Kap's Corner

White Sox Archives

A Slice of History

One of the things we love about baseball is its history.  Baseball dates back to the 19th century and the game was the gateway to America's love for professional sports.  Attached here are some box scores from some of the first baseball games in its storied history. 

These box scores and game stories date back to 1876, and involve the Chicago White Stockings, the first professional team in the Windy City.

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The Cubs and White Sox Will Play for a Trophy

**Breaking News**

The Cubs and the White Sox have entered into a historic partnership today that will see the teams competing in inter league play, not only wins and losses but a new trophy called the BP Crosstown Cup.

Patterned along the lines of the various trophies that are staked in some of college football greatest rivalries, the Crosstown Cup will go to the team that wins the annual 6 game match-up between the two teams. What happens if each team wins 3 games you ask? Then the winner of the 6th game claims the trophy.

The Cup will be unveiled this season and should become a big part of the rivalry between the two great fan bases. The winning team will be presented the Crosstown Cup at the conclusion of the second series between the two teams, so there is a distinct possibility that a team could be awarded the trophy on the road in the other team's park.

Can you imagine the intensity of the moment if the Cubs were to celebrate with the trophy at US Cellular Field or the White Sox were to jump for joy with the Cup on the field at Wrigley? Those would be amazing moments to watch and will only intensify the already white-hot rivalry that runs generations deep.

In attendance at today's press conference in Millennium Park were Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts, Manager Lou Piniella, Chief Marketing Officer Wally Hayward and players Marlon Byrd and Randy Wells. The White Sox were represented by Chief Marketing Officer Brooks Boyer and players A.J. Pierzynski and Gordon Beckham.   

Tony LaRussa on McGwire, Managing the Cubs, and More....

St. Louis Cardinals Manager, Tony LaRussa, joined me yesterday on Chicago Tribune Live and
talked about the possibility of working for Jerry Reinsdorf again,
whether or not he would ever manage the Cubs, and if we could see Mark
McGwire on the Cardinals roster. The interview is transcribed below.

KAPLAN: Tony looking at your career, you had a good run with the White
Sox then you ended up leaving and going to Oakland. You're still very
very close to Jerry Reinsdorf. Could you see yourself at some point
maybe working for him in the front office when your managerial days are
over and you leave St. Louis?

LARUSSA: Well there's two answers to that. One is that I know that he is
pleased with his management team. I know that he really has a lot of
confidence, and he deserves to have that with Kenny Williams, and the
assistant, and the farm director, and all that stuff. I mean I would
never think about managing. I know he likes Ozzie as well. So I don't
ever think that is going to be an issue, because I think he's got his
team. But the other side to that is if I ever left the field and went
upstairs, which I hope to do sometime maybe soon, you know thirty-one,
thirty-two years is enough and at some point I'd like to work for an
owner that I like and that I respect as much as I do Jerry because I
want to be motivated to make him happy. I worked as a manager for Jerry,
I worked for Walter Haas, now in St. Louis its nice when you like the
people you work for because that helps motivate you.

KAPLAN: If you were a free agent and sitting on the market and the Cubs job
was open, would you say I can't go there because of my relationship with
Jerry, or the rivalry with the Cardinals? Or would you say I would listen because
I"m looking for a gig?

LARUSSA: Well I don't think the Cubs would consider me number one, but
number two you've got a double-headed whammy there. I have a lot of
friends and fans that I'm close to with the White Sox. And you know
the White Sox and Cubs, they don't mix. I've got friends and fans that I'm
close to in St. Louis and the St. Louis Cardinals and the Cubs don't
mix. So I think if there is one place that I don't fit just because of
my past it would be the Chicago Cubs.

KAPLAN: Mark McGwire you've been very very positive about. You said hey
this guy is going to be a very good hitting coach for me. Mark has come
out and addressed his issues. Did you think there would be the backlash
to it when you hired him? Or that didn't surprise you?

LARUSSA: No, I knew it was one of the things we had to face. Let me make
sure I correct one thing. I'm very loyal to our players over the years,
White Sox, A's, and Cardinals. If you give back to the team which you
should, I don't grease the squeaky wheel. I like to take care of the
guys who are really good teammates.  Mark was a great teammate. But when
it comes to putting a coach on the staff it has nothing to do with
loyalty, it has nothing to do with friendship. You know, we have too
much at stake. I think he has the qualities of a great hitting coach,
and that's why he was hired. And you knew at some point, number one he
couldn't just take the job and not be forthcoming about I did do
something or I didn't do something. And I think when he came out we were
really encouraged that he pulled out all the stops and admitted more
than anybody yet that he made mistakes. He apologized sincerely. I think
a great majority of his peers, past and present, a lot of fans and some
media  wanted him to move forward. So I don't think there's a whole lof
left that he hasnt talked about, that he needs to talk about. I just
think at some point now, especially with Mark or anybody else, if you
had a celebrity coach, or you name a great player... Frank Thomas was a
great player and if he became your hitting coach. It's not about the
coaches, its about the players. We keep the distractions to a minimum,
and its about getting the most of our players.

