Let’s talk about Chance The Rapper. Remember that guy?
He’s hella popular with the kids, not so popular with our governor, an all around seemingly awesome guy with a huge heart. Seems like he uses his powers for good, which is refreshing as the state of popular rap music seems to be trending down. Fuck. That makes me sound old, but alas, it is what it is.
Why are we talking about Chance? Well, I still feed the trolls from time to time over on Reddit and a discussion came up that started about how Brooks Boyer needed to start marketing this team better. We can talk about that at a later date, but Chance came up in the convo and specifically, the wiff from the White Sox. I am all about calling out the Sox when something that was done was a bad move, but I have a hard time faulting the White Sox for not going all FB Official with our main man Chance. Have no idea what I am talking about? Watch this.
I want to clarify my position before we begin this discussion. I like Chance. I like what he is doing for the City of Chicago, specifically the kids in school. I love that he used to rock and rep the Sox cap ALL THE TIME. A black Sox cap is true hip-hop classic, for sure speaks volumes about the guy wearing it. I liked the idea of having a non-baseball player as an ambassador for the team. So I get why it would have worked well, especially in hindsight, but I can fully see why the Sox never pulled the trigger. Let’s go over some things.
The Winter Hat Incident.
Seems like all this talk was going down in 2015. Sox let him toss a first pitch. Let him do a voiceover on an opening day video. They collaborated with New Era on some sweet hats. Seemed like they had a good relationship. Sox flirt with the idea of making him an ambassador, then this shit happens (Disclaimer – I don’t know the timing of any of these talks. Shit could have been dead in the water by this time. But for my story purposes this was done right at the same time) –
Oddly the Cubs hat is the second most disturbing thing in this pic, cause the chubby-bad hair Michael Kopech look-a-like is right behind him and the fact that they are at a PORTLAND TRAILBLAZERS GAME. Who the fuck goes there? Ugh.
Can you imagine the firestorm that would rain down in Twitter-verse had this happened after they became FB Official? Dear God. I can only imagine the outpour of love and understanding from our north neighbors.
So this was a lapse of judgement by Chance, it alone, was a big deal in some circles of Sox fans. And this was just a HAT. Sox fans are crazy passionate and very protective of the team and people that represent the team. Don’t believe me? We still love about every player that ever played for the team, hell, most of us still defend Gordon Beckham because he “had a great glove”. Very Engel-like. So this is a major no-no. Sox fans do take it serious, sad (sometimes) but true.
If you ran the White Sox would you have taken a chance on Chance? I think that I would have, but I don’t have much to lose. But it’s a risk when you have a VERY FUCKING VALUABLE company. Let’s take a look at a few more things.
The White Sox have image problems as it is. Location. Ligues’. Location. The location part isn’t even true as if Bridgeport is the hood, sheeeeeeeeee-it, pay my mortgage. While rap has been around forever, it still isn’t that respected by the mass populous. Which is fantastic. The yutes love it, I love it, but my dad would rather listen to a guy with a harmonica with a guitar.
And who is the fanbase that spends money? A VOCAL fanbase that misses the AC/DC intro. Ye old Pirates of the Caribbean intro. The diamond Sox patch on the road unis. You think they’d be forward thinking enough to welcome Chance in with open arms? Some would no doubt, but most of the hard core season ticket base wouldn’t IMO. I could be way off, but I think I am closer than some would like to admit.
If you are picking a non-athlete to be an ambassador/spokesperson, you need to vet the shit out of that person. In this day and age of people jumping in on causes (especially when that support just requires a retweet) people are quick to take sides. There have been many cases when a public person has supported a person/cause online that turns out to be something other than what was represented. Conversely in this day and age people forget quickly, but if you run a huge organization that sells tickets based on perception, do you wanna risk a slight bump that might turn some people off? Especially when you have some problems selling tix? In two words- HELL NAH.
Example, I love fellow Big-Headed fan and 108 OG @ClassyTom24 from Rockford. He’s got a great wife, kick ass dog, a new house with bar and seems like a very nice guy. But I am not gonna hand him the electronic pulpit for the 108 and allow his actions to speak for us. AND WE ARE WORTH NOTHING (as the 108, in our personal life it’s Crystal and Caviar). @ClassyTom24 could lose his shit and start talking about how much he loves Bud Light and Cubbie blue. Or Joe’s On Weed. The fucking Cubby Bear! Who knows? His values might not line up with what we want to represent here at the 108. Which takes us to our next step.
I think the real details came down to money. Chance is a smart (and generous) guy, but I am sure he is watching his bottom line. He (rightfully so) would want some type of compensation for his repping the brand and doing things for the team. Yes, he would bring in some dollars (more than what he would be paid I am guessing) but I wonder what that percentage is across the board. Like, his sales or whatever would be in the single percentages of the total, hell maybe a fraction. Financially, it would be beneficial. But having a few extra dollars when you have a pile worth the risk?
