I’ve pretty much neglected this poor blog for the past month. Yet somehow I’m still number 36 on the Latest Leaders. So thank you whoever comes here and sees nothing new. I love you. :) Also, this is my 200th entry. Figures it’s about my favorite player ever.
Since I last wrote, there have been lots of baseball games. Go figure! The Sox aren’t looking terribly lovely, as they have a 16-22 record (as of Wednesday afternoon) and are sitting at third in the AL Central behind Minnesota (24-15) and Detroit (22-17). Most of the guys aren’t hitting, and the starting pitching looked atrocious for the most part. The Sox need to turn things around and quickly, especially due to the rumor I’ve been hearing that makes my heart break.
The Rangers (and apparently two other teams) have inquired about AJ Pierzynski.
For those of you who are new to my blog, I love AJ. A lot. As evidenced by my URL, my picture, my Twitter handle, the direct link to my Facebook profile, etc. etc. etc. I was probably the only person in San Francisco who LOVED him in 2004. He’s the reason I started watching baseball regularly and why I am absolutely in love with the sport. Then he came to my White Sox, my favorite team, and my love was absolutely solidified.
Now AJ hasn’t been hitting terribly well this season. Most of the Sox haven’t been hitting terribly well this season, but the rest of them aren’t, that I’m aware of, being checked out by three teams. Since none of my boys are hitting and they’re certainly not winning, there is a possibility that AJ could leave the South Side.
DO. NOT. WANT.
Depending on what the Sox would get for him, it might be good for the team. I don’t know. But it makes me physically ill to admit that. If the Sox don’t re-sign him after the season, I’ll cry, but I’ll survive. But trading him is somehow different for me. It’s like they’d be saying, “We’re comfortable with the catchers we have. Now GTFO.” Are we REALLY comfortable with Ramon Castro and Tyler Flowers/Donny Lucy as our two catchers? The Rangers are looking at AJ because they don’t have very good options at catcher, so would Kenny Williams REALLY be stupid enough to get a catcher from them? No.
I have a feeling that losing AJ would be ridiculously detrimental to our pitching staff. Gavin Floyd isn’t looking very good this season, and having Castro and Flowers/Lucy probably wouldn’t help. Mark Buehrle is struggling horribly. Jake Peavy is out of his funk, and I don’t think Castro and a rookie catcher would be beneficial. Freddy Garcia has been pretty effective as a fifth starter. And then there’s John Danks. He’s been the best starter we have this season, and I REEEEEEEEEEEEALLY don’t wanna mess him up.
I know I’m just a fan, and I know I really don’t know how to run a team, but I don’t want AJ to go. Not just because he’s my favorite and I’d have a meltdown of epic proportions. But that’s the main reason, to be completely honest. I’d love it if he was re-signed at the end of the season, but I know that may not be a possibility. I have all season to prepare myself for that, but if you trade him, I’ll be a gigantic hot mess.
At least give me the season, Kenny. Please.
Photo credits: unknown; DailyHerald.com
When I logged in today, the intent for this blog was to be a Sox-Indians series recap. However, I feel like I need to write about something else. Something I wrote about exactly a year ago.
On April 9, 2009, Major League Baseball lost a promising young pitcher. Nick Adenhart was killed in a car accident caused by a young man who was legally drunk. We’ve all heard the story. Many of us have seen the pictures of the crash site. We all know that the Angels dedicated their 2009 season to him.
The Angels have taken down the fan memorial that was up all season. I left a note there when my dad and I went to Anaheim in September. His locker is now occupied by reliever Kevin Jepsen. The Angels no longer hang his jersey in their dugout and have taken his number off their jerseys. But everyone knows that the Angels still think about their fallen teammate, whether he is prominently displayed around the stadium or not. Many MLB fans think of him as well, even if they aren’t Angels fans.
For me, Adenhart’s death still reminds me that I won’t live forever. It reminds me that stupid decisions can kill people. Nick was only one month younger than me. He was living his dream, and someone else cut that dream short. The driver of the car that killed Nick and his friends also cut his own dreams short. While his trial hasn’t begun yet, he will always have this hanging over him. Whether a jury finds him guilty or not, he’ll always have to think about this. He killed three people. Yes, it was an accident, but it was an accident that could have easily been avoided.
When I started writing this, I knew exactly what I wanted to say. I thought it would all come pouring out, and the blog would be written in half an hour like usual. But when I started writing the second paragraph, I couldn’t stop crying. One year later, and I still break down over a person I had never met. One year later, he’s still that Angel heaven is lucky to have.
Last February, I wrote my own review of Jane Heller’s Confessions of a She-Fan. At that point, my blog was still relatively new. I’d had it for about two months, and Jane’s blog was one I regularly read. If you never got the chance to check out my review, here’s the link. It’s been about a year since I wrote that review, but I bought a book on Monday that I have to write about.