KAPLAN: You said a couple months ago that if you got to the playoffs, you
could see Mark possibly being on the roster. Do you still feel that way
going to spring training?

LARUSSA: That was really a fun remark because when Mark left, he left
with a bad back. One of the things people talk about, you hear people
say that he has really good character and he's a good teammate. But he
had a $30 million signed contract by the Cardinals that he walked away
from. That to me is character and integrity, because he knew his back was
broken and he couldn't play. Seven or eight years later he is in great
shape, and his back is good. So we were kidding that he looks so good. I
was watching him swing in the cage and he's whistling it. I said, "You
could still swing!" He said, "why don't we talk about you activating
me?" We were just messing around and our tongues were so much in our
cheeks that its hard for anybody to understand what we were saying. He's
not going to play, he's going to coach. Hopefully we have a postseason,
but he wont be a part of it.

The Best of the Decade in Chicago Sports

As the first decade in the 21st century comes to a close, let's take a moment to reminisce about the best and worst moments and athletes of the past ten years in Chicago Sports.

Best Team: 2005 Chicago White Sox

Only one Chicago team could call itself champions in the first decade of the 2000s, and that team plays at 35th and the Dan Ryan.  The White Sox magical run to a world championship in 2005 erased an 88-year drought of glory on the south side.  Everything went right for Ozzie Guillen's club that year, as his starting staff of Mark Buehrle, Jose Contreras, Jon Garland and Freddy Garcia each won 14 or more games in the regular season, leading the club to a 99 win campaign.  Playing "Ozzie Ball", the Palehose used speed and timely hitting to scratch across runs with Scott Podsednik changing the team's offensive strategy.  The White Sox stormed through the playoffs, going 11-1 in October, which included a sweep of the then-defending champion Red Sox, and the Astros in the World Series.  Their bullpen was rock solid all year, as Bobby Jenks burst onto the scene as a bona fide closer, and earned the save on October 26, 2005 to earn the Sox a ring.

Worst Team: 2000-2001 Chicago Bulls

After a historic run of six world championships in the previous decade with Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen, things went very bad and very fast for the Bulls after the nucleus of the team left the Windy City.  The team did have Elton Brand, who averaged 20 points per game, Ron Mercer, who could still contribute, and Ron Artest--who by his own admission--was drinking on the job.  The team went 15-67, bad enough for a miserable .183 winning percentage, and ranked dead last in the NBA in points per game (87.6).  Need any further proof this team was a disaster?  This team only had three players average double-digit scoring, and Ron Artest barely qualified in double-digits with just over 11 points per game.  Also, how about these names that contributed minutes to Tim Floyd's club that year:  Dragan Tarlac, Khalid El-Amin, Dalibor Bagaric, A.J. Guyton, Jake Voskuhl.  Need I say more?

Best Athlete: Brian Urlacher, Chicago Bears

Say what you want about Urlacher's attitude, or problematic character at times.  It's no question this city could have embraced him far more than they did over this past decade.  But when it comes to the best athlete in Chicago sports over the last ten years, Urlacher takes the cake.  After being drafted in the first round out of New Mexico in 2000, Urlacher immediately emerged as a standout linebacker for the Bears and quickly vaulted to the top of the NFL.  He had more than 800 tackles in the decade, 37.5 sacks, and 17 interceptions.  He was one of the most feared defensive players in the league for the majority of the decade, and led his team to multiple playoff appearances including a Super Bowl berth in 2006.  Note: Honorable Mention goes to White Sox ace Mark Buehrle, for a consistent and successful decade.

Worst Athlete: Corey Patterson, Chicago Cubs

Corey Patterson had a three good months as a Chicago Cub.  That's it.  Otherwise, his career as a Cub could really only be described as a debacle.  The 3rd overall pick in the 1998 draft figured to solve the Cubs center field problem for the long haul.  All we read and heard about him coming up was that he had great speed, great power, and could be a five-tool superstar type player to anchor the Cubs outfield.  Instead, he was a free-swinging, undisciplined, stubborn liability for the Cubs for parts of five seasons.  Other than the 83 games in 2003 in which he hit .298 with 13 homers and 55 RBIs, he was detracting from the team's success.  (And funnily enough, when Patterson got hurt the Cubs acquired Kenny Lofton, who was a catalyst and a big reason why the Cubs nearly reached the world series that season.)  In 2004, he was a microcosm of the team's shortcomings, and his 2005 season was one of the worst statistical seasons put forth by an everyday player in history.  He's still toiling around baseball, last seen with the Brewers this past season.  The Cubs traded him to Baltimore before the 2006 year, and the Cubs have still not found a long term solution for center field.

