White Sox

Members of Sox front office doing their part for scouts in need

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Members of Sox front office doing their part for scouts in need

Once just a set of notes scribbled on a cocktail napkin, 10 years later the Professional Baseball Scouts Foundation has raised 4 million.

The organization -- founded by White Sox front office members Dennis Gilbert and Dave Yoakum, ex-Sox general manager Roland Hemond and the New York Mets Harry Minor -- has a simple goal: aide scouts in need.

The foundations mission statement is to take care of veteran scouts who have fallen on hard time because of job loss, illness, retirement or other setbacks.

Gilbert -- a former minor league player and sports agent who is a special assistant to White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf -- is set to host the organizations 10th annual dinner on Saturday night at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles.

He said his reason for the countless hours spent organizing the dinner is simple: All I wanted to do was to avoid some of the tragic things that happen, Gilbert said. I was around a (scout) who got changed from full-time to part-time and lost benefits because he couldnt afford to pay Cobra. (Family members) were having a hard time just putting him in the ground. Theres stories all over. There were. There arent any more.

Yoakum, who just completed his 21st season as a Sox special assistant to the GM, remembers he was fired up for the initial discussion between himself, Hemond and White Sox GM Rick Hahn at the GM meetings in Tucson, Ariz. in 2002. With a paradigm shift in the front offices of many teams, older GMs were being fired in favor of younger regimes, which in many cases left longtime scouts out of work.

Gilbert missed the first meeting to attend the funeral of a scout but sat down with Hemond, Yoakum and Minor a month later at the winter meetings in Nashville, Tenn and devised a plan with Gilbert writing notes on a napkin.

Lets take care of the insurance for these guys and go from there, Yoakum said. Three weeks later Dennis called and said Were a charitable organization. Dennis has been just fantastic. I would hesitate to think where wed be without Dennis; he took a simplistic approach and turned it into something phenomenal.

Now scouts in need of financial assistance can apply to the organization for anything and everything.

Weve helped people from everything from funeral expenses to unpaid hospital bills to hospice to taking care of widows, Gilbert said. Heres a guy working for you for 30 years and they live month to month.

While scouts pay 85 to attend the dinner, Gilbert said the minimum seat for anyone else is 300 and some tables sell for as high as 50,000. This years event features Academy Award winning actor Harrison Ford and will honor former players Jim Palmer, Ferguson Jenkins and Don Mattingly. Dodgers announcer Vin Scully will receive an executive leadership award.

Boston Red Sox chairman Tom Werner will receive a humanitarian award while the Hairston family -- Jerry Sr., Jerry Jr. and Scott -- will receive the Bob Boone Family award for contributions to the sport. Minnesota Twins GM Terry Ryan and former player, scout and MLB executive Larry Doby will receive lifetime achievement awards for scouting.

Scouts Mike Arbuckle, Wayne Britton, Doug Gassaway, Larry Hines and Gary Johnson, who recently passed away, will also be honored as legends of scouting.

And then there are the silent and live auctions.

I remember our very first dinner, Yoakum said. The first item (auctioned) for 30,000. I got chills. I couldnt believe this had actually come to fruition. Its been quite a journey.

Ozzie Guillén hates Nick Swisher, with his whole heart

Ozzie Guillén hates Nick Swisher, with his whole heart

If you didn't know, Ozzie Guillén has strong opinions and that includes former players he dealt with.

On the White Sox post-game show, host Chuck Garfien asked Guillén who he disliked more, Carlos Gomez or Nick Swisher.

"Oh my God, nobody can compare that with Nick Swisher," Guillén responded. "I hate Nick Swisher with my heart."

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Guillén declined to elaborate, but then added: "I think he hates me back, there's nothing wrong with that."

And finally Ozzie gave some kind of reason.

"I never talked to him, I was managing him, but I don't like the way his attitude was all fake. And I don't like fake people."

Then Chuck pointed out Swisher was only with the White Sox for one year and Guillén had thoughts about that to.

"It was one year too long," Guillén said.

Guillén doubled down and said he thinks others players would agree if they were honest, while clarifying he didn't hate him as a person and thought he was a good player.

The White Sox way wasn't the Swisher way, and there was friction.

Ozzie also admitted he might of misused Swisher.

"I played him center field and batting first or second, that guy has to be in right field batting tenth."


