White Sox

White Sox-Orioles postponed due to tension in Baltimore


White Sox-Orioles postponed due to tension in Baltimore

BALTIMORE -- Two days after protests kept fans inside the park for their safety, Monday night’s White Sox-Baltimore Orioles game was canceled after another day of unrest.

The Orioles announced the decision to cancel the opener of a three-game series with the White Sox about 50 minutes before the scheduled first pitch as protests over the death of Freddie Gray turned violent in the Baltimore. Fewer than 1,000 fans had entered Oriole Park at Camden Yards when the announcement was made and the two teams haven’t yet decided upon a makeup date.

With protests entering a second week after the April 19 death of Gray, who was laid to rest Monday morning, New Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said the teams haven’t made any decisions about the remaining two games, but all alternatives -- perhaps even moving the series elsewhere -- would be discussed.

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“The decision was reached after consultation with local officials,” said Manfred, in town for previously scheduled meetings with both clubs. “We feel like we made the decision that would provide us the greatest possible security in terms of protecting the fans, the players, the umpires, everybody involved.”

“At this point we’re looking at every possible alternative in terms of completing the schedule in a timely way and making sure the games are played in a security situation that is safe for the fans. We’re going to look at every alternative at this point.”

According to the Baltimore Sun, Monday’s riots had already resulted in 15 injuries to local police officers and 27 arrests by 7:45 p.m. CST. Local schools will be closed on Tuesday and Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan declared a state of emergency, which activates the Maryland National Guard.

A peaceful protest on Saturday night turned violent and resulted in fans attending that evening’s Orioles-Boston Red Sox game being kept inside the park for their own safety. Dempsey’s Brew Pub and Restaurant, which is attached to the ballpark, was slightly damaged. 

One possibility is Tuesday's start time being moved up to the afternoon, a decision that would be made early Tuesday morning. But if the game isn't moved up it could potentially be moved to another venue after Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake imposed a citywide curfew for Tuesday night from 10 p.m. until 5 a.m. 

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Located about 40 miles away, Nationals Park is vacant this week as the Washington Nationals are on a road trip. Citizens Bank Park, the home of the Philadelphia Phillies, is also vacant and less than 90 miles away.

White Sox general manager Rick Hahn said his club is open to whatever MLB and the Orioles suggest.

“We’ve been talking about this since the middle of the afternoon that there was the chance this could happen tonight and if it did there certainly are far greater priorities than playing one baseball game,” Hahn said. “I do know everything is on the table to postponing to later in the season to perhaps changing venues or start times. Whatever. We’re flexible. We’re here. When they feel it’s safe and prudent and the right thing to a baseball game we’re here and ready to play.”

When media access began at 3:40 p.m. (EST), the eyes of nearly everyone in a White Sox uniform in the clubhouse -- from Hahn and the coaching staff to players and clubhouse attendants -- were transfixed upon the horrifying images of violence from several local news broadcasts. Most players were weary of the situation, one the Baltimore Sun’s Twitter handle described as a “mob,” taking place about four miles from the stadium. Ninety minutes later, players and coaches couldn’t help but notice helicopters flying over the stadium as they stretched for batting practice.

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Shortly after the announcement, players and coaches quickly exited the ballpark with a police escort.

“It’s a little scary,” outfielder Adam Eaton said. “In all of our minds, we don’t want to be out there and have a situation go down where somebody may be in danger or get hurt. It’s in the best of everyone’s interest.

“We’re just trying to get home to the hotel and be safe. I have some family here. I know some other guys have family here. We’re just trying to get out of harm’s way and be safe.

“We’re going to run I think. I think there are some police officers who would escort us over there, so we’re going to hang out with those guys and they’ll help protect us.”

The next Mark Buehrle? Maybe Dallas Keuchel is best bet for White Sox in free agency

The next Mark Buehrle? Maybe Dallas Keuchel is best bet for White Sox in free agency

SAN DIEGO — We've talked a lot about Madison Bumgarner. We've wondered why the White Sox aren't more heavily linked to Gerrit Cole. We watched as they made the high bid for Zack Wheeler, only for him to take less money to pitch for the Philadelphia Phillies.