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Tonight on Radio and TV

Tonight at 5:30 on Chicago Tribune Live on Comcast SportsNet we will be joined by White Sox GM Kenny Williams and his newest acquisition, outfielder Juan Pierre who was acquired in a trade this morning from the Los Angeles Dodgers for two minor league pitchers.

Tonight at 7:00 p.m. on Sports Central on WGN Radio we will have an in depth discussion about the Chicago Cubs with three well known bloggers including Andy Dolan of Desipio.com. We will take calls and look at the 2010 season and the remaining free agents that the Cubs might have interest in.

**Please note that new Notre Dame football coach Brian Kelly will join me on Sports Central on Thursday evening.

The Weekend in Sports

It was an interesting past week in the sports world with the Tiger Woods scandal hitting new levels each and every day. Not a day went by that we didn't hear about another woman who was allegedly sleeping with the Tiger. Who knows where this whole sordid mess is headed. Here is the latest information on a deal that Tiger reportedly made to keep a story about an affair from being published.

In addition, the lurid details about his sex life are now surfacing which has turned the intensely private Woods into a late night talk show punch line. And with the count of women coming forward now at six who knows when this story will leave the news and allow Tiger and his wife some time to work on repairing their relationship.

Then you had the Bears who were coming off of an embarrassing blowout loss to the Vikings. Well, on Sunday the beloved Bear finally put a game into the win column by beating the completely inept St. Louis Rams 17-9 at Soldier Field.

The Bulls finally won a game after they beat the Detroit Pistons at the United Center earlier in the week. However, they were drilled both Friday and Saturday by the Cavaliers and Raptors respectively with the latter winning by 30+ at the United Center.

The Blackhawks won 2 of 3 this week with an 11 round shootout deciding a tough win over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday evening before the Hawks lost to Nashville on Friday night at the United Center. However, the Hawks bounced back quickly beating the defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins 2-1 in OT on Saturday evening.

Baseball now grabs center stage with the Winter Meetings officially underway in Indianapolis. Both the Cubs and the White Sox are expected to be very active participants with the Cubs hoping to move Milton Bradley while the Sox are considering dealing closer Bobby Jenks.

So who makes our week in pictures? Check em' out because we have the stars of the week and the women who are reportedly chasing a Tiger.

Enjoy and get ready for our updates of the Winter Meetings which are in high gear through Thursday and where we have a ton of great sources. Also, please make sure you tune into Chicago Tribune Live at 5:30 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet and Sports Central on WGN Radio at 7 p.m. Have a great week! Kap

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Vote for the Best in Chicago Sports

There is no better city in America for sports than Chicago and with the end of the year fast approaching it is time to ask for your help to vote for the best in Chicago sports in 2009.

Each year on Chicago Tribune Live we award The Kappy's to honor excellence among Chicago athletes. Click here to vote now! Your help is greatly appreciated!

Who Would You Put On A Chicago Sports Mt. Rushmore?

A great topic of debate is who are the best athletes in Chicago Sports history. But how do you ask that question? Is it the best athlete? Or is it the most individually dominant in terms of statistics? Or perhaps you ask is it the guy who has won the most championships?

So here is how I have decided to ask the question. If you had to carve a Mt. Rushmore of Chicago sports who would be the four men who would have their likenesses carved into your tribute to their greatness?

Below I have pictures of the players that I have nominated. Am I missing someone? Please post a comment with your nominees and your thoughts. Soon I will have a competition to crown the winners based on your voting. However, I have to make sure that the ballot is correctly done. And for that I need your help. So please weigh in. Thanks, Kap

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Chicago Sports Needs Some Personalities

While I consider Rick Morrissey a colleague and a friend, we usually disagree on most of the topics we discuss in the sports world. However, his column this morning in the Chicago Tribune was outstanding. For a world class city with the best sports fans in the world, we sure don't have much in the way of colorful personalities who are compelling enough for even the casual fan to pay attention. How big would Chad Ochocinco be on the national stage if he played in Chicago or New York? He would be a mega star.

Outside of Ozzie Guillen, name me one guy who you think really keeps it interesting, and is engaging not only with the media, but in the way he acts on the playing field. Let's examine the coaches and managers first, then we'll look at the players who call Chicago home.

