WBEZ | Sox http://www.wbez.org/tags/sox Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Chicago Cubs, White Sox players return http://www.wbez.org/blogs/cheryl-raye-stout/2013-05/chicago-cubs-white-sox-players-return-107298 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/rsz_matt_garza%20gene%20j%20Puskar.jpg" style="float: right; height: 450px; width: 300px;" title="After missing months, Matt Garza is back for the Cubs. (AP)" />Welcome mats are out for some Chicago baseball players returning to action and a former player and coach returning for a visit.</p><h2><strong>Cubs pitcher Matt Garza</strong></h2><p>It has been a long road back for Cubs pitcher Matt Garza after another injury. It may have been only five innings, but it was a great comeback Tuesday night, despite the Cubs losing 5-4 to the Pirates. Garza only gave up one hit in five innings pitched and no runs. Manager Dale Sveum had his right-hander on a pitch/inning count. The Cubs pitcher also contributed with a two-run scoring double. Too bad the bullpen couldn&rsquo;t hold onto the 3-0 lead given to them. &nbsp;</p><p>Last season Garza had an elbow injury that sidelined him from July through the remainder of the season. Going into spring training, Garza last just days when he suffered a left lat (side) strain. To make room for Garza, pitcher Carlos Villanueva was moved to the bullpen for long relief and Michael Bowden was designated for re-assignment.</p><p>What is the real prospect for Garza wearing a Cubs uniform? If he can stay healthy (that is a big if) and perform, he may be on the trading block. Last year, MLB scouts were lined up preparing reports for their prospective teams to acquire him in a deal until Garza&nbsp;suffered the elbow injury. This year teams will be wary about his status. You can bet Cubs management fingers are&nbsp;crossed. Garza will give them quality starts to make a deal or the team may hang on to him for another season.</p><h2><strong>Sox starters John Danks and Gordon Beckham</strong></h2><p>Sox lefty John Danks has had a long recovery from his shoulder injury last year. Danks is hoping he can be on the mound for the White Sox as soon as Friday against the Marlins. The team needs him. With Gavin Floyd lost for this year and possibly longer, the Sox need more depth in their rotation. The likely candidate to go into the bullpen would be Hector Santiago. The other player the Sox may have back is second baseman Gordon Beckham. He suffered a broken wrist on April 11. He should be back any day after rehabbing in the minors. Beckham&rsquo;s defense has been sorely missed this season.</p><h2><strong>Former Chicago stars</strong></h2><p>If there is a former Cub who has left his heart in Chicago, it&#39;s Ryan Dempster. He warmly greeted the Chicago media as he sat wearing his Boston Red Sox uniform. Dempster was happy to&nbsp;pick up his son from school in Chicago and brought the youngster to US Cellular field. Out in right field, Dempster and his son Brady played catch during the pre-game work outs. Dempster also instigated his son to carry out a prank. After eating a banana, he had the 7-year-old throw the peel on the dugout floor to see if someone would slip on it. Trust me. It was funny.</p><p>Dempster has a new pitching coach that has strong ties to the White Sox: Juan Nieves. The first-year Boston coach spent the previous 14 years with Chicago and the last five as the team&rsquo;s bullpen coach. Nieves was instrumental working with the numerous rookies in the pen last year for Sox manager Robin Ventura. He worked with Sox pitching coach Don Cooper and was known for his astute use of video and computers for game preparations. &nbsp;Now Nieves handles one of the better pitching staffs in baseball that has lofty expectations for another championship ring. That is also one of the reasons Dempster signed with the Red Sox.&nbsp;</p><p><em>Follow Cheryl on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/Crayestout" target="_blank">@CRayeStout</a>&nbsp;and Facebook <a href="http://www.facebook.com/CherylAtTheGame" target="_blank">Cheryl Raye Stout #AtTheGame&nbsp;</a></em></p></p> Tue, 21 May 2013 21:45:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/cheryl-raye-stout/2013-05/chicago-cubs-white-sox-players-return-107298 Any Chicago baseball players getting a call today? Not Sosa http://www.wbez.org/blogs/cheryl-raye-stout/2013-01/any-chicago-baseball-players-getting-call-today-not-sosa-104765 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/rsz_sammy_sosa.jpg" style="float: left; height: 413px; width: 300px;" title="Sammy Sosa will not hear from the Hall of Fame today--likely never. (AP Photo/ Matt York)" />Today is an anxious day for some former Chicago baseball players&mdash;will the Hall of Fame ring their phones and give them good news about gaining entrance? There are a few players that played in Chicago, Tim Raines (White Sox) and Lee Smith (Cubs) that are getting some serious consideration.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">There is one that is eligible that is likely not getting the call and probably never will: Sammy Sosa.</div><p><strong>A silent phone for Sosa:</strong></p><p>This is his first year on the ballot and there appears to be no support for the former Cub slugger. Sosa finished his baseball career with 609 home runs (three seasons with 60 or more) and is eighth on the all-time list for that statistic. In the past few years, the players that are considered tainted by the steroids have been filtering into the list of possible candidates&mdash;none have made it. This year the list is peppered with several that have been implicated or are considered likely users of the performance enhancing drugs which includes the former Cub right fielder.&nbsp;In 2009, the New York Times reported&nbsp;that Sosa had a positive test in 2003. There was never an admission by him to confirm he had taken any drugs to help the Cub slugger become one of baseball&#39;s prolific home run hitters of his era&mdash;there were strong physical indicators he likely did. Couple the change of his body with his performance in front of Congress in 2005&mdash;remember he forgot he knew English, therefore sidestepping all questions&mdash;the conclusion by the media was Sosa &quot;juiced&quot;.