Results tagged ‘ Omar Vizquel ’

Rehearsing for Woodjock

I stopped by The Venue in Scottsdale for about an hour last night to check out the rehearsal for Thursday night’s Woodjock, 2010, Jake Peavy’s charity concert, presented by mycontent.com.

As soon as I arrived, I noticed an interesting looking band on the stage working tirelessly on an Eric Clapton song. There was Bronson Arroyo on vocals, Brandon Medders on lead guitar and Bernie Williams on backup lead guitar. Oh, yes, I can’t forget Barry Zito on the drums.

And they basically rocked, for lack of a better word. I was told that overall rehearsal session ran about four hours.

“I think people are going to be surprised by this show,” said Peavy, who was overseeing the rehearsal at the time I was there, sort of hinting how fans might not expect these players to be accomplished musicians.

Actually, I don’t think people will be surprised. These players taking part in the concert have the same sort of passion for music as they do for baseball, and they are pretty darn good baseball players. I expect a highly entertaining show, with a raucous crowd at this venue that has a very Old West feel to it.

Focusing on the White Sox theme, aside from the obvious front man in Peavy, both Omar Vizquel and Gordon Beckham will be singing. Ben Broussard, who was in White Sox camp last year and is now a touring musician, also will be performing his music. You can bet on many White Sox players being in the audience to lend support.

Are these players as talented behind the microphone as they are on the field? Aside from Williams, the most accomplished of the group, and Broussard, probably not. From the little I witnessed last night, though, this show truly is worth checking out on Thursday. Remember, the proceeds go to Team Focus, Strikeouts for Troops, White Sox Charities and Autism Speaks, so it’s good music for a good cause, or as the show bills itself, “a big league jam fest.”

Here’s another reason to attend Thursday’s show: I will not be singing or playing a musical instrument, for those who were worried.

Week in Quotes

At the end of each week during Spring Training and hopefully beyond, I’ll try to give you a little flavor from the past seven days of White Sox action with some of the more telling or even humorous quotes. Here’s a look from the first week of action in Arizona, in no particular order.

1. “People talk about trade deadlines and offseasons and timing on things. We are always looking to take that next step to get us that much better. That goes for today and the trading deadline season. All that means is other clubs are more apt to want to do things and if something arises where we have a need, regardless of where that need is, we are going to try to fill it.”
–White Sox general manager Ken Williams on the team’s aggressive philosophy in pursuit of top talent.

2. “We do things right, then we are out of here quick. If we play around and we do the wrong thing, throw to the wrong bases, and don’t take ground balls seriously or run the bases seriously, we are going to be out there for a long time. The best we work, we out of here.

“I’m not going to babysit them. It’s not an instructional league. You are in the big leagues for a reason. I’m not supposed to teach you here. We are supposed to remind you about what goes on with baseball.”
–Manager Ozzie Guillen, explaining White Sox players will dictate how long they are on the field for practice each day.

3. “Make sure you take that young guy under your wing and show him the ropes.”
–Guillen to Freddy Garcia, whose Spring Training locker is situated next to 22-year-veteran Omar Vizquel.

4. “This is a different type of team. We are not the slugging White Sox that hit 250 home runs and go base to base. But that’s a good thing.”
–White Sox veteran catcher A.J. Pierzynski on the change in philosophy on offense for 2010.

5. “I’m always asked that question and I just want to get as many at-bats as I can get. That’s what I’m looking for. Ozzie is the king of making that lineup and wherever he puts me, I’ll be happy.”
–Carlos Quentin on the ideal spot for him to hit in the lineup.

6. “It’s extremely strange. I talked to both a good bit this winter. They are dear friends for life, and I have a great deal of respect for them and their fabulous careers. But more than that, I have a lot of respect for them as people. I know the fans appreciate all they did for us. It was an honor to coach them, and when I retire and look back, those two are right up at the top of my list to be around.”
–Hitting coach Greg Walker on not having Jim Thome and Jermaine Dye in camp.

7. “I don’t want to bring up names, but you take Jermaine. I remember Jermaine telling me at the end of the year, ‘If I don’t like what I see during the offseason or I don’t get what I want, and that doesn’t mean money, it means just the situation and everything I want, I have no problem, I’m happy to not go play. I’ll maybe go during the season if someone asks me, but I’m content with that.’ I would say that would probably be my mindset, where I’m not going to force something if it’s not there because I have other things, I have a perspective of what’s important and what isn’t.”
–Team captain Paul Konerko, on possibly not playing after his contract runs out following this season if he doesn’t find the right fit.

8. “The bottom line is when you get [weather] like this, you have to be like the Marines – adapt and overcome.”
–Pitching coach Don Cooper, on making workout adjustments during a rare Arizona rainy period.

9. “Getting [drunk] every night. Let’s put it plain and simple. When I took a long, hard look at myself and saw where I was headed, at that point, I was headed in the wrong direction.”
–Closer Bobby Jenks, who came into camp in phenomenal condition, on why he stopped drinking during the offseason.

10. “Joey and everyone were praising him and saying how great he looks. He said, ‘I’m on a mission. I’m the best center fielder you have here.’ And Joey said, ‘Well, you should be there are only pitchers and catchers in camp.’ Line of the day.”
–Williams, at the start of camp, recounting a conversation between Andruw Jones and bench coach Joey Cora.

11. “If that thing offends anyone, beat it because I didn’t do anything wrong. I don’t need Twitter to let people know what I feel about this ballclub. I don’t need Twitter to let people know what I feel about this organization or Major League Baseball, period.”
–Guillen on the one-day Twitter-gate, after the entertaining manager started his own account, which is now up to 29,203 followers in less than one week.