Managers and Coaches

Ozzie Guillen

He may not be everybody's cup of tea, but I find him so entertaining to watch and to cover that he would probably the guy I'd hire if I owned a baseball team. Ozzie is honest to a fault, and he says what most fans are thinking even if his players don't like his frankness. His personality keeps the White Sox in the headlines even when his team may not be great. Plus, he has a World Series ring on his hand. So those who don't like him can't really argue much, because he accomplished something that no one else has done in this city in a very long time.
 
Lou Piniella

When Lou was hired by the Cubs, many fans and members of the media (myself included) expected a Mike Ditka-like presence in the Cubs dugout based on what we had seen of Sweet Lou during his time as the manager of the Seattle Mariners. However, with rare exception, we have seen a much more mellow Piniella, especially in 2009 when his lack of public anger frustrated many fans. When he shows his emotion, he is a colorful "Chicago type" personality. And that is what he needs to show in 2010.
 
Lovie Smith

While he may know his football, he is one of the most boring personalities we have seen on the Chicago sports scene in a long time. Smith is steady and unspectacular, but his lack of charisma drives fans who remember the days of Mike Ditka crazy, when every news conference and media moment was must-see TV. Smith is true to himself, but I believe that sometimes management forgets that professional sports are entertainment and you need to keep people watching even when you aren't going to the playoffs.

Joel Quenneville


Coach Q is very intense, and will flash a glimpse of his fiery personality from time to time behind the bench. But he does not usually show that side of himself away from game action. His news conferences are calm and informative, but he doesn't do much to garner attention.
 
Vinny Del Negro

Another of the modern day coaches who does not ever say anything to stir the pot. Del Negro is polished and concise in his comments, but like most of his Chicago counterparts he is not must-watch TV when he addresses the media.
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White Sox Trade Thome to Dodgers, Contreras to Rockies

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The Jim Thome era in Chicago officially ended Monday night as he was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers for minor league infielder Justin Fuller

The White Sox have traded Jim Thome and cash to the Dodgers for minor league infielder Justin Fuller.  They have also sent Jose Contreras and cash to the Rockies for right-hander Brandon Hynick.

The two deals save the White Sox roughly $3 million in payroll for the rest of the of the 2009 season, (depending on how much cash the Sox gave up) but also give both players a chance to be in a pennant race through the month of September.

I'm happy for Jim Thome, as he's one of the good guys in the game today, and handled himself with the utmost class throughout his tenure with the White Sox.  With the move to the National League and no designated hitter, it's uncertain whether Thome will get time at first base.  If nothing else, Thome can provide Dodgers skipper Joe Torre with a potent left handed stick off the bench.

As for Contreras, the White Sox can finally rid themselves of the Cuban right hander, who has had a miserable season, and is a shell of the former dominant pitcher that helped lead the White Sox to the 2005 World Series title.  This season Jose was 5-13 with an ERA of 5.42.

And a funny Ozzie note:  Reporters asked Ozzie Guillen before tonight's game whether Contreras might start Thursday, before rumor of the trade got out.  Guillen scoffed at the question and said there'd be no way he'd start Contreras, adding he'd rather send pitching coach Don Cooper to the mound. 

You Have to Love Ozzie's Honesty

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Ozzie Guillen unloaded on his team after today's 10-0 blowout loss to the Yankees in New York. Most managers and coaches wouldn't be so honest but Sox fans love Ozzie's frankness.

After the White Sox were blown out 10-0 by the Yankees this afternoon, Sox manager Ozzie Guillen unloaded on his team. Guillen ripped his club's offensive woes and defensive shortcomings in a rant we would never see from too many professional coaches and managers.

Whether you like Guillen or not, you have to respect his honesty and the passion he displays while doing his job. He calls it as he sees it and with his team quickly falling from the race in the AL Central and having no shot at the Wild Card, Guillen is making sure his players know just how disappointed in them he is.

Looking at the White Sox long term you see some good things to build on for next year, but you also see some major holes in their club. Their rotation is excellent with Mark Buehrle, Gavin Floyd, John Danks, and newcomer Jake Peavy all considered solid to above average starters. Who fills the #5 starter's role is still in question, but how many teams in baseball can say they have excellent arms in the 1-4 slots and have all of them either under contract or under team control for the next few years?

The White Sox have a future superstar in Gordon Beckham playing 3B, but should they choose to use Alexei Ramirez in a trade this winter Beckham could slide over to his natural position of SS. The outfield has Carlos Quentin in LF, (and when he is healthy he is among the best in the American League) along with the recently acquired Alex Rios, who is a solid if unspectacular player with excellent athleticism and defensive skills.

One more outfield spot remains to be decided upon with the return of RF Jermaine Dye up in the air, as is the return of the surprising Scott Podsednik, who has been outstanding since GM Kenny Williams plucked him off of the scrap heap early in the season. One of these two is expected back, but not both.

