Tomorrow, we’re going to observe Juneteenth, along with SB Nation. There will be a post, but it will be something from the archives. So here’s a little bonus miscellany for you, the nightcap of our doubleheader.
Baseball’s Longest Flirtation
TC Zencka, MLB Trade Rumors
For those who love the will-they-won’t-they back-and-forth of a classic rom-com, Major League Baseball has a story for you. The Chicago White Sox and lefty hurler Gio Gonzalez are drawn to each other. There’s no denying the connection. They’re the Ross and Rachel of the MLB (or Jim and Pam, or whatever reference is relevant these days). Though they’ve never stayed together long, these would-be soulmates are on the verge of finally making it work. Should baseball return in 2020, their long-standing flirtation should finally consummate with Gonzalez in black-and-white, taking the hill in front of the Southside faithful.
MLBTR doesn’t do much by way of longform, but by those standards, this is a pretty cute and cheeky glance over and the longing gazes cast from Gio to the White Sox, and back again, over more than a decade.
Franco signed with the White Sox for the 1994 season and had one of the best years of his career at 35, hitting .319 with 20 homers and 98 RBIs for a team that was in first place at the time the strike hit. He finished the year eighth in AL MVP Award voting, but still, he was a 35-year-old corner infielder/DH in a league where 20 homers was starting to make you merely average.
Leitch, and by extension MLB, certainly isn’t in the habit of White Sox longform, but this Franco review is a great read. Did you know that the guy behind the scenes here, BB, has this massive spreadsheet of best players of all time? Like, No. 1-400 or something. I’m only guessing. I’ve never seen it, just heard about it. That level of nerditity gives me hives, so it’s for the best. Anyway, perhaps Brett can correct me, but I believe he told me once that taking into account his time in Japan, Franco crossed his bar for the Hall of Fame? ‘Sup, Brett, what gives? I’ll say this: Franco had, and presumably still has, a Hall of Fame smile.
Albert Belle on Sosa, McGwire, PEDs and his 1998 season
Chuck Garfien, NBC Sports Chicago
Former White Sox slugger Albert Belle speaks with host Chuck Garfien about his 1998 season which he says is “one of the greatest second halves in the history of baseball without an asterisk next to it.” Belle explains why he thinks he had a better season than Sammy Sosa in 1998, how many home runs he would have hit if he took PEDs, his relationship with White Sox fans and Chicago media and more.
Not really an article, but a podcast with that cuddly, media-friendly fella, Joey Albert Belle. No doubt, Belle was a monster during his brief stay turncoating to the South Side. However, it’s rather rich that a guy who corked and got off scott-free because a teammate got all Mission Impossible in the rafters of the Sox Park clubhouses and snatched back Belle’s confiscated bat is preaching on fair play. And if that doesn’t draw KenWo out of the shadows, nothing will.
Mechals realizes MLB Draft dream
Paul Coro, Grand Canyon University Athletics
"How would you like to be picked one-twelve in the fourth round for us?" Chicago White Sox regional amateur scout John Kazanas asked Mechals.
"Yes, absolutely," Mechals said before returning to watch the moment unfold with his parents, GCU teammates and friends.
Hey, a modern-day White Sox story! This is a cute piece from Mechals’ college. The cameo from Kazanas is cool; he’s an all-time White Sox scout, and a huge fave of SSS alum and still-photographer Kim Contreras.
2020 OOTP sim: Off-day trade
Brett Ballantini, South Side Hit Pen at Sports Illustrated
Chicago acquired right fielder Gregory Polanco, right-handed reliever Keone Kela and right-handed Triple-A starter Cody Ponce in exchange for reliever Steve Cishek and right fielder Nomar Mazara.
Things are getting a little crazy with the SI White Sox sim season. With the team back to a season-high five games over .500 and starting to spook division leaders Minny and Cleveland, the White Sox are getting all Trader Frank on the league. Apparently there are more trades in the works, and Kelvin Herrera, who has been awful in 2020 and has spent much of the season on waivers, is the next to go.
A Conversation with: Jason Kipnis
Sam Sherman, South Side Hit Pen at Sports Illustrated
Growing up, so many of us baseball fans fantasized about being up to bat in Game 7 of World Series ... in the bottom of the ninth ... in a tie game. These are fantasies in the truest form considering the fact that 99.9% of us will never experience that, even those athletically gifted enough to play professionally.
Kipnis had that very opportunity when he played for Cleveland during the 2016 World Series.
This is more “cool” content in baseball terms, not specific White Sox terms. But Kipnis does address the rebuild, and, spoiler (it’s also the video excerpt at the top of the story at SI), the grindy infielder is way bullish on the White Sox’s future.
All right, a twist. Let’s have some fun. I somehow never tire of this movie.