Continuing with the @ClassyTom24 example, we’d love to have the lock on all White Sox fans from Rockford. I am sure between him and @pitsshady would could lock them down no problem. But what happens if one of them goes off the edge? Maybe after one too many Christmas Bliss’ one of them decides they wanna go streaking at a pre-school graduation. We could really find some humor in that, but maybe the fine folks in Rockford would look down on it. Maybe they don’t like drunk people running naked around pre-schoolers. Then as stories seem to travel on the internet, by noon we are pedophiles in the 108. No one will ever buy one of our sweet Slay-108’er shirts.
Point being, the less people you have that speak for your brand the better. The more money you make equals more risk. You wanna hedge that with as little risk as possible. It’s really that simple.
Tweet at me what you think about this! We’d (I’d) love to discuss it.
If you haven’t been paying attention to the news today, Esteban Loaiza was arrested on drug charges. He had, in his possession, about 20 kilos of either cocaine or heroin. Details are still coming out and it’s worth following a more reputable news source than the 108 to get updates on this developing story.
To me, this is very weird and for some reason, I feel like a lot more is going to unravel as more information comes out. It’s just strange that someone who made $40 plus million in the MLB not too long ago has now turned drug trafficker. Maybe he has, I mean, there is a shit load of evidence. And weirder things have happened. I would have never assumed Sammy Sosa would become an effeminate white cowboy when he was done playing, but lo and behold:
But let’s not live in the negativity of this story. Let’s focus on something else, maybe a bold prediction. An important note here is that he was arrested in California. So here’s a Chorizy certified bold prediction: Esteban Loaiza will break all of Ricky Vaughn’s California Penal League records. Now I know Esteban is 46 years old, but the guy was still playing in the Mexican League in his early 40s. Not only that, it’s apparent that he has an excellent PED connection, which can only help. And remember, Ricky had the heat when he was in the CPL, but not the control. So these are attainable records. Who knows, with good behavior and OJ’s lawyers, he might be out to pitch in his 50s for Team Mexico in the WBC.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know I am supposed to be trying to lose weight. But that will not stop me from loving certain things like beer and, of course, bacon. And as I sit here and think about bacon, I think that the Sox can do so much more with bacon than they do.
Bacon on a Stick
There is some novelty to the bacon on a stick thing, but at the end of the day, it’s a $5 piece of bacon. It’s good bacon, but again, it’s just a single piece of bacon. I think we can get something better than that.
Just travel a bit down the road from the park to Bridgeport Bakery and get some bacon buns. This is a simple yet delicious creation of bacon inside a croissant style roll. If they sold these by the bag at the park, they’d run out quicker than $1 hot dogs.
This may sounds simple, but I’m not talking about a burger with bacon. I’m talking about a burger made of ground bacon. And you know what, while we’re being health, let’s use a doughnut as the bun. Probably a maple bacon doughnut.
I gotta be honest, I have no idea how you’d eat this at the park. But my lord this is a wild creation. You should google this bad boy because I can’t do this greasy football justice with mere words.
The Internal Option: This is probably the most obvious choice for the fifth spot as it won’t cost you a thing. Carson Fulmer didn’t have a great time in the minors, but he had some good moments with the big league club. The Sox may opt to work him some more in the minors, move him to the pen, or possibly take the fifth starter spot.
2. The Mexican Option: This is the Chorizy-E pick we discussed previously. Jaime Garcia was once believed to have the stuff to be a top line starter, but those times are past. He’s out there looking for work, but he has yet to find a team. Not only that, there are quite a few better starters in front of him. But with his name and possibly a good first half, he could be a movable piece for the Sox.
3. The Knuckle Option: Bring in old ass R.A. Dickey and have him loft some knuckleballs up there. It might be fun to have a knuckleballer that’s better than Charlie Haeger. At least he’ll put up somewhere around 200 innings that one of our young guys won’t have to.
4. The Freaky Option: Let’s get the freak in the rotation. That’s right, Tim Lincecum to the Sox! I talked about this previously and we’re referring to him as GloboGym’s pitcher. He’s ripped now and hopefully roided out to the max. This would just be such a ridiculous pick up, I want it to happen.
5. The Reclamation Option: This is a retread, and an old player, and he didn’t pitch last year. But hey, Jake Peavy probably still has something left in the tank. And if nothing else, those of you that are country fans can bump into him at Joe’s on a random night.