Paul Konerko has one more year left on his deal and he will be back for another season at first base, as will A.J. Pierzynski behind the plate.  At second base the White Sox have Chris Getz penciled in to start next season but if they can find an upgrade they will most certainly consider it.  Defensively, this is not a good team.  The Sox have to make some tough decisions on how they can improve defensively without tinkering too much with the general makeup of their club.

The bullpen is where you will probably see more change than in any other area of the team before next season. I don't believe that closer Bobby Jenks will return because after making $5.6 million in 2009 his salary is expected to jump dramatically which will probably force Kenny Williams to shop him in the off season. Octavio Dotel's contract is up so he will not return, and with Scott Linebrink struggling the Sox will need to find a standout set up man to replace Dotel and to take most of the key appearances away from Linebrink. Matt Thornton is among the best left handed set up men in all of baseball, and will probably get the first shot at the closer's job if Jenks is traded.

All in all, the White Sox seem to be in better position going into this off season than their crosstown rival, the Cubs, who have major questions to answer and very little payroll flexibility with which to answer them. One thing the Sox do have going for them is manager Ozzie Guillen who is sure to keep things interesting and to keep the Sox in the headlines with his honesty and fire.

Lou Piniella Gets a Warning for Jaywalking In San Diego

Cubs manager Lou Piniella was stopped by San Diego police today when he was warned about jaywalking while talking on his cell phone. Piniella was looking for a place to get a haircut and was warned about crossing on a red light.

He becomes the 2nd Chicago baseball executive to be stopped by police regarding jaywalking in the last 8 days. White Sox GM Kenny Williams was fined $56.00 after receiving a jaywalking citation in Seattle while on his cell phone.

Today's Sounds Of The Game Part III

In Today's Sounds of the Game, Part II, I'll bring you the latest soundbites from your Chicago athletes, coaches and management. Today I'm out at U.S. Cellular Field as the White Sox get set to take on the Kansas City Royals. Here's Sox skipper Ozzie Guillen on what he expects from Freddy Garcia tonight when he makes his first start for the Palehose since 2006.

Click the link below to watch Ozzie Guillen discuss his expectations for Freddy Garcia tonight.

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Today's Sounds Of The Game Part II

In Today's Sounds of the Game, Part II, I'll bring you the latest soundbites from your Chicago athletes, coaches and management. Today I'm out at U.S. Cellular Field as the White Sox get set to take on the Kansas City Royals. Here's Sox skipper Ozzie Guillen reacting to comments made by Jim Thome and others just a little while ago.

Click the link below to watch Ozzie Guillen at the cell...

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Today's Sounds Of The Game

In Today's Sounds of the Game, I'll bring you the latest soundbites from your Chicago athletes, coaches and management. Today I'm out at U.S. Cellular Field as the White Sox get set to take on the Kansas City Royals. Here's Sox slugging DH Jim Thome discussing the addition of Alex Rios and the lineup flexibility it provides some banged up players.

Click the link below to see Jim Thome at the Cell...

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Tip Your Cap to Kenny Williams

The White Sox made a big move today acquiring outfielder Alex Rios on waivers from the Toronto Blue Jays.Rios is considered by scouts to be a five tool player and he projects as a center fielder on the current White Sox club. Should Jermaine Dye not be brought back for the 2010 season then Rios could move to right field.

Rios is a major acquisition but the real story is the tremendous job that the White Sox front office has done in managing their payroll while getting younger and still staying competitive in the AL Central race. General Manager Kenny Williams has a ton of salary scheduled to come off of the books after this season including Jose Contreras, Jermaine Dye (he has a mutual option for 2010), Octavio Dotel, Jim Thome, and Bartolo Colon.

If you are a White Sox fan you have to be very excited at what the future holds for your baseball team. The outfield of Quentin, Rios, and Dye would be one of baseball's best as would the starting rotation of Buehrle, Peavy, Floyd, and Danks. Add in young stars like Gordon Beckham and Alexei Ramirez and you have the makings of a very bright future on the South Side of Chicago.

General Manager Kenny Williams and manager Ozzie Guillen have the White Sox positioned for a bright future with several young stars on the rise and room left ion the payroll to add more talent.


The real story though is the great work being done by Kenny Williams who always shoots for the moon when he tries to add a player and for that you have to respect him. He never feels that his team is out of the race and he is always looking long term at how a particular move will set his club up for the future.

In addition, Williams deserves a ton of credit for his hiring of Ozzie Guillen and how he has handled him since he became the manager. Guillen is honest to a fault and he is a tremendously intense guy but at the same time he is also a fun loving type who is beloved by the media and the fan base. Williams allows Guillen the space that he needs to be himself while also understanding that his manager will at times say things that might make upper management uncomfortable.

