White Sox

Machado or no Machado, Jon Jay brings plenty to White Sox (but Machado would be nice)

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USA TODAY

Machado or no Machado, Jon Jay brings plenty to White Sox (but Machado would be nice)

Yes, it's true what you've heard: Jon Jay and Manny Machado are friends. It's also true that Yonder Alonso is Machado's brother-in-law. Together, the three of them make up the "Miami Baseball Brotherhood" the White Sox are hoping they can reunite on the South Side.

This would all seem to be a page out of the book of scandalous college basketball recruiting: signing the brother of the kid you really want, giving jobs to people around one of the highest-rated recruits in the land. It might look like that from the outside — and it's inarguable that by adding Alonso and Jay that the White Sox can offer Machado something his other suitors cannot — but the White Sox insist that's not what they're doing.

"These players are here because of what they bring specifically, both between the lines and in the clubhouse. We feel they make us better in 2019 and have the potential to have a lasting impact on what we are trying to build for the long term," general manager Rick Hahn said Thursday, discussing Alonso and Jay and their relationships with Machado. "Not going to get into the relationships they have with other players throughout the game. It’s certainly a positive, but I would say it’s by no means a reason to make a move to acquire either player."

Now Hahn nor any other member of White Sox brass is going to come out and say, "Oh yeah, we spent X millions of dollars and handed out a pair of roster spots just to convince Manny to sign with us." That's not going to happen, even if it were true.

But there's no doubting that Alonso and Jay do make the White Sox a better team, no doubting that they help fill some of the White Sox offseason needs. Even without Machado, bringing these two players in accomplishes some of the goals Hahn and his front office had when the winter began.

Chiefly, they add a veteran presence in a young-and-getting-younger clubhouse. They are mentors to young players who are going to form the core of this team when it's planned to be a perennial championship contender.

But Jay, specifically, adds even more. He's a high on-base guy who doesn't strike out often, something this lineup needed. He's a defensive upgrade in right field, where the White Sox recently non-tendered Avisail Garcia, and so a position that was slated to have Daniel Palka and his questionable glove starting there now has a Gold Glove finalist starting there. He brings versatility with the ability to play all three outfield spots.

And like Alonso — and Ivan Nova and Kelvin Herrera, for that matter — he brings a veteran presence on and off the field and winning experience that he can impart on younger players.

"His energy, his professionalism, his focus, work ethic have all received very high marks at a number of his stops," Hahn said. "(Manager Rick Renteria) has talked about the culture we want here, the culture we are trying to create in Chicago as well as throughout the minor league system, and having players that reinforce that approach to each and every game and even each and every at-bat.

"It helps move that process along and expand that culture and helps teach young guys what it means to be a big leaguer, and Jon has through multiple stops — and Kelvin, as well — has received high praise for what they’ve done in the clubhouse and their ability to not only set a tone but help mentor young players and indoctrinate them into that culture."

And Jay is all aboard playing that role on the South Side.

"I just try to be a good person every day. I try to help out wherever I can," he said. "I truly care about the game, I truly care about my teammates. I want everyone to do well. I was blessed, came up through St. Louis in a great organization, and we learned there and I learned from a lot of Hall-of-Fame players. I try to pass that down, the things they learned before my time, to players, try to keep that moving."

The 26-year-old Machado, though he's been in the big leagues for seven seasons already, might be the kind of player who could benefit from someone like Jay, who also happens to be a good friend and winter workout buddy. Machado's much-publicized postseason antics made him a baseball villain of sorts. He didn't run out a ground ball, then made things infinitely worse by telling The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal that hustling wasn't his "cup of tea." He interfered with a couple double-play turns and had Milwaukee Brewers players calling him dirty when he dragged his foot across Jesus Aguilar's leg at first base. All this after multiple instances of throwing equipment on the playing field and a spikes-up slide that injured Boston Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia.

Jay and Alonso have been influences on Machado forever, but they could continue to be positive influences during the season from a few steps away inside the White Sox clubhouse.

But just like brother-in-law Alonso said he wouldn't be doing any kind of recruiting, Jay said he was going to stay out of Machado's decision-making process, that he was here to play for the White Sox, not to play with Machado — even if that would be pretty nice.

"Manny is going to do what is best for him and his family," he said. "We obviously have a great friendship, and Yonder is his brother-in-law and all that. But Manny is going to do what is best for his family. That will be up to them privately. I haven’t been involved in any of that. Those are their matters.

"Let’s see how everything shakes out. We’d obviously love to have a Manny Machado, absolutely, the guy is unbelievable. But that is up to him and his family. Who knows what is going to happen."

