On December 2, 2003, the Chicago White Sox traded Aaron Miles to the Colorado Rockies for Juan Uribe.
Admittedly, I like things that are unorthodox that work. Juan Uribe is one of those things.
Before I gush all over the single greatest play in White Sox history and how Juan Uribe isn’t generally acknowledged for it, you have to understand the legend that is one Juan Uribe. In the 2004 season, Juan Uribe announced his presence with authority, .283/.327/.506 for 4.0 WAR (according to Baseball Reference)……or in old school stats R 82, HR 23, RBI 74.
Anyway you slice it, an excellent performance at the plate and above average shortstop defense. Then 2005, where Uribe was still good, but not quite as good at the plate, defense still solidly above average. Most White Sox fans will remember this play for the rest of their lives, or like me and my friends, we never saw it in real time as the second he gloved it, everyone jumped up and started hugging. Unfortunately, this play gets lost in lore (sky point). At least Joe Buck and Tim McCarver get it……..but I don’t think anyone ever talks about this play in the history of the World Series, but it is likely the best late inning defensive play in the history of the classic. Imagine a world in which Derek Jeter makes this play or Cal Ripken makes this play. It would be considered the greatest moment in the history of mankind (next to when John C. Dorito created his magical chips).
Uribe is also listed on Baseball Reference as 6 feet tall, 235 pounds and he looks fatter than that. Although few fat men dress this well.
Uribe has a reputation as being a fantastic clubhouse guy as noted by this USA today article in 2009 (see #17) and this article by Vice, imagine that, a journeyman middle infielder being profiled by Vice. The article points out that Clayton Kershaw thanked Juan Uribe specifically in his Cy Young award winning speech “Thank you for making me laugh, you are one of the most important people in our clubhouse.” Jimmy Rollins is quoted in the article and it is the essence of how I think about Juan Uribe’s defense “You look at him and he shouldn’t be that athletic and move as well as he does,” says Jimmy Rollins who will play shortstop next to Uribe this season for the Dodgers. “But he gets to them. All the time. He’s gotten me a few times, I’m like how does he do it? Look at that dude. Like…look at him! How does he get to that play and make it? You know, it seems very nonchalant. But that’s how he does it.”
On the field, Juan Uribe has produced 24.3 WAR (Baseball Reference) over 15 years, which classifies him as a solid major league regular. What the statistics don’t tell you are that he is the epitome of clubhouse guy. The mythical beast that you read about when beat reporters don’t have anything of substance to talk about. In this case, Juan Uribe’s contribution is documented everywhere and he fits Brandon McCarthy’s definition of chemistry (McCarthy is a nerd stat guy, who knocked pocket protectors everywhere in 2013 with this proclamation).
So let’s just spend today enjoying what Juan Uribe is to baseball. Happy Birthday Juan!!
The other thing that is equal in my level of hatred is people who throw home runs back on the field. This annoys me more than anything else at a game.
What’s The End Game?
On top of it just being stupid, I really want to know what people think this act will accomplish. Do you think they’ll take the run off the board? Do you think that Eaton will relay to Lawrie to Avila for an amazing out at home? Do you think Rick Hahn will see the beautiful, weak loft to your throw and give you millions of dollars to be the next Jim Parque? Really, you’re an idiot if you do this. Best case scenario is you don’t get kicked out for throwing something on the field. Worst case is either you don’t even get the ball back on the field and you are rightfully ridiculed or your inability to throw accurately starts with you hitting a player with the ball and ends with Chicago’s finest helping you take the stairs down to the holding cell. So as you can see, don’t do this dumb shit.
I don’t know what it is about Yankees fans, but they are seriously bad at this
But What Do I Do With The Ball?
So you find yourself with the ball after a Ryan Raburn home run, what should you do? Well, you trampled 3 old ladies and 5 children to catch it, so you obviously don’t want it. So let’s think. I don’t know, maybe give it to a kid. I am sure this is your first time around children and/or baseball, so I’ll let you in on a secret: It would make that kid’s day to get a baseball at a Sox game no matter where it comes from. This is not really a perplexing problem, so if you find yourself in a situation like this, now you know how to deal with it.
