As SoxFest is being celebrated this weekend at the Palmer House Hilton, bits of news are filtering out. Here are some of the things that caught my attention:
* Adam Dunn, who last year endured what was arguably the worst season ever for a major league position player, was in the house. A slimmed down Dunn (that’s not him above, but you get my point) said that all the Sox need is for last season’s two biggest disappointments–himself and Alex Rios–to rebound and that would prove to be, in essence, two major offseason moves. He also said he can’t wait for opening day and is putting the past behind him.
* Don Cooper, who Steve Stone called one of the Top 5 pitching coaches in the game, said he sees three openings in the bullpen with Matt Thornton, Jesse Crain, Will Ohman and rookie Addison Reed as the staples going into spring training.
* Jeff Manto, who has replaced Greg Walker as the Pale Hose hitting coach, said (and I’m paraphrasing) he would be nuts not to look to new skipper Robin Ventura and coach Harold Baines for help in dealing with the hitters.
* Speaking of the new manager, Ventura kiddingly said that Cooper is now his BFF as he approaches his rookie year at the helm of the ballclub.
* Kenny Williams put his cards on the table: If the Sox hit, they’ll contend. See Dunn, Rios and Gordon Beckham for details.
* Williams also said we should expect righthanded hurler Nestor Molina, acquired in the trade for Sergio Santos, to be in the majors as early as mid-season this year.
* Joe Crede got the biggest applause when members of the 2005 World Champs were announced. Among the others were Pablo Ozuna and Cliff Politte.
* Ventura said he wants Beckham to have as much confidence at the plate that he does at second base.
SoxFest runs through tomorrow…
My weekly offseason musings about the White Sox and more…
* Considering how much they contributed to the White Sox, I’m disappointed that Jermaine Dye and Joe Crede are still without homes. And I’m hoping the rumors aren’t true that Jermaine will wind up in Cleveland.
*Two B’s–budget and Boras (agent Scott)–have seemingly been major obstacles to the White Sox seriously considering the signing of Johnny Damon. And until today the Braves and Tigers appeared to be the teams most likely to acquire the two-time World Champion. However, multiple sources are now saying that the Sox are serious players in the Damon derby. Boy, would he look good in our lineup.
* Did any of you Sox fans identify with the Saints and their long-suffering fans as they finally won it all? I did.
* Seems like the Twins’ acquisition of Orlando Hudson has convinced the so-called
experts that the Twinkies are the odds-on favorite in the AL Central. I think folks are forgetting that they’ll be playing in a normal ballpark this year. Big difference.
* I’ve been to and enjoyed eight Olympics including three Winter Games–Sarajevo,
Calgary and Salt Lake City. But I have to admit I won’t watch very much of the Games
from Vancouver. I guess I’ve lost my Olympic spirit.
* I finally saw the movie, Couples Retreat. Part of the film, which stars Vince Vaughn
and Jon Favreau among others, is set in Chicago. I’m happy to say that the Sox logo was more prominent than that of the North Siders. Unfortunately, it’s usually the other way around.
* I’m engrossed in the new biography about the great Willie Mays. It reminds me that I’m on record (granted, I was about 11 when I said it) as saying that former White Sox star Jim Landis (pictured below) was a better centerfielder than Mays. No, I’m not nuts. Just a big Sox fan.
* Just a reminder, as I write this pitchers and catchers are 10 days, three hours and three days away.
While Sox favorites Jermaine Dye and Joe Crede are still looking for new homes, a number of other former Pale Hosers are with new teams–for example, Jim Thome (Twins), Jose Contreras (Phillies), Scott Podsednik (Royals) and Jon Garland (Padres). The following is a list of the most recent ex-Sox to sign: one fairly significant, the others not so much.
* The well-traveled, but talented, shortstop Orlando Cabrera is now with the
Cincinnati Reds. For the record, this is the “fairly significant” signing.
* Timo Perez, a reserve outfielder on the 2005 World Champs, signed a minor league
deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
* Josh Fogg, a one-time closer candidate for the Sox, inked a minor league
pact with the New York Mets.
* Lefty hurler Jimmy Gobble, who had a cup of coffee with the Sox, is now with the
Colorado Rockies after agreeing to a minor league contract.
* Catcher Gustavo Molina, not related to Bengie, Jose and Yadier, signed a minor
league agreement with the Boston Red Sox.
* Pitcher Horacio Ramirez, who had a short stint with the South Siders, just signed
with the San Francisco Giants on a minor league deal.