Welcome in friends, it’s your pal BeefLoaf and I’m EXCITED!!! Today is PECOTA day! Some of yous (this is Bridgeport, so don’t mind my dialect) are saying, “Hey ‘Loaf, wtf is PECOTA?” Well, it’s a projection module that was originally the creation of one Nate Silver back when he was at Baseball Prospectus. Remember Nate Silver? He was the smartest man on earth when his political projections put Obama in the White House and then he became the dumbest man on earth when he predicted that Hillary Clinton would beat Donald Trump in the 2016 election. From what I have read, PECOTA has changed some over the years, so it’s not exactly what Nate Silver created way back when, but I figured you might be interested in the fact that the 538 guy is the original author of this projection module.
A note on projections in general, the folks who put these together, whether it be PECOTA, or ZIPS (which is Dan Szymborski’s baby) or any others widely available websites projections, are creating them for entertainment purposes ONLY. I know, I know, you might say that the person’s (or website’s) REPUTATION is on the line, but it’s really not. These are for creating content and aren’t too serious. Professional Bettors (not the scamdicappers that are touting picks on twitter, real professional handicappers) and MLB teams themselves are likely to have much better versions of these sorts of projections, but since we aren’t allowed to see those proprietary items, here we are. Also, these projections have a model with a methodology and the folks who put the projections together, feed inputs into the model and what comes out, comes out. Baseball Prospectus doesn’t HATE the White Sox or certain players on the White Sox. That has nothing to do with it, so don’t go all “Keith Law hates my team” on any of this shit……anywho, onto the weird, wild and fun projected White Sox stuff.
“Big Game James Shields Will lead the team with 189 IP and 30 Starts”
When I first began reading this projection, I was starting to think that our own Chorizy-E had hijacked the PECOTA projections and inserted his own inflated projection for one Big Game James. Then I kept reading and saw a projection of -0.7 WARP (which is BP’s version of WAR). That’s more like it. Truth be told, I’d be surprised if James racked up 30 starts and 189 innings while avoiding, injury, terribleness and cutness (aka JohnDanksness).
“PECOTA doesn’t believe in Yolmer’s or Leury’s breakouts from 2017”
Last year, Yolmer posted 1.6 WARP and Leury posted 1.4 WARP (these are Baseball Prospectus’ measures), in slightly more playing time projected for 2018 (remember, these measures generally go up if you accumulate more playing time), they are estimated to get 0.4 and 0.0 respectively. Yep, replacement level players.
Given the clear availability of starts based on the lack of off-season acquisitions (there basically hasn’t been anyone of note added to take away starts), this signals that the projection module either assumes a clear regression or significant injury risk that would preclude him from taking on a more normal workload. Interesting note, PECOTA has Carson Fulmer basically getting the extra starts and not Michael Kopech (Kopech is estimated for 6 starts).
On a team with no true center fielder who can hit, sorry Adam Engel, the PECOTA has him for only 88 Plate Appearances, which looks like a September call-up situation and a relegation to Jacob May level org depth. It is unfortunate too, because the guy has never gotten healthy since he got here in 2016. Sucks!
I know Matt Davidson hit a bunch of 1st half home runs in 2017. I also know that Matt Davidson sucked in 2017. PECOTA is projecting slightly less suckage (-0.4 WARP in 438 PA for 2018, compared with -1.1 in 443 PA in 2017), but suckage nonetheless. If we see Matt Davidson get to play as much as PECOTA suggests, Rick Hahn gonna have a lot of esplainin’ to do.
The White Sox staff made this by far and away the best SoxFest that I have gone to at the Hilton. It seemed like they did take some advice from the fans and tightened up the leash on some of the bullshit that ran rampant at other ones. With the team becoming more and more popular, it will continue to be a popular event, as it is very cost effective and the rewards far outweigh the pitfalls. I made a point on Saturday morning to let one of the leaders of security know how well Friday went. Not surprisingly he said thanks and I asked him if other fans had come up to him and said the same thing. What he said says a lot about our fanbase. We are a wild bunch, from all walks of life, but as he said too, while we are quick to point out the wrong, we are also quick to point out when something was well done. So good job White Sox security and staff. The event was ran really well.
The players seemed to really absorb the vibe of the fans which seems to be a really high level of optimism. It wasn’t like this a few years ago, people were not this excited to see the latest cheap version of a team to take the field behind Sale and Abreu. As we have said in the 108 hundreds of times, we really like the core of this team and like watching this team COMPETE. Cause they don’t quit, which is a tired refrain, but is so fucking true. Most players signed all the time.
Good chance that if you are reading this, you are a fanatic of the Chicago White Sox. There are levels of fandom, but as I have always said, even though I went to 76 games last year (average about 50+ games per year) there are even bigger fans than myself out there. I just happen to be in a situation that allows (downright makes it hard not to) to attend several games a week. SoxFest is always a blast talking to a wide array of fans, young and old, it’s fun. I love that the most, the interactions are genuine and the kudos that we get as the 108 group is a ball.
