SoxFest aftertaste starts with ‘The Goose Island’

Perhaps the most interesting White Sox story to come out of SoxFest weekend had nothing to do with SoxFest. And the White Sox themselves waited until afterward to confirm it.

The White Sox announced an overhaul to Sections 106 and 107, turning the outfield seating area into “The Goose Island.” The Northwest Herald obtained an email and rendering showing the changes on Sunday, and the White Sox made it official this morning.

From the press release:

“The Goose Island” transforms two outfield seating sections into a new space, featuring a variety of seating options. Rows will include field-level views, group party areas and individual seating as well as a fun, social space in a few standing-room rows near the outfield concourse. All areas of “The Island” will have in-seat service. A total of 326 seats will be available in the section.

At the base of it are roomy, deluxe seating options with leather padding and charging ports. Water fixtures surrounding the section will separate the bourgeoisie from the proletariat make “The Goose Island” geographically accurate, and could be a fun subplot for the overserved all summer.

Goose Island will also take over sponsorship of the Kraft Kave. It appears from the rendering that access to the fence area will be limited to those with designated tickets.

* * * * * * * * *

If you only limit the pool to stories inside SoxFest, Ozzie Guillen and Kenny Williams sharing a stage on a panel probably carried the most weight in terms of newsworthiness, although to me it primarily underscores how the White Sox are constrained by the lack of clean breaks with non-playing personnel. Take this passage from the Phil Rosenthal column linked above:

What matters is the White Sox welcomed Guillen for the first time in years to SoxFest, where attendees greeted him with chants of “Ozzie! Ozzie! Ozzie!”

Son Ozzie Jr. and Sox marketing boss Brooks Boyer had been talking about Guillen’s return for some time. With the ballclub firmly committed to current manager Rick Renteria, the time was right.

That strikes my eye as, “Now that we’re married, it’s no longer threatening if my ex-husband comes to stay with us.”

I know my Guillen fatigue probably has persisted longer than average, but it’s mostly because the White Sox have punted away a potential contending opportunity due to a cold war between the manager and the GM more recently than they’ve made the postseason. To me, “turning the page” doesn’t only require the passage of time, but some proof that the White Sox are capable of winning after that era collapsed. It’s not Guillen’s fault that the Sox have strung together six consecutive losing seasons, but it is his fault that he’s not still managing the White Sox. I imagine he’d be impossible to usurp had he played his cards differently, or not set the table ablaze.

* * * * * * * * *

This is what passes for news when most free agents haven’t found homes. Machado dominated SoxFest the way he’s loomed large over every discussion here, in part because few players had established themselves as a rock-solid part of the future since the previous year’s SoxFest.

It feels tenuous for everybody, as Josh relayed from Rick Hahn’s seminar on Saturday:

“It’s not over yet for me,” said Hahn. “The way free agent and trade market has played out over several winters, we’ve sort of moved away from SoxFest date on the calendar essentially being the unofficial start of the season.”

The lack of a settled roster is unsettling, but it didn’t seem to affect the bottom line. The White Sox sold out SoxFest and the families looked happy, which is probably all they care about. Machado jerseys will sell if he signs, no matter when he does. “The absence of a centerpiece acquisition for a fan festival” is a symptom of larger problems with the game’s structure, but any of the effects will only be calculable at the time of a work stoppage. For the time being, while it’s probably pretty bad, it’s mostly just inconvenient for those of us who like writing, talking and thinking about baseball in January.

Credit Hahn for navigating the unresolved free agent pursuits with more tact than his Minnesota counterpart. Thad Levine has a habit of telling on himself in open forums, whether it’s explicitly mentioning service time in September with regards to suppressing Byron Buxton, or botching the value of marginal wins while attempting to explain the Twins’ lack of interest in a bigger signing.

“My view … for doing it is the best time to acquire players of that magnitude is when your window to win is wide open,” Levine said to the crowd. “Not when you’re got your fingers underneath the window and you’re trying to jam the window open. I want to do it when we’re projected to win the Central and we’re ready to put our foot on someone’s throat.”

Hahn didn’t exactly get me all jazzed up when he laid some track for softening the blow of a total whiff, and James Fegan is correct that the White Sox get no points for being serious. If the Sox get to the point where the Twins are, I’m guessing Hahn will handle it better. Getting where the Twins are remains the task at hand, and a sizable one at that.

