White Sox

Lee, No. 2 Proviso East dominate DG South

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Lee, No. 2 Proviso East dominate DG South

By Michael O'Brien
YourSeason.com

Proviso East is one unbeaten team that no one is questioning, and Thursday in Downers Grove the No. 2 Pirates showed why, dominating Downers Grove South 78-70 in a game that wasnt nearly as close as the score indicated.

Junior guard Paris Lee led the charge with 25 points and seven steals. He was 5-for-8 from three and 9-for-13 from the field, but it was the defense that rocked the Mustangs.

Proviso East coach Donnie Boyce wants me to be a lockdown defender, thats what he wants me to do, said Lee. Boyce has turned up the pressure. Last year we were lackadaisical.

Lee was more than a lockdown defender. The Mustangs literally had trouble dribbling anywhere near him in the first half. The Pirates forced Downers South into 21 turnovers in the game.

I love my guys, I love the way they compete, Boyce said. They sacrifice a lot of their game for the good of the team.

That sacrifice is something that Downers South star Jerron Wilbut has struggled with throughout his high school career. Wilbut didnt start for the Mustangs, due to disciplinary reasons-a common occurrence over the past few years. Midway through the second quarter, Wilbut attempted a contested dunk instead of passing to a wide-open teammate under the basket. He missed the dunk.

Greg Garro led the Mustangs (13-3, 4-1 West Suburban Gold) with 20 points and 13 rebounds. Jordan Cannon added 14 and Wilbut finished with 13. Kevin Honn scored 12 and grabbed nine rebounds.

Proviso East led by 15 at the half and 12 after three quarters. The Mustangs were able to cut the lead to nine twice in the fourth quarter and a three from Jordan Cannon trimmed the lead to eight to end the scoring.

Paris Burns scored 16 for the Pirates (15-0, 5-0) and Sterling Brown added 12 points and six rebounds. Point guard Keith Carter scored 11, grabbed five rebounds and dished out six assists.

Cliff Politte, Neal Cotts formed 'special' 1-2 punch for White Sox in 2005

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NBC Sports Chicago

Cliff Politte, Neal Cotts formed 'special' 1-2 punch for White Sox in 2005

If you’ve been watching and following along with our White Sox Rewind games on NBC Sports Chicago, then it must feel like everything was going right in 2005.

That’s because it was, although it certainly helps that we’re only showing White Sox winners.

On the morning of April 23, 2005, the White Sox were 13-4 and had won five games in a row. On most nights, the starting pitchers were going six or seven innings, hardly taxing a bullpen that looked solid on paper, but was still unproven in some areas and appeared to have a weakness at closer.

But that was about to change on that Saturday evening in Kansas City on Apr. 23. Finally, some adversity was about to strike, as Jose Contreras left the game in the fourth inning with a hamstring strain. Clinging to a 2-1 lead at the time, manager Ozzie Guillen called on his bullpen to carry the load the rest of the way, and for the first time, we saw a strong glimpse of what the White Sox had with their relievers.

It started with right-hander Cliff Politte, a journeyman reliever once drafted in the 54th round who suddenly put it all together in 2005 to become an important part of a World Series team. He posted an era of 2.00 while pitching 67.1 innings.

“I came over here from Toronto and I felt like the coaches there wanted everybody to be like Roy Halladay,” Politte told Chuck Garfien on the White Sox Talk Podcast this week. “We had to do this and try these things and whatnot. And we were all different. I remember (White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper) telling me my first year here that he was going to make the best of what I had and make me the best pitcher that I could (be) -- not to try to change me or anything. When you hear that from a coach in the big leagues, it (gives you) a lot of confidence. It’s like, this guy trusts what I have so let’s try to make it better and that’s kind of what happened.”

Politte and left-hander Neal Cotts – one of the younger players on the team at 25 – formed a deadly 1-2 combo in high-leverage situations.

“Even if I gave up a hit to the right-hander and knew that a lefty was on-deck, and I was coming out and Neal was taking over, we always kind of had that idea that it’s all right if I give up this hit. Neal is going to have my back. Or I’m going to get Neal’s back,” Politte said. “It was kind of special to think about, knnowing that you had a 1-2 punch with a righty-lefty that could dominate and get guys out. It’s a fun feeling. It’s hard to believe it happened, but it’s fun.”