12. “I’m really not a Facebook or Twitter guy. I’m a prime rib and baked potato guy. I hate to say that but it’s true. Maybe somebody should teach me.”
–Cubs manager Lou Piniella, when asked about the Guillen Twitter controversy.

13. “I’m ticked. We need to get the word out.”
–A smiling Mark Teahen on Guillen’s total of followers on Twitter surpassing the total for the followers of his popular dog, ESPY Teahen.

14. “I stopped pitching freshman year in high school. I closed then and used to throw hard.”
–Sergio Santos, who is making the successful switch from infielder to reliever with a fastball in the range of 98 mph.

15. “You mean Babe? Yeah. He’s a natural. Freaks like that just don’t happen. Don’t go looking for another Buehrle.”
–Scott Linebrink, when asked if Mark Buehrle, who hit his first career home run last year, would be the best candidate to follow Santos and go from pitcher to position player.

16. “I was happy to see him smiling and at peace with his decision and his family was around. I thought it was great. It was a great turn out from the Chicago media and it played well when it went out that night.”
–Williams on Frank Thomas’ retirement ceremony at U.S. Cellular Field.

17. “It was big for us. There were a lot of losing years. I got a chance to go to it, since it was in Miami, and I live there. They are still partying back there. That’s why it snowed in Louisiana.”
–Juan Pierre, on his beloved New Orleans Saints winning the Super Bowl.

18. “Good for the city? Try the whole state. It’s been a big party down there since it happened.”
–White Sox 2009 first-round pick Jared Mitchell, who played baseball and football at LSU, talking about the effect of the Saints’ Super Bowl win on New Orleans.

19. “They gave me an opportunity, and I didn’t put up numbers. So, this is where I find myself.”
–Cole Armstrong, once the White Sox catcher of the future, with a refreshing look at now being in camp as a non-roster invite.

20. “I still feel like I’m a productive player and feel like I can contribute, but teams want me as a backup player, and that’s something I’m not ready to do. I feel undervalued, basically. I don’t think I have to go out there and prove anything to anyone. My numbers the last five or six years show I can help someone.”
–Dye, speaking to Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times, concerning his shock to still be without a Major League job.

(Personal Bonus): “No, Merkin. I’m the animal whisperer and got that animal to lie down in front of me.”
–Pierzynski, showing off of a special calendar featuring the big game hunted on an African safari he took with Aaron Rowand and their wives. The response was to my question as to whether the mammoth animal in front of him really was dead.

Saturday tidbits

The potential signing of free agent outfielder Johnny Damon had a direct effect on both Daniel Hudson and Andruw Jones.

If Damon had come on board, the White Sox designated hitter-by-committee plan would have been scrapped and a very determined Jones would have been searching for at-bats. Damon’s presence also probably would have reduced Ozzie Guillen’s pitching staff from 12 to 11, meaning a long relief spot would have been vacated, and Hudson would have started the season starting for Triple-A Charlotte.

To the credit of both these players, they kept any personal concerns to themselves in regard to these negotiations. They actually deferred to the good of the White Sox.

“That’s none of my business,” Jones said. “That’s the team looking to get better or doing what they need to do to get where we need to get. I don’t think about all of that stuff. I know I’m mentally ready and physically ready.”

“I’ve heard about it a lit a bit, and obviously it’s a great bat to add to the lineup,” Hudson said. “Whatever helps the team win, I’m all for it.”

Hudson and Jones can breathe a little easier, as Damon opted for a one-year deal with the Tigers, pending a Sunday physical. Jones’ roster spot is secure, but Hudson will try to parlay last year’s success into the seventh and final relief opening on the 2010 staff. If the soon-to-be 23-year-old has any nerves jumping around inside for his first big-league camp, they certainly aren’t getting through his calm exterior.

“My mindset is to throw as well as I can and make the decision really hard for them,” Hudson said. “It’s really out of my hands after that.

“I feel like no matter what the roster situation, if they feel you can contribute, they will make room for you,” Hudson said.

Hello, Old Friend: Jones played the 1998 and 1998 seasons with Guillen in Atlanta. So, suiting up for the White Sox manager in 2010 won’t present any sort of unexpected challenge.

“Everybody hears so much stuff about Ozzie. He’s a great guy and he knows a lot about the game,” Jones said. “I had an opportunity to play with him in Atlanta for a year and I learned a lot from him.

“He was always on my butt to go out there and produce every day. Now, to get a chance to play under him as a manager, it’s going to be a good experience. I think on paper, we’ve got a good team to go to the World Series and win it. It’s all about getting it together and staying healthy.”

Jones admits to having lost a step or two in regard to his one-time flawless defense in center field. But the veteran was almost defiant when stressing how he still can play the outfield if given the chance.

“The judgment of me not being able to go out there and play center field anymore, that was the big thing that motivated me more to get my legs right,” Jones said. “So if they put me out there, I’m going to get the job done.”

Camelback Changes: A once barren Camelback Ranch corridor, with the White Sox clubhouse and training room on either side, now features famous franchise historical photos on the far wall. They range from countless 2005 World Series celebratory shots to pictures of Mark Buehrle’s 2010 perfect game and 2007 no-hitter to the team’s trip to the White House last year. The faces of Buehrle and Josh Fields are blocked out by other players standing in front of them in that particular group shot.

Heavy Traffic Area: Lockers against the wall to the far left as you walk into the clubhouse line up as Paul Konerko, Buehrle, Freddy Garcia, Omar Vizquel, Jake Peavy, Scott Linebrink and Bobby Jenks. That sector figures to be heavily populated by the media on a daily basis during Spring Training.

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