Sox Drawer: The Lost 2005 World Series Tape

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Sox Drawer: The Lost 2005 World Series Tape

Friday, April 2, 2010
5:05 PM

By Chuck GarfienCSNChicago.com

In the madness that was the White Sox World Series championship run of 2005, we captured hours and hours of remarkable moments that followed one of the greatest stories in the history of Chicago sports.

Most of this video made it on the air. A bunch did not. And some you are about to see for the very first time.

Due to the sheer volume of footage that came pouring into our newsroom during the playoffs, especially on the night the White Sox clinched the title in Houston, some amazing stuff was, to use a movie analogy, left on the cutting room floor.

Doing a live World Series clinching post-game show, especially for a team that hadnt won a title in 88 years, and for a network (Comcast SportsNet) that was barely one year old, we were all flying by the seat of our pants.

Every win by the White Sox, and every post-game broadcast for our brand new channel (we were doing 2-to-3 hour shows after every game) was a groundbreaking achievement.

Anyone today who says they knew exactly what they were doing at the time would be lying. Most of that experience five years later is a total blur.

But after finding this long forgotten tape, a good chunk of the best memories have come flooding back.

This little discovery happened accidentally. Over the winter, I was rummaging through a closet at home when I came across a tape with a label that read quite succinctly Chuck and Mike 2005 White Sox Win it.

Mike is Comcast SportsNet photographer Mike Cappozzo. He and I worked together the night the Sox beat the Astros in Game 4, and our job was to cover the victory celebration inside the Sox clubhouse.

At this point I should probably thank my boss at the time, Michelle Murray for giving me this terrible assignment. Yeah right. It was the best. Thanks Michelle.

When the Sox beat the Astros to win the Series, and the doors to the clubhouse opened to the media, it was like walking into a hurricane of mass hysteria. Everyones endorphins popped through their skulls and ricocheted off each other in a wild display of post-game pinball.

And there we were. Mike and I. He with a camera and me with a microphone, which for some odd reason was not wireless, so we had to do our work connected to each other by a long, orange extension chord that got twisted and tangled around arms, hands, feet, notebooks, champagne bottles, and Cliff Polittes neck.

At least I think that happened. Some of this is still a little foggy.

But thankfully, much of it is now back in the memory bank because of this lost tape.

Youll see Kenny Williams parading the World Series trophy into the clubhouse amidst a sea of White Sox players, and we happened to be right there to interview him the moment he fled to safety.

Theres Mark Buehrle pouring a can of beer over the head of Jerry Reinsdorf, who when I asked him if he was concerned that hed never win a World Series said, Absolutely. I was having lunch with a friend during spring training and I said, Im going to be 70 years old next year, Ive been doing this for 24 years, I wonder if it will ever happen.

It did. Although I barely remember this interview even happening. It was that crazy.

Theres Steve Perry, the lead singer of Journey, who became the teams unofficial mascot because of Dont Stop Believin. And there we are interviewing Steve in the middle of the clubhouse while Journeys Greatest Hits was blasting out of the speakers.

Talk about surreal.

I asked him what was the greater feeling, singing on a stage in front of 80-thousand screaming fans or being aboard this crazy White Sox World Series ride?

Its the same! he shouted over his own voice that was in the middle of singing Faithfully. I mistakenly referred to it as Open Arms, which for this classic rock aficionado remains one of the worst goofs of my broadcasting career.

Theres about 45 minutes of footage on the tape. Weve cut it down to around 8 minutes of the best (although theres still a TON we cut out. We may have to do a sequel). It instantly brings you back to that 2005 championship that has been rapidly traveling farther and farther away.

What made that team so memorable, so unique, and so successful? The reasons can be found here.

Can the 2010 White Sox copy it? Thats certainly the hope.

Chuck Garfien hosts White Sox Pregame and Postgame Live on Comcast SportsNet with former Sox slugger Bill Melton. Follow Chuck @ChuckGarfien on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Sox news and views.