Friday night with our core fans (that could make it), seemed like Thanksgiving. Opening Day will be like Christmas. It’s an odd little family. The hugs I pass out are real. The thanks I say are true. It feels good and that’s why we do this damn thing. So thanks to you guys.
The Entitled Fans.
There is a group of guys/girls that are far deep into the grain, that really, really, really think the Sox owe them. Wednesday night, the Sox threw a party for Season Ticket Holders which included FREE FOOD, FREE BEER AND FREE AUTOGRAPHS. Big thanks to #DannyUps for getting me in. But what was the complaint that I saw over and over? Bad timing. Food lines were too long. Players were only there for a short time. Yo, most Wednesdays I ain’t hanging with Michael Kopech much less getting a ball signed by him or even meeting his reality show girlfriend. All the while drinking massive amounts of FREE Baderbrau. I’m easy, I get it, but jeesh, the event was free and awesome.
The Crazy Fans.
Lining up for SoxFest is a job. On the 3 days that I was there, I got there early as heck. Friday night is a great night to knock off a few guys that will be harder to get to on Saturday, so being one of the first folks is a good call. Every year though, people get there earlier and earlier. People started lining up on THURSDAY. That’s crazy. Because it was so well run this year, there wasn’t the initial push by fans, but I did see several “kids” run over anyone to get another autograph. Poor Blake Rutherford was mobbed in the kids batting area by a ton of people and he seemed to be uncomfortable. I stay back and let them come to me in these situations, but I am ok to miss a few graphs. Not everyone is like that.
#BobblesJim sent #WallyMoney and myself this on Monday –
To which Tim Anderson responded with –
I mean CLEARLY this guy doesn’t care about the White Sox or Tim Anderson! CLEARLY. This is the kind of guy (which there are several at the Fest) that make it bad for EVERYONE. I, myself, don’t really ask for shit, just the signature. Some guys love that shit, I’m just not one of them. I have had some bad experiences with athletes, but I don’t call them out on Twitter.
I know several guys have written “Game Used” on their items, especially when you PAY for it, but I see it from time to time at SoxFest. I understand Tim Anderson not adding that inscription to his “friend’s” bat, as he doesn’t know if that was his bat. I am guessing it is, but who cares? You want your item signed like you want? Pay up. Don’t go to a fan fest and demand shit. That’s classless. Speaking of Bryant, at the Cubs convention, you had to PAY extra to get him to sign. Guy I know paid an EXTRA $300 to get his autograph. Cubs sure know how to milk their fans!
Basically at SoxFest you get unlimited autographs for under $200 (if you only go for 2 days, under $100). That is a discount compared to an individual signing where these guys will get about $50 to $75 per item. So take what you get and move on. Half of these guys are selling or trading these items anyways, and that brings us to our next ugly……
Michael Kopech vs EVERYONE.
On Sunday, Michael Kopech had clearly had enough of signing multiples for the same person. So much so he decided to personalize almost EVERY AUTOGRAPH at his 9am signing. While not a huge deal to most people, it is a jag move by a guy who hasn’t even been called up yet. Are people selling that multiple online for a few bucks? Sure. Does he deserve his cut? Maybe, but doesn’t he get paid to do what he does? I will argue to the death that athletes deserve every fucking penny that they can get while they play professional sports. I haven’t seen a team go broke yet, so they can afford it. If my autograph was worth a few bucks, would it piss me off to see someone else getting some money off of it? Yes. But it wouldn’t piss me off as much if I was poised to make millions a year playing a game that I love.
I guess the problem with the personalization is two fold. It looks weird in a collection with tons of other balls that are not personalized. The other issue is what happens when this memorabilia is passed to the next generation? I am guessing my daughters aren’t gonna give 2 hoots about most of my stuff so hopefully they will be able to sell it to someone so they can buy something they want. Better hope the buyer’s name is Jacob or that ball has very little value. Which kinda sucks. I can’t even trade it to someone who might want it more than me. I get it though, I am an “adult” getting an autograph, but even kids got the ‘To: So and So” from Mr. Kopech. One guy in line denied Mr. Kopech as he didn’t want it personalized, not sure how I feel about that, but it’s up to the individual I guess.
I will say that Wednesday he didn’t personalize my ball. He didn’t personalize the pics that #WallyMoney and #BobblesJim printed out from Wed and got signed over the weekend by both him and his GF. The word was he was checking items on Ebay and seeing stuff. I seriously doubt he was, but maybe one of his guys was. If I made that kinda money, I wouldn’t give 2 fucks about Ebay.