Or if you’re really awesome and well prepared, like this kid, you can do this:
Exception To The Rule
There is an exception to this rule. If you are at Wrigley Field and you catch a Cubs home run, feel free to throw that back. But they’ll definitely kick you out: https://www.sny.tv/mets/news/read-mets-fan-at-wrigley/149357710
1. Pizza Vendors – It wasn’t long ago that one could get a tasty slice of Connie’s Pizza from a vendor walking right up to your seat. Then came the DiGiornio’s debacle and the ballpark pizza sucked. Now we have Beggar’s, which is a solid slice. I couldn’t help but believe that my ingame pizza consumption would go up 12,000% if someone walked past my seat with a slice of pepperoni every couple of innings.
2. Apps for ordering drinks – If casinos can set up slot machines with this function, no reason your seat or even a phone app couldn’t coordinate this sort of thing. C’mon Sox, be a trend setter.
3. Rewards cards – Season ticket holders should have rewards cards that have various discounts and allow the ticket holder to pay directly through the card, which would be linked to their credit card on their season ticket holder account.
4. Gambling – Not real gambling, but in-game contests based on “guessing” events in the next, inning, rest of the game, etc. It would be a great opportunity for the team to give things away to people who would interact on a phone app. The team could direct give aways to those fans that are really into the competition and gather information for their own use. It also adds to the fun, when you have a little something on the game.
5. On field stunts – I am really only referencing one on field stunt, that used to exist and was the best thing ever. On Friday nights, the White Sox used to pull a fan (sometimes an intoxicated fan) out of the crowd and shoot fly balls for them to catch. This needs to come back. Now!!! Especially on Friday and Saturday nights.
Welcome to a little slice of Sox-cusssion we like to call The 5. When we think of 5 reasons to write about something, we will. If you think of something you’d like us to write about tweet it to us @fromthe108 using the hashtag #thesox5. Don’t have Twitter, leave us a message below in the comments. Or hell, we are on the Facebook here, send us a message there too!
Keep it local. We hear that a lot. We think that means fresh, exciting, local. We think we are supporting people that live in our communities and in most cases we are. There are a few areas in the ballpark where a local product is being used and it is a far superior than what was there before.
Pizza – In 2012 they had DiGiorno. I heard that before that they had Connie’s, which makes perfect sense being in Chicago. I think the Cubs carried Gino’s for awhile. But it always broke my heart that in Chicago, in our ballparks, we were serving frozen pizza. WTF. Never ,under any circumstance, was I going to eat a damn slice of frozen pizza. Nothing against the pizza, it is plenty fine when I am drunk or really hungry and lazy, but when I am a short walk from Fabulous Freddie’s, I will stick to the classics. But then, the Sox announced in 2014 the switch to a Chicago favorite, Beggars. That stuff is great, and it is very easy to carry 4 or 5 slices back to your buds on a Friday game. BeefLoaf is convinced that if there was a guy walking around selling pizza, it would do awesome. But he’ll talk about that later.
Beer – The Sox have always had a great selection of beers available at the park. I admire that. I still drink (at the games) mostly Miller Lite, but having the option to have a Summer Shandy or Blue Moon is great. But last season they did the unthinkable, they added in Chicago’s Revolution Brewery Anti-Hero IPA and Lagunitas IPA, ON DRAFT.I think they cost $10.75 for a 24oz beer, which I am sure has you like nah, but what if I told you it is the best deal (per ounce and in alcohol content) in the park. It is actually cheaper than Miller Lite, and has more alcohol. Miller Lite is $8 for 16oz, so 50¢ an ounce. But with the Lagunitas and Anti-Hero you pay just 45¢ per ounce. It makes cents. I talked to the food and beverage guy at SoxFest ’16 and he wasn’t sure that deal or the beer would be back. Not sure we’d have the drafts from the local guys, which in all honesty, bums me the F out.
So there are two great examples of local being better. Here is one more area that we think the Sox could make the game day experience even more localized.
Years and years the sounds of Australia’s own AC/DC welcomed our boys on the field. Last year, the sounds of Fall Out Boy THEN AC/DC did the job. Fall Out Boy has some local ties, but damn, not my bag. The song makes sense too, “Light It Up”, yeah we all get it, but nothing about FOB speaks to Sox fans. AC/DC did and does ring true to the Southside. So who local can we play to get that same vibe? Here our our top 5 selections.
1. “High-Fiving MF” – Local H.
If you haven’t heard this song, do yourself a favor and listen to it now. Turn it up too. Local H is from Zion, IL and my god do they rock. This song just get’s ya amped up. For reals. Even play the instrumental version (lots of swears) at the game, so much better than FOB.
2. “Good Ass Intro” – Chance The Rapper.
