White Sox

Fans' outfits attract plenty of attention at Ryder Cup

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Fans' outfits attract plenty of attention at Ryder Cup

MEDINAH Dave Vivolo wasnt exactly sold on wearing a red, white and blue wig. But theres something about a patriotic golf event and a persuasive friend.

I told him I wasnt going to do it but he talked me into it, said Vivolo of good friend Greg Short, both of whom live in southern California. Theres a certain camaraderie between people when you wear a wig or (costumes) or something here. Its very social. All in all, its excellent.

From Bubba Watson goading fans to cheer during his opening tee shots, to the nation-themed garb donned by spectators, the Ryder Cup is an audio and visual display of team and country devotion. For an event like this, the national pride has been evident. Fans have done everything from the subtle, like a wig or an Uncle Sam hat, to the extreme full flag suits and, in one case, a Captain America costume.

And for some, no distance was too far to travel.

Four men from Dublin, Ireland, with flags tied draped over their shoulders, had a weather-related reason to come here.

The sunshine, said Ken Tannen. After the last two European Ryder Cups (in Ireland in 2006 and Wales in 2010) we were so wet we decided to come here. Its absolutely awesome. We were just saying on the No. 1 tee earlier, it doesnt get any better than this.

Some of the outfits have garnered plenty of attention. A group of seven men from Great Britain have become weekend celebrities thanks to their suits, which are Union Jack from head to toe. Several fans stopped to have their picture taken with the group.

We all play golf at the same club back in the UK, so its a boys long week away. Weve had photos taken, national newspapers back home showed us, its been great, said Craig Nightengale, who added the groups been welcomed here. A vast majority of Americans have been great to us. Theyve been very sociable.

Jerry and Rosann Gorman didnt have to travel far for this one. Living just a mile away in Roselle, the Gormans, dressed in plenty of red, white and blue, took in Saturdays matches after volunteering here on Thursday.

Its been fantastic. The whole communitys involved and all the local people are embracing it, said Jerry Gorman. With both the Europeans and Americans, the money doesnt matter. Its all pride and everybodys a good sport.

Rosann agreed, and said the amicable feelings have been among the colorfully decked-out crowds, too.

Its been very interesting, especially with the Europeans. Its been fun to mingle with them, she said. I can listen to those British accents all day.

White Sox Talk Podcast: Inside the White Sox draft room with Nick Hostetler

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AP

White Sox Talk Podcast: Inside the White Sox draft room with Nick Hostetler

Chuck Garfien and Ryan McGuffey speak with White Sox scouting director Hosteler inside the team's draft room at Guaranteed Rate Field.

How accurate are the mock drafts? (2:45) Can Andrew Vaughn meeting the lofty expectations? (6:40) Bobby Witt Jr's unique background (8:30), why this draft could bring a face of the franchise type player the top (11:15), and what it's like in the war room on draft day (12:30). Do they have a consensus pick yet? (13:45) Do they need to stock up on pitching? (17:35)

Is Nick Madrigal meeting expectations in Class-A? (26:40) Hostetler's sleeper pick from last season that White Sox fans should watch (30:00) and more.

Listen to the full episode in the embedded player below:

White Sox Talk Podcast

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How close is Ian Happ to rejoining the Cubs?

How close is Ian Happ to rejoining the Cubs?

Is Ian Happ nearing a return to Chicago?

In a surprise move at the end of spring training, the Cubs sent the 24-year-old switch-hitter down to the minor leagues to work on his swing and try to cut down on strikeouts.

Happ's numbers in Iowa don't jump off the page at you (.240/.362/.422), but it looks like he may be turning a corner of late. He homered Monday night then went 4-for-4 with another homer, 2 doubles and 5 RBI in the second game of a doubleheader Wednesday.

That's obviously a very small sample size, however, and even including that, Happ is still struggling to make consistent contact. He has struck out 14 times in 25 at-bats over his last 8 games. 

His overall strikeout percentage on the season is 25.9 percent — a major improvement on the 36.1 percent mark he struggled through in the big leagues last year. But Happ had never struck out more than 23.6 percent of the time in a season coming up through the minor leagues, so that number is still higher than the Cubs would like to see.

"If [the mini hot streak] were sustained, you'd have to really start listening," Joe Maddon said. "I'm following him via video, watching the at-bats. I'm doing that almost daily with him. I know prior to that, he had still had some problems with strikeouts. 

"And then hit a home run the other day and that seems like that's led to this other home run. That would be primarily a call on the front office and the minor-league part [on when to call him up], but I will watch the video. The home run I saw, I liked. I thought he had much better balance on the entire swing."

Obviously the Cubs aren't going to overreact to a couple games and deem Happ ready to return to the big leagues based off a handful of at-bats.

But there's also a solid case to be made that he could help the club in Chicago right now.

Despite a hot start to the season, the Cubs' role players have really fallen off the last few weeks and much of the offensive damage has come from the big boppers (Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, Javy Baez, Willson Contreras) recently.

There's no indication Ben Zobrist is coming back anytime soon, as Maddon said Thursday morning he hasn't spoken to the veteran in a couple days. 

David Bote and Jason Heyward have looked better this week, but they were struggling for the first couple weeks of May. 

Daniel Descalso has really been scuffling, hitting .097 with only 1 extra-base hit in May and his defense at second base has been below average.

Then there's Mark Zagunis, who isn't doing much of anything for the Cubs — literally. He hasn't started a game since April 26 and hasn't seen even one inning in the outfield since then, either, serving exclusively as a pinch-hitter for the last month.

So if the Cubs decide soon that Happ is ready to return to the big leagues, they have a simple decision on the roster spot and right now, there might be an avenue to a decent amount of playing time either at second base or the outfield.

Happ may not be the best or most experienced defender at second base, but he's seen some time there in the minors this season (59.2 innings) and he can also play either of the corner infield spots and all three outfield positions.

But would it be prudent for the Cubs to call up Happ if they don't even have room for him to play every day? That could throw a wrench in his development, which is clearly something the organization has been committed to.

Albert Almora Jr. is still easily the best centerfielder on the roster and has been great offensively for the last month, so it's not like he's done anything to deserve falling back into a platoon with Happ in center like they shared for much of 2018.

"It's hard. You would want to [call him up only if there's ample time to play him]," Maddon said. "But if you could morph him in and there's a platoon that's worthwhile, you could do that, also.

"But part of him being [in the minors] right now on a consistent basis is to get these kind of at-bats to get this all worked out and you would not want to lose that, either. But when he were to come back, being that he could hit left-handed obviously permits us to do other things."

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