Thursday, June 29, 2006

I love it when Bobby Jenks emails me (and everyone else)!

Hi White Sox Fans,
I can't believe that we're already three months into the 2006 season. I'm sure that you would agree that it seems like just yesterday we were celebrating our World Series title. It's amazing how much has changed since then, both for me and for our club. But I have to say that it has been so nice to be back in Chicago and playing in front of such great fans.
The support we received during our playoff run last season was incredible, and I didn't think it would be possible for that atmosphere to be duplicated, but the ballpark has been electric the first half of this season because of our fans. So I really want to thank you for all of your support, because you've been great this season – from the moment we raised the World Series banner on Opening Day through the energetic crowds last week against St. Louis and Houston.
As for myself, I have taken such a liking to the city of Chicago, the White Sox and our fans that my wife and I came to the decision this offseason to make Chicago our home 12 months a year. We have loved the area since I signed with the White Sox, and I can't tell you how comfortable we feel in this city. I love it because it is a big city and there is so much to do. There is such a great feel to it, and I love the bond I feel with the people of Chicago, even though I've been with the White Sox for less than two years.
As for our club this year, I am pleased with the way that our season is going so far. We knew that it was going to be a fight to the finish with so many tough teams in the American League Central, and it looks like it is shaping up to be a great pennant race when August and September roll around.
The last two years here in Chicago have been amazing, and I couldn't ask for a better manager to play for than Ozzie Guillen. He has had nothing but confidence in me since Day 1, and I have him to thank for the chance to succeed at the Major League level. I still sit down in the bullpen every once in a while and realize that I'm in the dugout as a Major Leaguer, not in the stands as a fan.
Last year – especially the World Series – really was everything I imagined it would be since I was a little kid. The atmosphere at U.S. Cellular Field was something that I will never forget, and I still can't believe the support that White Sox fans showed at the parade. I don't know if I will ever forget seeing all the people line the streets on the South Side as our busses went by... or the thousands of fans who jammed the streets downtown. It was just amazing.
Everything about last year was such an amazing experience, and I've realized how committed Ozzie, Kenny Williams, Jerry Reinsdorf and the entire organization are to winning since the World Series. It made the offseason even more enjoyable knowing that Paulie was going to be back in our clubhouse, and that we had added such a strong left-handed bat in Jim Thome.
Although there were some changes since last year's team, the one thing that hasn't changed is the attitude in our clubhouse. I have been in a lot of different clubhouses over the years, and this one has the tightest friendships I've ever seen. Everyone gets along, and that really helps both on and off the field and has been a major factor in our success.
Hopefully our success will continue throughout the second half of the season. We expect to bring another AL Central Division title to the South Side and give our fans the opportunity to cheer us deep into the postseason once again. The large crowds have helped us already this year, and we know your support will keep us going as we push for our second straight division title. Thanks, and I hope to see you all at the ballpark soon.
Sincerely, Bobby Jenks

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Calling all voters


Calling all White Sox fans! Now's the time to show your Sox Pride and vote our Sox into the 2006 All-Star Game, taking place July 11 in Pittsburgh. In-stadium balloting ended on June 22 - so now the only way to vote your favorite White Sox players into the All-Star Game is by voting online now » As past history has shown us, it's still not too late. Tadahito Iguchi is running a close third at 2nd base, and Paul Konerko is trailing David Ortiz and Jason Giambi at 1st base. Remember: White Sox fans sent Scott Podsednik to the All-Star Game last year by voting online. You can do it again in 2006!
Vote up to 25 times to make sure your favorite White Sox get to Pittsburgh alongside Manager Ozzie Guillen.
What better way to send a message to the world than to send the Champs to the Midsummer Classic?