</p><p><strong>Sosa&#39;s career zenith:</strong></p><p>You can&#39;t forget&nbsp;the exciting quest to break the home run record with Mark McGwire in 1998. Sosa smacked 66 home runs that year and the Cardinal first baseman hit 70. Since then both men have been labeled cheaters and their accomplishments considered fraudulent. McGwire finally came out two years ago and admitted his steroid use. In a Fox Sports radio interview this November, McGwire commented on the costs of using the drugs: &ldquo;It&#39;s a mistake that I have to live with for the rest of my life. I have to deal with never, ever getting into the Hall-of-Fame.&rdquo;</p><p>McGwire has been involved with baseball as a hitting coach with St. Louis and now the LA Dodgers. Sosa has remained isolated from the game.</p><p><strong>The steroid cloud has become a silver lining for others:</strong></p><p>&nbsp;There seems to be a major push to look at players that preceded the cloud of steroids with a new view. Many believe that is why former Cub Andre Dawson was able to gain entrance a few years ago. It seems to me his numbers did merit the vote. Dawson&rsquo;s success was overlooked for years because he played in obscurity in Montreal and was an MVP for a last place Cubs team. For whatever reason this year, Tim Raines is now getting a closer look by the Hall of Fame voters. Like his best friend, Andre Dawson, Raines had his best years in Montreal. He played twenty three years, had a lifetime batting average of .294, stole 808 bases and won the National League batting title in 1986. With the White Sox, his best season was 1993&mdash;the division title year. Raines hit .306 and had 16 home runs that season. In the post season he hit .444 and scored five runs in the series loss to Toronto.</p><p>He was one of baseball&rsquo;s best lead-off hitters and base-stealers. Raines was a seven time All-Star with the Expos. He coached first-base for the White Sox during the 2005 championship season. This is his sixth year on the ballot, last year he received 47 percent of the vote (75 percent is needed).</p><p>The other former Chicago player gaining support is Lee Smith. The big-power pitcher began his career with the Cubs in 1980-1987. He would pitch an addition ten years and finished with 478 saves to his credit. Although relief pitchers have been elected to the Hall of Fame in recent years, it has eluded Smith. He was used primarily for one inning&mdash;but he usually dominated the batters he faced. Smith has been eligible since 2003 for the Hall of Fame. Last year he earned 50 percent of the vote.</p><p><strong>The Class of 2013:</strong></p><p>Who knows what the voters will do&mdash;the system is in the hands of baseball writers. Once a writer gets to vote, he or she has that right forever. What is interesting is many no longer cover baseball (or had a short stint) and you wonder how much thought is put into it. This is not to impugn the ones active or retired that have followed the game closely and diligently cast their vote. With the print industry struggling, the Hall of&nbsp;Fame may&nbsp;consider revamping the voting process.&nbsp;</p><p>As for the next class, it will be announced at 1 p.m. Wednesday and the induction is July 26 in Cooperstown, NY.</p><p>Hope the phone rings loud for a couple of former Chicago players.</p><p>Follow Cheryl on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/Crayestout" target="_blank">@CRayeStout</a> and Facebook C<a href="http://www.facebook.com/CherylAtTheGame" target="_blank">heryl Raye Stout #AtTheGame </a></p></p> Wed, 09 Jan 2013 06:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/cheryl-raye-stout/2013-01/any-chicago-baseball-players-getting-call-today-not-sosa-104765 Lockouts divert Chicago sports fans to struggling baseball teams http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-07-11/lockouts-divert-chicago-sports-fans-struggling-baseball-teams-88964 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//segment/photo/2011-July/2011-07-11/Cellular Field.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The major league is headed into its All-Star break this week, generally considered the halfway point in baseball’s marathon season. But at least its&nbsp; a season. The NBA took a page from the NFL playbook recently when labor negotiations ended in a stalemate.</p><p>With two professional leagues in lockout mode, all eyes are the boys of summer but things aren't looking good for <a href="http://chicago.cubs.mlb.com/index.jsp?c_id=chc" target="_blank">Cubs</a> or <a href="http://chicago.whitesox.mlb.com/index.jsp?c_id=cws" target="_blank">Sox</a> fans. Cheryl Raye-Stout joined <em>Eight Forty-Eight</em> to give a sports quick hit.</p></p> Mon, 11 Jul 2011 15:14:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-07-11/lockouts-divert-chicago-sports-fans-struggling-baseball-teams-88964 Broadcaster and former player Steve Stone chronicles a lifetime in baseball http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-07-06/broadcaster-and-former-player-steve-stone-chronicles-lifetime-baseball-8 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//segment/photo/2011-July/2011-07-06/Steve Stone - AP Images.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Few rivalries match the one between Chicago’s North and South-Side baseball fans. Each summer the Crosstown Classic pits neighbor against neighbor, Cub against White Sock in a clash of titans on Chicago’s two diamonds. But one former Cy Young winner has managed to endear diehards on both sides of the fence. <a href="http://www.stevestone.com/" target="_blank">Steve Stone</a> spent time pitching and calling games for both of the city’s ball clubs. His new book, <em>Said In Stone</em>, details the intricacies of the game he loves. <em>Eight Forty-Eight’s</em> Jason Marck recently talked with Stone who says players can improve their game without picking up a bat or a ball.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><em>Music Button: Justin Roberts, "Pop Fly," from the release Pop Fly (self-released)</em></p></p> Wed, 06 Jul 2011 13:47:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-07-06/broadcaster-and-former-player-steve-stone-chronicles-lifetime-baseball-8