From the daily archives: Wednesday, July 14, 2010

By Bob Hurst

On June 9th, the Chicago White Sox weren’t on anyone’s radar. The team was 24-33, 9 1/2 games behind Minnesota in the AL Central.
How fast times have changed.
After Sunday’s 15-5 blowout win over Kansas City, the White Sox find themselves in first place, a half game in front of Detroit. The win was Chicago’s eighth straight, giving the White Sox a 25-5 record over their last 30 games.
“It’s a shock how quickly we did it,” White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. “I’ve never seen a turnaround like this as far as executing and things turning on a dime. I don’t think we saw this coming.”
When Chicago (49-38) began a homestand on June 1, it was billed as its last chance to get things right. Then they went out and lost two of three each to Texas and Cleveland.
“How come when we were going bad, there were 40 people here saying: ‘Ozzie, why aren’t you getting along with (general manager) Kenny (Williams)? What’s wrong with your team?'”
Guillen was on the hot seat. Paul Konerko and A.J. Pierzynski were rumored to be on the trading block.
“It’s a testament to the 25 guys and the guys called up that never stopped believing even when the media was about ready to rip the whole team apart,” outfielder Juan Pierre said. “It’s good to be in first, but I want to be in first after the second half of the season.”
The White Sox persevered, winning two of three from the Tigers, then 11 straight from June 15-26. They stumbled briefly at Kansas City before taking a series at Texas, then sweeping the Los Angeles Angels and Royals at home.
“In 162 games, one month you can be bad, one month you can be good, another month you can be OK,” Guillen said. “It’s how you handle it, and we handled it very well. We stuck together.”
The White Sox altered their lineup this season, hoping that less power and more base hits would suffice. They elected not to resign free agent Jim Thome (traded to the Dodgers near the end of last season) and Jermaine Dye, who combined for 50 home runs in 2009.
They were also betting on a solid pitching staff to get them through. But the offense and starting pitching struggled early in the year.
“People were wrong about how we built this club,” Guillen said. “A good number (of players) could hit with power, but we didn’t want to combine strikeouts with power. The main thing now is we have clutch hitting, we get men on base and run the bases right.
“We knew we had a bunch of good hitters up and down the lineup, and it has started to come out now. I think when all is said and done, we’ll have the kind of team we thought we’d have in spring training.”
Chicago hasn’t had to worry about its slugging lately. The White Sox are tied for fifth in the majors with 100 home runs. They hit five on Sunday, four in the third inning to tie a franchise record. Chicago has slugged 31 homers in its last 17 games at home at homer-friendly U.S. Cellular Field.
Outfielder Carlos Quentin has been on fire. He had three multi-home run games during a 7-0 homestand. Quentin (19 HR) has homered in 11 of his last 16 games, including six homers to go with 11 RBIs during the homestand.
“I’m fortunate to get some good pitches to hit and take some good swings and help the team win,” Quentin said. “I stay with an approach every time and trust it and good things have happened.”
Alex Rios, who was acquired in a trade with Toronto last season, leads the team with a .305 average. Konerko has 20 home runs and 63 RBIs to top the club.
The starting pitching has turned around with a 2.40 ERA in the last 31 games. And the bullpen has a 2.36 ERA in the last 26 contests. Gavin Floyd is 3-1 with a 1.07 ERA in his last seven starts.
Chicago took a hit when starter Jake Peavy suffered a detached latissimus dorsi muscle in his back last week. He was scheduled for season-ending surgery this week.
But the White Sox keep cruising along, hoping to continue their hot play when the second half begins after the All-Star break.
“We’re in a great position to do something in the second half,” Konerko said. “I think before the season if you had said we’d be right where we’re at, I would say that makes sense give or take a couple games, but the way we got here, it’s been crazy. I’ve never seen a turnaround like this.”
As for Pierzynski, it looks like he’s sticking around.
“I always said, if we could just get close, we’d be OK,” Pierzynski said. “We have great guys on this team, and everyone gets along.”

Copyright © 2010  Bob Hurst. All Rights Reserved. Distributed by Hurst Sports Media.


Chris Furguson
The Brawley Cattle Call committee is currently searching for sponsors for the Cattle Call Queen events and prizes months ahead of the Queen’s coronation ceremony in October and the week long Cattle Call events in early November.
Currently, there are several levels of sponsorship for the Queen’s Coronation Dinner.
For a $1,850 donation, Event Sponsors will receive a half-page ad in the contest’s program, a reserved table for eight at the Coronation dinner on October 16, 2010, and a full page ad in the 2010 Cattle Call Rodeo Program.
Saddle, Crown or Buckle sponsors, for a $200 donation, will get a business card sized ad in the Cattle Call Queen Contest Program book along with two reserved seats at the Banquet and a notation in the Rodeo program book.  These sponsors may spend an additional $100 for a business card ad in the Rodeo Program.
Silver Star Patrons may donate $100 for two seats at the Banquet and notations in both the Queen’s program and the Rodeo Program.  Gold Star Patrons can buy a full table of eight for $340.
Other donations will have the name or business name given an notation in both programs and will be acknowledged at both the Queen’s horsemanship competition on October 15 and the Coronation dinner on October 16.
Sponsor applications may be found at the Brawley Chamber of Commerce or you can call (760) 960-3986 for more information.
Applications are still being accepted for the Cattle Call Queen and Junior Queen Contest as well.  Young women from the Imperial Valley between the ages of 16-21 may apply for the Queen contest while girls aged 12 to 15 may run for Jr. Queen.
The deadline for all contestants is August 26 at noon and Orientation will be on August 27 at 6 pm at the Stockman’s Club.
The theme for the 2010 Brawley Cattle Call is “Brawley… Home of the Cattle Call.”


The San Diego/Imperial Counties Red Cross Assists Those Affected by Disasters

San Diego, July 13, 2010 The San Diego/Imperial Counties Chapter of the American Red Cross responded to five disasters in the past week.

Fires caused major damage and destruction to several single-family homes in Lakeside, Chula Vista, and El Cajon. Fire also destroyed a mobile home in Imperial Valley affecting two adults, and destroyed a 4-unit condo structure in Escondido affecting five adults and five children. The disasters caused loss of property and the devastation left adults, children and pets homeless.

The American Red Cross assisted by providing lodging, transportation, groceries, snacks and hydration, comfort kits, medication, clothing and shoes to those affected. The Red Cross also provided blankets and more including teddy bears to ease the horror of the disaster to the children affected.

The American Red Cross urges the community to become prepared for disaster. Disasters can be avoided by taking extra safety measures and being prepared drastically reduces the possibility of personal harm in the event of a disaster. The Red Cross recommends that all members of the community Get a Kit, Make a Plan and Be Informed. For more information on building a Preparedness Kit, formulating an escape plan and staying informed, you can visit www.PrepareSanDiego.Org to learn how to prepare yourself and your loved ones.

The American Red Cross is dedicated to assisting those affected by disasters. Trained Red Cross volunteers and staff are on call round-the-clock and are ready to assist in various aspects including disaster assessment, casework, shelter, feeding and more. The San Diego/Imperial Counties Chapter responds to a disaster every 24 hours.

About the American Red Cross San Diego and Imperial Counties Chapter

The San Diego/Imperial Counties Chapter of the American Red Cross is leading the effort to make San Diego and Imperial Valley Counties “America’s Most Prepared Community.” As a charitable organization and not a government agency, the Red Cross depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. The Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies nearly half of the nation’s blood; teaches lifesaving skills; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The local chapter also provides nutritional counseling through the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program. For more information, please call (858) 309-1200 or visit

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