Monday, June 26, 2006

Love and Baseball

Yesterday was a pretty emotional day for me what with marrying my best friend off the day before. It was bound to hit me sooner or later but I didn't expect that level of melancholy. As happy as I am for Erin, I still have to wonder when it will be my turn. In high school Annie, Tracy, Erin, and I used to talk about who would get married first. They always said it would be me (even as they went through boyfriends and I discovered the joys of being a third wheel). It's just down to me and Annie now and it seems as if I have no prospects. At least no prospects that will follow through on their intentions. So there I was: sad and frustrated. The sermon was about joy, which was timely. I spent some time reading through the Psalms and found some good applicable verses and just poured my heart out to God once again. Back to being patient and seeking contentment. I can accept the lapses as long as I remember to depend on God through it all.
Bringing this lesson to the forefront...last night I was at the Sox game against the Astros. I took my super fun friend Kibibi. It was her first Sox game and we had a blast, even though my beloved guys were losing for most of the game. I was more worried about Kibibi than anything else- it was her first game after all! Our mantra may be "Don't Stop Believing" but I confess my hope was getting smaller and smaller as the game progressed and the score became 9-2. Then Iguchi came out in the 7th and homered with 2 men on base. YES! There's nothing like a last minute rally, a definite White Sox specialty. But then the 7th inning ended and the 8th inning came and went. Into the 9th Pierzynski, Cintron, and Podsednik are on base and up steps Iguchi once again. I thought, wouldn't it be wonderful if he hit a grand slam and we tied the game? And then I thought, well, he just hit that other home run so it probably won't happen. Miracle of miracles, he got a grand slam! The crowd went crazy, no one more so than me and Kibibi. We could not stop screaming! Well, after that we got all the way to 13 innings and a really bad call which ended up with the Astros scoring a run. We would get a few guys on base but no one was able to pull it off, losing 10-9. Still, a phenomenal game!
So what is my point in telling you all this? There seem to be parallels between the game and my love life. I love when God sends me encouragement in the form of my baseball team! For most of my life I have struggled with the whole dating arena, feeling like a loser because I never had a boyfriend. My hope was small but flickering. God has definitely grown me through those low points and shown me that my identity is found in him, not whether I'm dating someone. I've also realized in the last few years that a boyfriend is not a magical cure all that will make everything happy and wonderful. Relationships are hard work! Flash forward: Iguchi's home run in the 7th? That's kind of like last year when a guy actually pursued me! OK, so we didn't date for longer than a week but it was encouraging at the same time. My own personal rally. Now I'm in the 9th inning, prospects look grim and sometimes it's hard to trust that there is a good guy out there for me. This is the very time though that I need to hope the most. I need to keep walking, keep trusting, and one of these days, I will meet that man and he will sweep me off my feet. There's the grand slam. He's not here yet, but he will be worth the wait. And then the crowd (aka my family and friends) will really go wild.

Wedding Season

With the Groom-to-be Mark at the rehearsal dinner
Erin is such a beautiful bride!
Tracy and I are looking pretty good ourselves
Caron, Tracy, and Ellen at the reception (before Ellen "stole" the bouquet from me)

Erin and Mark were married on Saturday! It was a beautiful ceremony and we all had a blast at the reception dancing the night away. Every time I looked at the newlyweds, I could not stop smiling. I am so happy for them!

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Last Comic Standing

My new favorite show is Last Comic Standing. Granted it is in its 4th season so it is not a new show but it is new to me so that should count for something. I caught the 3rd episode last week and was quickly hooked. Lucky for me Bravo was showing the first two episodes the other night so I was able to catch up before the new episode aired Tuesday night. Most of the 12 final comedians are genuinely laugh out loud funny. And the ones that aren't are quickly being voted off the boat (so long, Stella!). The fact that they're performing on a cruise ship is possibly the only cheesy thing about this show. I'm rooting for Bil (from Evergreen Park!), Ty (from Chicago!), Chris, and Josh Blue (a paralympic soccer player with cerebral palsy). Especially for Josh- he is amazing! I hope they make it in to the top 6 with either Gabriel, Rebecca or Kristen rounding it out. They say laughter is the best medicine and I definitely have been needing to laugh lately. It's a match made in heaven!