Over the years, getting to know Ron Kittle, I haven’t seen him turn anyone down asking for requests. Hell, he just had hand surgery and signed all week for Sox fans. I was denied an autograph by him many years ago as he won’t sign his ’83 rookie card unless you make a $20 donation to his charity. He’s raised tens of thousands of dollars just signing THAT CARD, so I get it. He also denied me a silver graph on the side of his bobblehead as he only signs the bill of the hat in black sharipe. While it is a good way to tell that it is authentic, it really doesn’t display well, but far be it from me to complain about how he wants to sign my piece.
After his session was over, we walked over to Kittle to get some stuff signed. He had told #WallyMoney not to wait in line and he’d do it after. We walked up, he waved us through and he signed a bunch of stuff for us and for other guys who came up after us. Apparently a guy didn’t want Kittle to sign the brim of his bobblehead and denied him too! Which Ron didn’t really care for. I would think mostly because he was doing something above and beyond than what he was required to do and was met with a negative response from a fan. I just want my bobble signed, I don’t care where the guys put it. That’s me, but I don’t fault folks for not wanting to do it my way. Paid signing, way different, but not at a fan fest, of the team you love.
Moral Of The Story
We’re all human. It’s hard to judge someone on one day of their life. Especially a day where the demands come from all angles. If this shit pisses you off, maybe you need to relax. Especially if you aren’t even the guy getting “slighted” but feel the need to tweet about it for all the world to see.
We’re getting closer and closer to having a team to be fully proud of. The seats will be filled, lines will be long and we’ll have new things to be pissed about. Let’s enjoy these last few years like an indie band in the 90’s that didn’t break till their 4th record. You had those 3 records to be in on something special before the bandwagon showed up.
That’s right, Fuck You Rob Manfred!! Fuck You Roger Goodell!!! Fuck Gary Bettman!! Fuck You Adam Silver (this is the mildest one because of his stance on gambling, but he still precludes high school players from directly turning pro, so he can still fuck off)!! Friends, there was a time when the Commissioner was an arbiter of sorts for the SPORT and not just a puppet with ownership’s hand up its ass directing their every move. Roger Goodell literally gets $40 Million dollars a year to carry out the Owners wishes and be damned with the game. This is why we see many parts of our favorite games broken. Baseball is our favorite game here at the 108 and baseball has a big problem with its market and with teams tanking all the damn time, and not because you have to, to win, but because they can get welfare from the big market teams, turn a profit and pretend they are rebuilding, while running out low payrolls. The 2018 “Free Agent Crisis” is all of these bad actors, actions, coming to a head. If a REAL COMMISSIONER, someone with baseball’s best interest in mind were to come along, I would write him or her an open letter, with the 5 suggestions I bring you below to help ensure that teams and ownership are properly incentivized to run their organizations for the good of the game.
5 – Inverse Draft Order – The first step in reversing all this fucking tanking is to change the way the draft is set up. No longer do the teams with 100 losses get the first pick. In this scenario, the teams with the best record to miss the playoffs, picks first….and so on. So if you have the worst record in baseball, good news, you get to pick 20th, right in front of the teams that just made the playoffs. You want to slide up in draft order, I suspect you start spending some of your MLB Welfare, or leveraging your increases in franchise value (I’m sure Goldman Sachs would happily write you some paper on that $1B franchise value) to acquire better players.
4 – Profit sharing aka MLB Welfare – No MLB welfare unless you win 70 games. Sorry small market teams, you are going to have to try and the $$ that is set aside for this shit is given in allocation to the teams that win the most down to the teams that win the least. If you are below 70 wins, guess what,
NOTHING. ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. STUPID. YOU’RE. SO. STUPID. (I bet you wish you had taken the Red Snapper).
3 – Realign divisions more along revenue lines – This isn’t a perfect answer, but once MLB inevitably expands again, and adopts the DH across both leagues, the AL and NL will no longer be sacred and you could realign things so that you have less disparity between high and low income teams in division, this way your unbalanced schedules actually accomplish something good, instead of making the 108ers try and think up some fresh KC Royals trivia that doesn’t involve Frank White or Willie Wilson. This will help the lower revenue teams make the playoffs if they are routinely facing off against each other 19 times per year and are lined up in divisions in which they beat out each other for division titles, not like the Pirates winning ~280 games over 3 seasons to play 3 coin flip games, they’d actually probably win a division.
