July 2011

Thomas on Dunn, Rios, Konerko and future

While Frank Thomas was rightfully basking in the glory of his statue being unveiled on Sunday at U.S. Cellular Field, the Big Hurt took the time to touch on a few other White Sox-related matters. Here’s a look at those topics.

ON ADAM DUNN’S STRUGGLES

“I’ve talked to Adam a lot. He’s a good guy, very, very good guy. He’s going through a tremendous slump. It’s part of the game. It won’t be his last slump if he continues to play this game a long time. But he’s never seen anything like it. No one else has. He’s going to come out of it, sooner or later. If it’s not this year, next year he’ll come out of it.”

ADVICE TO DUNN

“Adam is a different type of hitter than me. Adam is a long ball guy; he’s a monster home run guy. With me, I was happy to get a single, so when I was going through those slumps I didn’t mid punching the ball to right field or wherever else just to get a hit.

“I think he’s got to start doing a little bit of that. I told him the other day, ‘It’s OK to punch in a single every now and then. If they want to shift on you, punch the ball through the shortstop. There’s nothing wrong with it.’

“He’s having a lot of fun and he was happy to hear that the other day. I said, ‘You know what? Go up there and think about hitting three doubles and a home run will happen.’ He’s a good guy, he’s handled it well. He’s going to have a good future here.”

ON STRUGGLES OF FORMER BLUE JAYS’ TEAMMATE ALEX RIOS

“I spent a year and a half with Alex and I know what the guy is capable of doing. Right now, he’s fighting himself.

“For me, I would change that stance. We talked about it the other day. There’s nothing wrong with going in the cage and messing around with it.

“We saw one of the most successful players to ever play this game, Cal Ripken, he had a new stance every week. I told Alex, the bottom line is hitting the baseball. Go in the cage and figure something out. Get comfortable, because he’s not comfortable right now.”

ON PAUL KONERKO’S EXCELLENCE

“It’s great. Paulie has had a great last three years here. Some guys find it in their late 20s. Paulie is finding it in his mid-30s. Bottom line is he’s getting it done. He’s having fun and he’s comfortable. More power to him. If he keeps this up, he’s going to be out there on that concourse, too.”

ON THOMAS’ FUTURE IN BASEBALL

“Who knows? I’m not saying what I want to do or would like to do. Right now I’m just happy to be a part of this organization. It’s always great to come down and go into the locker room and see the guys.

“It just brings back so many memories. I can see the look in the guys’ eyes. I can see the guys who are doing well. I can look at the guys and tell who’s struggling. That’s just a part of my life. I like to come in and say hello and help guys out because we had older guys who came in and helped us out throughout my years.”

Guillen shows support for Negro Leagues Baseball Museum

Ozzie Guillen spoke with great passion on Friday night that he wasn’t worried about losing his job as White Sox manager, despite his team underachieving in the first half of the 2011 season and the White Sox having picked up his contractual option for the 2012 season. As he said on the day he was hired, and has said many, many times after that important day in White Sox lore, managers basically are hired to be fired.

Saturday’s pregame meeting with the media brought more heartfelt discourse from the White Sox manager, only this topic had more of a baseball-wide theme. Guillen would like to see more support for the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, both monetary and in-person.

“Major League Baseball or the American League should make guys go see the Negro League Museum in Kansas City,” Guillen said. “They should make them go there and find out the real history of the game and the great thing about baseball.

“I don’t know why they’re not doing it. The Players Association should make it happen. First of all, help them with the museum and we can see what those guys went through to make us make a lot of money. Every time I go there I take my family there. Every year I stop by and have lunch out there. It’s a beautiful thing to see.”

In 2006, general manager Ken Williams and Guillen took the entire team to the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum during the defending World Series champion’s first visit to Kansas City. Guillen hopes to make the trip during his team’s series this week, but will get there once before the end of the season with one more weekend series coming in Kansas City in September.

This topic came about Saturday with the Tigers wearing the jerseys of the Detroit Stars and the White Sox wearing the jerseys of the Chicago American Giants in the Tigers’ 17th annual Negro Leagues Tribute Game.

“Little by little, you see the real roots and how much fun it was,” Guillen said. “I say that in 2006. I think MLB should have the rule that we have to stop by.

“Everybody that goes by Kansas City has to have a bus before you go to the ballpark and stop by about an hour, two hours. You will learn a lot and appreciate what you do right now.”

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