Chance. Dude is the real deal. Local product. Local flavor. Loves the Sox. Reps the Sox. Can’t think of a better rapper to watch our boys run onto the field to.
3. “Seether” – Veruca Salt.
Chicks that rock. Still rock. Their album American Thighs still hits as hard as it did back in the day.
4. “N.W.O.” – Ministry.
Just because this kicks off a little harder than “Jesus Built My Hotrod” I choose “N.W.O.” I used to rock out to this as a high schooler back in the day too, blaring this CD (or a tape copy that was made from this CD) in my ’81 Chevette with the Realistic tape deck and Realistic speakers. Rocked then and it rocks now. Does it get ya ready to play some baseball? Hell yes. It’s mean. It’s raw. It’s local.
5. “Cherub Rock” – Smashing Pumpkins.
A great intro song on one of the best albums of the 90’s. I saw the Smashing Pumpkins so many times in my youth, it was really awesome. This song would be great at high volume at the park, while we watch the highlights of yesteryear. Remembering when the Pumpkins (and the Sox) were great.
So there you have it, 5 songs that are a far better intro song than Fall Out Boy. Don’t like it? Hate tweet me at @fromthe108. Do it. Think I missed something? Send me a tweet. Just do it. Love it? Share it with your Sox friends. We love attention, so share the f outta this. Share away!
Everyone and their mama (and mama’s mama’s….mama’s mama’s) is doing a season preview for MLB or for their particular team, spending 10,000 words explaining why their 1 yr $3MM free agent (no interest in talking Matt Latos, but Cat Latos should be a thing) is just the lottery ticket this team needs to win the division. Your friends from #Section108 have no interest in this sort of preview…I mean, we do love to talk and read about baseball, particularly the White Sox, and any time you venture into the 108, you can bet your sweet tokis that we’ll be talking about something at least tangentially baseball related, but this preview is about the fan experience, particularly the #Section108 experience.
#Section108 has had a tough ride the last several years with our beer vendors, which tends to be an excellent gauge of how fun of an experience you will have at a major league
ballpark. Beer, Peanuts, Encased Meats are the bane of existence through which hardcore fans enjoy the game. The 2014 season saw us getting less and less exposure to beer vendor Richard (we believe that was managements decision) and beer vendor Perla (her career and family were taking off at once)………also, beer vendor Don sustained an injury which had him out most of the season. Lastly, and most importantly, between the 2014 and 2015 season, beer vendor Kenny passed away, leaving us very short handed. As we head into 2016, beer vendor Don is slated for retirement, so we are left with newcomer beer vendor Brian and the excellent effort of beer vendor/margarita vendor James (we’ll have our beer vendor rankings for RF out in the early part of the 2016 season). From this standpoint, we appear to be solid, but probably need reinforcements. Luckily, in the 108, you have craft beers and the XFinity bar at the top of the stairs at the concourse level, so even when we cry and moan, we still have it better than the rest of the park.
The White Sox always use their new food offerings as some sort of a marketing ploy, as if someone goes to a ballgame just to consume an $11 sandwich. Other than “Bacon on a Stick”, I can’t think of another gourmet food item that I was even remotely excited to
consume…….that being said, the usual food suspects are done well and a Hot Dog with grilled onions and yellow mustard is about as good as it gets when attending a ball game. Beggar’s pizza is quality………but the best deal in the park is the box of popcorn, cheap, salty, delicious. Food is always very low on the totem pole for the 108 crew, since there are many games in which we choose to have liquid dinner, but occasionally, we’ll grab a bite and possibly even eat a soft pretzel that might have grazed the ground after purchase. The good thing about the folks in 108 is that they won’t judge you if you have a dab or two of nacho cheese or yellow mustard on your attire.