The White Sox can offer Machado the chance to team up with two of his great friends. The Philadelphia Phillies can't offer that. The New York Yankees can't offer that. No mystery team can offer that.

There are so many other factors to his decision, that even being able to offer that might not be enough. And so even if Machado is wearing red or navy pinstripes instead of black ones when Opening Day rolls around, the White Sox will be happy they signed Jay and traded for Alonso.

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Paul Konerko misses out on 2020 Hall of Fame, falls off ballot after receiving 2.5% of vote

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USA Today

Paul Konerko misses out on 2020 Hall of Fame, falls off ballot after receiving 2.5% of vote

Former White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko will not be elected to the baseball Hall of Fame in 2020. Konerko received 2.5% of the vote, less than the 5% needed to remain on the ballot.

Konerko came to Chicago in 1998 and played his first season with the Sox in 1999, hitting .294 with 24 home runs and 81 RBIs. The following season, the White Sox made the playoffs for the first time since 1993. Konerko was with the team during their triumphant 2005 World Series win, hitting the first grand slam in White Sox World Series history and giving the Sox the lead 6-4 in Game 2 against the Astros.

Confused and frustrated? You’re not alone. Here's how the multi-step voting process works. Players become eligible to enter the Hall of Fame ballot five years after they’ve retired, if they’ve played a minimum of 10 seasons. From there, the Baseball Writers’ Association of America screening committee votes to determine which players make the ballot. Each voter can vote for 10 players. Players need to achieve at least 5% of the vote to be included on the next year’s ballot. If a player makes the ballot, they then need to achieve 75% of all ballots cast to be officially inducted into the Hall of Fame.

Regardless of the voting, Konerko will always be a White Sox legend.

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NBC SPORTS CHICAGO TO DELIVER EXTENSIVE, LIVE, MULTI-PLATFORM “SOXFEST 2020” COVERAGE BEGINNING THIS THURSDAY, JANUARY 23

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USA Today

NBC SPORTS CHICAGO TO DELIVER EXTENSIVE, LIVE, MULTI-PLATFORM “SOXFEST 2020” COVERAGE BEGINNING THIS THURSDAY, JANUARY 23

Chicago, IL (January 21, 2020) – NBC Sports Chicago - THE NEW EXCLUSIVE HOME of the CHICAGO WHITE SOX - is ready to start up the highly-anticipated 2020 MLB season in a big way with expanded multi-platform coverage of “SoxFest 2020,” which will be held this weekend (January 24-25) at the McCormick Place Convention Center in downtown Chicago.  NBC Sports Chicago will be rolling out its most robust “SoxFest” coverage to date featuring multiple, live on-site shows, massive digital content, entertaining social media offerings, “Authentic Fan” booth giveaways/special appearances, and so much more.  Please note NBC Sports Chicago’s “SoxFest 2020” content coverage details below:

 

THURSDAY, JANUARY 23 --

  • 6:00 PM CT – “SportsTalk Live” special edition from SoxFest - Prior to the official start of “SoxFest 2020,” fans can look forward to a special edition of SportsTalk Live presented by The Chevy Silverado live from McCormick Place.  Host David Kaplan (@thekapman) will be joined by special guests, White Sox manager Ricky Renteria and NBC Sports Chicago White Sox game analyst Steve Stone (@stevestone), along with a panel of White Sox experts to discuss the upcoming weekend’s festivities and preview what lies ahead for the White Sox in 2020. (NOTES: This program will also stream live on NBCSportsChicago.com/WatchLive)

 

FRIDAY, JANUARY 24 --

  • 3:00 PM CT – “SoxFest 2020” Opening Ceremonies - Veteran NBC Sports Chicago White Sox expert/multi-platform host Chuck Garfien (@ChuckGarfien) will host network’s always-entertaining “SoxFest” Opening Ceremonies coverage “Live from the Black Carpet” featuring the official weekend kick-off introductions (and interviews) with White Sox players, coaches, front offices execs, broadcasters and legendary White Sox alumni.  NBC Sports Chicago’s “SoxFest 2020” Opening Ceremonies coverage will also be co-hosted by White Sox Pre/Postgame Live & Baseball Night in Chicago host Leila Rahimi (@leilarahimi) and NBC Sports Chicago multi-platform White Sox reporter Vinnie Duber (@VinnieDuber) who will provide additional commentary and conduct interviews throughout the ceremonies. (NOTES: This program will also stream live on NBCSportsChicago.com/WatchLive and via the “MyTeams by NBC Sports” app; fans located anywhere in the U.S. can download MyTeams for free on iOS and Android devices in the Apple App Store and Google Play Store…in addition, the Opening Ceremonies will re-air at 6:30 PM on NBC Sports Chicago+)

