White Sox

Random News of the Day: The deal of a lifetime

Random News of the Day: The deal of a lifetime

Tuesday, Aug. 10, 2010
1:01 PM

By Joe Collins
CSNChicago.com

Garage sales are hotbeds for unintentional comedy. You never know what to expect when you start digging in boxes from yesteryear. I mean, just seeing any Andy Gibb vinyl LP, or a spider web-dominated Tinkertoy collection or any Ron Karkovice baseball card wrapped in torn-out pages from an old Sears catalog is enough to produce bizarre, incredulous laughter that can only be seen by watching, say, Ernest Goes To Camp. Youre not only laughing with, youre laughing at.

"Ha! A box of VHS home videos! I should be working but I want to see that birthday party from 1986!"

"People are seriously going to by this for 50 cents?"

"Wait...do I really want all of these strangers in my garage anyway? Why am I doing all this work?"

And of course, the garage sale itself looks like the set of Hoarders and the clientele usually resembles something out of a Revenge Of The Nerds casting call. And thats on a good day. I helped my Mom out with a garage sale this past weekend and came across all of the above in a span of 48 hours. Good way to spend part of a vacation, eh?

I also came across an old wallet with a 1954 calendar in itand the picture seen here. Its my Dad shooting hoops on his driveway. Im not sure why (or how) the old wallet ended up in my Moms garage in Tinley Park--next to some old cans of Pennzoil--but it was fun to reminisce a bit, sitting on a frayed lawn chair near my Dad's old garage workbench.

His life revolved around the game of basketball. Ate it. Slept it. Breathed it. He played in grade school, high school and college and then passed the eagerness and zeal of the game to me. I grew up in the 80s, just as the Chicago Bulls were growing up around Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen. My bedtime was usually around 9pm-- you know, just as those Bulls-Pistons games were about to break out into bedlam. He would always tape the final score, along with Jordan's point total, on my mirror so that it was the first thing I saw when I woke up the next morning. Talk about a great way to start the day, you know? Especially if Jordan racked up 50 points and the Bulls won at the buzzer.

We all have reasons why we do the things we do-- why we work at certain jobs, why we marry this person instead of that person, why we eat burritos instead of rice cakes, why we watch Die Hard instead of Steel Magnolias (or vice versa), and so on and so forth. But when I looked at that "Hoosiers-era" picture of my Dad playing basketball, I was reminded why I love sports. It's the safe harbor when life gets a little uneasy. It's about the love of the game, the passion of competition. It's about the agony of not bunting the runner over to second and the joy of a Hail Mary touchdown in the closing seconds. Sports is about taking your mind off the guy that cut you off during rush hour or the boss that yelled at you during a conference call-- even if the joy is temporary and a momentary diversion.

I lost my Dad a year ago this October. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) took him way too soon and I never really got the chance to say a final farewell. But one thing I will always remember about him is that, even in his final days, his joy for the game of basketball --and for sports in general-- never waned. Not one bit. Even towards the end, it was fun to watch him cheer a Bears touchdown or whine about why the Bulls couldn't hit their free throws down the stretch:

"When I was playing, our coach would always end the practice with a half hour of free throws!"

You get the idea.

Even though athletes have become folk heroes and cult objects, thanks to multiple spotlights and ridiculous salaries, the passion for sports never dies out for some people. It's wonderful to think that, at its core, the simplicities of sports can still matter. And the spirit of it all never grows old.

And best of all, it can make a garage sale go a lot faster.

Or something like that.

White Sox reward for winning the offseason: They get to talk playoffs ... or bust

White Sox reward for winning the offseason: They get to talk playoffs ... or bust

The White Sox know there is no trophy for winning the offseason.

Make no mistake, they did win the offseason, Rick Hahn’s front office adding enough veteran cache to vault the 89-loss South Siders from just another rebuilding team with a bright future to a team whose future is pulling into the station.

But there was no self-congratulating at Hahn’s pre-SoxFest press conference Thursday.

“Quite candidly, we haven't accomplished anything yet, we haven't won yet,” he said. “This whole process was about winning championships, was about finishing with a parade at the end of October down Michigan Avenue. Until that happens, I don't think any of us are really in a position to feel satisfied or feel like we've accomplished anything.

“We've had a nice winter. We've had, frankly, in our opinion, a real nice three years since we started (the rebuild) with the Chris Sale trade. We think very bright days are ahead of us, and we look forward to enjoying them. But in terms of feeling like we've accomplished something or feeling satisfied, ask me after the parade.”

Give me a second while I email that last bit over to our marketing department. They might be able to conjure up a few things with “ask me after the parade.”

But in all seriousness, Hahn is right. There is no trophy for winning the offseason. The act of signing free agents does not balance out all the losing over the last three seasons. Only winning can do that.

There has been, however, a reward for winning the offseason. Rick Renteria — and presumably all his players this weekend during SoxFest — get to talk about playoff expectations. Real ones.

