GLENDALE, Ariz— Dallas Keuchel may have been the one who paid the enormous bill for the White Sox team party he hosted last month at spring training, but it was his mother, Teresa, who stole the show.
With around 125 people in attendance (inlcuding White Sox players, coaches, clubbies, trainers, staff members, and wives and girlfriends), Keuchel’s mom stood up in front of everyone and gave a motivational speech that will be talked about for years.
It wasn’t her idea. It turns out that Keuchel made his mom do it. She owed him.
“She hadn’t paid up on a few bets before that, so she wasn’t the happiest. So she did it for me,” Keuchel said in an interview on Tuesday. “We’ve gone back and forth on numerous bets over the years. She doesn’t like public speaking by any means, so that was the gist of it for her to get up there and keep it light hearted. Just say, ‘Hey, hope everyone had a great time. Good luck on the season,’ and then I had her say the b-word.”
Keuchel’s mom looked over the entire room of White Sox representatives and provided a rally cry for ages.
“Playoffs or die, b***hes!”
How did the room react? Just like you’d expect.
“Everyone cheered,” said pitcher Dylan Cease.
Her words came through loud and clear.
“She evoked a little rally cry for us, expecting us to do well, and I think we share in her sentiment,” said manager Rick Renteria. “She was pretty succinct with her message and I think everyone appreciated it.”
Keuchel, who signed a three-year, $55 million contract with the White Sox in the offseason, can easily afford a dinner like this, which was held at Flemings’s Steakhouse in Peoria right before the White Sox played their first Cactus League game.
However, no one can remember a player hosting a team meal like this at spring training, where everybody at the facility was invited.
“That was the first time I’ve seen that,” said pitcher Steve Cishek. “I can’t imagine what the bill was. I’m scared to ask.”
“I thought it was going to be more. I think he got a deal.”
What compelled Keuchel to spend that kind of money on dinner for his new team?
“I just decided to do it because it was spring training and to get a good dinner for some of these guys who don’t know what a nice dinner is all about… I just wanted guys to have a good meal, at least for one night,” Keuchel said.
Pitcher Michael Kopech, who attended the dinner with his wife Vanessa, didn’t know that Keuchel was taking care of the entire bill.
“I went in with the idea that I was paying for my own meal. That we were all just getting together. Then to find out that he was paying for literally everybody, not just the players, but everybody. It was really cool,” Kopech said. “It just showed that he’s excited to be here just as much as we’re excited to have him. And to have an opportunity for us to get together as a team like that is kind of rare. I haven’t had that on any team I’ve played on in the past.”
Keuchel’s generosity set the tone for the spring. It was a meal that helped unite the squad.
“That shows a lot about who he is as a person,” outfielder Nicky Delmonico said about Keuchel. “He’s come from winning organizations, so he knows what it takes to get a team together, to basically build this into a playoff team. He’s just a great leader.”
Cishek has played 10 seasons in the majors but after signing as a free agent in the offseason, he’s a new guy in the White Sox clubhouse. So, Keuchel’s party made a big impact on him.
“That’s how you build camaraderie. That’s how you build chemistry with a team is doing stuff together, especially with a family. I feel like that’s a huge component. Your wives get to meet the other wives. To be able to build those relationships, especially this early before the season starts, it goes a long way,” Cishek said.
It’s only spring training, but hopefully the wise words of Keuchel’s mom will remain from here until October.
Playoffs or die, b***hes.
Buy your t-shirt now.