Sunday, Feb. 21, 2010
By Chuck Garfien
Walking into the White Sox clubhouse on the day that pitchers and catchers officially reported, I noticed something unique about the squad Kenny Williams had assembled for 2010, but I couldnt put a finger on it.
There was a pair of cowboy boots at one locker, a fishing pole at another, mixed together with the overwhelming stench of Skoal.
We got a lot of rednecks around here, Jake Peavy observed.
Maybe not the word that I would have used, but ummm.thats it.
Jakes locker sits near fellow good ol boys Scott Linebrink, Mark Buehrle, and Bobby Jenks, who has cleverly pegged this area Redneck Row.
I was getting made fun of for my cowboy boots, Peavy said. But I promise you theres going to be 6, 7, 8, 9 guys walking in here with cowboy boots.
Rest assured, Kenny Williams will not be one of them.
Peavy, from Mobile, Alabama, proudly declared that his injured ankle from last season(and the rest of his body) is now 100 percent. Im healthy and as ready as Ive ever been.
But he wont need to be ready on Opening Day. For a franchise-record 8th time, Mark Buehrle will get the nod, a decision announced later in the day by Ozzie Guillen.
Before learning that hell pitch April 5th against the Indians(on Comcast SportsNet by the way), Buehrle nominated Peavy to be the Sox 1 starter for the season, saying, Id rather watch a pitching match-up of PeavyVerlander than BuehrleVerlander.
Cant really argue with that.
And dont even try to squabble with John Danks about his idol, Mr. Buerhle. Who was his pick for Opening Day? No surprise.
Im going to say Buehrle because hes been here the longest. No disrespect to Jake but Buehrle has been here, hes the face of the franchise, and if Im the pitching coach Im going with Buehrle.
But while Peavy might not technically be the Sox number-one(atleast on Opening Day) Jake said I expect to pitch like a number-one.
He also talks like a number-one.
After feeling the pressure of being THE guy in San Diego, Jake acknowledged that its a different situation with the White Sox. Higher expectations, but less individual pressure.
Its fun to jump in and be one of the guys, and not to be looked as having to carry such a big load that, at times, I may have felt in San Diego.
Peavy came to the White Sox to win a World Series, something only a handful of Sox players are still around to remember.
It seems like forever ago, Buehrle said. Not just with guys not being here and not many guys left, but five years have passed, and other teams have been winning, and we havent been there in a couple years, so we definitely want to be back.
Let the Hoedown begin!