White Sox

Thome confident Dunn will rebound

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Thome confident Dunn will rebound

For the last nine months, Adam Dunns name has been surrounded by a black cloud of smoke, a player whose stellar 11-year baseball career suddenly crashed to bits in 2011 following one of the worst hitting seasons in baseball history.

And now with spring training a little over a month away, the question being asked is, Can Dunn turn it around and have a comeback year in 2012? A successful White Sox season likely hinges on it.

However, after Dunn hit .159 with 177 strikeouts in his first full go-around in the American League, youll be hard-pressed to find anyone willing to jump on the Dunn bandwagon believing that a major revival could be ahead for the Sox dubious designated hitter. Some might be inclined to dip their toes in the water with a half-hearted endorsement, but to go waist-deep in the lagoon, see through the mud and muck that has plastered itself around his image, and predict a possible monster season for the lefty slugger?

That, I had not heard until Saturday night.

And leave it to another bulky left-hander, the last man to hold Dunns job on a regular basis: Jim Thome.

Im a very similar player as him. If you look at the way both of our styles are, we are very similar, Thome said of Dunn in an interview with Comcast SportsNet. And I will say this, the guy might come out this year and hit 60 home runs. Hes got that potential. And one thing I would think, because hes very driven, whenever you challenge an athlete, the good ones rise, and hes very good, so well see.

When it comes to being a designated hitter, Thome is the current expert among active players, having logged 781 games at that position throughout his career. His first season with the White Sox in 2006 was also his first as a full-time DH, something Dunn had to adapt to in 2011.

How big of an adjustment is it?

Its huge, Thome said. I think the one thing you have to have in your mindset is that this is what I want to do. If theres any hesitation, if theres any doubt in your mind, Well, am I going to play in the field, am I not, am I full-time? And I think what helped me, and I credit Ozzie Guillen for doing this, he told me that I was going to be the DH, and thats what I prepared to do, and I tried to do it the best I could.

Thome quickly adapted to his new role, and batted .288 with 42 homers and 109 RBIs in 2006. Dunn never found a rhythm or comfort zone, and his season quickly slid into the abyss.

As a guy who swings and misses youre going to go through those down times, and I think getting into that routine is the most important thing for sure, Thome said.

After finishing his 21st season in Cleveland, ironically where it all began in 1991, Thome went home accepting the realization that he might have played his final game in a major league uniform.

How close was he to retirement?

Very, very, he said. Ill be honest, I got home and Andrea Jims wife and I talked about it, and I pretty much made my mind up that if I was out there in January, this time of year, unsigned that I would probably just go ahead and retire.

But just two hours after the free agency period began, Thomes agent received a phone call from the Phillies, who signed him to a 1-year, 1.25 million contract.

Theyve put themselves in a position to win a World Series, and lets face it, thats where Im at. I feel like for me, thats the unfinished thing in my career, and I wanted to give that at least another year and try to do that, said Thome, who will mainly be used as a late-inning pinch-hitter, but will also play some first base until Ryan Howard is recovered from his Achilles tendon injury. Easier said than done, but Thome is determined to be physically ready for the challenge.

When the All-in White Sox won only 79 games last season, no one was more surprised than Thome who, while playing in the AL Central with the Twins and Indians, had a front-row seat for many of their struggles.

Ill never forget it. We were in Minnesota, and we watched their Opening Day game. It was in Cleveland, and they scored like 15 or 18 runs.

(For the record it, was 15. The Sox won 15-10. Dunn hit a homer that ricocheted off a satellite.)

And I remember our guys saying, It looks like Chicago is going to be tough to handle. And then as baseball goes, you just never know. I think with their team last year, its hard to predict or say what went wrong. I think its just a part of baseball.

Saturday, Thome was back in his hometown of Peoria hosting the 17th annual Joyce Thome Benefit, in honor of his late mother. The evening raised over 270,000 for Childrens Hospital of Illinois. It was a record turnout, which this year celebrated Thomes 600th home run, which he belted out in Detroit back in August.

After hitting No. 500 with the White Sox in 2007, Jim and his father Chuck brought the ball to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. He plans on doing the same with No. 600 after the season, but this time hell bring along his wife and two kids.

It will be yet another chapter in Thomes memory bank of incredible moments. Like Saturday night.

How do you imagine starting out in the big leagues, growing up in Peoria, getting an opportunity to fulfill a dream, and then you get a call from a hospital back in 1994. And Ill never forget my mom said, The hospital called. Lets go visit the kids. And on that day, day one, it touched me.

In his three-plus seasons with the White Sox, Thome touched the lives of many White Sox fans, some of whom were in attendance at the Thome gala.