As you may know, I’m on Twitter. A lot. And I follow every MLB player that has been confirmed to be real. So I follow Dirk Hayhurst (@TheGarfoose), and I’ve always been pleasantly entertained. He’s incredibly funny, and he interacts with his followers. Not many players do, so I’m personally grateful that he takes the time to talk to people he’s never met. Because I follow him, I learned that he wrote a book called The Bullpen Gospels. I’d read some reviews of it, and when you have endorsements from Keith Olbermann (“One of the best baseball books ever written.”), Bob Costas (“Hilarious, poignant, a really enjoyable read.”), and even Trevor Hoffman (“Fantastic…a perspective that fans rarely see.”), I knew it was a book I had to read.
When I reviewed Confessions of a She-Fan, I told you all how much I love reading. It’s relaxing. There’s nothing there but your own imagination and the words on the page. When I started reading Confessions, I knew I was going to like it since it was about baseball. I just didn’t know to what extent I was going to like it. The same thing happened with The Bullpen Gospels. It was about baseball, so I was going to like it. I had heard good things about it, so I was probably going to like it more.
What I didn’t know was how much I was going to like it.
Even though I love reading, there are very few books I find that I just cannot put down. There is only one that I can remember staying up late into the night reading because I couldn’t stop: Confessions of a She-Fan. I can now add The Bullpen Gospels.
I’m very critical when it comes to books. Since I love reading so much, I don’t want to read a bad book. Most of the books I’ve read in recent history have lived up to my expectations. Some haven’t. But none have exceeded my expectations. The Bullpen Gospels exceeded my expectations.
I used to think that you had to be a good writer in order to get a book published. But then a series of crappy vampire books came out, and I was proven wrong. Luckily, Dirk Hayhurst is not a crappy writer. In fact, he was better than I had thought. I wasn’t expecting him to be a bad writer, but with enough time, anyone can be a decent writer. Hayhurst is more than a decent writer; in fact, I would call him an excellent writer.
The Bullpen Gospels is more than just a baseball book. It’s Hayhurst journey of struggles and successes in the 2007 season. It’s his growth and change as a person and a player. It’s interactions with teammates in High-A and Double-A ball. It’s the struggles he had with his family. It’s more than I can effectively convey in this blog.
I cried a little. I laughed a lot. But most importantly, I learned more than I thought I would. I learned about players I’ve never heard of. I learned about players I may have heard of but whose names were changed for various reasons. I learned about players I had for sure heard of. I learned a lot about how the minors work, and I learned how quickly a dream can either be crushed or come true.
I remember something Hayhurst tweeted after it was announced he’d be having surgery. I went all the way back through his tweets just to find the couple tweets because they had an impact on me then. After reading The Bullpen Gospels, I knew I had to comment on them now. Hayhurst said: “Yes, It’s true, I may only get 15 minutes of fame,
but it’s not the length of the fame, Mr. Blair, but what you do with it
while you have it. I may never have great career numbers, or big time
accolades for baseball. But I’ve tried to make the most of my little
platform. A few Dollars for Haiti, a few goofy smiles on
faces, a book that may help thousands understand more about players, and
themselves…I can’t guarantee it’ll last long, or it will
effect everyone, but I’m trying my best with what I got, even if it’s
He said, “it’s not the length of the fame [...] but what you do with it while you have it.” Reading about the interactions he had with people in that season and knowing what he did for Haiti on Twitter, I think I can say that Dirk Hayhurst has touched more people than he may realize and that he has used the fame he has for the better.
When it comes to books, I’m incredibly critical because I love reading. It takes a lot to get a ringing endorsement from me. I know in the grand scheme of literary criticism, I’m a nobody. But I think I know a good book when I read one since I read so often. On that note, I offer you this: if you were only going to read one book ever again, it should be The Bullpen Gospels.
I, Jen, have a new favorite book. The Bullpen Gospels has surpassed Never Die Easy: The Autobiography of Walter Payton as my favorite book.
I don’t know if baseball players ever read my blog, but that hasn’t stopped me from addressing them in the past. Therefore, I’m taking this opportunity to address Dirk Hayhurst.
Dirk, this was the best book I have ever read. I read many reviews of it, and you far exceeded my expectations. I don’t know if you plan on writing another book in the future, but if you do, I’ll definitely be purchasing it. You should be incredibly proud of this one, and I hope a lot of people read it. All of the reviews written about it can’t do it any justice. Best of luck to you with your rehab, your book sales, and the rest of your baseball career. In case reading all of your tweets didn’t make me a fan of yours (which they did), reading The Bullpen Gospels has solidified me as a Dirk Hayhurst fan!
I’ve really neglected this poor blog. I feel bad. But I was so preoccupied by the Olympics. I actually started another blog for everything but baseball yesterday, and there’s a post on the Olympics. Check it out here.