Guillen is a fabulous manager who keeps his players honest by calling them out when they don't perform up to expectations but also expresses his love for his players publicly, a blend that not too many managers have mastered. All in all the White Sox look like a good choice for success over the next few seasons because they have gotten younger, have financial flexibility, and have a management team that works together very well.

The Sox Could Have Jake Peavy Pitching This Season

The White Sox may have waited until just before the deadline to make a move but when they did they made sure it was a BIG MOVE as GM Kenny Williams has acquired starting pitcher Jake Peavy from the San Diego Padres. Headed west are pitchers Clayton Richard, Aaron Poreda, Adam Russell, and Dexter Carter. Peavy, who was traded earlier in the season to the Sox and chose not to waive his no-trade clause at that time has signed off on the deal this time.

Williams has long coveted Peavy and by teaming him with Mark Buehrle the White Sox have a tremendous 1-2 punch going forward from Opening Day 2010 and beyond. Peavy has been sidelined with an ankle injury since June 9th and his availability for the remainder of this season is still up in the air. Had he remained in San Diego he was expected to be shut down for the rest of this season.

Peavy's agent, Barry Axelrod told me just a few minutes ago that Jake is still hoping to pitch this season and that he just received a great report on his injured ankle from his doctor. He will begin throwing off of a mound possibly tomorrow and could be a tremendous stretch run addition should the White Sox stay in the race until he is ready to return which could be by September 1st.

Trade Deadline Info/Ownership Update

The non-waiver trade deadline is 3 p.m. CST on Friday and it has been a fairly quiet week so far devoid of the flurry of activity that some in the industry expected. Both the Cubs and the White Sox are looking to make additions to their teams but only if the cost is not exorbitant in both money and prospects given up.

The White Sox are better positioned to make a major move because of the stability of Jerry Reinsdorf as the owner and the financial flexibility that they have after this season. They have millions of dollars coming off of the books after 2009 and as evidenced by their aggressive pursuit of Jake Peavy, Kenny Williams is willing to move if the deal makes sense long term.

Yesterday's trade for Mark Kotsay of the Boston Red Sox was a minor deal but Williams may not be done. He is kicking the tires on adding a big name starting pitcher but only if Gordon Beckham's name is not part of the deal. He is considered an untouchable by the organization.

The Cubs are looking to add a bullpen arm, preferably from the left side but will not trade one of the top five prospects in their system to add a player who is not a prime time addition. That would seem to take them out of the running for Baltimore closer George Sherrill, who is very tough on left handed hitters and has closing experience.  The veteran will be tough to land though because of the price that Orioles president Andy MacPhail has hung on him.
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Upcoming Schedules in the NL and AL Central

The Cubs have moved into first place in the NL Central by virtue of sweeping the Cincinnati Reds this weekend at Wrigley Field. Their current four game winning streak combined with two straight Cardinals losses to the Phillies have propelled the Cubs to a 1/2 game lead in the NL Central.

Let's take a look at the upcoming schedule for both the Cubs and Cards to see what challenges both clubs will be facing over the next two weeks. St. Louis returns home Monday night to open a four game series with the team with the best record in the National League, the Los Angeles Dodgers while the Cubs begin a four game set at home against the Houston Astros who are also challenging in the division race.

Next weekend the Cubs will be in Florida to play the Marlins while the Cardinals will continue their home stand against the Astros. Then St. Louis travels to NY to play 2 with the Mets and then 3 at Pittsburgh while the Cubs will play 3 at Cincinnati and four at Colorado.

Meanwhile, over in the AL Central the White Sox are in a brutal part of their schedule with one more game tonight in Detroit and then a trip to Minnesota for three games with the Twins. The White Sox then return home for four games with the Yankees, three with the LA Angels, and three with the Cleveland Indians. A west coast road trip then takes the Sox to Seattle and Oakland for 6 games.

The division leading Tigers have it much easier with three games at both Texas and Cleveland before a seven game home stand with Baltimore (4) and Minnesota (3). The division race was tied last Thursday after Mark Buehrle's perfect game but the White Sox have not won since, losing three straight in the Motor City to the Tigers with one more game to be played tonight.

The trading deadline is this Friday for non-waiver trades but industry experts expect more activity than usual in August for waiver deals because many teams are leery of claiming players to block deals because of the state of the economy. Sponsorship sales are down all over professional sports so teams are trying to cut payroll rather than adding big contracts just to block a competing team from making a trade.

Tune in Wednesday and Thursday evenings on Chicago Tribune Live (Comcast SportsNet) and Sports Central (WGN Radio - 720 AM). We will be covering the trading deadline for not only the Cubs and White Sox but for every team and every deal in baseball.
 