 

  • 6:00 PM CT – “SportsTalk Live” special edition from SoxFest - NBC Sports Chicago’s live, on-site coverage from “SoxFest 2020” continues with an additional remote edition of SportsTalk Live presented by The Chevy Silverado as host David Kaplan welcomes White Sox reliever Aaron Bummer and new acquisition/right fielder Nomar Mazara..  In addition, “Kap” will be joined by White Sox players and a panel of Sox experts to discuss all the off-season moves and acquisitions, the shaping of this season’s roster, including the starting line-up and pitching rotation, along with analysis on why 2020 may very well be the year the White Sox make their triumphant return to postseason action. (NOTE: This program will also stream live on NBCSportsChicago.com/WatchLive and via the “MyTeams by NBC Sports” app)

 

  • 7:00 PM CT – “SoxFest @ Night” (airing on NBC Sports Chicago+) - Fans are in for a special primetime treat Friday night as NBC Sports Chicago will deliver its exclusive presentation of SoxFest @ Night, a one-hour talk show hosted by Chuck Garfien and NBC Sports Chicago White Sox play-by-play announcer Jason Benetti (@jasonbenetti), which will take place LIVE in front of a die-hard White Sox fan convention audience on “SoxFest’s” primary stage.  Featured White Sox guests on SoxFest @ Night will include Rick Hahn (SVP/GM), Rick Renteria (Manager), Tim Anderson (SS), Jose Abreu (1B), Yoan Moncada (3B), Luis Robert (CF), Dallas Keuchel (SP), Lucas Giolito (SP), Yasmani Grandal (C) and Eloy Jimenez (LF).  (NOTE: This program will also stream live on NBCSportsChicago.com/WatchLive and via the “MyTeams by NBC Sports” app)

 

THROUGHOUT THE WEEKEND…

 

NBCSportsChicago.com, “MyTeams by NBC Sports” app and Social Media

  • Fans can look forward to even more comprehensive “SoxFest 2020” coverage all weekend long on NBCSportsChicago.com (NBCSportsChicago.com/WhiteSox) and the MyTeams by NBC Sports app featuring additional players/coaches/front office executive interviews, feature stories, fan reaction, photos, videos and much more provided by Garfien, Rahimi, Duber, along the NBC Sports Chicago team of behind-the-scenes White Sox experts (@NBCSWhiteSox). 

 

  • From a social media standpoint, NBC Sports Chicago will also deliver a number of additional on-site Facebook Live (Facebook.com/NBCSChicago) interviews and special segments throughout the weekend, along with numerous SoxFest “Sights & Sounds” highlights via ‘NBCSChicago’ on Instagram and Instagram Stories. 

 

“White Sox Talk” Podcasts

  • White Sox fans can look forward to brand new “White Sox Talk” Podcasts presented by Wintrust featuring the hottest SoxFest topics and special guest interviews. The “White Sox Talk” podcast is hosted by NBC Sports Chicago White Sox experts Chuck Garfien, Ryan McGuffey (@RyanMcGuffey), Chris Kamka (@ckamka) and Vinnie Duber.  Fans can download all of NBC Sports Chicago’s podcasts at NBCSportsChicago.com/podcasts and simply subscribe to them via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify or Stitcher.  The podcasts can be played on any mobile device, laptop, or desktop computer.
  • In addition, fans attending “SoxFest 2020” this weekend can also stop by the convention’s designated museum area on Saturday afternoon to watch a pair of “White Sox Talk” podcast tapings featuring Garfien, McGuffey and Duber interviewing starting pitchers Dylan Cease (12 NOON) and Michael Kopech (2:00 PM). 

 

“Authentic Fan” booth at SoxFest

  • NBC Sports Chicago’s “Authentic Fan” booth will feature a number of special White Sox-themed giveaways including “Authentic Fan” bobbleheads, mittens, baseball caps and much more (while supplies last).  Plus, fans can are urged to utilize the social media hashtag #AuthenticFan throughout the weekend as several lucky fans will be “authentically surprised” with special White Sox giveaways and experiences. NBC Sports Chicago’s dedicated White Sox Twitter handle (@NBCSWhiteSox) will also provide up-to-the-minute info on NBC Sports Chicago “Authentic Fan” booth activities, which will include specific timing details on White Sox player and broadcaster appearances throughout the weekend.