On that note, I’m so glad baseball is back.
My White Sox pitchers and catchers reported on February 21. Thankfully. And there have been some stories from spring training. Hooray!
For a while, the White Sox seemed to be in the mix to sign Johnny Damon. People made a big deal out of the fact that he was golfing with AJ Pierzynski and Hawk Harrelson. The golf outing was for his and AJ’s alma mater, Dr. Phillips High School, in Orlando. Of course the topic came up, but it seemed to me that it was blown out of proportion.
Eventually, Damon signed with the Detroit Tigers after Kenny Williams pulled the White Sox offer. Would I have liked Damon on the Sox? Sure, he would have been an asset. But I think the Sox will be OK without him. Having Kenny Williams as our GM, I know that it’s entirely possible that he could sign someone without anyone knowing we’re interested.
Speaking of Kenny Williams, the White Sox front office will be featured on the MLB Network this summer. Last season, they had a behind-the-scenes show featuring the Phillies bullpen. On July 4, “The Club” will debut and will give fans an inside look at a front office. Guess who will be watching it?
But not by choice. No, I don’t get to see it because it’ll be on MLB Network, and AT&T U-verse doesn’t carry it. Oh yes, I’m angry. And yes, I’ve been sending them those annoying automated emails requesting they add it to their lineup. But either AT&T or MLB are greedy b*stards, and one side won’t cooperate or some ridiculous nonsense like that.
There’s something new that people expect to be full of ridiculous nonsense. It’s Ozzie Guillen’s Twitter account. Yes, Ozzie has Twitter, and people are expecting something epic. Initially I was expecting something epic until I remembered Ozzie’s a normal person. He’s not gonna be out there spewing profanities and talking about the team. He said he’s not gonna talk about the team but about his family and his personal life. You know, like the rest of us do.
I was one of Ozzie’s first 100 or so followers. He has over 30,000 now. I wonder how many people are gonna be sorely disappointed when the season starts and he’s not swearing and calling people out on their potentially sh*tty performances. I won’t be one of those people. I don’t follow athletes and celebrities and musicians because of something controversial they MIGHT say. I follow them because I’m interested in what they already say. So if you’re interested in what Ozzie already says, here’s his Twitter.
The last time JJ Putz threw a pitch was June 4. (I didn’t know that off the top of my head. I’m awesome, but not that awesome.) He eventually had surgery to remove a bone spur from his right elbow. Now he’s a setup man for the White Sox, and he feels his elbow is healthy.
Always good to hear, as it seems he’ll be the setup man for Bobby Jenks. Putz in the eighth, Jenks in the ninth. Sounds like a great idea to me. And knowing Matt Thornton will be the seventh inning guy makes me giddy. These are three solid pitchers for the late innings. Oh how I want it to be Opening Day right now.
However, I know it won’t always be JJ in the eighth and Bobby in the ninth. JJ has the talent to be a closer (obviously, since he’s BEEN a closer), so Ozzie has the option to use him instead of Bobby when Bobby needs a rest or when he thinks JJ is a better option. While we have guys in the bullpen who are awesome, we’ve never really had two guys who are both talented enough to close a game every day if needed.
What makes me more excited about the Putz-Jenks tandem late in the game is knowing Bobby is healthy again. Last season, he had some health problems, and this offseason, Bobby did something many people can’t do: he stopped drinking. Cold turkey.
This offseason, Bobby realized alcohol was becoming a problem for him, and he stopped drinking. He said he was basically getting drunk every night, and it was affecting not only him, but his family and everyone around him. Since stopping, Bobby has lost weight. I could tell from seeing him briefly at SoxFest. He looked absolutely wonderful. At SoxFest, I wasn’t aware that he had quit drinking, but I could tell that there was something different other than his weight.
I’m so happy for Bobby. To quit something that was so addictive cold turkey is amazing. The challenge for Bobby will come during the season. But I know he can do it.
Around SoxFest, Mark Buehrle and Jake Peavy amused me to no end. They both said the other should be the starter on Opening Day. Mark said Jake should start since he’s such an amazing pitcher. Jake said Mark should start because he’s been here longer. Or something to that effect.
Ozzie made the decision that Mark would start Opening Day. I would have been happy either way, but I’m really glad Mark is starting. I’ve seen both of them pitch in person, but on April 5, Mark will set a franchise record by starting his eighth Opening Day game. And I get to be there in person.
Yes, I have Opening Day tickets. And I’m so excited. Rachel and I will be chilling in the upper deck at US Cellular, potentially freezing our ***** off. But it’ll be so awesome that I don’t care. I’ve sat in the upper deck once before and I hated it. But knowing that this is Opening Day, and not everyone gets tickets, I don’t care. It’s Opening freaking Day. And I know that Mark will pitch me a win.