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White Sox end streak, stay confident: 'We are going to do the pushing around'

White Sox end streak, stay confident: 'We are going to do the pushing around'

The White Sox winning streak is over.

So why was Danny Mendick so chipper after a 1-0 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers on Wednesday night?

His three hits might have had something to do with it. He was just about the only offense the White Sox mustered against Adrian Houser and a pair of relievers.

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But it seemed to stem more from the different feeling surrounding this year's White Sox team.

Mendick got a taste, however small, of the rebuilding years at the tail end of the 2019 season. After Yoán Moncada and Tim Anderson and Lucas Giolito and Eloy Jiménez broke out the way they did during that campaign, Rick Hahn's front office complemented them with a host of impact veteran additions during the offseason. Throw it all together, and these White Sox have the look of a potential contender, something backed up by the way they played during their six-game win streak.

That's over now, though Wednesday's game had the same kind of playoff feel that the first two games against the Brewers did on Monday and Tuesday nights. The White Sox might not have played any games that felt like these in the last three years. Now there have been three in three nights.

So yeah, something's changed.

"I’ll tell you what, just the energy in the clubhouse," Mendick said Wednesday, asked about the difference between 2019 and 2020. "When we show up to the field, there’s more confidence.

"It’s not like we are going to get pushed around. It’s more like we are going to do the pushing around.

"Everyone is just prepared. Everyone shows up to the field ready. They know the opponent. We know what they are going to bring. I feel there’s just more, how do I say this, more education. We have more veterans. We have guys who are really focused on baseball, and it brings a lot to everybody."

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The six-game win streak turned the White Sox slow 1-4 start around in a hurry. In this shortened, 60-game season, every game means so much and even modest winning or losing streaks could tug the entire season in one direction or the other. The White Sox went from getting their brains beat in by the class of the AL Central to the third best record in the American League as of Wednesday morning.

They've showed what they're capable of, too. They blew out the Kansas City Royals, scoring a combined 20 runs and knocking out a total of 35 hits in back-to-back wins last weekend. Then they went to Milwaukee and won a pair of nail-biters, getting clutch hits from José Abreu and Jiménez to back strong efforts by the bullpen Monday and Giolito on Tuesday.

Wednesday, it was one of those newly arrived veterans, Dallas Keuchel, who shone. He logged seven one-run innings, the first White Sox starter to pitch in the seventh inning this season. If it weren't for the unusually cool conditions on the South Side, the outcome might have been different. Luis Robert and Moncada dialed up back-to-back deep fly balls in the eighth inning that both could have easily gone as go-ahead homers on a normal summer night.

The clutch hits could have kept on coming. And the knowledge of being competitive — the "belief," as Giolito keeps putting it — prevented the White Sox from feeling down after another fine effort Wednesday. It will likely do so every night for the remainder of this short season.

"The thing that probably has impressed me the most is the resiliency of the club," Hahn said Wednesday. "Obviously, those of us who have watched this team over the last several years, and certainly in the early phase of the rebuild, knew that feeling that you would get early or midway through games where you would feel the lead was perhaps insurmountable. I think looking at this club through the first 10 or 11 games so far, it feels like we're not out of any ballgame, regardless of what the deficit may be.

"I think that's a great testament to not just the veterans that have been brought in, but the growth of the young guys and the mentality I'm sure you've all picked up on going back to (spring training in) Glendale."

Part of the reason additions like Keuchel, Yasmani Grandal and Edwin Encarnación looked so good during the winter was the playoff experience these guys have. While the White Sox core doesn't know what it's like to win at the big league level — not even Abreu does, who played for six losing White Sox teams before signing a new multi-year deal in the offseason — these guys do. They're all veterans of pennant races and playoff runs that go all the way to the end of October. Keuchel's got a World Series ring on his resume.

Experience with the highs and lows of a winning season might not be quite as valuable in this most unusual of seasons. But before the White Sox can be championship contenders, they actually need to do some winning. After a combined 284 losses in the last three seasons, even a six-game winning streak can mean a lot.

But whether they won or lost Wednesday, it didn't seem like the result was going to sway their belief. These White Sox are here to compete and live up to the high expectations they set for themselves dating all the way back to the end of an 89-loss season in 2019.

"We've been hot, and eventually it's going to come to an end. But man, we were right in the ballgame. That's all we can ask for," Keuchel said. "Game in, game out, we know that we're going to be in those contests.

"If we can win series, that's a playoff recipe."


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