Sox Drawer InnerView: Ed Farmer

Sox Drawer InnerView: Ed Farmer

Tuesday, December 1

The first time I ever saw Ed Farmer in person was June 20, 1980. I was in 3rd grade, at my friend Eric Jones 9th birthday party at Comiskey Park. The Sox were playing the Tigers. It was a night for family fun on the South Side!

For a few innings anyway.

Farmer was on the mound against Al Cowens. Even though my brain was like a baseball computer at the time, able to remember lineups, stats, pitching match-ups, upcoming schedules, you name it...I had no idea that Farmer and Cowens had a history.

It was a piece of information you dont exactly find on the back of a baseball card.

The previous year, when Farmer played for the Rangers and Cowens was on the Royals, Farmer pitched a tad inside on Cowens, breaking his jaw and forcing Cowens to miss 21 games. If that wasnt enough, Farmer also hit Cowens roommate Frank White in the same game, breaking his hand. White would miss 33 games.

Needless to say, there was a little bit of tension.

Again, I had no clue. I was probably on my third hot dog and fifth Coke. I am sure I was eyeing the cotton candy for about 7 innings. I still hadnt bought my White Sox batting glove. I had a lot on my mind.

So did Cowens.

The Tigers outfielder hit a grounder in the infield and started running towards first base. But halfway down the line, Cowens did something completely unthinkable, certainly for these eyes. With Farmers back to him, Cowens suddenly took a sharp left turn, and headed straight for Ed.

Up until this point, this 9-year-old child from Flossmoor had never heard of a bench-clearing brawl. But in a matter of seconds, I was going to see one.

What followed was complete mayhem, and 29 years later, is still on my mind. I probably need to talk to someone about this. Well, today I did.

Ed Farmer, the man partly responsible for damaging my childhood.

So today, I called up Farmio while he was doing some shopping with his wife in California. The brawl with Cowens was just one of the many topics we discussed.

We also hit on:

What will happen with Scott Podsednik?

Is Chone Figgins still a possibility? (I doubt it, but Ed doesnt think so)

Eds BFF...Charlie Weis. They're cell phone buddies.

And whatever you do, make sure you listen around halfway through when I quiz Ed about his pitching career. The man has a Rain Man-type memory about every hitter he ever faced. Its equally impressive and downright scary.

To hear the conversation, hit the tiny, gray listen button under that snazzy photo of yours truly. I know its tough for some of you to see. Were working on it.

Ill be in Indianapolis next week for the Winter Meetings. I expect Kenny to sign Figgins and Matsui and trade for Roy Halladay by lunch on Monday.

Or not.

White Sox agree to one-year deals with Brett Lawrie, Avisail Garcia

White Sox agree to one-year deals with Brett Lawrie, Avisail Garcia

Brett Lawrie and Avisail Garcia will both return to the White Sox in 2017.

The team announced it reached deals with both players shortly before Friday’s 7 p.m. CST nontender deadline. Lawrie will earn $3.5 million next season and Garcia received a one-year deal for $3 million.

The club didn’t tender a contract to right-handed pitcher Blake Smith, which leaves its 40-man roster at 38.

Acquired last December for a pair of minor leaguers, Lawrie hit .248/.310/.413 with 12 home runs, 22 doubles and 36 RBIs in 94 games before he suffered a season-ending injury.

Lawrie produced 0.9 f-WAR when he suffered what then-manager Robin Ventura described a “tricky” injury on July 21. Despite numerous tests and a lengthy rehab, Lawrie never returned to the field and was frustrated by the experience. Last month, Lawrie tweeted that he believes the cause of his injury was wearing orthotics for the first time in his career.

He was projected to earn $5.1 million, according to MLBTraderumors.com and earned $4.125 million in 2016.

Garcia hit .245/.307/.385 with 12 homers and 51 RBIs in 453 plate appearances over 120 games. The projected salary for Garcia, arb-eligible for the first time, was $3.4 million.

The team also offered contracts to Miguel Gonzalez and Todd Frazier, who are eligible for free agency in 2018, first baseman Jose Abreu and relievers Dan Jennings, Zach Putnam and Jake Petricka, among others.

The White Sox have until mid-January to reach an agreement with their arbitration-eligible players. If they haven’t, both sides submit figures for arbitration cases, which are then heard throughout February.

White Sox announcer Jason Benetti cracks Crain's 40 under 40

White Sox announcer Jason Benetti cracks Crain's 40 under 40

Crain's Chicago Business released its latest 40 under 40 project and White Sox announcer Jason Benetti made this year's list.

The 33-year-old just finished his first season with the White Sox as play-by-play announcer, working the home games at U.S. Cellular Field (before it was renamed Guaranteed Rate Field last month) alongside Steve Stone as longtime broadcaster Hawk Harrelson saw his workload reduced to mostly road games.

Benetti quickly became a fan favorite among Chicagoans on CSN and other networks in 2016 and his cerebral palsy became more of a backstory, with his work alongside Stone and his affable sense of humor taking center stage instead.

Among other topics, Benetti discussed how he approaches his job of broadcasting for the team he grew up rooting for:

Law school taught me that there are always two sides of the argument. I see it from the Sox prism, but I can’t believe in my heart of hearts that, if the Sox lose, the world’s over anymore. That first game, I was like, “All right, it’s just a game.” And then Avi Garcia hits a homer late in the game against the Indians and I call it like I would call it with a little more. And as the ball cleared the fence, when it was rolling around, I got a slight tear in my eye. And I was like, “What’s that?”

Check out the entire interview with Benetti and the full list at ChicagoBusiness.com.