Most ballpark staff is helpful and attentive……………BUT, entering the ballpark, last year, with metal detectors and body cavity searches was a flipping disaster……….the staff got better as the season went on, but expect long delays if this team actually gets their act together and starts drawing. Opening day 2 years ago was embarrassing, it was 45 mins to get into the park. I don’t even want to think about the possibility of this team starting the year winning, it will further encourage the 108 crew to enter the ballpark in the 2nd inning as is par for the course. Also, while I am wang whipping the club, I might as well mention the red shirts who incessantly check tickets for no apparent reason. The 108 is at full capacity about 4 times per year………..the other 77 home dates bounce between 50% of seats sold and 1% of seats sold, so checking my ticket when I am in the same fucking seat every game doesn’t seem a good use of time. As a general rule, at any ballpark, if a fan is in another fans seat, they can usually solve the problem in a matter of 8 seconds with no issue…….red shirts, please do your job, by doing nothing. Thanks, #Section108
Alright, for fucksake, I guess I have to talk about the team. Let’s skip over the acquisitions of Frazier and Lawrie. When you sit in the 108, your main concerns are A) The Right Fielder and B) Weird occurrences. Let’s start with A), its been a bad run of RF’s for
us………..you have to go back to Jermaine Dye to find someone endearing and worth rooting for…………..Alex Rios was an okay player, but other than his walk up song (“Beggin”) there wasn’t much there…………..Avi Garcia is especially underwhelming, lots of tools, but no real production, unless you count the jumping over the wall HR saving catches (mind you, Avi is 6′ 4″, the fence is about 8′ high, he should be able to reach over the fence flatfooted to catch the ball, but I digress)……………there doesn’t seem to be any help on the way for us, unless, somehow the Sox make a signing that allows Adam Eaton to play RF,………………….. insert, Austin Jackson!!! This is the type of signing that gives the 108 something to cheer about. Adam Eaton, regularly in RF (most likely). We probably won’t streak onto the field, but I can’t count it out, lets just say with Eaton playing RF for a big chunks of the year, the crew of Section 108 will shine. On to B), we won’t have anything as fun or annoying this year as Geo Soto. Between falling into the dirt after toss back to the mound, or fixing that by grabbing his procreator incessantly after each pitch, there will be nothing as l0ltastic as that to see during a game. I suspect we’ll get some excessive celebratory antics at some point from Brett Lawrie (provided he actually does something worth celebrating)…………..and I guess we will always have Melky Cabrera’s craziness (which is great!!!), I am holding out hope that someone steps up into the weirdness and provides some additional entertainment to those of us that occupy ballpark seats on the regular.
There are many things in today’s game that make me scratch my head:
How did Ken Griffey Jr not get 100% of the Hall of Fame vote?
Why do we do everything to protect pitchers, but then force them to bat in the NL?
Why is Pete Rose not in the Hall of Fame?
Did the Cubs really think we’d believe Darwin Barney was going to be their 2B of the future?
But more perplexing than all of these questions is that the Chicago White Sox organization believes that anyone in their stadium wants to drink Miller Genuine Draft. I drink my fair share of beers throughout the baseball season and every game, the same thing happens: A vendor tells me “Sorry, all I have left is MGD.” This isn’t that surprising as it would be the same if they made the hot dog vendors carry around 50 hot dogs and 5 blocks of tofu (I have no idea how tofu is served).
White Sox, why are you doing this to your vendors? Why are you doing this to your fans?
Please explain to me, who are these MGD drinkers? Have you ever seen an actual human pulling a case of MGD off the shelf at the store? No. Have you ever gone to anyone’s home and been offered an MGD? No. If someone offered you an MGD, you’d assume they had never had a beer in their life and just got whatever because they knew your drunk ass was coming over. It’s actually difficult to find a picture of someone drinking a MGD, except this guy, and you don’t want to be this guy.
It made me wonder if I was somehow closed off from the MGD revolution and was just unaware of how insanely popular this beer is. So I turned to the one thing I could trust, Al Gore’s internet. According to a study I found on beerinsights.com, my assumption was correct, it is simply not consumed.
It’s not in the top 20 beers sold in this country. More people buy Bud Ice and Natural Ice than MGD. More people drink Yuengling and you can only get that in like 5 states. So I ask again, why do the White Sox think we want to drink this?
Fear not, I didn’t come here to just bitch and moan. I am a man of solutions and there is a simple one. Replace MGD with High Life. As you can see from the numbers above, people consume High Life like few other beers in the country. Now I know what you’re gonna say “Chorizy-E, MGD and High Life are made with the same recipe, you idiot.” To this I say, mix up 2 batches of cake ingredients, bake one and freeze one. I’ll take the baked cake, you can have the frozen thing you ignorant MGD drinker. I mean, High Life is just delicious. If it were socially acceptable, I would drink it for breakfast. Hey, maybe I already do, but that is not the point here. The point here is allowing beer vendors to regain pride in every beer they sell, to allow fans to enjoy every beer that comes to their seat, and for me to get higher alcohol content beer than Lite for the same price without risk of it having a boisenberry aftertaste that is just lovely. Plus, we should honor this guy’s memory because he was truly awesome.