Maybe the best answer for the White Sox starting-pitching problem is someone else entirely. Maybe it's the next Mark Buehrle.

That's a comp that ought to get White Sox fans excited. After all Buehrle is one of the biggest icons in franchise history, a tremendous pitcher, defender and World Series winner. Well, Dallas Keuchel fits those descriptions, too, and it led to one bold prediction from one of the most plugged-in people in the game as the Winter Meetings got started Monday.

"My prediction is — not sourced reporting, this is a prediction — that Dallas Keuchel is a White Sock (by the end of the Winter Meetings)," MLB.com's Jon Morosi said on the White Sox Talk Podcast. "He reminds me — his ability to field the position, lefty — there’s a little Buehrle there with Keuchel. I think that he fits, and I would hope that’s part of the White Sox sales pitch to him.

"I look at Buehrle and Keuchel as being similar pitchers, both athletic. There’s something about Keuchel pitching in that uniform that looks right to me."

OK, so maybe it's less of a comp and more of a hunch, but indeed there are similarities between the two. They're both four-time Gold Glove winners. They both won a World Series, Buehrle with the White Sox in 2005 and Keuchel with the Houston Astros in 2017. They're both left-handed, something that the White Sox could use right now to balance out their right-handed heavy rotation.

Perhaps most importantly for the White Sox, Keuchel is presently available. He's one of three oft-discussed mid-tier free-agent pitchers, along with Bumgarner and Hyun-Jin Ryu, who could be on the White Sox radar in the wake of Wheeler's decision to pitch in Philly. Rick Hahn's front office showed with its reported high bid for Wheeler that it's willing to spend big to add to the rotation. Perhaps the gargantuan sum speculated to go to Cole is a tad outside the realm of possibility — for many more teams than just the White Sox — but Keuchel could be the guy the team's been trying to find to pair with Lucas Giolito at the top of the rotation.

Keuchel has the experience of going through a rebuild and coming out the other end a world champion, helpful in telling these young White Sox how to get it done. He's done something Buehrle never did: capture a Cy Young Award, which he won in 2015. More recently, he helped lead the Atlanta Braves to an NL East championship, posting a 3.75 ERA and 91 strikeouts in 112.2 innings over 19 starts in 2019.

Most importantly, perhaps, Keuchel would provide stability and reliability in a rotation that, while talented, has plenty of question marks. Will Giolito's transformation be permanent? Will Michael Kopech be the same flamethrower he was prior to Tommy John surgery? Will Dylan Cease shake off a rocky first taste of the big leagues? Will Reynaldo Lopez find some consistency? Will Carlos Rodon be able to contribute much in 2020?

Keuchel comes with far fewer question marks, and hearing his name next to Buehrle's should give White Sox fans a clearer picture of what he could bring to the South Side.

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White Sox Talk Podcast: MLB.com's Jon Morosi joins to discuss Gerrit Cole and the Sox meaning business this winter


White Sox Talk Podcast: MLB.com's Jon Morosi joins to discuss Gerrit Cole and the Sox meaning business this winter

Chuck Garfien, Ryan McGuffey and Vinnie Duber are at the MLB Winter Meetings in San Diego.

MLB.com's Jon Morosi joins them to discuss the latest on Gerrit Cole (0:30) and the White Sox meaning business this winter (3:00). Plus, Jon says who he thinks is more likely to land in the Sox outfield: Marcell Ozuna or Nicholas Castellanos? (5:00)

When all is said and done, what will the White Sox do this week? The four guys give their predictions. Morosi expects a big name, free-agent starter to come to the South Side. (12:00)

Chuck, Guff and Vinnie then discuss what is fact and fiction about Marcell Ozuna (18:00) and have more of the rumors from Day 1 of the Winter Meetings.

Listen to the full episode in the embedded player below:

White Sox Talk Podcast