For first time since leaving Cuba, White Sox slugger Jose Abreu gets to play father

For first time since leaving Cuba, White Sox slugger Jose Abreu gets to play father

DETROIT — The last three weeks have afforded Jose Abreu and his son lifelong memories, fulfilling moments for a proud father and a bonding experience the White Sox slugger had long wanted to provide.

For the first time since he left Cuba in 2013, Abreu and his family are hosting his son, 5-year-old Dariel, who recently received a five-year travel visa that will allow him to visit his famous father in the United States.

The goal of the month-long visit is simple: Abreu hopes to offer his son a glimpse into why he had to leave Cuba and also to connect with him despite the distance between them. He desires to teach him about life in a new and different culture. And when Dariel returns to Cuba in early September to begin school, Abreu wants his son to understand he had to leave the island nation in order to provide him with better opportunities. The experience has perhaps exceeded Abreu’s expectations and given him a much-needed boost late in the most difficult season of his professional career.

“First and foremost, I want to thank God for the opportunity to be a father,” Abreu said through interpreter Billy Russo. “It's something you can't describe with words. To have the opportunity to bring him in here is good. It's special. It's an opportunity to show him what I do, what is my workplace and how I interact with other people and how the other people try to take care of him, too, and me. That was special. Every single time I get to bring him here it's special because we feel that connection.”

The White Sox slugger wasted no time in sharing the major league experience with his only child, something he longed for after watching other players do the same.

He introduced Dariel to teammates in Miami earlier this month after the boy watched his father play in person for the first time on Aug. 12 at Marlins Park. The pair also has hung out with teammates in the clubhouse before and after certain games, which gave Dariel time to soak up the atmosphere. And of course there was the sacred rite of passage — the postgame trip to the gumball jar.

These experiences, which some teammates might take for granted and few could conceive of, have been sacred to Abreu.

“He has been dreaming of this for a long time,” manager Robin Ventura said. “You can just tell it has picked his spirits up as of late knowing this was going to happen. He’s happy. I can’t imagine (not seeing my kids) — what that is. He’s a great guy and I know he always wants to do the right thing, so this is pretty important to him.”

It’s pretty easy to spot a difference in Abreu since he learned his son had arrived in Miami on Aug. 7. Normally upbeat, Ventura said Abreu had a noticeable “bounce in his step” when he rejoined the team two days later in Kansas City — this even though he was exhausted from flying back and forth across the country to spend the team’s day off with his son in Miami.

Abreu originally left Cuba for the United States in August 2013 when Dariel, who turns 6 in September, was only 2. They were reunited last December when Abreu participated in a Major League Baseball goodwill tour to Cuba.

Ever since he returned from the tour, Abreu wanted to organize a visit to the United States as the first baseman — for now at least — is unable to return to Cuba. He worked with his agent, Diego Bentz, to arrange a visa.

In the meantime, Abreu missed his son.

Back in March, Abreu watched for several minutes as teammate Todd Frazier’s young son ran across the spring training clubhouse to hug his dad. Now that he’s had the same opportunity, Abreu has constantly had a smile on his face.

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Teammate Melky Cabrera said he’s not surprised to find the same Abreu only happier.

Time shared with family around the clubhouse is critical for players given how much time they’re apart from their young children, Cabrera said.

“It's always important to show them where you work, what is the atmosphere of your workplace,” Cabrera said. “But I also think it's important to spend every bit of time with them you can, especially with our schedule.

“It's so special. This is a blessing for him to have the ability to be reunited.

“He's been the same with us. The only difference I can say is he's happier.”

Well, it’s not the only difference — Abreu has hit a ton in the three weeks since he and Dariel were reunited. Entering Monday, Abreu was hitting .343/.397/.557 with four home runs and 13 RBIs in 78 plate appearances.

While he still posted a league-average performance, Abreu’s .770 OPS through Aug. 7 is more than 130 points lower than the .904 OPS he posted through his first two seasons.

Many have contended that this was merely the league adjusting to Abreu. Teams had figured out his approach, and he simply hadn’t figured out how to adjust back. But some of Abreu’s teammates think the uptick in performance is in large part because of his son.