Jim foresees a possible renaissance for Dunn in 2012. How about the entire White Sox team?

I do. I think Robin is a great man. I think hes going to do great things. Hes a great baseball guy. I think a guy like Gordon Beckham is going to have a great year.

Then Thome paused and smiled.

And then, who knows, maybe well see you in Chicago in the World Series. That would be fun.

Or unlikely, depending on your point-of-view.

But like Thome said, with baseball, you just never know.

Anyone who says they do know doesnt. Ask the St. Louis Cardinals.

Or ask the heavens. Somewhere theres a ball that Dunn hit there once upon a time. Itll eventually come back.

What happens if his swing does too?

NBC SPORTS CHICAGO TO DELIVER EXTENSIVE, LIVE, MULTI-PLATFORM “SOXFEST 2020” COVERAGE BEGINNING THIS THURSDAY, JANUARY 23

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USA Today

NBC SPORTS CHICAGO TO DELIVER EXTENSIVE, LIVE, MULTI-PLATFORM “SOXFEST 2020” COVERAGE BEGINNING THIS THURSDAY, JANUARY 23

Chicago, IL (January 21, 2020) – NBC Sports Chicago - THE NEW EXCLUSIVE HOME of the CHICAGO WHITE SOX - is ready to start up the highly-anticipated 2020 MLB season in a big way with expanded multi-platform coverage of “SoxFest 2020,” which will be held this weekend (January 24-25) at the McCormick Place Convention Center in downtown Chicago.  NBC Sports Chicago will be rolling out its most robust “SoxFest” coverage to date featuring multiple, live on-site shows, massive digital content, entertaining social media offerings, “Authentic Fan” booth giveaways/special appearances, and so much more.  Please note NBC Sports Chicago’s “SoxFest 2020” content coverage details below:

 

THURSDAY, JANUARY 23 --

  • 6:00 PM CT – “SportsTalk Live” special edition from SoxFest - Prior to the official start of “SoxFest 2020,” fans can look forward to a special edition of SportsTalk Live presented by The Chevy Silverado live from McCormick Place.  Host David Kaplan (@thekapman) will be joined by special guests, White Sox manager Ricky Renteria and NBC Sports Chicago White Sox game analyst Steve Stone (@stevestone), along with a panel of White Sox experts to discuss the upcoming weekend’s festivities and preview what lies ahead for the White Sox in 2020. (NOTES: This program will also stream live on NBCSportsChicago.com/WatchLive)

 

FRIDAY, JANUARY 24 --

  • 3:00 PM CT – “SoxFest 2020” Opening Ceremonies - Veteran NBC Sports Chicago White Sox expert/multi-platform host Chuck Garfien (@ChuckGarfien) will host network’s always-entertaining “SoxFest” Opening Ceremonies coverage “Live from the Black Carpet” featuring the official weekend kick-off introductions (and interviews) with White Sox players, coaches, front offices execs, broadcasters and legendary White Sox alumni.  NBC Sports Chicago’s “SoxFest 2020” Opening Ceremonies coverage will also be co-hosted by White Sox Pre/Postgame Live & Baseball Night in Chicago host Leila Rahimi (@leilarahimi) and NBC Sports Chicago multi-platform White Sox reporter Vinnie Duber (@VinnieDuber) who will provide additional commentary and conduct interviews throughout the ceremonies. (NOTES: This program will also stream live on NBCSportsChicago.com/WatchLive and via the “MyTeams by NBC Sports” app; fans located anywhere in the U.S. can download MyTeams for free on iOS and Android devices in the Apple App Store and Google Play Store…in addition, the Opening Ceremonies will re-air at 6:30 PM on NBC Sports Chicago+)

 

  • 6:00 PM CT – “SportsTalk Live” special edition from SoxFest - NBC Sports Chicago’s live, on-site coverage from “SoxFest 2020” continues with an additional remote edition of SportsTalk Live presented by The Chevy Silverado as host David Kaplan welcomes White Sox reliever Aaron Bummer and new acquisition/right fielder Nomar Mazara..  In addition, “Kap” will be joined by White Sox players and a panel of Sox experts to discuss all the off-season moves and acquisitions, the shaping of this season’s roster, including the starting line-up and pitching rotation, along with analysis on why 2020 may very well be the year the White Sox make their triumphant return to postseason action. (NOTE: This program will also stream live on NBCSportsChicago.com/WatchLive and via the “MyTeams by NBC Sports” app)

 

