November 2009

Getz, Fields move on with class

Chris Getz heard the rumors.

They started Thursday morning, when his cell phone was blowing up with calls from people who knew better than to contact him so early in the morning. Getz repeatedly hit ignore and tried to fall back to sleep, until finally checking his phone to figure out the source of this commotion.

Reports had Getz, the White Sox starting second baseman for much of the 2009 campaign, as part of a trade to the Royals that brought back Mark Teahen. The only problem for Getz was he had heard nothing remotely official from the White Sox. Actually, he had heard nothing at all.

That official announcement wouldn’t come until Friday morning, when White Sox general manager Ken Williams placed a call to the Royals’ newest infield acquisition.

A strange 24 hours indeed for Getz.

“At least it was only 24 hours, rather than anything longer than that,” Getz said. “It’s history, but I’m sure they would do it differently if they knew it was going to get out like that. Basically, everyone knew but the players.”

Josh Fields, the White Sox top pick in the 2004 First-Year Player Draft, also was part of the deal for Teahen and cash considerations from the Royals. But whereas the move was a bit stunning for Getz, it was a welcomed change for Fields.

At 27, which Fields will turn on Dec. 14, the new father just didn’t see himself as a part-time player. He has a far better chance of proving that point with the Royals.

“I think it’s going to work out good in Kansas City,” Fields said. “I always will appreciate Chicago, being that it was my first team, the team where I first made it to the big leagues and the team that gave me the opportunity.

“In 2008, I got to experience playoff type atmosphere. Now, I’m looking forward to taking the experience I’ve had with Chicago, both the good and the bad, and putting it all together when I go with Kansas City.”

Dealing with both Getz and Fields has been a positive experience from my point of view, and I suspect most of my media brethren would agree. They were good talkers, displaying refreshing candor, and always made themselves accessible, even when they didn’t really want to be accessible. Actually, that trait has been fairly common for most of the White Sox players over the past eight years, minus one or two exceptions.

Getz had what turned out to be the unfortunate coincidence for him of attending the same university I did in Ann Arbor. Unfortunate, in that he endured countless minutes of clubhouse analysis from me on the resurgence of the University of Michigan basketball program and the disaster that is the football program under Rich Rodriguez. When I joked with him on Friday as to how I can still keep him updated during Spring Training, being that the training sites are in the same general Arizona vicinity, I think Getz suddenly wished he was traded to team who trained in Florida–or maybe out of the country.

Williams explained on Friday how there was a cash portion of this deal needing approval, which pushed back the official word to Friday, and left Getz and Fields wondering and waiting on Thursday. Obviously, Williams’ style has never been to leave his players unsure as to where they stand, and he made that clear to Getz, Fields and the media.

“You know how I feel about things getting out before it’s time for them to get out,” Williams said. “It puts players in an uncomfortable position.”

But there’s no retribution promised from Getz and Fields for their momentary discomfort. They simply want to contribute to success for their new team, just as they did for their old team.

“Really, it’s better to be wanted than to not be wanted at all,” Getz said. “When I’m out there (for Kansas City), I just want to help the team win. I’m not trying to gain vengeance against the White Sox. I’ll just do the same things I always do.”

“There’s no extra incentive. It’s a business,” Fields said. “You want to go beat up on any team we play against, and the White Sox are no different. Any time you are in the big leagues, it’s a positive experience. You dream of it as a little kid, and to get there and spend significant time, it’s positive regardless.”