Hard to believe in part because Politte’s career fizzled out quickly after the 2005 season. Still only 32 in 2006, he was released by the White Sox on July 20, 2006 and never made another major league appearance again. Chris Kamka detailed Politte’s career here.

But in 2005, Politte was excellent. And he pitched 1.2 key scoreless innings on Apr. 23 against the Royals, followed by Cotts, who did the same. All-in-all, the bullpen went 6.2 innings that night, giving up just one run. It was a fun game with Zack Greinke on the hill for the Royals. Here’s what Guillen’s lineup looked like:

LF Scott Podsednik
2B Tadahito Iguchi
DH Carl Everett
1B Paul Konerko
RF Jermaine Dye
C A.J. Pierzynski
SS Juan Uribe
LF Ross Gload
3B Joe Crede

Of note, Crede carried a 13-game hitting streak into this one, despite continuing to hit in the No. 9 spot. Hey, you don’t mess with a streak.

The White Sox-Tigers game from Apr. 20, 2005 will air Tuesday at 4 p.m. on NBC Sports Chicago. For the full White Sox Rewind schedule from the 2005 season, click here.

Jason Kipnis airs concerns over challenges players will face when MLB returns

Jason Kipnis airs concerns over challenges players will face when MLB returns

We don’t know when the 2020 MLB season will begin, only that the schedule could be tightened and shortened as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Baseball obviously takes a backseat to the coronavirus and flattening the curve. Whenever MLB deems it safe to return to action, the safety of fans, players and team staff members will be the upmost priority.

From purely a baseball standpoint, players will need time to ramp their training back up after a long hiatus. But even with a second quasi-spring training, players may have a hard time playing catch up, according to Cubs second baseman Jason Kipnis.

In a Tuesday Instagram post, Kipnis aired some of his grievances over the challenges players will have getting back into game shape post-hiatus. 

Baseball post: First, quarantining in a cold weather city like Chicago right now ain’t exactly ideal. Every time I see anyone outside I automatically think I’m falling behind (even tho no one is doing much baseball activity right now).

I’m fortunate to have my own batting cages, if for no other reason then it gets me out of the house and keeps my body from becoming stiff as a board. My worries are that players who don’t have warm weather or access to a place to workout, are stuck without any way to 'keep up'.

Let’s say things go well and we can restart spring training. These players are expected to go from the couch to a 3 week spring and strap it on? That just screams injuries and sh**** baseball to me to be honest. Not to mention if we start back up, and someone (asymptomatic or not) tests positive. Shut it down again?

I don’t know how we’re suppose to have that many tests provided! I really do hope things get better for everyone and there’s baseball this year but these are just some of the worries creeping into my head that make me think otherwise.

Kipnis ended the post by making it clear he understands there are bigger issues to worry about right now.

View this post on Instagram

Baseball post: First, quarantining in a cold weather city like Chicago right now ain’t exactly ideal. Every time I see anyone outside I automatically think I’m falling behind (even tho no one is doing much baseball activity right now). I’m fortunate to have my own batting cages, if for no other reason then it gets me out of the house and keeps my body from becoming stiff as a board. My worries are that players who don’t have warm weather or access to a place to workout, are stuck without any way to “keep up”. Let’s say things go well and we can restart spring training. These players are expected to go from the couch to a 3 week spring and strap it on? That just screams injuries and shitty baseball to me to be honest. Not to mention if we start back up, and someone (asymptomatic or not) tests positive. Shut it down again? I don’t know how we’re suppose to have that many tests provided! I really do hope things get better for everyone and there’s baseball this year but these are just some of the worries creeping into my head that make me think otherwise. Wouldn’t mind a little Q & A in the comment section or other good points if you got them! - keep in mind, this is a baseball post! I’m completely aware there are more important things going on and health of other humans takes priority over the season! Hopefully we can still talk about other things! Just wanted to create some dialogue to kill time!

A post shared by Jason Kipnis (@jasonkipnis22) on

Those are some sound points from the Northbrook native. The issues Kipnis highlighted will be at the forefront as MLB figures out the best way for the 2020 schedule to play out, whenever that may be.

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