White Sox

Facing Cubs for first time, Rick Renteria happy with White Sox

Facing Cubs for first time, Rick Renteria happy with White Sox

MESA, Ariz. -- If there's any lingering awkwardness from how his stint as Cubs manager ended, Rick Renteria has done well to keep it buried for several months now.

The White Sox manager reiterated on Monday afternoon how comfortable and content he is in his new position. Renteria also brushed off the idea it'd be weird to see his former players and face his old team for the first time since they dismissed him after the 2014 season and installed Joe Maddon as manager. The White Sox and Cubs ended in a 4-4 tie after nine innings at Sloan Park.

"I'm in a great place," Renteria said. "Baseball does what it does and I think we all have to take account of ourselves. We keep perspective and we try to find some balance. There are worse things that have happened to people and always in the initial you feel a sense of a little blow. But you put it in perspective and you realize things keep moving forward and here I am now with the Chicago White Sox. Things happen."

Almost always upbeat, Renteria said last week he has never been one to allow himself to be consumed by his own misfortune. Still, it couldn't have been easy to be removed after only one season in the big leagues in favor of Maddon, who in his second year led the Cubs to their first World Series title in 108 years. Renteria returned to Chicago last season to take over as the White Sox bench coach and insisted he had moved on. He and Maddon -- who share a mutual friend in Colorado Rockies manager Bud Black -- have since talked briefly several times.

"Listen, he's awesome," Maddon said. "There's nothing there. He's fine. We're fine. I think he's a wonderful man. Love to have a beer with him sometime if we can hook up in Chicago if the schedule's being proper. But there's nothing."

Back in October, Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer acknowledged the team wasn't "entirely fair" to Renteria. Hoyer made it clear he wished his former manager well and thought Renteria did a good job managing the Cubs. Theo Epstein said Monday he thinks Renteria would fit in well with the rebuilding White Sox.

"It seems like he's got a lot of talented young players to work with over there," Epstein said. "His energy and his personality will be real assets and will help develop those kids and will keep them positive, keep it moving forward."

Monday's Cubs starting lineup featured only one player who was part of Renteria's team -- Anthony Rizzo. Renteria said he would say hello to any former players he came across and said his situation isn't strange -- "It's just baseball," he said. "I'm just on the other side of town now."

Renteria said the season he spent on Robin Ventura's bench gave him an advantage in knowing the players in his clubhouse. Although he can see "some irony" in his second managerial position coming in the same town as his first, Renteria feels good about where he landed.

"It's all good," Renteria said. "I'm happy. I'm really happy to be here. I'm happy to be in the situation we're in. The organization is taking the step that is hopefully leading us as many organizations have done over the last six or seven years, trying to create something more sustainable over time. The foundation is being laid both with the players and the way they're going about doing everything. So hopefully it will be something good for us."

White Sox Talk Podcast: Interview with Hall of Famer Harold Baines

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NBC Sports Chicago

White Sox Talk Podcast: Interview with Hall of Famer Harold Baines

Chuck Garfien sits down with new Hall of Famer Harold Baines.

First, Chuck, Ryan McGuffey and Chris Kamka share their memories of watching Baines play with the White Sox (1:40). Then, Baines explains why he's always been so soft-spoken (8:45), how he was able to play 22 seasons in the majors (13:00), why he's never spoken to GM Larry Himes for trading him to Texas (15:30), the apology he received from President George W. Bush (16:30), what he thinks about the critics who don't think he should be in the Hall of Fame (18:25), a replay of Baines emotional interview with Chuck about his dad (20:50) and more.

Listen to the full episode in the embedded player below:

White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson discusses inspiring a younger generation of black baseball players, bat flipping and much more on Pull Up Podcast with CJ McCollum

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USA TODAY

White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson discusses inspiring a younger generation of black baseball players, bat flipping and much more on Pull Up Podcast with CJ McCollum

White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson appeared on Thursday's episode of the Pull Up Podcast hosted by Portland Trail Blazers guard CJ McCollum and ESPN's Jordan Schultz to discuss many things including his MLB career, the charity work he does in the Chicago community and the need more expression and entertainment (overall) in baseball.

McCollum asked Anderson if the sport of baseball has evolved and what he would do to further these developments, based on the idea that the sport has a stigma of being boring, particularly within inner-city and/or largely black communities. Anderson stated, "They should allow players to have more fun.....just allow players to be themselves." 

Anderson discussed how being the only black player on the White Sox—the team that represents the South Side of Chicago—is extremely important to him and how great the White Sox organization has been at giving him every opportunity to be himself and "be comfortable". He expanded on how much he loves MLB life and how he wants to be able to pass on that love for the game to younger generations, especially the youth of the South Side of Chicago.

"I enjoy it [the responsibility of being the lone black player on the White Sox].....a lot of those kids in they area [the South Side], they kinda remind me of myself."

Schultz brought up the criticism of Anderson's bat flipping, asking him why it was so important for him to show that he was enjoying himself, at the expense of breaking one of baseball's "unwritten rules".

Being of a younger generation, Anderson lamented that it was indeed a new day in baseball and doubled down in saying that the simple aspect of having fun needs to be encouraged even more in the sport. 

"You're playing a game that you're failing most of the time and the times that you do succeed they don't want you to enjoy those moments. For me man, y'know, I think that's just a lot of pain showing.....from struggling, that's just that emotion that's coming out man. You know when you finally get to a point where you feel like you breaking through.....those moments that I want to remember and I want people around me to remember. That’s why I play the way that I do.”

Anderson is indeed having the best season of his career so far, with a slash line of .317/.342/.491 entering Friday morning. He is also nine home runs away from matching his season-high of 20 with over the half the season left to go.

With even more of a platform amid his career-year, Anderson has continued his crusade to make baseball fun again and doesn’t plan on changing up the way he plays the game anytime soon.


 

As touched on earlier in this post, Anderson wants to serve as a role model while also showing the youth that it is OK to be yourself as a Major League Baseball player.

In all the camps and baseball clinics that Anderon hosts, he always makes sure to answer every question about his unique experience in the MLB because he understands the value of kids getting to see someone who looks like them succeeding, even more so in a sport where the number black players sits at a mere 7.7% of the entire league

“Everything [is] not always good [for kids in inner-city communities], so I think that understanding that and kinda being a role model and motivating and inspiring those kids that look like me and I look like them, I think it's easier for those kids to look up to me. So that's why I go out and play hard and....enjoy the moment and do those crazy things on the field.....because that's what those kids like."

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