White Sox

Trayce Thompson reflects upon 'two of the best months of my life' with White Sox

Trayce Thompson reflects upon 'two of the best months of my life' with White Sox

While many of the faces in the White Sox clubhouse may be relatively unfamiliar to fans, Trayce Thompson remembers them all.

Even with Chris Sale, Adam Eaton, Jose Quintana, David Robertson, Todd Frazier and Tommy Kahnle gone, Thompson sees a lot of old friends in the White Sox clubhouse. A member of the organization from 2009-15, Thompson said his first trip back to Guaranteed Rate Field since he was traded has brought back a lot of good memories. Traded in the three-team deal that brought Frazier to the White Sox, Thompson started in center field for the Los Angeles Dodgers and hit ninth on Wednesday night.

“I won’t call him Yolmer,” Thompson said. “I played with Carlos (Sanchez) at every level. I played with Tim (Anderson) at Birmingham briefly. Tim’s an amazing kid, one of my favorites I’ve ever played with. Kevan Smith is one of my really close friends. I’ve known Matt Davidson longer than any guy on that team because we grew up in the same area. Me and (David Holmberg) were drafted together. We pretty much did everything together when we first got drafted. I’m glad to see all those guys. Luis Sierra, I know he’s one of the coaches … I lived with him when I was here.”

“It makes me happy, brings back a lot of good memories being here. And I’m happy to see a lot of my good friends that I played with kind of get an opportunity to play here a lot. It’s been fun for me to kind of follow them.”

A second-round pick by the White Sox in the 2009 draft, Thompson bloomed when he finally got his chance in the majors. Thompson arrived late in the 2015 season and slashed .295/.363/.533 with five home runs and 16 RBIs in 135 plate appearances.  

“I had two of the best months of my life here,” Thompson said. “Some of the most fun baseball I’ve ever played in my life.”

It’s nearly a lifetime ago in terms of where the White Sox have been. Thompson’s White Sox manager, Robin Ventura, stepped down at the end of the 2016 season. Sale and Eaton were dealt in December, which has begun a team-driven exodus of talent.

Back problems limited Thompson to 80 games for the Dodgers in 2016, though he still managed to belt 13 home runs. Thompson said his back has been fine since March, although it requires constant maintenance. After spending much of the season at Triple-A, Thompson rejoined the Dodgers in late June and splits playing time in the outfield.

“It’s pretty special to be a part of this team,” Thompson said.

He also enjoys that some of his old teammates have moved on — and into great situations, too. For those still here, Thompson likes the opportunity his homegrown teammates have started to receive.

“It’s far different than what I became accustomed to going to big league camp,” Thompson said. “But I’m happy for Chris Sale to get an opportunity to play with a good team in Boston and happy for Q now. They’ve moved on to good teams and I’m happy for them. I’m happy for all the guys here now who have an opportunity to play. I know they’re obviously trying to win, but they’re kind of allowing the homegrown guys an opportunity, which I’m happy to see. It’s definitely a different feel.”

White Sox Talk Podcast: Dallas Keuchel's wakeup call to the White Sox

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USA TODAY

White Sox Talk Podcast: Dallas Keuchel's wakeup call to the White Sox

After an embarrassing loss to the Detroit Tigers on Monday, Dallas Keuchel called out his teammates in person and in the media to be better and it seems to have worked.

Chuck Garfien and Ryan McGuffey discuss Keuchel's leadership in the White Sox locker room, and the team's response to Keuchel's comments. They also dive into Tim Anderson's return to the lineup after coming back from injury and his home run trot after crushing a ball.

(2:00) - Keuchel's importance to the White Sox

(6:40) - Should Rick Renteria have called out the team instead of Keuchel?

Click to download the MyTeams App for the latest White Sox news and analysis.

(11:00) - Tim Anderson's leadoff home run trot

(16:30) - White Sox bullpen is coming through

Listen here or below.

White Sox Talk Podcast

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White Sox' Tim Anderson digs Blazers' Damian Lillard doing things his way

White Sox' Tim Anderson digs Blazers' Damian Lillard doing things his way

They say game sees game. Well, TA sees Dame.

Tim Anderson tweeted out some love for Damian Lillard after the Trailblazers superstar talked about how important it was to him to win a championship in Portland, and nowhere else.

“The grass ain’t always greener,” Lillard said. “I feel like we can really build something in Portland and get it done. I really believe that… This is what I really want to accomplish and I’m willing to all-out commit to that.”

Click to download the MyTeams App for the latest White Sox news and analysis.

Anderson has shared a similar sentiment for years, citing the connection he feels with young kids growing on the South Side.

“I’m going to continue to play hard and keep playing for my team and the South Side,” said in April 2019. “I’m in a place where I want to be. I’m going to continue to play hard and keep having fun.”

RELATED: Tim Anderson knows his impact on lineup better than anyone else

He elaborated on his experience playing in Chicago later that year on a podcast with C.J. McCollum, who is coincidentally one of Lillard’s teammates on the Blazers.

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

“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, so 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."

That last sentiment, enjoying the moment, also plays into “game seeing game” and “TA seeing Dame.”

“I don’t live my life, or play the game, to the standards or expectations of other people,” Lillard said. “I do it for the reasons I love.”

Again, this lines up perfectly with Anderson’s ethos, from bat flips to having fun on the field and wanting to “change the game.”

“We’re just making those younger guys comfortable now,” Anderson said on CC Sabathia’s podcast last March. “Allowing them to be themselves because like I said, when you’re yourself, that’s when I’m going to get the best you. You’re going to go out and play hard and be excited and do whatever it takes to make that play. But when you’re not being yourself, then obviously who knows what could happen. You could be nervous or whatever, scared of what the next guy thinks.

"Do you. Whatever you do, do you because that’s how we’re going to get the best you.”

Anderson extends that to the “traditional” way of doing things around baseball.

“The thing I would change are them weak ass unwritten rules. “They need to let us know what the rules is. Can we have fun? Are we going to let the kids play or what?”


RELATED: Luis Robert not feeling pressure of Rookie of the Year hype

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