2 – Larry Bird exception – Just watching the MLB Salary Cap’s (fuck that term “luxury tax”, it’s bullshit, this may be a soft cap, but teams are treating it like a hard cap, so that’s what it shall be) penalties frighten the big market teams from spending upsets me so much. I’d like to see MLB adopt what the NBA used to call the “Larry Bird exception”, which allowed teams to resign their own free agents without penalty against the salary cap, up to a designated amount. This would allow those big market teams to keep their homegrown talent for market price and also allow them to go out and get talent on the open market. Imagine that, encouraging spending to improve a team…..who’d a thunk it?
1 – Worst record penalty – Let’s put something on the line for really, really sucking…..in some soccer leagues they have what’s called relegation, which pushes teams out of the league they are in down to a lower league that won’t allow them to earn as much money or compete for the top talent. I don’t think we need to go that far, but how about the team with the worst record in MLB loses a home series in the following season? That would be a “REVENUE” shock to the system. Remember folks, we want these teams competing for marginal wins, even if those marginal wins don’t render playoff births. I think we’d all like to see teams busting it in September even if they won’t play an inning in October. That’s what baseball should be.
You got some idears that could incentivize these teams to make our game better, lay’em on me at the BookFace or the Twitters…..
The White Sox put together a little season ticket holder event for your friends in the 108….oh and the rest of the season ticket holders. It was quite the shindig, held at the Bridgeport Art Center, 1200 W. 35th Street. This is an old storage building that has been turned into a multi-purpose facility for hosting events and such. We took an old freight elevator, and when I say “old” I mean, you weren’t even enclosed up to the Sky Loft, which is the 6th floor. This is a large open space that looks like a former warehouse with exposed brick and gorgeous views of the Chicago Skyline. When up there, there were literally fans, players and front office folks everywhere. As you can see, we met Rick Renteria. Chorizy-E remembered to double up on beers before the bar closed, but he did not remember to discuss his Team Mexico idea with Ricky! Major fail.
The highlight of the night was FREE BOOZE!!! Oh wait, the second highlight of the night was MySoxSummer getting a picture with Michael Kopech and Brielle Biermann.
It was that kind of event at White Sox Prom, free booze and food and fun times talking to other fans and season ticket holders. There was also a Q & A with Rick Hahn and Ricky Renteria, but at this point, the whole crew felt like we had heard this same old session over and over again, so we decided to huddle up and chat about what was going down on Friday (#Friyay).
Friday (#Friyay) – Sox Fest 2018
I woke up early on Friday, much like a kid before Christmas, but I went downstairs to pack up my items that I wanted signed. I would have finished it the night before, but after 2 Frutsunami beers at Baderbrau and 2 or 3 Christmas Bliss at home, I was due to go to bed, but got everything for sober MSS to inspect before I left. Left the house at 10:30 am too, only a half hour later than I wanted to leave.
The Twitter was all a buzz as #WallyMoney was drinking while waiting for a train. Upon arrival, I got my key and some bad news, Hilton Chicago closed their VIP lounge which kept us fed for breakfast, and a few free pops during the day. Plus for the past few years we’ve been privy to meeting up with ’83 ROY Ron Kittle and my favorite player of all time Harold Baines to eat breakfast. Easily one of the highlights of years past. But then again, Wally was drinking like a crazy person so I knew we were in for a good time!
2 years ago there was a mild disaster when we left the opening ceremonies, so the Sox were taking NO chances. They had us line up, then moved to the ballroom with huge cattle call lanes, to wait in line more. Sounds boring huh? It is, but you get to chat with people! Or make your brand ambassador work.
Yes, those are super limited cards SIGNED by #WallyMoney. Yes, there is even 2 special edition releases signed in SILVER. I took a pic with Yoan Moncada (who is just nice as fuck) with the 10 of 10 on Sunday, and forgot to give it to the man! What a dick I am!
After the talking had slowed down, our savior (Aloha Mr.Hand), showed up bearing gifts…..
I drank that beer like it owed me money. Interesting fact about SoxFest, I don’t drink much. If you drink a lot, you gotta piss, if you piss you ain’t in line, if you ain’t in line you get fucked. Any questions? You can even bring in your own, such a waste of an opportunity by myself to get all hammered for a low low price.
But anyways, cheers to you readers as y’all stopped me about 97 times on Friday to talk shop and beg for a Baderbrau drink token. It really puts a pep in my step to know that we have that many fans and like our stuff. Thank you, thank you.
Upon our arrival to the former holding room, we were penned up like the cattle we are in the order we arrived. It was really smooth. And #WallyMoney was well on his way to getting Friday night drunk! He even met some of his latino buddies and shared his “happy juice” with them so everyone was getting loud!
Upon the completion of the opening ceremony, it was a mad rush to Yoan Moncada. Which we made. SoxFest had begun! Friday night is a great night to score a bunch of autographs while not standing in line. The players aren’t pissed off yet (see Michael Kopech, more on that later) and they are basking in the glow of everyone kissing their asses. I got a bunch off my list that night and packed my bag to head to Baderbrau.