TY BARNETT Hometown: Chicago, IL Ty Barnett began touring -- and earning rave reviews -- in California, Oregon and Canada before being voted "Up-and-coming Comedian of the Year" in 2002 at the Las Vegas Comedy Festival. He first gained the attention of Hollywood after being named "Outstanding Performer" at Montreal's "Just for Laughs Festival." Since then, Barnett has appeared on NBC's "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" as well as "Jimmy Kimmel Live" and is a regular on the "Late, Late Show with Craig Ferguson." Additional television credits include "Comedy Central Presents," "Premium Blend" and numerous television commercials, and he appeared in the feature film "Stand-up." He has been the opening act for Donna Summer, and has also performed with Chris Rock, Al Green and Robert Schimmel. On the comedy club circuit, Barnett has performed at the Improv, Caroline's, The Comic Strip, Caesar's Palace, Zanie's and The Ice House, and is one of the most requested comedians at colleges across the country.

BIL DWYER Hometown: Evergreen Park, IL Bil Dwyer is an accomplished standup comic whose resume also includes acting, hosting and writing. His hip and sardonic takes on marriage, kids and family have been showcased in the half-hour comedy special "Comedy Central Presents: Bil Dwyer," as well as on "The Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn," "The Martin Short Show," NBC's "Late Friday," "Evening at the Improv" and "Caroline's Comedy Hour." Dwyer guest-starred on "The Larry Sanders Show" and "Ally McBeal," and currently hosts GSN's "I've Got a Secret." He has hosted "Extreme Dodgeball," "That '70s House," "Battlebots" and "Dirty Rotten Cheaters," and has been a regular comedy commentator on VH1's series "I Love the '70s," "I Love the '80s" and "I Love the '90s." Additional credits include "The Test," VH1's "The List," E's "Rank" and AMC's "Movies at Our House." On the big screen, Dwyer appeared in the films "Ski School 2," "The Bogus Witch Project" and "What Planet Are You From?"
CHRIS PORTER Hometown: Kansas City, KS Kansas City native Chris Porter has been a comedian for the past eight years, and says the best part of being a comic is "the complete lack of responsibility." He has performed on Comedy Central and in comedy clubs and colleges all over the country, drawing his material from "living life as a 27-year-old comedian who wakes up at noon and does whatever he wants." Porter got his start in comedy when a friend tried it first and suggested he try it too. "I fell in love with it the moment I stepped on stage," says Porter, whose unique observations on life – often told from a Midwest perspective – help define his "rock 'n' roll" style of comedy. He was recently seen on Comedy Central's "Live Tour" and will be appearing in the new season of their series "Live at Gotham," airing this summer. He has performed at The Improv -- including the Hollywood, Miami, Tampa and Orlando locations -- as well as at Funnybones, Zanies, Loony Bins and Stardome.
JOSH BLUE Hometown: Camaroon, West Africa A gifted stand-up comedian and talented U.S. Paralympic soccer player, Josh Blue refuses to bow to any of the challenges that come from living with cerebral palsy. He jokes, "I realize that people are going to stare so I want to give them something to stare at." He uses his self-deprecating sense of humor to defy stereotypes and encourage others to overcome their pre-conceived notions about disabled people. Blue -- who was born in Camaroon, West Africa, and raised in St. Paul, Minnesota -- has been making audiences laugh in top comedy clubs, theaters, college campuses and corporate events all over the country. At the 2004 Las Vegas Comedy Festival, he won the $10,000 Grand Prize at the Royal Flush Comedy Competition, and he earned rave reviews on the college circuit in 2005. He has also guest-starred on Comedy Central's "Mind of Mencia." In addition to being a stand-up comic, Blue is also a U.S. Paralympic soccer player, and he participated in the 2004 Paralympic Games that took place in Athens, Greece.