Andruw Jones is looking to make a statement this season. The Sox signed him to a $500,000 contract, and he reported to camp in amazing shape. Right now it looks like he’ll be DH-ing against lefties, but Ozzie says he may be able to play more often. It all depends on how he performs.
I remember when he was an awesome player. It wasn’t very long ago. He’ll be 33 in April, so it’s not like he’s ridiculously old or something. Not even in “baseball terms” is he ridiculously old. I’m hoping he can bounce back to have a great year. It doesn’t have to be like back when he was freaking fantastical. It just has to be enough to make a difference with our lineup. Considering we’ll be working with a rotating DH, he needs to make an impact.
The first spring trai
ning game is tomorrow. Joe Cowley posted the lineup on Twitter, and I’m so excited. Juan Pierre in left, Gordon Beckham at second, AJ Pierzynski catching, Andruw Jones in center, Mark Teahen at third, Alexei Ramirez at short, Mark Kotsay DH-ing, Dayan Viciedo at first, Jordan Danks in right, and John Danks pitching.
The brothers Danks are gonna be on the same field in the same uniform for the first time since they were in high school. You have no idea how adorable I think that is. Then again, I’m a sucker for brothers playing on the same team. (Google images doesn’t have any pictures of the Danks boys together. Which makes me sad. How cute would those pictures be!) And the game will be shown on MLB Network on tape delay. Hooray for me not being able to see my favorite player and favorite pitcher. Luckily the game will be on the radio, so I can pull up the box score and listen to the game. But I’d much rather SEE my Sox. I can’t complain too much, I guess. I get to see the Sox this weekend on WGN when they play the Cubs. It’ll be with Cubs announcers, but it’s better than nothing. I can always turn on the radio while watching the game.
With baseball almost back in full swing, I expect my blogging to be back in full swing. I think my weekend blogging will be a bit more sporadic, as the job I just got is Thursday through Sunday. But since I don’t have a schedule or a general idea of when I work those days, it may not be sporadic. We’ll see.
But there’s something I’m REALLY looking forward to this season.
If you’ve been reading long enough, you’ll know I talk about the knowledgeable people over at White Sox Interactive. It’s a White Sox message board, and the posters there are incredibly smart. I’ve learned a lot about past Sox teams, other teams, players, and a lot more. I’m really grateful I found it. Which brings me to what I’m looking forward to.
After every game, there is a Totally Biased Game Report (TBGR). Every season there’s a different theme to the report. It basically sums up the game in a biased way (obviously). I’ve been asked to do game reports! One of the posters there who is a moderator reads my blog and really likes it, so every Thursday game, I’ll be providing the TBGR. While I don’t get paid to write these, members and visitors to WSI get to read my writing. I’ll make sure you guys can read them.
Until then, MLBlogs, enjoy spring training. I know I will be.
Photo credits: fullcountpitch.com; unknown; AP; unknown
I’m really slow on plugging your blogs, but I’m almost done with my first one. I promise. But today, I need to blog about the first baseball player I remember watching, as he retired today.
As you have learned over the course of this blog, I started learning baseball and enjoying it in July 2004. I had graduated high school and went to a Giants game, and I fell in love with a player before I fell in love with the game. But when I was eight years old, back in 1994, I remembered watching a player for the White Sox. I remembered my brother had a poster of him.
At eight years old with no knowledge of how baseball is played, I watched a few games. At that time, I had no idea I was watching one of the greatest White Sox of all time. I watched. I attempted to learn. And I didn’t care.
When I started watching baseball again and actually caring about the sport, I didn’t watch tons of games. Frank’s season had ended by the time I was able to watch White Sox games in 2004. In 2005, he was injured while I was in school, and I spent the summer in San Francisco, so I wasn’t able to watch any Sox games when he played again in 2005. So when it mattered to me, I never saw Frank play. I only watched when I didn’t care.
It kills me that I grew up in a city where one of the best played, and I didn’t care enough to watch. But I know that the White Sox were lucky enough to have him for fifteen years. I could have watched; I should have watched. But I didn’t. Despite that fact, he was my first baseball memory.
Frank’s last at-bat with the White Sox was July 20, 2005. My nineteenth birthday. The Sox lost to Detroit, 8-6, and Frank went 1-for-4 with two strikeouts. But Frank had an amazing career. He was a five-time All-Star. He was a four-time Silver Slugger winner. He was the AL MVP twice. He was the 2000 AL Comeback Player of the Year. He was the 1995 Home Run Derby champion. And he won a World Series in 2005. He has a career batting average of .301, and he hit 521 home runs. With the White Sox, he has a .307 batting average and hit 448 home runs, the most home runs by a White Sox player.
In addition to being generally awesome, Frank started advocating drug testing in 1995. After he hit his 500th home run, he said, “It means a lot to me because I did it the right way” (Wikipedia). I wonder what the state of baseball would be like if Major League Baseball had started testing when Frank started advocating. I can’t say it would be better. I can’t say it would be worse. All I can say is I believe he was clean.
