So, it appears the All-Star Game was a success. Chris Sale got to face one of his childhood heroes and get him to hit a roller to second. It just happened to get through the right side because Ian Kinsler initially reacted to a ball hit up the middle. Kind of like Brett Favre thought he told his offensive line he called a naked bootleg to Michael Strahan's side.
Besides the weak single, he also gave up a legitimate base hit to old high-school nemesis Andrew McCutchen -- after a nasty slider for strike three was called a ball. But he pitched around the charitable endeavors and still gave the American League a scoreless inning. The most enthusiastic of the White Sox enjoyed his time immensely (and he should've started instead of Verlander), which is great to see.
Paul Konerko, a veteran of the All-Star tour, got clipped -- if that -- by a knuckleball to reach base in his only a plate appearance. Adam Dunn and Jake Peavy didn't play, and both players told Ron Washington that they would be perfectly OK with just being on the bench the whole time.
So while the American League got trounced, nobody can say the White Sox had anything to do with it. More importantly, after all the fantacism and the skepticism and the ballot-box stuffing and the grave concern (which sounds like a Lifter Puller song), everybody appeared to get what they wanted out of it.
And hey, the Sox have to start the second half in Kansas City anyway, so it's even easy on the budget. Everybody wins!
Another off day, but this one looks toward the second half...
Turns out Dan Bernstein found the post about Robin Ventura's managerial strategies useful. Start at 29:50.
Over at our baseball sovereign, Grant focuses on what I thought was the coolest non-Sox moment of the All-Star Game. It's awesome when one great player can make another great player flinch.
The Kansas City Star's Sam Mellinger notes that Bud Selig's visit to the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum during All-Star weekend was his first. How is that possible? He's been the (acting) commissioner since 1992, and baseball business or baseball interest didn't take him there once?
Addison Reed closed games for Stephen Strasburg at San Diego State, then took his spot in the rotation when the Nationals drafted Strasburg. He's also one of the groomsmen in Strasburg's wedding, so it should be no surprise that Strasburg likes the cut of his jib.
Joe Cowley said that Jake Peavy was "privately questioning" whether he should stay in Chicago, given the unfortuntate series of events that befell him since the trade. But with his All-Star success cleansing the palate, he doesn't see any need to move (as long as the money makes sense, which is implied).
Our friend Brett says Sale has been the team's best pitcher, but Peavy is the most important pitcher, especially when regarding his impact on Sale:
Finally walking the walk that the flappity-flap of his confident lips long promised has not been lost on Peavy's White Sox teammates. In prior campaigns, team leaders like A.J. Pierzynski and Mark Buehrle would scrutinize the swagger from across the clubhouse, straining to hear what Peavy's latest post-injury platform promised.
Buehrle was not without an agenda, as he remained a mellow-down good ol' boy through his decade as the de facto pitching captain. Peavy has seized that phantom captaincy in Buehrle's absence, leading by example and bluster alike. Sale is learning under him in a way different than he did from Buehrle; whereas the fellow lefty was expert in lessons off the mound (exceedingly important stuff for a phenom), Peavy now proffers over the fights on the mound itself, in a style as far from pusillanimous as possible.
Reed provides some perspective on what the nine rookies on the White Sox face:
"This is what I've worked for my whole life," said Reed, who advanced from Class A to the majors last season. "It's a lot better than last year, moving around and sleeping on air mattresses in people's dens."
It's nine rookies at the moment, anyway. The Sox have a roster spot open, and it's presumed that Philip Humber will return and bump Dylan Axelrod to the bullpen. However, the weather in Birmingham may not cooperate today. If his start is called off, it'll be interesting to see how much faith they have in Humber's stuff.
I link to this Phil Rogers column because he helpfully points out that the White Sox allowed a league-low 14 unearned runs in the first half. They allowed 25 in the first half of 2011.
Because it's never not a good time to remember 1994 Frank Thomas.