“I would be disappointed if we don’t make the postseason,” Renteria said during his own session Thursday. “We want to break through. We want this to be an impactful season.”

As recently as a year ago, no matter how bright the future appeared to be, that comment would have raised eyebrows. It would not have been taken seriously. Now? It is the expectation.

Renteria has not been shy about the rebuilding White Sox turning the corner in 2020. He spent the last few weeks of the 2019 campaign making similar postseason proclamations. But now Hahn has backed his manager up with all this winter’s acquisitions.

The White Sox place in the standings by the end of September still figures to have a lot more to do with Yoan Moncada and Lucas Giolito and Eloy Jimenez and Tim Anderson and Luis Robert than any of the individual newcomers, even players as talented and accomplished as Yasmani Grandal and Dallas Keuchel. The core is that important. But the outsiders brought in this offseason have embodied the turning tide — and given Renteria the chance to talk seriously about these kinds of big expectations for the first time in his tenure as the South Side skipper.

“I think, man for man,” he said, “now we at least have a little bit more ammunition to be able to go out and compete hopefully on a consistent basis and put those victories on the board.

“I’m not afraid of talking about high expectations and winning. … If we do our job and we go about preparing and hopefully the actions and performances come to fruition, we should be on top of the victory column in terms of wins and losses. And there’s nothing beyond my thought that doesn’t say that I expect us to compete and be in conversation for postseason play.”

Hahn isn’t quite as willing to declare the 2020 season “playoffs or bust” because he’s still got his eye on the long term, the same place it’s been throughout this rebuilding process. That next parade down Michigan Avenue is supposed to be merely the first.

And so while the White Sox can reap the rewards of Hahn’s offseason work in the form of preseason talk, he’ll bask in nothing more than setting up his team for that long-term postseason success.

“I think the expectations are understandably high, at least when you talk to Ricky or the coaches or any of the players or anyone in uniform. Their expectation is that this team is in a position to win in the 2020 season, which is exactly where all of us in the front office would want them to be,” he said. “That said, whether you're talking Jerry (Reinsdorf) or Kenny (Williams) or myself, the entire purpose of this rebuild was to put ourselves in a multi-year position to win multiple championships.

“So the progress that we make in any given offseason has to be viewed not just about what's going to happen in that upcoming season, but what position that puts us in toward accomplishing that long-term goal. We want to make sure that we are well positioned, once that window opens, to win as many championships as possible.

“When that window opens, we're going to find out together. I certainly think the players in uniform think it's going to happen come Opening Day of this year. Whether we're blessed with good health and continued progress from our young players, we're going to find out together.

“But we look at it, in the front office, from a multi-year perspective. The guys in uniform are going to do everything in their power to make it about now, which you've got to appreciate.”

That’s going to be the theme of this weekend, as White Sox fans descend on SoxFest with more excitement than they have in years. This is a White Sox team expected to reach October, and that hasn’t exactly been common, as evidenced by the franchise’s more than decade-long postseason drought.

Hahn can talk about putting the team in good position for 2021 and 2022 and 2023 and beyond all he wants. The fans are finally — and with good reason — thinking playoffs or bust for the upcoming season.

And the manager agrees.

“I see our club, and I want to go into this season thinking I don't want to miss an opportunity,” Renteria said. “That's my goal right now, not to miss this opportunity. Expectations bread opportunities. I'm not afraid of expectations because it breads opportunity. I want to attain and complete those tasks that I think our club is going to have a chance to be able to do.

“I'm not afraid to say it.”

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NBA Mock Draft 3.0: Workout season could be more important than ever

james_wiseman.jpg
USA TODAY

NBA Mock Draft 3.0: Workout season could be more important than ever

With Zion Williamson making his NBA regular season debut Wednesday night, we finally got a chance to see what a No. 1 overall draft pick is supposed to look like: an athletic and versatile skill set, with the chance to impact a franchise for years to come. 

2019 No. 2 overall pick Ja Morant also looks like a franchise-changing talent with his speed and playmaking ability, lifting Memphis into playoff contention.

So, which players will have that kind of impact in the 2020 draft?

Well, for now it’s almost impossible to say. James Wiseman, the 7-foot-1 Memphis center, dropped out of school after playing just three games because of an eligibility battle with the NCAA. His size and raw tools are intriguing, but at this point his offensive game is extremely limited.

Meanwhile, Lonzo Ball’s younger brother, LaMelo is sitting out the rest of the Australian professional league season while he rehabs from a foot injury, another Australian professional, R.J. Hampton, just returned from a hip injury and North Carolina’s combo guard Cole Anthony is getting ready to return from a knee injury to finish his one and done season. 

That’s left NBA talent evaluators scrambling in trying to figure out the top of the draft, with only Georgia’s Anthony Edwards healthy and available among the players projected as the possible No. 1 overall pick. 

So, as we get closer to the end of January, here’s a look at how teams could view the available talent, with the understanding that the draft order will change dramatically as NBA scouts and GMs get a look at how players perform in the most important games of the season still to come.

2020 NBA mock draft 3.0