Thank you, Frank Thomas. Thank you for being my first baseball memory. Thank you for playing for the greatest franchise in the world. Thank you for playing this game the way it was meant to be played: clean. Thank you for everything. I can’t wait to see you in Cooperstown in 2014, as I highly believe you are a first ballot Hall of Famer.
Is there something higher than Cloud Nine? Cuz that’s where I still am at times. I say “at times” because from the middle of January until about Valentine’s Day, I get really depressed. Partly because it’s still winter and I hate winter. Partly because baseball is STILL too far away. And partly because I’m always single on Valentine’s Day. Which is a stupid excuse for a holiday. But that’s another topic for a different kind of blog.
Prior to this year, there was only one year where this depression was worse than every other year. That was 2008. What happened in 2008? My first SoxFest. I got a taste of baseball, I got to meet my favorite player, and once it was over, I got so incredibly sad. Now here we are in 2010, and this year is worse than 2008 because SoxFest was better this year. (I can hear you judging me over there…stop it.) It was easier in 2008 because I was in school, and since I had homework to do, classes to go to, exams to study for, and a part-time job, I didn’t think about how sad I was all the time. Now it’s 2010, and I’m not in school since master’s in journalism programs in Chicago only start in the fall, I have no job because my seasonal employment ended, and I have nothing to occupy my time with. So I think about how sad I am all the time. Luckily I know this basically ends when pitchers and catchers report. And I always get through this state of mind. It’s never something I want people to worry about.
Now for something less depressing…
Back on the 15th, the Latest Leaders for all of 2009 was posted. As you may be aware, I was number 15, and I couldn’t be happier. However, I noticed there are a lot of blogs I like reading that aren’t on the list and a lot of blogs that are never updated that are. And I know some of those bloggers are disappointed.
It reminded me that a little over a year ago, Tommy of Rocky Mountain Way featured me in his Timeout at the Plate series. A week later, I debuted in the Latest Leaders and haven’t left. I’d like to think that Tommy helped me get on that list. Since I see a bunch of blogs not getting recognized with traffic, I’m wanna help y’all out like Tommy helped me. But differently.
Timeout at the Plate was basically a mini-interview. I wanna do it differently. I wanna feature a blog every week or bi-weekly (I haven’t decided yet). I’ve got a couple in mind already, but I want you guys to tell me what blogs you think don’t get the recognition they deserve. Feel free to nominate your own blog. I’d totally do that with my blog hahaha!
I haven’t quite decided how I’m gonna feature your blogs yet, but I’ll make a decision soon. So nominate some blogs either in the comment section of this entry or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and please include the link so I don’t have to aimlessly search the Blogosphere!
Until you debut on the Latest Leaders, don’t beat yourselves up over it. I’ve been asked how to get on the list, and I don’t really have a set way to do it. Blog as often as you can, comment on as many blogs as you can, post links to your entries on Facebook/Twitter/anywhere else you frequent. The more people that see your link, the more hits you’ll get. Commenting on the blogs of the people at the top of the Latest Leaders will get you noticed too. Yeah, it gives them more traffic, but why else are they that high up on the list? Because people frequent there.
Keep doing what you’re doing, and look for your blog on here in the future. Just don’t knock me down on your way to the top. ;) Kidding of course.
PS: Bonus points if you know where the title of this blog came from.
I am normally a very happy person. But I have never been as happy as I was this weekend.
The White Sox did not fail to disappoint. When I went in 2008, I had a blast. All the players I met were nice, and the lines were relatively smooth. SoxFest 2010 was waaaaaaay better.
Initially, I didn’t like the idea of having wristbands for photo booths, but the idea grew on me since I was guaranteed a picture with these guys. And considering the money I spent in order to get these autographs and pictures, it was a good idea.
Friday night was just for hotel guests. Which is why Rachel and I spent $400+ on a hotel room and SoxFest passes. We got to the hotel at 2 and checked in. We were downstairs and in line by 2:30. Doors opened and we ran up to the fourth floor and got our wristbands for the AJ Pierzynski and John Danks signing. I wasn’t sure which jersey I was gonna wear because I wanted to wear AJ’s jersey for his autograph and John’s jersey for his autograph. Since they were together, I couldn’t. So I decided on wearing John’s since he had just signed a contract.