Adam Eaton said the birth of his own son earlier this season has made it easier to go home after an 0-for-4 night because fatherhood has provided him with a different outlook on life.

Eaton doesn’t know for certain that Abreu’s struggles were in part tied to missing his child. But he imagines the situation would weigh on anyone and thinks Abreu has handled it “better than 95 percent of the guys in baseball could.”

“Family is everything to us,” Eaton said. “We put our hearts and souls and lives into this game, but kids and family, puts life in perspective.

“For him to have his kid around, he can play more free and easy, and he has a different pride about him when he's around. It's touched all of us.”

Abreu can’t help but smile when he talks about his son and the opportunity to bond.

Dariel is only now learning the rules of baseball. While he’s new to the game, Dariel knows what a home run is and constantly asks his dad to hit one for him.

Abreu doesn’t think his son wants to follow in his footsteps as a professional baseball player. Dariel’s first love is cars, and Abreu thinks his son wants to one day be an Uber driver.

Though he’d love for him to play baseball, Abreu doesn’t care what his son chooses.

He’s just happy to have this chance to play the role of a father for the first time since he left home.

“When I was in Cuba of course he was young,” Abreu said. “Since then I've been trying to show him what I do and what I do to provide him all the supplies, all the things for him to be good. And now that I have him here, it’s another level. He's learning from another culture, how things are here, how I'm trying to do good here to offer him the best that I can and why. I'm glad that he's here and can see me playing every night. I'm very happy and proud for him to ask me to hit homers. 

“That's something that makes you feel proud and makes you feel like the biggest man in the world. You can't find a word to describe it.”

Adam Eaton shakes off bruised forearm, returns to White Sox lineup

Adam Eaton shakes off bruised forearm, returns to White Sox lineup

DETROIT -- He’d already made out the lineup card for Monday, but Robin Ventura wanted to check in on Adam Eaton.

It’s not often Eaton voluntarily leaves a game as he did Sunday.

So even though the preliminary report was that Eaton was cleared, the White Sox manager held a 60-second conversation with his outfielder before the opener of a three-game series against the Detroit Tigers. As he suspected, Eaton, who left in the fifth inning of Sunday’s win with a bruised right forearm, reported he felt fine.

“I was waiting around to see what he felt like, but yesterday he couldn’t grip anything,” Ventura said. “Today it’s good enough for him to play. He’s been able to battle through some stuff, and he can play with pain, so I’m going to let him do it.

“You know it takes a lot for him to come out of a game, and it takes a lot for him to show up the next day and not be in it. There’s very few times he has come in and said he couldn’t go. It would have to be pretty bad for him to not be in there.”

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Eaton -- who is hitting .276/.359/.412 with 11 home runs and 45 RBIs -- joked he normally plays at about 75 percent for most games. He suggested that number dropped by one percent after Taijuan Walker hit him with a pitch and caused swelling in the fourth inning. Eaton stayed in the game until the bottom of the fifth and later had X-rays of his forearm taken, which proved negative. He said he didn’t have much strength in the area on Sunday, but it wasn’t an issue on Monday.

“Nothing broke, nothing major just a lot of swelling,” Eaton said. “I don’t like to leave games at all. It’s no offense to anybody else. But if I’m in the game I want to stay in the game. I don’t want to be Wally Pipp’d. It has always been my mindset and still is. I couldn’t really raise the bat up all that efficiently and we had a healthy Shuck. Let him go up there and compete. I hate coming out of the game, but sometimes you have to. I respect (Ventura) for getting me back in there right away and I guess, trusting in me that I’m all right and good enough to play.”

One reason Eaton pressed to play -- he’s not ready to give in. The leadoff man knows the odds are heavily against the possibility of a White Sox postseason berth. But isn’t ready to concede just yet.

“We’re not out of it until they say we’re out of it,” Eaton said. “There’s been teams down seven or 10 games and the last month of September have won 20 something games and forced a one-game playoff and gotten to the playoffs and been hot at the right time and made a good push. We’re not counting ourselves out and we want to continue to play good baseball.”