Friday (#Friyay) – Sox Fest 2018 AFTER PARTY at Baderbrau
The MAIN EVENT!!! The brain child of a collaboration between the 108ers and the Sox Machine! The 108ers have been friendly with Josh Nelson from Sox Machine for about a year now, via twitter and hanging out at the ballpark and outside of the ballpark together. He and his girlfriend Kim are awesome!! Josh suggested an EVENT to get fans together on one night of Sox Fest. We ended up settling on Friday #Friyay night.
It was obvious from GO that the venue would be Baderbrau, terrific beers, great food, excellent service and the 108ers partner with Baderbrau on many events during the White Sox season. Baderbrau is also the sponsor of the #SundaySoak, if you haven’t gotten in on the SundaySoak yet, then shame on YOU!!! We’ll be doing 20 of them in calendar year 2018, so be ready to ingest plenty of dad bods in hot tubs over the course of the year. We also have some other “events” already on the calendar with our partners over at Baderbrau that we think you’ll enjoy, you’ll just have to stay tuned to find out about them as time goes on.
Anywho, when this event was dreamed up, we thought 20-25 attendees would be pretty sweet. In fact, the 108ers literally started thinking through who we have made friends with during the last couple of years at the ballpark and outside, great White Sox fans who share our passion for the team and for great Baderbrau beer. We went down the list and sent DM’s to many of you folks to ensure that you would show and a majority of you made it, which was fucking awesome!! That group includes but isn’t limited to Michelle (@dirrty862) and crew @AJEarley4, @jigsawtim22, Steve (@chisox2727), ClassyTom (@classytom24), Sox-Side Pride (@pitsshady), El Chapo, Sleepy Harold (@Sleepy_Harold_), @DoogieDallas (sorry we couldn’t get Siera Santos to show), Short Tie Guy, Mike (@stangski83) and his better half, Simeon (@simpossible who curiously has the same occupation as one BeefLoaf), Scott from Cali (@scottgarcia35) and his lovely wife, @crappyoats (who had a BIG weekend), @_thecraw and his awesome family in from Iowa, Zach (@zsherwood), Keir (@kdgg09), @ColinJOtt, and so many others! If we missed you, we apologize, you know, boozing and such, but we had a great time hanging with everyone!!!!
The 108ers put together a periscope video and blog post to announce the event, Josh got an Eventbrite going to track the number of people and we were off……..our dream child of 20-25 people turned into ~75 people (I did a head count of 70 during the Round Table and I know for certain that our buddy from the UK Nick Clarke @nclarke1899 and his friend had already left prior to that), including Baderbrau giving us a private room and staff to attend to this event. We were thrilled!!! Baderbrau also provided the crowd with 15% off of EVERYTHING!!! Lastly they gave the 108ers drink chips to pass out to people both at the event and for MySoxSummer (Mayor of the 108) to hand out during SoxFest all weekend.
The crowd that showed was a veritable Who’s Who? from White Sox twitter. Tons of folks were meeting for the first time and really hitting it off. Which was exceptionally cool in our humble opinions. Mike Musary @muzzkill7 even brought beer pong and kept the games going all throughout the night (except for when the Roundtable discussion was going on). The beer was flowing, the food was terrific and people were having a great time!!
Once everyone had a couple two, tree drinks in them, and really started to get lathered up, Josh Nelson gathered a member of each of the assembled indies (that stands for Independent for those not in the biz) for a little RoundTable discussion. The crew was…Josh Nelson (SoxMachine) Host, Jim Margulis (SoxMachine), Jonnie Nonnie (SoxOn35th), Patrick Flowers (LoopSports), Chorizy-E (Section108) and The People’s Champ (SpoCoRadio). The RoundTable was two parts, Part 1, was questions from the Host, Josh Nelson, Part 2, was questions from the audience, with a twist, if your audience question was deemed GOOD by Host Josh Nelson, then MySoxSummer would provide you with a drink chip for a free pint at Baderbrau.
Some highlights of the RoundTable…..Josh Nelson was AWESOME!!! As good as he is hosting his podcast, he was that much better with a live crowd and panel to work with. He really got the panel going and definitely vibed well with the live crowd. An especially fun portion of the panel was Jim Margulis’ overt mancrush on Nicky “Steaks” Delmonico, Jim also lead the crowd in a chant of “Tito!…Polo!….Tito!…Polo!….Tito!…Polo!” The Champ, friend of the 108 and fire-breathing co-host of SpoCo Radio got the crowd fired up with his BOLD prediction that Eloy Jimenez will be in Chicago by June and smack 20 dongs for the Pale Hose. Patrick Flowers from the Loop Sports ALSO gave a similar projection for the former Cubs farmhand. The crowd really enjoyed dreaming on Eloy. Jonnie Nonnie from Sox@35th shocked the crowd by saying he thinks Charlie Tilson will be the stand out prospect that contributes to the big league club this year. But our own Chorizy-E absolutely stole the show…..sometimes us 108ers drink a little too much and forget to do vital things, like Periscope the RoundTable, so because booze, we have a breakdown of some of the key Chorizy-Eisms from the talk.