The Weird Similarities of Buehrle's Perfection

A look inside the numbers around Mark Buerhle's perfect game and his 2007 no-hitter are absolutely mind blowing. Did you know:

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Mark Buehrle would love to have Eric Cooper calling balls and strikes whenever he pitches considering he has two no-hitters with "Coop" behind the dish.

The home plate umpire in today's game was Eric Cooper who was also behind the plate for Buerhle's 2007 no-hitter against the Texas Rangers.

Mark Buehrle wears uniform # 56   Eric Cooper wears umpire uniform # 56

The White Sox had 5 runs on 6 hits in today's win.

The time of the game in Buerhle's 2007 no-hitter was 2:03

The time of the game in Buehrle's 2009 perfect game was 2:03

In both games a grand slam was hit by the White Sox. In 2007 Jermaine Dye did the honors and today Josh Fields provided the early run support.

By the way, a tip of the cap to the Tampa Bay Rays and their manager Joe Maddon who stayed in the dugout after the final out to watch the celebration and all tipped their cap to Buehrle on a job well done!

 

Wow....Buehrle Makes History!!!!!!!

Mark Buehrle threw a perfect game today against the Tampa Bay Rays at US Cellular Field. The act of perfection gave Buehrle his second career no-hitter and first of the perfect variety. He joins a list of 22 others who have multiple no-hitters and is the first Chicago baseball player to have a perfect game, a no-hitter, an All Star appearance, and a World Series title.

While Buehrle was amazing today we cannot forget the catch made by Dewayne Wise who robbed Gabe Kapler leading off the ninth inning by scaling the left field wall to take away a home run. Ozzie Guillen inserted Wise for defensive purposes to start the top of the ninth and that decision saved the day for Buehrle's place in history.

Buehrle is one of the truly good guys that we in the media deal with in Chicago baseball and it is great to see him achieve such a rare milestone. He has thrown two no-hitters and helped lead the White Sox to a World Championship and along the way he has proven that the art of pitching is not found in radar gun readings but rather in smarts and determination. Mark Buehrle good for you. It's nice to see a good guy bask in the spotlight.

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You Have to Respect Obama's Loyalty to the Sox

Nearly every politician you come across is a front runner who says what he or she thinks everyone wants to hear when it comes to what team they cheer for. Except for Barack Obama who is absolutely 100% behind his team, the Chicago White Sox.

Obama threw out the first pitch at last Tuesday's All Star Game and despite being asked by executives from Major League Baseball to wear a generic MLB all star jacket he chose to wear his White Sox jacket. MLB officials were reportedly not that pleased that he was showing his favoritism to the Sox on such a grand stage but Obama insisted and for that you have to respect his honesty.

I spent some time with Obama shortly before he announced his candidacy for president when he was at a Northwestern basketball game that I was broadcasting. His brother-in-law Craig Robinson was the head coach at Brown at the time and his team was in to play the Wildcats so Obama sat behind the Brown bench and was wearing a White Sox hat. I sat and talked with him after the game and asked him if he would wear a Cubs hat  if I got him an official  one from the team. He looked me in the eye and said "never, I am a Sox fan and not a Cubs fan." When I pressed him for more on the topic he told me that he made a choice when he came to Chicago and that a real Chicago fan picks one side or the other.

Now, I am not saying who I voted for in the past election and it really doesn't matter but I do have tremendous respect for Obama who chose to be a real fan rather than a phony politician like so many others including a certain former senator from New York who claims to be a Cub fan but has also been chronicled declaring her love for the Yankees, Mets, and who knows how many other teams.
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You have to respect Barack Obama's loyalty to his team, even if some Cubs fans are unhappy with his choice of team.


I have received a ton of e-mails this week from Cubs fans who are unhappy that the president wore a Sox jacket. Get over it and respect the fact that he is a real fan who checks the scores even on his busiest days and knows what is going on with his favorite team.

The White Sox have a fan in the White House and we Cubs fans have Rod Blagojevich who may be headed to the big house. Oh well, at least we have Wrigley Field.

Could There Be Any Truth To This....

In working the Internet this afternoon I came across an interesting article.

Could the Mets seriously have interest in trading for Milton Bradley? If I was an owner and my GM came to me about approving a deal for Bradley I would tell him absolutely not. I would not want a guy like Milton Bradley on my roster at any cost.

However, according to the article, Omar Minaya, the GM of the Mets, wants to add another bat to his team and with the health of Carlos Beltran in question and not much available without parting with their best prospects, Bradley could be on their radar screen.