The Sad Truth
I leave you with a story. I was sitting two rows away from a father who had brought his teenage daughter out to a White Sox game on a beautiful summer afternoon. Around the 5th inning a beer vendor came by and uttered those fateful words: “Sorry, all I have left is MGD.” The father retorted “That’s fine, I’ll have one.” His daughter looked at him in disgust and said “I can’t believe you ordered that.” All respect she ever had for the man who lovingly raised her flew out the window. Chicago White Sox, you ruined that man’s family. Please replace MGD with High Life.
The 2016 Chicago White Sox offseason has been written about ad nausem. The particulars entail the acquisitions of Todd Frazier, Brett Lawrie, Mat Latos and Jimmy Rollins. The other elephant in the room is the fact that a seemingly obvious need (adequate Rightfielder) went unaddressed this offseason. This has been an area of scorn for many White Sox fans that want to get heated about their team not doing enough in the offseason, especially as they sit in the background of the biggest story in MLB (the Chicago Cubs).
The problem is this, Avisail Garcia is a replacement level or below replacement level player through 1,100 plate appearances. The White Sox, after making the acquisitions noted above, project to win 80-84 games this season, which is the sweet spot for adding additional wins (when I say “wins”, I mean projected Wins and when I reference player wins, I mean Wins Above Replacement). Several free agents would have provided some additional wins, but the White Sox also would have had to forego a 1st round compensation pick that they have received when Jeff Samardzija signed with San Francisco. I have read various places that the 1st round comp pick has a value between $10M & $20M (in expectation and additional bonus pool capacity). While all of this information goes into the decision, my take is that none of it really ends up mattering, that’s not the GM Rick Hahn wants to be.
Rick Hahn GM
Although, I haven’t read it elsewhere, it seems to me that Rick Hahn GM’s like an Advantage Player, looking for edges, wherever they may be and pulling the trigger on those moves. Sometimes Rick Hahn’s moves fit obvious needs, like Todd Frazier, sometimes they are used to acquire Mat Latos, a non-obvious need, but just taking advantage of an edge to be had (injured, poor performing pitcher that has been under priced by the market). These types of moves don’t always work (Matt lolololol Davidson), but they consistently take the form of trying to garner an edge. It seems like Hahn would like to continue to GM this way and have it eventually become the hallmark of a team that won’t spend with the Yankees, but will be a perennial contender. It’s apparent that Avisail Garcia playing RF (at least to start 2016) fits this mold.
The Compensation Pick
The White Sox have spent the entire Rick Hahn GM tenure rebuilding their farm system to get them back in position to contend over a long period of time. Punting this pick and the associate bonus pool money takes away talent from the teams in 2019, 2020 and so on……..it seems Rick Hahn would like to be a couple of savvy moves (Advantage Plays) away in those seasons, so he can work the way he has so far and put the White Sox in position those years.
It’s been detailed everywhere that the White Sox haven’t developed a position player of note since Magglio Ordonez. There is a lot at stake trying to turn Avisail Garcia into an average major league right fielder. It would be a huge success of the player development arm of the club. I am not exactly sure what percentage chance it has of success, but it seems like the club wants to get more reps at trying to develop players in this vain.
Making Avisail Garcia into an average player saves them the free agent money they didn’t spend this offseason, as well as the pick and the bonus pool money they get to keep. This Advantage Play has a huge potential payoff, and is likely the genesis of not landing any big free agent. It is also essential for Rick Hahn’s form of GMing to work in the real world. The development staff has to be able to turn prospects into professionals, even boring average professionals. This is not to say the White Sox weren’t in on any of the major free agents this offseason (various reports confirm they were), but please revisit my paragraph on how Rick Hahn likes to GM…..edges folks, edges.
Ultimately, a wise man once wrote “variance swamps everything” (Joe Sheehan, $1). Based on the projections out on the interwebs, the White Sox are slated to win between 80-84 games. This sort of win total has a standard deviation of about 9 games, so that puts the White Sox between low 90’s and low 70’s wins about 2/3rds of the time. In other words, as sure as we’d like for our team to be a contender, they are in the band of teams that are basically contenders. This is all done while allowing the White Sox much optionality for 2017 and beyond.
So we either trust Rick Hahn GM or we don’t, but Hahn’s method of GMing seems to be clear, make moves/plays with a perceived edge and lay off of those that don’t have one.