I got all antsy in line because…well, they’re my favorites. They came in from the opening ceremony celebration, and I basically died of happiness. We went through the line, and we were actually interviewed by someone for some morning show I’ve never heard of. At one point, she said something like, “John Danks…he’s hot, isn’t he?” And my immediate response was, “Incredibly.” I’m awesome. So we got up to the front and John signed Rachel’s baseball. Then he signed my picture. I was calm, cool, and collected and asked him how his finger was. He said it was great and checked out fine. Good to know! I moved down the table to AJ. What I was gonna say was something to the effect of, “Hi AJ. How are you? *wait for response* *something related to the Gators, as they’re my college football team of choice* Thank you!” What came out was, “Hi AJ. How are you? *awkward pause as I stared, starstruck again* Thank you!” I was ready. I was ready for this when I was talking to John. I was ready to hold a conversation with AJ. And I didn’t. Again. *sigh*
After John and AJ signed, Rachel and I went downstairs to get a picture with Mark Teahen. When we got downstairs, we found out that they still had a BUNCH of wristbands for Mark Buehrle. Which was unexpected. So I got to meet Mark Buehrle and take a picture with him. So nice, so sweet. :) We finished there and got back in line for Mark Teahen. We were first in line which was sweeeeet. When Mark came up, he asked one of the SoxFest workers to record some of the photo sessions. So I’m on a video for Mark Teahen. That was totally awesome. And Teahen is incredibly nice and super adorable.
After the photo booths, we went to get Mark Kotsay and Jayson Nix’s autograph. Mark signed for Rachel and I, and Jayson signed my ball. Rachel had a stuffed dog wearing a White Sox hoodie, and Jayson signed that. And took a picture with it hahaha. So Friday night was an overwhelming success. We crawled into bed around 11:45 for our ridiculously early wakeup call.
We made it downstairs by 5:30 and were promptly greeted with a relatively big line. Apparently people slept in the lobby to be, like, the first people in line. Some were in line as we were waking up. I mean, I’m dedicated and all, but if I’m paying $120-something a night at this hotel, I’m sleeping in a bed, not a chair in the lobby. And I’m taking a shower too.
When we first started planning on Wednesday, Rachel and I wanted Buehrle. But after careful consideration, we decided not to try since eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeveryone was gonna want his autograph because of the perfect game. We then decided we wanted Jake Peavy. That didn’t work out well, so we went to take pictures with Gordon Beckham and were the first in line. That poor kid (I can call him that since I’m two months older than he is). He came in, and you could tell he was hungover hahaha. But he was so nice and so sweet.
After those pictures came the picture I’ve been waiting six years to get. We got in line for a picture with AJ. I got up there and said, “Hi AJ. How are you?” He said he was good and we took the picture. Then I asked him for a hug. And he was sweet enough to say “sure!” I then proceeded to tell him he made my life, to which he laughed a little. Rachel got her picture and proceeded to tell him that I’ve been his biggest fan for the past six years. He was flattered and grateful that I was such a fan.
And on the offchance AJ will ever see this…
You’re welcome, AJ. You got me back into baseball, and I love you for it. You play the game the way I love seeing it played. You’ve been my favorite for six years, and you’ll be my favorite until the day I die. Thank you for being so nice and so sweet to me this weekend. You really have no idea how much it means to me.
After we left AJ’s picture line, we went downstairs for a picture with John Danks. We got in line, but before John came down at noon, Scott Linebrink took pictures. There were, like, five people who voluntarily came down to get his picture. I felt kinda bad for him. Other people in the Danks picture line did too, so we asked the people controlling the lines if we could leave our stuff and take a picture with Scott. I think they felt bad for him too, so they totally let us. You can tell
I’m not ridiculously excited like I am in every other picture I took, but Scott’s a really nice guy. Everyone says he’s got great stuff, but for whatever reason, he doesn’t have it come game time. I hope he does this season.
We got back in line and waited for John Danks to come for pictures. John was awesome and actually came about 10 minutes early to start pictures. So I walked up for my picture and wow. He smelled amazing. There are three possibilities as to why he smelled so good. One, he has awesome cologne. Two, he has awesome deodorant. Three, he naturally smells amazing. I dunno what it was, but this is what happened next. What I was gonna say was, “Hi John! How are you? *wait for response* *take picture for FanFoto* *take picture on my camera* Congrats on going six months without tobacco. That’s awesome.” What I said was, “Hi John! How are you? *take picture for FanFoto* *take picture on my camera* I dunno what you’re wearing, but you smell AMAZING!” He laughed and said he wasn’t really wearing anything.
And on the offchance John will ever see this…
I swear I’m not normally that awkward and weird. OK, I may be weird, but not THAT weird. I’m an adorable weird. But an amazing-smelling man is rather distracting. And that was the first thing that came out of my mouth. I was gonna ask for a hug too, but I got distracted by whatever made you smell amazing.
Since John was awesome enough to get there early for pictures, Rachel and I were able to go downstairs and get a picture with Jayson Nix. Afterwards, we went and bought some of the pictures we took and went back to get a Carlos Quentin wristband. However, they were all gone. The lady who was working was being a real b*tch all weekend. She was telling us 40 different things and copping an attitude. Why the attitude? We’re just trying to figure out where we’re going. No one was being mean; no one was being rude. But she was a horrible person.