  • 7:00 PM CT – “SoxFest @ Night” (airing on NBC Sports Chicago+) - Fans are in for a special primetime treat Friday night as NBC Sports Chicago will deliver its exclusive presentation of SoxFest @ Night, a one-hour talk show hosted by Chuck Garfien and NBC Sports Chicago White Sox play-by-play announcer Jason Benetti (@jasonbenetti), which will take place LIVE in front of a die-hard White Sox fan convention audience on “SoxFest’s” primary stage.  Featured White Sox guests on SoxFest @ Night will include Rick Hahn (SVP/GM), Rick Renteria (Manager), Tim Anderson (SS), Jose Abreu (1B), Yoan Moncada (3B), Luis Robert (CF), Dallas Keuchel (SP), Lucas Giolito (SP), Yasmani Grandal (C) and Eloy Jimenez (LF).  (NOTE: This program will also stream live on NBCSportsChicago.com/WatchLive and via the “MyTeams by NBC Sports” app)

 

THROUGHOUT THE WEEKEND…

 

NBCSportsChicago.com, “MyTeams by NBC Sports” app and Social Media

  • Fans can look forward to even more comprehensive “SoxFest 2020” coverage all weekend long on NBCSportsChicago.com (NBCSportsChicago.com/WhiteSox) and the MyTeams by NBC Sports app featuring additional players/coaches/front office executive interviews, feature stories, fan reaction, photos, videos and much more provided by Garfien, Rahimi, Duber, along the NBC Sports Chicago team of behind-the-scenes White Sox experts (@NBCSWhiteSox). 

 

  • From a social media standpoint, NBC Sports Chicago will also deliver a number of additional on-site Facebook Live (Facebook.com/NBCSChicago) interviews and special segments throughout the weekend, along with numerous SoxFest “Sights & Sounds” highlights via ‘NBCSChicago’ on Instagram and Instagram Stories. 

 

“White Sox Talk” Podcasts

  • White Sox fans can look forward to brand new “White Sox Talk” Podcasts presented by Wintrust featuring the hottest SoxFest topics and special guest interviews. The “White Sox Talk” podcast is hosted by NBC Sports Chicago White Sox experts Chuck Garfien, Ryan McGuffey (@RyanMcGuffey), Chris Kamka (@ckamka) and Vinnie Duber.  Fans can download all of NBC Sports Chicago’s podcasts at NBCSportsChicago.com/podcasts and simply subscribe to them via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify or Stitcher.  The podcasts can be played on any mobile device, laptop, or desktop computer.
  • In addition, fans attending “SoxFest 2020” this weekend can also stop by the convention’s designated museum area on Saturday afternoon to watch a pair of “White Sox Talk” podcast tapings featuring Garfien, McGuffey and Duber interviewing starting pitchers Dylan Cease (12 NOON) and Michael Kopech (2:00 PM). 

 

“Authentic Fan” booth at SoxFest

  • NBC Sports Chicago’s “Authentic Fan” booth will feature a number of special White Sox-themed giveaways including “Authentic Fan” bobbleheads, mittens, baseball caps and much more (while supplies last).  Plus, fans can are urged to utilize the social media hashtag #AuthenticFan throughout the weekend as several lucky fans will be “authentically surprised” with special White Sox giveaways and experiences. NBC Sports Chicago’s dedicated White Sox Twitter handle (@NBCSWhiteSox) will also provide up-to-the-minute info on NBC Sports Chicago “Authentic Fan” booth activities, which will include specific timing details on White Sox player and broadcaster appearances throughout the weekend.

Paul Konerko ineligible for 2020 Hall of Fame ballot, receives 2.5% of vote

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USA Today

Paul Konerko ineligible for 2020 Hall of Fame ballot, receives 2.5% of vote

Former White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko will not be the Hall of Fame ballot in 2020 after not receiving 5% of the vote. Konerko received 2.5% of the vote. 

Konerko came to Chicago in 1998, playing his first season with the Sox in 1999. Konerko hit for an average of .294 with 24 homeruns and 81 RBIs during his first season with the White Sox. The following season, the White Sox made the playoffs for the first time since 1993. Konerko was with the team during their triumphant 2005 World Series win, hitting the first grand slam in White Sox World Series history and giving the Sox the lead 6-4 in Game 2 against the Astros.

Confused and frustrated? You’re not alone. Here's how the multi-step voting process works. Players become eligible to enter the Hall of Fame ballot five years after they’ve retired, if they’ve played a minimum of 10 seasons. From there, the Baseball Writers’ Association of America screening committee will vote to determine which players make the ballot. Each voter can vote for 10 players. Players need to achieve at least 5% of the vote to be included on next year’s ballot. If a player makes the ballot, they then need to achieve 75% of all ballots cast to be officially inducted into the Hall of Fame.

Regardless of the voting, Konerko will always be a White Sox legend.

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