SoxFest was fun this year. Although last week I was lamenting that there wasn’t a Festivus session, it turned out to be a perfectly good thing. There were plenty of great stories, good looks on the players (despite what some may think, Matt Thornton’s beard really is spectacular!) as well as learning that there is a ton of personality with this group and they enjoy each other.
In past year’s, I have done posts where you can read my timeline from twitter over the days. However, this year I just didn’t have time to do that. You can always go back and look at it and I may get around to compiling it to archive soon before it is no longer available. The best news of me tweeting this year was that I managed to stay out of Twitter Jail. This was surprising to me considering all the good tidbits the players and coaches had to share.
In that regard, I will try to explain some of the stories in case what I could get out in 140 characters made no sense. I will also give you some of my favorite highlights of the festivities as well. Too bad it isn’t baseball season just yet, but this past weekend did fill in nicely for making that happen.
- Matt Thornton’s beard was probably the talk of SoxFest. Last year he came with very shaggy kind of hair and looking very much like he was on vacation and not caring. This year, with the beard and constant wearing of the hat, he was taking it to a new level. Personally, I think it is a good look on him. A lot of guys can’t pull off the beard well and Matt can. He says he will be shaving it and John Danks is a fan of it and wants him to keep it. Matt should listen to John.
- Robin Ventura continues to drop bits of his sense of humor. On Sunday, Robin discussed a bit about how talking to the media when nothing is going on can be difficult. He then said he might say something like, well I had a chicken sandwich today. And it was really good. Then was kind of trying to figure out what more to say about that sandwich. What he was showing was that he knows the media has a job to do and he wants to help them out, but when nothing is going on with the team, it can be tough to come up with things to say.
- Wimpy is like that drunk uncle you have that you just laugh at because he’s drunk and saying stuff that might be slightly ridiculous. Every panel he was on, he had the audience laughing. He told the story of how he gave Vin Scully the one-finger salute when Vin was calling Wimpy’s first plate appearance. In addition, it seems Wimpy gave a lot of one-finger salutes in his career.
- The surprise appearance of Ken Williams was very entertaining. He got in line to ask Rick Hahn if he would be as good or better than the previous General Manager. Before he was up, Rick did say the last question would be of the person in front of Ken (who happens to be KenWo4Life who writes at South Side Sox.) Rick had a great response of saying that the previous GM had better guys to help him. Given all the grief that KW has dealt with over his tenure, it was fun to see him appear completely relaxed and chill at SoxFest considering in past years, he seems to have a look like he is bracing for the worst.
- Matt Lindstrom should fit in nicely. As you know, he signed with the team just a few short days before SoxFest began. I was not expecting a recently signed guy to show up. Yet, that is exactly what Lindstrom did. I was seriously impressed. He wanted to be talking to his new team’s fans. He is a guy who wants to be with the cool kids (the White Sox) and be part of the stuff that is happening at 35th & Shields.
- Jermaine Dye told everyone that he did not in fact get hit in the 2005 World Series. To me, this seemed like old news as after the World Series, there were interviews and such where JD had said the ball hit the knob of his bat. In any event, it is officially out there.
- Joe Crede was once late coming back into a game during the 2005 season because he was stuck in the bathroom. Everyone was on the field and going through warmups. Joe was not out there. When game action was ready to resume, the team looked around and realized they didn’t have a third baseman. Ozzie went out to chat with the umpire to delay things a bit. At this point, the ump said he gets out here or they have to make a substitution. Fortunately, Joe did come running out on to the field. And apparently was still dressing himself. Joe just said, “things happen” when Aaron Rowan and Paul Konerko were talking about this story. It was pretty funny that a player would get locked in a bathroom between innings and not make it out onto the field in time.
- Daryl Boston impersonated Stevie Wonder at the airport once. The ’83 team was full of characters. Wimpy told the story of how they were on a road trip once and they were all wearing these Lawrence Welk type jackets. Daryl had a pair of sunglasses that he put on that allowed him to be mistaken for Stevie. Two teammates escorted him through security and they all quickly boarded the plane. Daryl did confirm that yes, the story as told by Wimpy was true.
- Jake Peavy pleaded with fans to give Tyler Flowers a chance. Everyone who was asked about AJ was very nice in what they had to say about him. The pitchers all said they were excited to have Tyler as the backstop. They like throwing to him. They will miss AJ. But they all seem to know that it was time to move on. Jake reminded fans that Tyler knows he has big shoes to fill being the everyday catcher instead of a backup. I did see a few tweets of fans still unhappy the Sox didn’t bring AJ back and that they pretty much have their minds made up to dislike Tyler. In any event, he may have a tough time this season no matter what he does. If anyone expects that he will reproduce AJ’s production last season (which was more than likely a fluke) then I have some land I want to sell you.
- I’ve got some new nicknames to use this season thanks to Rob Hart. The Reverend Hawk for Hawk Harrelson and perhaps I will start calling Nate Jones, Jesse, as in Jesse from Breaking Bad. When Hawk was up for the panel he was on, he was talking in such a way that just kind of sucked people in and had them agreeing with what he said. Kind of like you might be sitting in a church listening to the preacher give a Sunday sermon. As for Nate, Rob noticed he looks like Jesse from Breaking Bad and he totally does. Of course, now when I watch the show or see Nate, I will think of Jesse, Walt’s right-hand man when it comes to cooking.
- Hector Santiago looooooves the candy. Apparently, he eats a lot of it down in the bullpen. At least this is what Thornton said in terms of the eating down in the bullpen. Tyler Flowers enjoys watching the Real Housewives of Miami (he says because his wife watches it and he got sucked into it) and John Danks needs house shoes when he is on the road. Hector Santiago when he is on the road needs a hoodie and sweatpants. Anyone who is a fan of hoodies is definitely cool (says the girl who has at least 20 hoodies and constantly adding more to the wardrobe.)
- Apparently Harold Baines was Tony La Russa’s favorite and he never ever talks. Greg Luzinski even made a crack about how Harold says nothing. That was funny to watch as Harold just kind of sat and watched his teammates make jokes and such and just seemed to enjoy their silliness while not engaging in it. It kind of reminded me of when people might be out drinking and there is the one person who stays relatively sober who will have the record of all the crazy things people did while drunk. Harold has the record.
- Jake was not upset by Gordon Beckham’s impersonation of him last season. In fat, he thinks it is pretty funny and sat laughing as Gordon did it at SoxFest at the request of fans.
Those were some of the more memorable moments from SoxFest this year. I am sure there are plenty more if I think about it. In any event, it was a good time and really a good thing to throw in the dead of winter when you really start to get antsy for baseball. Of course, if you have questions about things, let me know in the comments and I will answer as best I can. You an also check my timeline on twitter for the tweets from SoxFest.
Only 23 days left until spring training begin!