Seby Zavala will be the surprise player to contribute to the big league team
In case you can’t tell from the answers, he wasn’t 100% serious, but he’ll probably defend each statement to the death.
Fun was had by all, very last, last, last special thanks to our friends at Baderbrau, our bartender Ro was the joint, he kept everyone imbibing, big thanks to Nathan who got us all set up, we’ll also thank Eric, even though he didn’t do shit and was probably wise-cracking somewhere…..finally thanks to the BIG BOSSES Rob and Rocky, we appreciate you encouraging our hijinx.
Saturday – Sox Fest 2018
If you saw me at Baderbrau that Friday night, you saw me literally eat a FULL Mac & Cheese waffle in about 47 seconds. All the while pounding IPL’s. I hadn’t eaten anything that day besides some breakfast and a turkey sandwich that Bobbles Jim nicely brought with him so we all wouldn’t starve. I remember thinking that it was 11 pm I needed to get my ass out of there to get home to get to bed. So of course I offered to buy #AlohaMr.Hand a drink, and then he turned the tables on me and bought me a drink, so I had to stay for that last beer. Upon completion of said beer, I put my jacket on (and as he tends to do) BeefLoaf made a loud comment about leaving together but I was in such a rush. SO OF COURSE I HAD TO HAVE ANOTHER BEER, cause why sit there and NOT drink? Anyways, when we finally got into an Lyft, it was 10 to 1. FUCK.
When I got home, I set my alarm for 5 am, and the damn phone broke my heart by telling me that I was gonna get 3 and a half hours of sleep before I had to get up again. Ugh. Classic SoxFest. So 3 hours later, I took a shower, got a Lyft and headed back. I was greeted at the room by #WallyMoney in a towel and I got my backpack set with shit I needed for that day.
Our good friend #TeacherA saved us some seats (solid move) and the plan was set to go right for Jose Abreu. Later, I was bummed that I didn’t get Thomas as he was signing his HOF inscription, but that is the way the cookie crumbles. Saturday was a great day as well, I am sure I saw a bunch of people, talked to a bunch of people, but I was sleep walking through the day. So if I held court with you in earshot, and what I said didn’t make any sense, blame Beefloaf.
I did get to meet up with #FarmerMatt and his family and shared several beers with him. It was a blast, which would have been my highlight had I not made it home before my daughter awoke from her 5pm to 7pm “nap” we read tons of books and had lots of snuggles. I was in bed by 10pm and was ready to go again for Sunday.
Sunday – Sox Fest 2018
Oddly, getting more sleep made me MORE tired. How does it work like that? The day’s plan had a 9am signing with Yoan Moncada but as true junkies with the MVP pass, we doubled up and hit Kopech and Lopez. Shit went down at Kopech, but I have a stand alone blog that will talk about that aspect, but Lopez was looking fresh.
Sunday seems to be an easy going day, with lots of good-byes and see ya opening day lines, all the while squeezing in the last ounce of baseball that we can before we get a couple more months of snow. For my man #HomeTownJon, I even stood in line for HOFer Carlton Fisk. Fisk has really settled down over the years, he is actually fun to be around. But no one is as fun as @nakedbiker 1983 ROY Ron Kittle. On Saturday night (between cigars I am guessing) the chairman gave Ron some new bling. A brand new 2005 World Series ring. In true Kittle fashion, he downplayed it, and showed it off the only way he can…
All in all, SoxFest is a fun time for 1 weekend a year. I can only handle it for 3 days and never think about lines till that first bobblehead day. This is my haul, it was fun, and I think I’ll be back next year too. Maybe with Little Miss Shortstop, maybe not. I am guessing not. LOL.
Extra Special Side Note – On Friday night, the MVP’s (which I pay for) got a private signing with HOF’er Tim “Rock” Raines. He signed a cheapie ball for 250 people, but he also was really friendly. Shockingly friendly. I am not sure what I expected ( I may have been blinded by the fact I couldn’t over past not being able to get a bobblehead signed by him) but he far exceeded them. He LOVED the new SLAY-108-ER shirt and I told him about the blog and he was interested in reading it. I will keep you guys updated on Rock reading our ramblings!