Todd Frazier still able to laugh off most embarrassing Little League story ever

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Todd Frazier still able to laugh off most embarrassing Little League story ever

When it comes to hitting homers and driving in runs for the Chicago White Sox in 2016, Todd Frazier is No. 1.

But ask the third baseman for a favorite story about being a baseball player, and he won’t hesitate.

It’s the time he was on the field in a middle of a game---and he went No. 2.

“It was a 10-year-old tournament. Final game. Winner goes to the sectionals. I’m at shortstop,” Frazier explained to CSN Chicago. “I don’t know what I ate. I had the bubble guts all day long. The next thing I knew, I was in trouble.”

Before we get to the dirty details of the Frazier detonation, the original goal of this story was to ask White Sox players about their memories growing up playing baseball.

As the hero of the Toms River East All-Star team that won the 1998 Little League World Series, Frazier probably has enough memories to fill a book.

In the championship game alone, he went 4-for-4 with a leadoff home run. He started that day at shortstop, came on to pitch in relief and threw the game-winning strikeout that gave Toms River a 12-9 victory over Japan for the title.

All the great stories from that magical season have already been told.  This is one from two years earlier that Frazier has been saving for years.

“I s— in my uniform," Frazier said. "I’m not ashamed to admit it."

With quotes like that, I think I speak for every Chicago media member that the White Sox should sign Frazier to a lifetime contract.

And it only gets better.  Or in Frazier’s case, much worse.

“We had a bases loaded jam, and the next thing you know, I couldn’t hold it in,” Frazier recalled. “I didn’t know what to do, to either run off the field or not. So I just let it go, man. Diarrhea all through.”

Frazier’s messy situation came at a terrible time: They were in the final inning of a huge playoff game. Winners move on, losers go home.

Suddenly, Frazier didn’t care about any of that. He needed to go to the nearest bathroom, quickly.

But instead of escaping the field with a victory and his dignity, Frazier’s internal crisis was about to be magnified.

“Coach actually said, ‘Todd, let’s go. It’s your turn to pitch.’ So I’m like, ‘Oh, my God.’ I walk up there gingerly. I get to the mound," he said. "I took one warm-up pitch and that was it. The umpire came out and said, ‘Dude, there’s some kind of stench going on here.’ And I’m like, ‘Yeah, I smelled the same thing when I came out.’ We’re all laughing.”

Not for long.

Thrust into this pressure situation as a relief pitcher who ironically had already relieved himself, with the fate of his team resting in both his pitching hand and his soiled underwear, the proverbial s— was about to hit the fan.

“First pitch, the guy hits a bases clearing triple (to win the game). I was elated. Everybody else was crying,” Frazier said. “I run to the Porta John. My dad is laughing at me.”

Cackling as his son raced to the facilities after a heart-breaking little league game speaks to the offbeat sense of humor embedded in the Frazier DNA.

And yet, this ludicrous moment was almost topped by what happened next.

“I had to ask my dad if he had an extra pair of clothing. Lo and behold, I’m wearing my 6-foot-8 dad’s jeans going home.”

Little Frazier was about 5-feet at the time.

‘I’m like, ‘Dad, let’s get out of here. Let’s not even shake hands. I don’t care about the (second place) trophy. Let’s get out of here.”

It might come as a surprise, but Frazier is not the first baseball player to pollute his baseball pants during a game. A well known major leaguer who will remain nameless said he once did it during an actual major league game.

It’s so embarrassing, who would let the world know about it, especially in today’s age of athletes being so guarded with the media, trying to control the message (and bowels), in the attempt to hide their imperfections?

Clearly not Todd Frazier. We applaud him for it.

“It’s a classic,” he said laughing.  “Now it’s out of the bag, so we’ll see what happens."

In the 20 years since that fateful day, Frazier has made sure this never happens again.

“I’ve always had a bottle of Pepto (Bismol) with me just in case. We've even got them inside the clubhouse here, so I'm good to go.”