Cubs Notes....Reliever Jose Ascanio has been sent back to Class AAA Iowa and right hander Jeff Samardzija has been recalled.....Sports Illustrated has come out with a poll of 380 major leaguers who were asked: What manager would you least like to play for? Lou Piniella came in first with 26% , Ozzie Guillen was second with 21%, Tony La Russa was third.

White Sox Call Up Prized Prospect Beckham

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The White Sox lost Wednesday night to the Athletics 5-3.  But the real story came after the game.

The team announced they have called up top prospect Gordon Beckham from AAA Charlotte.  With the move they have designated infielder Wilson Betemit for assignment.

Beckham was crushing the ball in the minor leagues, batting .464 in seven games in Charlotte, and .299 with 4 home runs and 22 RBI for AA Birmingham.  The eighth overall pick in last year's draft out of the University of Georgia figures to be in the lineup this afternoon when the Sox face Oakland in the finale of their four game series.

Rookie left hander Brett Anderson (2-5 5.70ERA) will get the start for Oakland against Beckham and the Sox, who Ozzie Guillen says will bat at the bottom of the order.  Mark Buehrle will throw for Chicago.

The players seemed excited about Beckham joining the roster but they warned the media that Beckham should not be looked at as a savior.  There have been lofty expectations put on the youngster from Sox fans, but both Ozzie and the players acknowledged he'll have adjustments to make and they hope he plays well.  Guillen also said he'll make sure to give Beckham plenty of at-bats.

Roy Oswalt Says No To White Sox, But Guess Who He'd Say Yes To?

This just in from the Houston Chronicle! Star hurler Roy Oswalt said no thanks to a potential trade to the White Sox but he did say to the media tonight that he would approve a trade to the Cubs! More to come on this developing story!

The Latest in Chicago Sports

Let's see....where should I start? The Zambrano meltdown? The Blackhawks elimination from the Stanley Cup playoffs? Derrick Rose's name being linked to an NCAA scandal at Memphis? The Jake Peavy rumors that continue to link both Chicago teams to the superstar pitcher?

Let's start with the Derrick Rose story that was broken by the Memphis Commercial Appeal newspaper.

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Peavy Turns Down White Sox

You probably know it by now, but Jake Peavy turned down the opportunity to be traded to the White Sox yesterday afternoon.  The Padres ace made it official in a short press conference held in the dugout before the team's game against the Giants.

"As of right now, this is the best place for us to be," Peavy told the media.  "We made that decision for the time being."

Peavy told the media he'd answer more questions regarding yesterday's events after tonight's game against the Cubs.  Stay tuned.

The Padres ace doesn't want to play in the American League, according to his agent Barry Axelrod whom I spoke to yesterday.  Peavy appears to be in no hurry to be traded, and would only sign off on a deal to a few specific teams. 

The Latest on Jake Peavy

While there is still no resolution on the proposed Jake Peavy deal to the White Sox there are several interesting factors at play here that must be considered as to why Peavy wouldn't approve the trade. First, Peavy knows that the National League is easier to pitch in than the American League. There's no DH in the NL, he has a comfort zone knowing the hitters and the teams, and he holds all the cards. He has a no trade clause for a reason. He gets to determine where he will play, period!

I spoke with his agent, Barry Axelrod regarding the deal and he told me that Jake wants to pitch in the NL and he is in no hurry to make a decision. He will wait out the next several weeks as he watches to see who expresses interest in him and then he and his agent will make a decision on what they want to do.

Look for the Cubs to re-evaluate their position if they suffer no more major injuries and don't have a significant need to upgrade their team in another area. They don't want to use up their remaining trading chips to strengthen an area that they are already set at. Should the sale of the club to Tom Ricketts get finalized fairly soon then the new owner could make his first signature acquisition by landing Peavy. Time will tell how this one will play out.

Peavy to White Sox: Fact or Fiction?

MLB: MAY 6 Diamondbacks at Padres

There have been several reports this morning that the White Sox are close to completing a deal for San Diego right-hander Jake Peavy.

The deal, these reports say, is only contingent on Peavy waiving his no-trade clause.

Well, I spoke to a source very close to Peavy shortly after 9 a.m. today who told me nobody from the Padres organization has asked Peavy or his representatives to waive his no-trade clause.

According to my source, Peavy wants to stay in the National League and he would factor in this desire if he is asked to approve a trade to an American League team.

The White Sox are Getting Healthier

The White Sox received some good news as second baseman Chris Getz and DH Jim Thome were cleared to play when tomorrow's series against the Rangers kicks off.

Getz is recovering from a broken middle finger on his right hand. He has improved greatly after struggling to grip a baseball last week. Thome did some running drills and says he is ready to go.

Brian Anderson's rib cage strain continues to bother him but he will be re-evaluated tomorrow after spending today resting.

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