White Sox

The 'U.S. Cellular' Field name stays for now

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The 'U.S. Cellular' Field name stays for now

The news that broke early Wednesday morning that U.S. Cellular was selling some of its business units to SprintNextel, and exiting the Chicago market could have a major impact on the Chicago sports landscape as the company has been a significant advertising presence with some of Chicago's professional sports teams.
Their most visible sponsorship and advertising deal is the naming rights deal that they signed in 2003 to rename the new Comiskey Park "U.S. Cellular Field" for 68 million over 20 years. The agreement pays the White Sox 3.4 million per season for the stadium's name, and also includes an agreement to purchase significant advertising with the White Sox each season as a corporate sponsor.
U.S. Cellular released a statement this morning that the White Sox posted on their official Twitter account saying naming rights will not be changed for now.
"At @USCellular, we are proud of our partnership w the WhiteSox and the experience fans have at U.S. Cellular Field. Our naming rights to the ballpark are not part of this deal with Sprint...The WhiteSox are a great partner & we look forward to continuing our relationship with them."
Sources in the telecom industry told me this morning that they expect to see some or all of the U.S. Cellular phone stores gone from the market and a major push to further establish the SprintNextel name in the Chicago area.
"They already have customers here and they already have a brand here, so by expanding their name here they will greatly increase their footprint in the market. They already have an arena naming rights deal in Kansas City with the Sprint Center Arena so this would make sense to increase their brand awareness in the Chicago area," said Jon Greenberg, the editor of the well-respected Team Marketing Report.
While news of the U.S. Cellular sale to Sprint for 480 million broke this morning, it is not expected to be officially completed until the middle of 2013 and does not include naming rights for the ballpark for now.

White Sox Talk Podcast: Class A manager Justin Jirschele, youngest manager in professional baseball

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White Sox Talk Podcast: Class A manager Justin Jirschele, youngest manager in professional baseball

27-year-old Justin Jirschele made quite an impression in his first season as manager of the White Sox Class-A affiliate in Kannapolis. He helped lead the Intimidators to the South Atlantic League championship, and was named White Sox Minor League Coach of the Year. Jirschele came on the podcast to speak with Chuck Garfien about how he went from playing minor league baseball with the White Sox to coaching in their system. He talks about how growing up with a dad who was coaching minor league baseball helped mold him as a manager who is wise beyond his years. Jirschele also gives a report on some of the top White Sox prospects he managed last season such as Jake Burger, Alec Hansen, Dane Dunning and Miker Adolfo.

After baseball punishes Braves, one ranker says White Sox have game's best farm system

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USA TODAY

After baseball punishes Braves, one ranker says White Sox have game's best farm system

The White Sox farm system is baseball's best, according to one of the people making those rankings.

In the wake of Major League Baseball's punishment of the Atlanta Braves for breaking rules regarding the signing of international players — which included the removal of 12 illegally signed prospects from the Braves' organization — MLB.com's Jim Callis tweeted out his updated top 10, and the White Sox are back in first place.

Now obviously there are circumstances that weakened the Braves' system, allowing the White Sox to look stronger by comparison. But this is still an impressive thing considering that three of the White Sox highest-rated prospects from the past year are now full-time big leaguers.

Yoan Moncada used to be baseball's No. 1 prospect, and pitchers Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez weren't too far behind. That trio helped bolster the highly ranked White Sox system. Without them, despite plenty of other highly touted prospects, common sense would say that the White Sox would slide down the rankings.

But the White Sox still being capable of having baseball's top-ranked system is a testament to the organizational depth Rick Hahn has built in such a short period of time.

While prospect rankings are sure to be refreshed throughout the offseason, here's how MLB Pipeline's rankings look right now in regards to the White Sox:

4. Eloy Jimenez
9. Michael Kopech
22. Luis Robert
39. Blake Rutherford
57. Dylan Cease
90. Alec Hansen