White Sox

White Sox hope Wednesday's surreal atmosphere was one-time event

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White Sox hope Wednesday's surreal atmosphere was one-time event

BALTIMORE -- They didn’t know what to expect from the first closed stadium game in baseball history, but if they have their choice the White Sox won’t do it again.

Whether it was 45,900-plus empty seats, a lack of atmosphere, a stadium so quiet you could hear everything or even the glare off the seats, the White Sox didn’t enjoy their surroundings during an 8-2 loss to the Baltimore Orioles on Wednesday afternoon at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

Here’s a collection of what five White Sox players and coaches thought of the scene:

[MORE: Orioles rout White Sox in historic game]

— Second baseman Micah Johnson: “Can’t even compare it to anything, but it was definitely weird. You guys were there. It’s quiet, there’s nothing going on. You hear everything. Obviously it was better for the Orioles than us today. The atmosphere, it’s not how baseball is supposed to be played.

“There’s no comparison. Absolutely zero. It’s like, weird out there. Especially on defense you get the glare from the empty seats. The signs. You don’t ever have to deal with that. Hopefully that never happens again.”

— Relief pitcher Scott Carroll: “You never really know what to expect in a situation like that. But as the game went on I came more to the realization that it’s not going to change obviously and you just have to make do and separate yourself from the fact that nobody’s there. To me it wasn’t much different from throwing in spring training on a backfield.”

[SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans!]

— Manager Robin Ventura: “You couldn’t really hear anything. There wasn’t much going on. It was just a surreal environment. I don’t think we really want to play another one like this. I don’t think anybody does. I don’t think they do either.”

— Starting pitcher Jeff Samardzija: “This was a weird day. I’m not going to put too much into how we played today. It was an awkward situation where we sat around for a few days so we have to get back into a little rhythm and play some games in a row and keep going, keep working.”

— First baseman Jose Abreu: “It was kind of weird. But you can’t blame that on the crowd. We just played a bad game today and that’s it. It’s not any one’s fault, it’s our fault playing the way we did today.”

After homering for his first MLB hit, Zack Collins was 'in shock'

After homering for his first MLB hit, Zack Collins was 'in shock'

The young players that figure to feature heavily in the future of the White Sox have had quite a week.

It started with Lucas Giolito being the first pitcher in the majors to reach 10 wins, then Eloy Jimenez blasted a big go-ahead home run in the ninth inning in his first crosstown game against the Cubs. Now, Zack Collins has added his own blast of optimism to the White Sox young core.

The 24-year-old made his first major league start on Friday in Texas and delivered a three-run home run in his first at-bat. It was his second MLB plate appearance after he drew a pinch-hit walk Wednesday in Wrigley.

After the White Sox beat the Rangers 5-4 in 10 innings, Collins talked to Jason Benetti and Steve Stone on the NBC Sports Chicago broadcast.

“Honestly I was just in shock,” Collins said. “I was running around the bases. It seemed like it lasted like three seconds and I felt myself sprinting around second so I had to slow it down and enjoy the moment, but it was an awesome time.”

Collins finished 1-for-5 with three strikeouts, but that is Collins’ game. He’s going to strikeout a lot and his batting average probably won’t be pretty. He has a career .234 batting average in the minors (.250 in Triple-A Charlotte this year), but he coupled that with a .378 on-base percentage and big power.

In his five trips to the plate on Friday, Collins saw 22 pitches. He’s going to work the count and sometimes he’s going to run into home runs.

“It was smooth,” Collins said. “I just kind of put the ball in play and the ball flew. I really don’t know. It was kind of a blur to me. It was obviously a big moment for me.”

Collins was called up Tuesday morning ahead of the first game against the Cubs. He didn’t play that game, but the pinch-hit walk on Wednesday helped take out some of the nerves.

“On Wednesday night I stepped up, I had a little bit of jitters, had a little bit of butterflies and stuff, but I think that was the point of getting in there on Wednesday and getting all that out,” Collins said. “It felt good tonight.”

Collins still hasn’t played catcher since he got called up. He was the DH in Friday’s lineup. That didn’t stop his dad from being excited about his first start.

“I was pumped,” Collins said of when he saw he was in the lineup. “I immediately texted my dad and told him I was in there. He told me good luck, play hard, do your thing. Obviously it started off well and we got a big win tonight so it was fun.”

As of the postgame interview, Collins didn’t yet have his home run ball. However, it sounded like he was able to make a deal with a fan for it.

“Somebody said they did get the ball,” Collins said. “I think I have to make a little trade with somebody.”

 

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WATCH: Zack Collins hits a three-run homer for his first MLB hit

WATCH: Zack Collins hits a three-run homer for his first MLB hit

Zack Collins started his MLB career in fitting fashion, with a walk.

In his next trip to the plate, he hit a home run.

Collins came on as a pinch-hitter Wednesday at the Cubs and drew that walk. Friday's game at Texas was his first start. The 2016 first-round pick entered the lineup as a DH and batted eighth.

He came up with two on and two out against Rangers starter Ariel Jurado. Collins, as he is known for, took the first three pitches before fouling off a curve on a 2-1 count. Then he took a slider deep to right-center.

Watch Collins' home run in the video above.

Collins is known for three things as a hitter: home runs, walks and strikeouts. Before getting called up from Triple-A Charlotte, Collins was hitting .250/.374/.482. He had nine home runs in 50 games with 36 walks and 66 strikeouts. He was sixth in the International League in walks while playing fewer games due to splitting time at catcher.

In a very short time period, Collins is showing what the White Sox thought they were getting when they drafted him 10th overall in 2016.

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