Penguin Party with the White Sox

Peguins_whitesoxWe all know the White Sox relief pitching has been struggling and now it looks like they’ve ventured to the Shedd Aquarium to find some new prospects wearing the black and white. Or maybe they just wanted something absolutely adorable to throw out the ceremonial first pitch.

I mean, does it get any cuter than penguins on a baseball field? Yea, I don’t think so.

My main concern is why I wasn’t aware of the penguin invasion taking place at US Cellular this afternoon. I would have loved to meet Stanley, the Magellanic Penguin.

Alexei Ramirez, John Danks, Adam Eaton and Jacob Petricka all had some meet and greet moments with Stanley. The cuteness is too much to handle.

Alexei and Stanley

Danks and Stanley

Eaton and Stanley

 

I’m on board with the Penguin mascot idea 🙂

White Sox Wedding Bells!

White Sox pitcher John Danks (he’s been on the DL since May of 2012 with a sore shoulder) popped the question to long time girlfriend Pistol Annies singer Ashley Monroe over the weekend! Who knew major leaguers could be so romantic? I guess it’s not just sunflower seeds and chewing tobacco all the time! Check it out…

White Sox and Tigers Get Ready for a Motown Showdown

Bring out the big guns this weekend boys! After a disappointing series in Baltimore, the White Sox have headed to Motown to take on their ferocious conference rival Detroit Tigers. This series is crucial as the Tigers trail the AL-Central leading White Sox by three games and are vying for the conference crown this season.

Both the White Sox and Tigers are coming off losing series, so we’ll call it a wash. The Tigers haven’t been playing their best ball lately – they were swept in three games by the Royals, whereas the Sox came into their roadtrip after a 6-0 homestand against the Yankees (swept the Yanks for the first time in 21 years) and the Mariners. If Detroit takes advantage of their home field advantage (which they’ve done this season – Chicago is winless in four straight at Comerica Park) they could pick up some serious conference ground. In other words, the White Sox need to take this series in Detroit to prove they’re the big dogs in the ALC.

Here are the three top “musts” the Sox must do to keep those Tigers in check.

1. Pitching

Detroit has their three big mound guns going Friday through Sunday with Doug Fister, Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander. Chicago’s big guys need to show-up and shut-out – I’m talking to you Jake Peavy, Francisco Liriano and Chris Sale. Peavy has the honor of opening the series and starting things off right. This Tiger offense is powerful, the Sox need to maintain and tame it. Also, the bullpen needs to be one their best behavior. No hiccups allowed.  Addison Reed (who’s really performed like a vet when called upon), Nate Jones, Brett Myers, Matt Thornton and Jesse Crain all need to be ready for tight situations.

2. Heat-up the bats

Detroit has some of the heaviest hitters in the league (Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder to throw out some names) and Chicago’s offense needs to heat things up a bit. After some slumping in the Orioles series, the Sox need to see a resurgence from Paul Konerko and Adam Dunn. A.J. Pierzynski has been having a career year and seems to have hit his first major funk of 2012 – let’s put a kabosh on that right now. Also, they need their lead off men to get on base, we’re looking to you Dewayne Wise and Kevin Youkilis.

3. Attack with the gloves

Defense is something a professional baseball team can take for granted – especially with the Tigers. Gordon Beckham and Alexei Ramirez have been making some incredible moves throughout the infield, don’t stop now! The Sox have to allow the Tigers 3 outs and that’s all folks. If Chicago makes defensive errors and allows Detroit freebies to get on base – they can say goodbye to the top spot in the ALC.

Give them hell White Sox! Make it a showdown in Motown to remember.

“Giant Slugger” at the Cell

It looks like a heavenly heart attack waiting to happen.

We’re not talking baseball “sluggers” here. In honor of National Hot Dog and Sausage Month, the Chicago White Sox are introducing a one pound, two-foot-long “Giant Slugger” hot dog on July 4th. Nothing says “independence day” like a jumbo weenie.

