Carroll to adjust to the majors, but quite simply, he has the will to win and is definitely someone to root, root, root for.

Follow Scott Carroll on Twitter at @Scotty_Carroll and Instagram at @Scottalexanderc.

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Well Divas, remedy treat the day is finally here—the start to baseball season! Just in time for the home openers (the White Sox opened their season on Monday versus the Minnesota Twins and the Cubs are Friday vs the Philadelphia Phillies), advice we’ve got two stellar guys who nabbed roster spots and who should be on your radar this week: Marcus Semien of the White Sox and Mike Olt of the Cubs, for sale our HAM (s) of the Week. Both of these hot players are definitely reason enough for you to visit the Cell and Wrigley Field this season.

Screen Shot 2014-03-31 at 9.46.05 PM

Marcus Semien and Mike Olt

Marcus Semien – Jersey Number: 5 Position: 2B Age: 23

The 411: The San Franciscan is one of the hottest prospects to watch this season. With Gordon Beckham on the disabled list, Semien will make his opening day debut.

He was drafted by the White Sox in the 2008 MLB Draft after finishing his senior year of high school. Semien chose to attend college at the University of California-Berkeley, where he played shortstop and second base and led the team to the College World Series in 2011. The White Sox must have really really liked him, since they drafted Semien again in the 2011 draft after his junior year.

Marcus Semien, http://www.milb.com

Marcus Semien, http://www.milb.com

He started his career in Class-A, then moved up to Class A-Advanced in 2012, where he had 64 singles, 31 doubles, 14 home runs, 59 RBI, 11 stolen bases and five triples. And last year, he was the White Sox‘s #17 prospect—he was called up from Triple-A to record a single and a home run, respectively, in two games this past September. He was also named a 2013 MVP in the Southern League and an MLB.com All-Star for the White Sox.

Despite his impressive stats, it’s hard to say whether he’ll stay on the roster, but Semien’s active spot is a smart move by Robin Ventura in rebuilding the team for the new season.

He’s versatile (he played at third base during his call-up in September), but he also respects his teammates and seems to be a bit more private—he does not have any active social media accounts. Yet it’s his chiseled jawline and pearly whites that really drew us in. He’s humble and soft-spoken, as he reflects on his time with Fox Sports NEXT at this year’s Spring Training in Glendale:

Mike Olt  – Jersey Number: 30 Position: 3B Age: 25

The 411: The Branford, Connecticut native certainly isn’t new to the big leagues—he played for the Texas Rangers before being traded to the Cubs in July 2013. Olt played for his high school and college teams, the latter at where he was named All-American his freshman year.

Olt was drafted by the Rangers in the 2010 MLB Draft, and played in the Class Double-A leagues before making his MLB debut in 2012. He went to the Triple-A Pacific Coast League during 2013 Spring Training, and fluctuated between the team and the majors due to vision problems. The Cubs have had their eyes on him since 2012, when Olt hit 28 homers and 82 RBIs in 95 games in Double-A, which nabbed him the league’s minor league player of the year. And right now, you should too—those hazels are killer!

And when he’s not on the field, he’s channeling his alter ego:

Like the Sox, the Cubs are in a transition phase, and adding Olt to the roster, under the watch of new field manager Rick Renteria, could be a sign of moving in the right direction.

And don’t forget to check out the SportsDivas team on Fox News today and Friday (including yours truly!) at 8:30 a.m. discussing Opening Day fashion!

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