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 Talk Podcast: How Sox fans are dealing with Cubs success


White Sox Talk Podcast: How Sox fans are dealing with Cubs success

In our next installment of the White Sox Talk Podcast, Chuck Garfien is joined by Chris Kamka and Slavko Bekovic to discuss how White Sox fans are dealing with success on the North Side.

Later, White Sox fan and CSN producer Ryan McGuffey talks about his experience producing Cubs content. Finally, Cubs fan Nate Poppen shares his thoughts on Frank Kaminsky wearing a Steve Bartman jersey to the United Center before a Bulls-Hornets preseason game.

Check out the latest edition of the White Sox Talk Podcast here:

White Sox coaching staff will rely more heavily on statistics

White Sox coaching staff will rely more heavily on statistics

Statistical analysis will weigh more heavily on the White Sox coaching staff’s daily decisions after Joe McEwing was elevated to Rick Renteria’s bench coach on Friday.

McEwing -- whose influence led to a 957 percent increase in defensive shifts utilized from 2013-16 -- replaces Renteria, who was named the team’s new manager on Oct. 3 after Robin Ventura announced he wouldn’t return.

Former player development director Nick Capra replaces McEwing as third-base coach while Curt Hasler was promoted from minor-league pitching coordinator to replace bullpen coach Bobby Thigpen.

McEwing’s promotion is another sign the franchise will stress the use of statistical analysis when constructing its lineup, etc., a move Ventura suggested was in progress when he said the White Sox needed a new voice. Renteria likes how he worked with McEwing last season and suggested analysis would have a big impact on their day-to-day operations.

“All the information that is provided to us plays an important part in how we move forward,” Renteria said. “We look at outcomes, which are the statistical analysis aspects. But then we are also trying to stay ahead of the curve. We do a lot of video work, trying to see if guys are changing their approaches. In terms of the shifts, we did incorporate shifts, but we also did some modifications as was to be expected when you see guys changing approaches with two strikes and things of that nature or runners in scoring position -- all those different aspects that come into play.”

Similar to many organizations, the White Sox have drastically modified how they align themselves defensively over the past four seasons under McEwing and general manager Rick Hahn. According to FanGraphs, the White Sox went from being ranked 27th in shifts implemented in 2013 to ninth by 2014 with an increase from 102 to 588. The White Sox shifted 1,079 times last season and McEwing has been instrumental in that transformation, several team sources said. It’s reasonable to expect analysis will be used more often in lineup construction and game strategy under Renteria, too. He didn’t shy away from the use of statistical analysis when he managed on the other side of town in 2014, Cubs third-base coach Gary Jones said last week.

“It’s part of our daily preparation,” Jones said. “Rick is good with it as we are right now. It was definitely a part of the equation, no doubt.”

[RELATED: White Sox announce coaching staff changes] 

Renteria cited familiarity when asked why he didn’t go outside of the organization for coaching staff hires. McEwing has long been held in high regard within the franchise and interviewed for managerial openings in Houston and Texas in 2014. Renteria suggested McEwing’s work ethic -- and how he works -- had a big impact on his promotion.

“Having sat side by side (with McEwing) going over a lot of game reviews and studying the opposition and setting up defense, I got to know him quite well,” Renteria said. “He’s a hard worker. He’s in there early looking for anything that will give us an edge. His managing experience and coaching experience also allows him an opportunity to be able to serve me well.

“It’s a good fit. We both are kind of high energy. Joey might be a little higher energy than me and I didn’t think that was possible. He brings a lot to the table.”

The White Sox announced the rest of its staff -- first-base coach Daryl Boston, pitching coach Don Cooper, hitting coach Todd Steverson, assistant hitting coach Greg Sparks and bullpen catcher Mark Salas -- would return in 2017.