Monday, June 19, 2006

I Love JD movement continues

Jermaine Terrell Dye knocked out his 20th home run last night when the Sox finished sweeping up the Reds! I am so proud of him! I don't want to jinx him but if he keeps it up he'll blow his career high out of the water. And check this out, compliments of Derfman:
A question from a New Yorker and fielded by Sports Illustrated columnist Tom Verducci:

"With Carlos Beltran being one of the hottest hitters in baseball right now, David Wright being David Wright and, of course, Carlos Delgado, do you think the Mets have the best middle of the lineup in baseball?" -- Steve Dubois, New York City
It's very close, but I might give the White Sox a slight edge right now because Jermaine Dye has just been crushing the ball behind Jim Thome and Paul Konerko.

Tom Verducci is clearly a truth teller. I like that.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

A word from my main man

Dear White Sox Fans,
We're almost at the halfway point of the season, and so far we're pretty happy with how the season is going. We've hit some rough patches along the way, but for the most part, we're doing the things we need to do to win ballgames, and that's the main goal.
We really aren't doing anything different as a team, as far as last year vs. this year. We take the same approach and bring the same mindset into each game. As professionals, we can't have an attitude that we are the defending champs – we need to approach each game the way we did last season, when we were trying to get to the top.
You definitely can see that teams are more focused on playing the White Sox this season. And I can see that pitchers are more focused on trying to prove something to us. It seems like every pitcher is bringing his "A" game to the mound.
Speaking of other teams, we're not surprised at all by how well the Tigers are playing this year, and like we've said all along, we expect the Central Division to be a dogfight until the end of the season. But when it's all said and done, we're going to do everything we can to come out on top again.
For me, personally, I'm just trying to do whatever I can to help us win, and I've been fortunate to get off to a quick start. This year, it seems like I've been able to stay more in a daily routine, regardless of whether I'm getting a lot of hits. It's my second season with the White Sox, so it helps that I am more familiar with the environment, with the coaching staff and the players around me. It definitely helps to find a comfort level in the clubhouse and in my routine.
I just wanted to get off to a good start this season and see what happens. Obviously I would be honored to make the All-Star Team, but it's not a goal I set for myself. If I'm selected because we are winning ballgames, then it would be even more special.
With the numbers Jim, Paulie and I have been fortunate to put up, I would have to say we are right near the top, if not at the top, in terms of 3-4-5 hitters in baseball. I would probably have to say it's the best middle of the lineup I've played with or been a part of. With Oakland, we had Jason Giambi and Eric Chavez, and Mike Sweeney was in Kansas City, but overall I would put this group at the top of the list.
Jim adds another threat to the lineup and takes so much pressure off everyone around him. You can see the amount of respect that pitchers have for him and how carefully they pitch to him. But that just helps out Paulie and me hitting right behind him. It's so much tougher for pitchers to do their job when there are men on base. Plus, Jim is such a good guy and a great influence on the rest of the clubhouse – especially the younger guys – but even the veterans, too. Just to watch his approach and see the way he treats people makes it fun to be around him.
We expect even bigger things in the second half of the season, and we know it's going to be tough. No one in the clubhouse is talking about a World Series. We just want to play well day-to-day, and hopefully when the dust settles at the end of September, we'll be in the playoffs again. At that point, anything can happen, as we learned last year!
Thank you for coming out to the ballpark and cheering us on; it's been a nice boost and a big reason why we have the best home record in the big leagues so far. We couldn't do it without you.
Sincerely – Jermaine Dye

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Where did she go?

It's true it's been awhile since I've been able to post anything. First, I moved to a new apartment. I upgraded from the loft to a room with a door, bathroom, and walk in closet. I miss Jen a bunch but I adore my new room! Second, Donna and I were without internet access for 2 weeks. My friend Julie was nice enough to let me use her computer to check my email every few days but it was hard enough just trying to stay on top of my correspondence (sounds official doesn't it?) Third, I finally went on my Grand Canyon hike with Hike for Discovery through The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. It was amazing, beautiful, challenging, inspiring, great, wonderful, fantastic! Donna and I did a 7 hour hike on the Keibab trail and I was really proud of myself for how well I did. The training did a great job to prepare me. I can't wait to go back!