Not only are the White Sox introducing the hot dog on the nation’s birthday, but they’re also hosting a hot dog eating contest featuring the “Giant Slugger.” If you think you have what it takes to beat the 19 minute record you should should tweet @WhiteSox using the hashtag #GiantSlugger. The grand prize is legit: four suite tickets, a customized jersey and an autographed baseball. (If you win, please bring me as your date in the suite because they’re awesome).

The Giant Slugger is meant to feed the equivalent of four people and consists of Vienna Beef, topped with nacho cheese, chili, grilled onions, and jalapenos – served in a 22-inch potato bun. White Sox fans can look for the Giant Slugger at the solo hot dog stands near sections 109 and 538.

This massive hot-diggity-dog was created by the same people who brought you the “Boomstick” for the Rangers’ Ballpark in Arlington (coincidence that the White Sox are playing the Rangers on the 4th? I think not).

Happy 4th of July to all and enjoy the “Giant Slugger” White Sox fans!

Is Pierzynski’s Popularity Responsible for his All-Star Snub

This face says it all. When the All-Star roster was announced a certain players name was missing, and it just so happened to be White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski. Let’s just say he’s not very happy with the situation. What can you expect when you’re consistently topping lists like the “MLB’s Most Hated Players.” It’s not rocket science dude – you probably won’t be winning any popularity contests.

The unforgettable Barrett-Pierzynski throw down

Statistically speaking, it wasn’t the most scientific study but, “In a Men’s Journal survey of 100 Major League Baseball players, White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski was voted “most hated player” with 34% of the votes. “He likes to talk a lot of sh**, and I’ve heard he’s a bad teammate,” one National League pitcher tells Men’s Journal. “He’s been a prick to guys on his own pitching staff. Basically, if you haven’t got five years in the big leagues, he treats you like you’re a peasant. He’s that kind of guy.”

Whether you love him or your hate him, Pierzynski is having one of his best seasons in a White Sox uniform at 35 (he’s batting .285, 14 home runs and 45 RBI) and the Sox are even in first place. I can understand his snippy attitude toward his All-Star exclusion.

Fans voted the Texas Rangers’ Mike Napoli (.235, 12 home runs, 30 RBI) as the starting catcher. The players selected Baltimore Orioles catcher Matt Wieters (.249, 11 HR, 38 RBI). Rangers manager Ron Washington, who will be leading the American League squad, also chose Minnesota Twins catcher Joe Mauer (.324, four HR, 36RBI). After selecting Mauer, Washington said he “felt bad” for A.J.

Pierzynski recently expressed his displeasure with reporters last Sunday, “If (Washington) felt that bad he would have put me on the team,” Pierzynski said. “He had an opportunity to and he didn’t do it. Obviously, he can feel as bad as he wants, but he didn’t feel that bad.”

Honestly, part of A.J.’s All-Star snub is a reflection of the poor White Sox fan base. Sox fans haven’t exactly been supportive at the gate this season, which helps explain why his vote total was low.

I know he won’t be heading to Kansas City July 10th for the All-Star game, but lets just embrace the “bad boy” reputation and remember what’s really important here. You don’t get a fancy diamond ring for being an All-Star. A.J. needs to keep playing his toosh off and get himself to another World Series.

We love you AJ

White Sox Get a Steal at Third with Youkilis

Welcome to the South Side Kevin Youkilis! The White Sox made some moves over the weekend to fill their devastating void at third base and ended up nabbing a stud from the Boston Red Sox – it feels like we literally burglarized Fenway Park.

Let’s take ourselves back to April of this year when no one expected the Sox to do anything with their old dogs and struggling bats. Who would have guessed that on June 24 the White Sox would have acquired Kevin Youkilis from the Red Sox for Brent Lillibridge, Zach Stewart, a big wad of cash ($5.6 million to pay the rest of Youkilis’ contract for 2012) and be a contender to take the AL Central division? Oh yea, no one did.

The White Sox traded a utility man batting .175 and a pitcher who was recently sent to the minors in return for a bucket load of money plus a guy who is a Boston legend  and an actual major-league third baseman. WINNING!