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Jim Margalus
Jim Margalus

Writing about the White Sox for a 16th season, first here, then at South Side Sox, and now here again. Let’s talk curling.

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This story reminds me of how much I hate the Twins. I hope they have their fingers underneath the window and the Sox slam it shut for the next decade. 


A fenced-off area with fresh water in spitting distance of Section 108. I guess, if the team isn’t watchable, there might at least be some good character drama happening in the stands.


FYI, the Northwest Herald is an Illinois paper (NW Suburbs, McHenry County).

Reindeer Games

They better not ruin the Craft Cave which is one of the best and most unique aspects of the ballpark.  Jim, was it you that was saying you’d never been there before this years meet-up?  It’s really perfect for those super hot games, or if you want to watch a game against a team with an elite bullpen.  


Supposedly they will still have 75+ beers down there, although I have some concern that some of the local and regional craft stuff may get pushed out for other AnheuserBuschInBev-owned craft brands

Reindeer Games

Lack of variety would definitely suck.  Not being able to watch the game through the bullpen would be devastating


This is also a concern I had. Very curious what will become of the craft cave

Josh Nelson

Craft Cave was a savior during Michael Kopech starts (rain delays)


Screw that. Ditching a general admission, first-come-first-served section for some corporate-sponsored, premium seats with bullshit waterworks is the kind of thing good teams can do, not teams on their worst six year stretch since integration.

Reindeer Games

But haven’t you heard, they’re “trying really hard” for Manny Machado!


If this ever actually becomes an issue the rebuild will have succeeded beyond our wildest dreams.


Unless those tickets are gonna go for $7, then it’s already an issue. Literally took away one of the best perks of going to park because I guess 2018 didn’t feature enough fan murdering.

South Side Expat

It’s some absolute bullplop for sure.


Ambassadors, beer islands, fests, giveaways, waitstaff, social media games, exclusive this and that. I’m feeling some fatigue. So many carts. So few Jose Abreus.

Could a company ever sponsor a player? Could we give a company proper credit/recognition for kicking in some money to sign the guy? Could Goose Island have paid the Sox $2M a year to have Gene Honda announce, “Now batting, brought to you by Goose Island, right fielder, Bryce Harper.” Goose Island is paying Harper directly, but there’s an understanding that the Sox paid him $28 instead of $30, and there’s an understanding that the Sox got him paid the extra $2M. Why do we have to beat around the bush with this new exclusive fan deck, and slap Goose Island’s name on it, and then claim that it’s being reinvested in the team on the field? I’d appreciate the hell out of Goose Island if we can somehow attribute .125 of on-field bWAR to them this year? I care about that more than this additional fan deck for corporate grabassery. Thanks, Goose Island. Thanks for helping the team win. That’s some hometown* Chicago White Sox dedication you have.

*Anheuser-Busch InBev is based in Leuven, Belgium

Yolmer's gatorade

Does anyone have any details on the water stuff. It looks in the picture like it is just a bin full of water. That’s pretty hokey if you ask me.

As long as it doubles as a latrine we’re good.

Hey there, this isn’t Wrigley Field.


fun subplot for the overserved was the best Pavement EP.


In terms of Ozzie being an ex-manager, I’m still impressed by how he set fire to his Marlins tenure the spring training of his first season in a four-year contract. That said, he looked good and in good spirits this week.

lil jimmy

Ozzie is like the Ex that called the cops about a disturbance and left you handcuffed to the radiator to explain.

South Side Expat

“You again?”


Forecasting Player assigns.

Outfield: AAA: Jiminez, Basabe, Cordell, Tilson.

AA: Rutherford, (Adolfo DL/DH), Booker, Fisher. A+: Robert, Gonzalez.

Thoughts:you could make case for gonzalez in AA. Robert i’d like to see earn it.


Once Eloy gets called up the interesting thing will be the shuffle up the minor leagues. Unless Delmonico simply gets optioned (he has any left?).


Is there a site that keeps track of options remaining?


Interwebs are lighting up with Harper to Philly talk


Ditto on Ozzie. Though i am grateful for 2005 & 2008, after 2011 between the antics of him and his sons , and his embarrassing himself in Miami I lost all interest in him, his family and his opinions and hoped to never see him employed the Sox in any capacity again. Unfortunately the the sports press concentrated on (besides the non -signing of Manny ) his presence and the dissing of the Cubs by a borderline major leaguer. Disappointing Sox fest.