We went upstairs and Rachel passed out for, like, three hours. I slept for a bit but woke up to answer my phone and couldn’t fall asleep again. Because I started thinking about the day thus far. And my emotions got the best of me. For two hours, I cried. I thought about how nice and humble Gordon Beckham was. I thought about how I looked like an idiot in front of John Danks but he didn’t look at me like I was a complete fool. And I thought about how what I wanted finally happened, how AJ Pierzynski made me so ridiculously happy in a one-to-two-minute span of time. And how I didn’t want the weekend to end.
I’ve seriously never been so happy in my whole life. And it all came flooding on me at once. I had to let it out, and the only way I could do that was by crying for two hours. I’m so happy I have the memories I do. But three days is so short. I got spoiled by seeing John Danks every day for three days. I got spoiled by having players seem genuinely happy to see me. And I thought about if and when this would ever happen again. If it does, it won’t be soon (probably). I didn’t wanna leave. I wanted SoxFest to last forever.
After Rachel woke up, we ordered food. The delivery driver wouldn’t bring it upstairs (WTF?), so in our PJs, we walked to the lobby. We saw Freddy Garcia in the bar, and…well, for Freddy’s sake, I’ll leave it at that. Let’s just say the man probably needed a big bottle of Tylenol in the morning. :) We decided to go down after we ate, and the only people down there were Ron Kittle and Bill Melton. So we went back upstairs, and I passed out. Another 3:45am wakeup call was coming.
We were downstairs by 5:30 again on Sunday, and we ran, with many other people, up to the sixth floor to get Gordon Beckham’s autograph. After finally getting a wristband, we were told to leave the floor for a while and come back. So we went down to the Twitter booth. Someone actually recognized me from my tweets. I was utterly shocked. And flattered that I’m recognizable. We went back up and made some friends in line.
We got our autographs. I didn’t say anything awkward or stupid, so that’s always a plus. Rachel asked how his hair always manages to stay perfect. He said it has a mind of its own. He’s adorable. For reals. We attempted to get a Quentin picture, but those wristbands were gone again. So we went to seminars. I recorded the Around the Bases seminar with Darrin Jackson, Jeff Cox, Juan Pierre, and Gordon Beckham. I also recorded the White Sox Pitching seminar with Ed Farmer, Juan Nieves, Matt Thornton, JJ Putz, and John Danks. Each of the videos are 45 minutes long, so I’m not posting them anywhere. If you wanna see either of them, let me know in a comment and I’ll email it to you.
During the weekend, we invested in some stuff. Because we follow Scott Reifert on Twitter, we got an AJ Pierzynski bobblehead (which doesn’t look like him, but I don’t care) and a Mark Buehrle no-hitter poster. I almost got a baseball for knowing Mark Teahen’s dogs’ names (Espy and Ribi, if you’re wondering), but a little kid got there before me. I also bought a t-shirt that I customized. And I couldn’t pass up a replica 2005 World Series jersey that AJ signed for $100. And I bought two mystery bags. On Friday, mine had a book, some foam Shedd Aquarium thing, a pencil, a Thome postcard type thing…not super exciting. What was exciting in that bag was a ladies’ Frank Thomas jersey. The tag was still on it, and it cost $55. I paid $20 for the bag. Niiiiiice. However, the Sunday back was more exciting. I got basically the same tschotskes, but I got a baseball in the bag. It was a signed baseball. By Jim Thome. A JIM THOME AUTOGRAPHED BASEBALL! And since it was Sunday, I only paid $10. WIN!
This was the best weekend of my entire life. I don’t think anything will be able to top it until the day I get married. People may think I’m insane (I think Joe Cowley of the Sun Times does, as he posted a tweet saying something to the effect of “if you’re crying because SoxFest is over, see Dr. Drew cuz you need help”), but I never have the kind of luck to get to meet players at a game, outside of a game, ever. And I’m broke as a joke normally, so I don’t get to go to a lot of games. This is my chance at seeing players and interacting with them. So don’t judge me because this makes me happy. I don’t judge you for what makes you happy.
In my last entry, we were still waiting to hear about any kind of contract for John Danks. On Tuesday, he signed a one-year contract worth $3.45 million. It wasn’t the long-term contract I was hoping for, but he’s definitely worth what he’s getting this year. Hopefully he’ll get a long-term contract since he had his finger checked out today. I’d like to think that’s what was keeping the Sox from giving him the long-term on Tuesday.
But here’s why I’m epically excited. On Tuesday after the signing was announced, I went to check and see if there was a SoxFest schedule posted. There wasn’t, but lo and behold, John Danks is now added to the list of players attending. MY THREE FAVORITE CURRENT PLAYERS ARE GONNA BE THERE!!! YES!
