Hello, and welcome to another regular season of Chicago White Sox coverage. I’m Brett Ballantini, and I’ll be your host throughout the summer.
With the White Sox more compelling than any time since I started guiding coverage here AND with a bigger and more talented writing staff than ever, we are expanding our coverage for the 2022 season.
Most everything you are used to seeing here, certainly during last year’s regular season, will remain. Plus, we are applying the expanded coverage — day-of-game columns, social media sketches — we instituted for the 2021 playoffs all season long.
Here’s a brief rundown of our regular writing roster for 2022:
Jacki Krestel (Sundays)
Darren Black (some Mondays)
Zach Hayes (some Mondays)
Joe Resis (Tuesdays)
Hannah LaMotta (Wednesdays, some Mondays)
Kristina Airdo (Thursdays, some Mondays)
Ashley Sanders (Fridays)
Di Billick (Saturdays)
Leigh Allan (weekly weekday day games)
Six Pack of Stats
Ashley Sanders (Sundays)
Darrin Brown (Mondays)
Chrystal O’Keefe (Tuesdays, Saturdays)
Zach Hayes (Wednesdays)
Minor League Updates
Darren Black (Sunday, Tuesday, Saturday, Weekly Update on Monday)
Joe Resis (Wednesday)
Julie Brady (Thursday, Friday)
Bird App Recaps
Kristina Airdo (Tuesdays)
Jacki Krestel (Thursdays)
Adrian Serrano (Fridays)
Day of Game Columns
Jeremy Karll (Mondays)
Jason Kinander (Tuesdays)
Zach Hayes (Fridays)
Adrian Serrano (Saturdays)
The open spots above will be filled a la carte, as we have always done.
Mitch Ransdell will publish his Player of the Week art/essays on Mondays. All/some/many opponent preview Know Your Enemy features will come from Dahlia Zahava.
Leigh and Will Allan will release their Sharing Sox podcasts on Wednesdays or Thursdays. The SSS on the Farm Podcast with Darren Black and possible guest writers will publish on Tuesdays. The SSS mothership podcast will record at least once a week, with Pregame or Postgame podcasts as warranted. We hope to be recording all of our other SSS family podcasts (North Side Sox, Killer B’s, The Big Blurt, Dugout Metrics, Estrogen Power Hour, Explain it to Me Like I’m 5) during the season, but none are regularly scheduled as of yet.
We may also have some new tricks up our sleeve relating to Tee Public, our YouTube channel, and even meetups this season.
Here’s to a great season!
And for bonus Meet the Players content, I asked our writers what their walk-up to bat and/or walk-in from the pen song would be. (Office warning, not all tracks below are safe for work.)
Walk-up song: Swag Surfin by F.L.Y.
While there are dozens to consider, I would not be opting for a “tough” or particularly “cool” song. Thus, my choice is The Safety Dance by Men Without Hats. Sure, minor clever points (“safety,” get it?), but mostly, hearing this delightfully goofy song would keep me loose and make me smile on my way up to the plate, every time.
But that said, THIS is my preferred version, Nancy Faust style, like I remember (and requested) countless times over the years at the park.
Walk-in music of choice: War Pigs by Black Sabbath (complete with smoke machines and light show, of course).
Walk-up music of choice: So Fresh, So Clean by Outkast.
I’m well aware I will likely have the most polar opposite choices, but that’s how I roll.
Fo my walk-in song as a closer, I don’t want just a walk-in song. I want an entire production. Picture this: It is the top of the ninth, the fans are excited, and all of a sudden the lights go dark. You hear the pounding of the drums, and the light show starts. A few seconds later you hear the sound of a guitar: One of the best guitar riffs of all time. It is Money for Nothing by Dire Straits. When the guitar starts I run out of the bullpen.
My walk-up song would have to be “Ready or Not” by the Fugees. I figure it’s both a classic and recognizable song. It also would let the pitcher know that whether you’re ready or not, I’m coming to the plate — and you should be concerned.
As a musician who can never just choose one song, I’d say for my walk-up music I would have to go old-school and also alternate between two songs, every other at-bat. I’d start off with Dancing Queen by ABBA. It brings a fun aspect as a girl, and it is a song everyone would know and sing along to through the ballpark.
For my second song, I would choose Hotel California by Eagles, specifically the guitar solo part. That’s been one of my favorite songs since I was a kid, and I even learned it myself on the guitar, so it instantly makes me happy.
Dark Fantasy by Kanye West
Shower by Becky G
Hitters naturally look for anything that can give them an edge at the plate. An upbeat, feel-good song would give me about as much of an advantage as anything that is entirely within my control. As a K-Pop connoisseur, I also have a strong preference for songs of that genre. Mix the two, and you get Alcohol-Free by TWICE, released in 2021. In terms of energetic K-Pop songs, I am hard-pressed to think of anything that can even come close to topping Alcohol-Free. The song is about 10 months old, and I still enjoy it as much as when it was brand new, and I cannot remember the last song I can say that about. Even if I am in a frustrating part of a season where things are not going my way, this song would do a great job of ensuring I have confidence heading into my plate appearances.
Right Size Wrong Shape
I was a better pitcher in high school than a hitter (although I wasn’t great at either), so my song would be for coming out of the pen to close the game. I thought about trying to come up with something clever, or to give some shine to some obscure 80’s cowpunk band, but instead I’ll just go with awesomeness. Have Gene Honda introduce me to Pelude 3.0 by Slipknot, and I’ll be ready to knock Reese McGuire on his keister with a warmup pitch. And now it’s over. Yes, indeed.
Alive by Pearl Jam, or Learn to Fly by Foo Fighters
Twista - Up to Speed
Glorious by Macklemore ft. Skylar Grey is my walk-up song. Whether it’s a verse or the chorus, the song wonderfully illustrates everything an at-bat encompasses: new beginning, clutch time, capabilities, and more. When I’m up to bat, “I feel glorious, glorious / got a chance to start again. / I was born for this, born for this / It’s who I am, how could I forget?” With this song playing as I’m about to take a swing, the other team better watch out!
Year of the Hamster
As a first choice, I would pull rank and take ABBA’s Dancing Queen from Hannah, she’s already getting fancy and picking two songs.
But if I am denied ABBA, I’ll opt for the obscure but too-catchy Jo Boxers Just Got Lucky. It gets my toes tapping, legs flapping, and thinking about the super-adorable dog in the music video makes me smile every time.
OK, so hell yes, I’ll choose a walk-in song, too. My stuff might be more Shingo Takatsu than Liam Hendriks, but Fight the Youth by Fishbone never fails to raise my blood pressure. Yeah, I’ll sprint to the mound to this intro: