Scott Reifert is the guy that brought us "The Club" on the MLB Network and the source of the Sox line up that finds its way here via twitter every day long before the game. He is the White Sox vice President of Communications, and his blog Inside the White Sox has been around since 2005. Every year he hosts a 'Blog Night' at the Cell for his readers and I have attended the last three. This year those in attendance got to meet with Scott, Moose Skowron, Hawk Harrelson and Rick Hahn.
The door prizes at the event are outstanding. This year they gave away an autographed picture of Ozzie Guillen, a signed ball by Carlos Quentin, a signed bat by Gordon Beckham, and one lucky girl got to throw out the first pitch. They also gave everyone a copy of the current White Sox magazine. The last two years we also received media guides but not this season. I guess I actually have to buy one this year.
The event is hosted in the Sox media center. Usually the room where Ozzie gives his post-game interviews is off limits to the casual fan, so the fact that the event is held here is a perk unto itself.
First up is always Scott Reifert. This year he had an interesting comment about how savvy Sox fans are on the internet. He said when they have their PR meetings with all the other clubs the three teams that come up as far as having a big presence online are San Francisco, Seattle and Chicago. Apparently other clubs are impressed. Im betting that has as much to do with SSS and something called Sox Machine(among others) as it does Inside The White Sox so all of you should be proud of yourselves. Then again maybe he was just blowing smoke.
The first guest was 80 year old Moose Skowron. Moose was also a guest at blog night III, so there were a few reruns, especially if you've heard him on the radio or saw him with Hawk and Stone in the booth a couple weeks ago. Despite the rehashing and him mentioning old players 80% of the room had never heard of, you cant help but love the guy. Especially when he says things like "Ernie Banks, every time he sees me, he kisses my ring!" and his complete disdain for Ron Santo. "The guy is begging to be in the hall of fame because he got a couple first row home runs!" Moose compared the gigantic Yankee stadium to the miniature Wrigley Field and said hes glad he wasn't signed by the Cubs because then he would be a loser, too. Moose holds the all time record for most World Series games played, and he told us a couple times that his only regret is missing the series by 1 game with the White Sox in 1964. Had they beaten the Yankees that year he would have been in three straight World Series' with three different teams. I didn't get to thank him for being the witness on my marriage license when Rev. Ron Kittle married me and mrs. e-gus at the Cell in 2007. He ran out as soon as Hawk appeared. Love that guy.
Next up was the Hawk. He had a romantic retelling of his 2 home run game against the Yankees on the day he invented batting gloves. It was a fantastic story that is too good to be true. I remembered Cheat discrediting this in 2007 but kept quiet. Hawks also claimed he made more money "playing golf, shooting pool and arm wrestling than he ever did playing baseball. But when you make $8000 and spend $30000 you have to do something to supplement the income." Good line Hawk. One of the ladies present asked him about DSNB, but she butchered it into Dont Stop Scoring Now Boys or something equally bad. Nerves get to you when talking to your heroes I guess. He attributed all of his catch phrases to his playing days. Again, not a peep from me when I wanted to ask him to scale that one back a bit. I dont want to bang on the Hawk, he was engaging, self deprecating regarding his blue suit on the SI cover(and the dozen just like it in other colors that were out of style and never worn the day after he bought them) and he believes Gordon Beckham is the key to the rest of the season for our Sox. I didnt get to ask him if he ever gets back to his hometown of Savannah, Ga. I swear I saw him driving around a square that one time back when I lived there looking at me because I had a Sox hat on. I guess I'll never know if it was him or some other old timer.
Lastly we got to speak to Rick Hahn. He has addressed the crowd at all three blog nights Ive attended, and this is by far my favorite part. He seemed pretty relieved to have the MLB Network cameras out of there. He wouldn't tell me who they were going to trade for Berkman(a long shot~ but I really wanted to know) and pretty much stuck to the company line regarding the trade deadline. They were looking at a narrow band of players, they had their hats in the ring as far back as two months ago, but other teams asking prices were too high and often unrealistic. He fielded a few fluff questions like "Will Lucas Harrell be given another chance since he earned it?" and stuff like that. The few things I asked him were all centered around the trade deadline so I didn't get to ask the question I was planning for since I bought the tickets: What the heck were you guys thinking when you signed Teahen to an extension before he ever put on a Sox uniform? So yeah, hard hitting reporter I am not.
Hahn told the story about Kenny calling Beckham and Ozzie into the room to talk with two minutes to go before the deadline. Apparently Konerko had just finished telling Gordon that this is the time that Kenny usually says to hell with it and goes and gets who he wants so he should look out just seconds before the GMs arrival. The MLB Network cameras missed the whole thing though because they were up in the war room filming the disappointed scouting staff picking up and all of their papers and putting their work away without making a single deal on the day.
The seats they sold as part of the blog night package were in section 159 just behind the Sox bullpen. They also had some Sox m&ms on some cookies and white sox cupcakes as parting gifts in the media center. Not a bad deal for thirty dollars, American.
EDIT: Its seems the baked goods were made by Maria, who attended the event. They were delicious, Maria.
The game itself was (obviously)pretty good. Both pitchers perfect though 4 innings and Gavin perfect into the 6th made for a fast afternoon at the park, and kept my sunburn to a minimum; a medium-well pink instead of full on lobster red. My main man Lillibridge took care of business with Bacon getting the day off, and the bullpen came in to shut the door in its usual fashion. The Sox are back at the high water mark for the season and still in first place.
Inside the White Sox is an entirely different animal than South Side Sox. The MLBlogs all have a potty mouth filter that would have half of the posts that go up on here looking like this~ "****". It also isn't formatted to encourage discussion like the SB Nation threads are, and it attracts a different flavor of fan. Its Scott's job to promote the team, and a lot of the posters follow suit. They are constantly positive and encouraging, and bless them for that, but you aren't going to get a lot of talk about replacement levels, VORP, WAR and the like, its 'Go Team!' all the time. They wouldn't have it any other way, and they treat the blog night like we treat the SSS meet-ups(minus the copious amounts of Jim Beam). I feel a little out of place when they want to take group pictures and stuff like that because frankly this is my online Sox neighborhood, and I'm not part of the regular community over there. Not any more anyway, I posted on there quite a bit that first season, but after the Championship the place was flooded and my residence over here became more permanent.