The schedule was released today, and Rachel and I have planned out our weekend. We may be dead by the time it’s over, but I know it’ll be well worth it, especially since AJ and John are signing Friday night at the SAME TABLE. BAM! Two favorites at one table. Holler at my luck. Either that or the Sox are trying to kill me with epic happiness on Day One. Saturday I get pictures with AJ and John, and Sunday will be Gordon Beckham. I’ll be able to die happy. Yay. And there will be pictures. Holy crap will there be pictures. Stay tuned for a blog on Monday.
As I’m sure you’ve noticed, I’m still slacking when it comes to writing in this blog. I was gonna write a pre-SoxFest entry when I came to the MLBlogs homepage and noticed the 2009 Latest Leaders were posted. Imagine my surprise when I clicked the link and saw that The Diatribe was number fifteen! I was surprised I was that high considering I wrote, like, 15 entries between August and the end of the year. Yet you all kept coming back and reading the few entries I posted. So from the bottom of my heart, thank you. You have no idea how much this means to me. Especially now that I’m waiting on acceptance or rejection letters from journalism schools.
In the past week, the Sox have signed players to new contracts. They had four aribitration-eligible players (John Danks, Carlos Quentin, Bobby Jenks, and Tony Pena), and three have contracts for 2010.
The last time the Sox went to arbitration hearings was in 2001, so they’re looking to keep that streak going. So far, so good. On Saturday, the Sox signed Bobby Jenks and Carlos Quentin to one-year deals. Bobby got $7.5 million, an upgrade from last year’s $5.6 million. Carlos, in his first year of arbitration eligibility, got a $3.2 million deal.
Bobby had a bit of a down year last season with a 3-4 record, a 3.71 ERA, and 29 saves in 35 chances. But everyone has a down year, and Bobby’s usually pretty reliable. A lot of people blamed it on his weight, but most of the issues seemed to me to be unfortunate injuries and health problems. I think Bobby’s gonna bounce back and be well worth the money he’s getting this year.
Carlos DEFINITELY had a down year last season. In 2008, he probably would have been AL MVP had he not broken his wrist and missed the last month of the season. He was an All Star, he won the Silver Slugger, he had an amazing season. 2009 was rough for Carlos, as he only batted .236 with 21 homers since he spent almost two months on the disabled list die to plantar fasciitis. If the plantar fasciitis doesn’t bother him, I can see Carlos returning to 2008 form and having a monster season.
Today the Sox signed Tony Pena to a one-year deal worth $1.2 million. I’ve been back and forth about Pena since we acquired him in July. Sometimes he’s good, sometimes he’s bad. Since he flip flopped a lot, I always get nervous when he comes into a game. That said, he needs to prove to me that he’s worth $1.2 million this year. Especially since I’m still peeved that DJ Carrasco was non-tendered and is now a Pirate. I hope Tony is worth the money.
Prior to signing any arb-eligible players, the Sox agreed to terms with Ramon Castro. He has a one-year contract for $800,000 which includes a club option for 2011. Ramon wasn’t a bad backup to AJ. He was probably one of the better ones we’ve had in a while, actually. This gives Tyler Flowers more time to develop in the minors before he’s either a backup or the starting catcher.
The Sox have one arbitration-eligible player left to sign. Of course, he’s the one player I’ve wanted to hear about all off-season: John Danks. John is ridiculously awesome. He pitched 200+ innings for the first time in his young career, he won a career-high 13 games last season, and he threw his first complete game. He had an AMAZING season, and he’s only been getting better since his debut in 2007. He missed a start last season, due to a circulation problem in his finger, which seems to no longer be a problem. At that time, he quit chewing tobacco and has remaind snuff-free for the past six months. (Which makes me happy because that sh*t’s bad for you.)
I’m anxious to see what kind of contract he’ll get. I’d like a long-term contract rather than a one-year deal since we all know he’s worth it. And he’s said on numerous occasions that he wants a long-term contract with the Sox. He exchanges numbers with the Sox tomorrow, so we’ll see how close to a deal he is tomorrow. John, we want you here as much as you wanna stay. Trust me on this. You’re phenomenal, and our starting rotation is better with you in it.
You knew this section was coming hahaha! SoxFest starts this Friday. In four days. I’m ecstatic. Knowing I get to see a lot of my boys makes me so happy. If you follow me on Twitter, you’ll get to see some pictures before I post them in a blog. Namely the one I’d better be getting with AJ Pierzynski. You know, the one that will forever and ever be my blog picture.
A schedule has yet to be released, so I’m REALLY hoping one will be up soon. Much planning goes into where to be and when. Especially when you’re going with another person.
Photo credits: Sox photographer on my camera; Getty images
ves I think I’m OK with. What I REALLY want is a long-term contract for John Danks. I’ll forgive the moves I’m unhappy with if John signs long-term.