Youkilis will take over third base from Orlando Hudson who hasn’t been doing much of anything since he signed with the White Sox last month (he’s generally a second baseman). Like Paul Konerko said, “There is no way we are not a better team with Kevin Youkilis. He is just too good of a player and has been through all the wars and is still relatively a young guy (he’s 33). We just have to keep him on the field. If that is the case, it could be one of the bigger steals of the season.”

Some critics have mentioned that White Sox GM Kenny Williams has made trades for big names in the past, but it has been when they didn’t have any fire left. Although Youkilis isn’t having his best year, Williams believes he’s a “man on a mission” after speaking with him on the phone. I give Kenny props. The Sox don’t have anything to lose, even if the trade is a wash, they’re not any worse off than they were June 23rd.

I am excited to see what Youkilis can bring to the table, but definitely sad to see Lillibridge go. He was such a versatile player, but any sane person would have made the same trade.

White Hot White Sox: From Worst to First

After fifty games in this 2012 MLB season, who’s standing alone in first place of the American League Central Division? I’ll give you two hints – it’s not the fancy-pants predicted Detroit Tigers and it’s not the the Cleveland Indians. It’s our very own Southsiders. The Chicago White Sox, a team that Sports Illustrated predicted to lose 95 games this season, are proving every nasty critic wrong.

How is the team that no one believed in making moves in the tough AL central? Here’s a little breakdown for ya:

*They’ve won eight games in a row, are 12-of-13 and homered in 15 straight games (their longest streak since 2004). Last night the Sox rallied for five runs against Rays’ pitcher James Shields in the sixth and Dayan Viciedo added an eighth-inning home run to push the White Sox past Tampa Bay 7-2.

*Paul Konerko, considered an “old man” at age 36, has a batting average of .386 and having a mind-blowing start this season. As my dad would say, “he’s just seeing the ball.” It’s more like, “Paulie’s hitting like a wild beast!” Konerko’s hot hitting landed him the AL player of the week honor for the period ending May 27th.

*Chris Sale may be all arms and legs, but this young pitcher has a studly throwing arm and is an early candidates for the Cy Young Award. On Monday, Sale struck out 15 Rays players, setting his own career high and finishing one strike out away from the team’s franchise record (Jack Harshman struck out 16 against Boston on July 25, 1954). SALE’S COMIN IN HOT!

*Rookie GM Robin Ventura is giving Dayan Viciedo the chance Ozzie Guillen never did and boy is it paying off. Viciedo, my Cuban brother is nicknamed “tank” for his stocky physique, has been crushing the ball and is absolutely one of the best young hitters in the league. This guy’s proving he deserves to be in the White Sox lineup this season.

*Adam Dunn is a present force this season and is on a hot comeback trail. His slugging percentage is up from last year and he already has 16 home runs – that’s five more than last year. Basically, he’s hit as many home runs this month as he did all of last season (let’s not dwell on the past). The Sox just need him to stay on track and good things will continue to happen.
*Most skeptics figured the White Sox had either given up or lost their damn minds when they hired Robin Ventura as Ozzie Guillen’s predecessor. The guy had never managed a baseball game in his life. However, said skeptics forgot to consider his knowledge of the game, leadership abilities, communication skills and laid-back personality. These qualities are seemingly a perfect fit for this ball club and just what the doctor ordered after last season’s soap opera.
*Impeccable defense doesn’t hurt either. With the help of Chris Sale on the mound, the Sox are definitely one of the top five defensive teams in the American League. Their impressive defensive lineup and swift gloves are what have kept them rolling when their offensive bats have struggled.
For a team no one expected anything out of, I’d say this season has gotten off to a great start. I know it’s still early, but it’s not that early in the season and it’s starting to feel a lot like 2005 to me! The only problem seems to be the lack of White Sox fans in attendance at home games. So get some tickets and support your favorite guys in white and black. Sorry to brag Cubs fans, but it’s a lot more fun to root for the South Side right about now.