Podcast: Early White Sox Spring Training Takeaways and Fan Advisory Board Idea

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Record Date: 3/1/2023

Rundown:

  • Josh’s rant about the lack of Spring Training web streams and StatCast data
  • Jake Burger getting a surprising amount of playing time early.
  • Early performances catching our attention
  • Gavin Lux’s season-ending injury
  • Chelsea FC is implementing a Fan Advisory Board. Should the White Sox follow suit?
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We lived in Minneapolis for a while and I had partial Twins season tickets for five or so years and they had a season ticket holder/fan advisory board. I never applied for it (since I’m not a Twins fan) but it looked like a pretty interesting role – you got to go to meetings on off days at the stadium and meet with front office folks.

Also, just generally, the Twins STH experience was WAY better than it is for the Sox. Shocking I know.

FishSox

Can you offer a couple of highlights? Not having been a STH of any other club, I have nothing to compare it to.

Shingos Cheeseburgers

10% discount on concessions and discount of merch at team store (I believe the Sox do a merch discount but not concessions)

Free tickets to their winter fan fest

Early access to the stadium and an STH only gate

They eventually got rid of it but there was an exclusive STH club in the stadium you go have dinner pregame and get drinks after cutoff

Lots of conference calls/Zooms with coaches and front office staff

During the pandemic they had various Twins associated presentations via Zoom

There is/was an STH kiosk where every game you could swipe your STH card to possibly win tickets/suites/concessions vouchers/etc

This is the biggest: unlimited exchanges and paid upgrades on tickets. For example: If you had a 40 game plan for 1 seat you could via a web portal exchange it so you had 2 tickets to 20 games. Have a $12 face value ticket for a game and want to upgrade? Go into the portal and exchange for a better seat paying the difference in price with no fees. It was really really easy to use and infinitely flexible.

Finally some really basic stuff that nonetheless made me feel ‘wanted’ for lack of a better term. Birthday cards, Christmas cards, setting aside specially ticketed non-gate giveaways. Hell one time I mentioned off hand my family was coming to visit for a game they gave me four free all inclusive tickets.

I never really had a problem with my Sox STH rep but they paled in comparison to what my Twins reps did.

knoxfire30

I cant believe how out of their way the mlb and or local broadcasting networks go to hide these games from mainstream tv. The lack of updated stats and what not is also annoying.

Why havent rebuilding teams come calling on Burger, maybe the sox are trying to showcase him a bit with this amount of playing time… if your the pirates why the hell are you signing carlos santana for one year or acquiring Choi, as oppose to sending the sox a middle tier prospect for burger??? Makes no sense to me.

mikeyb

If you’re a rebuilding team, is a 26 year-old first baseman with ok power really that exciting? But really, my guess is this another guy who the Sox drafted highly and are overvaluing internally (this organization actually pretended he could play second base!)

knoxfire30

I actually think you give burger 500+ at bats he hits 25-30 homers id much rather have that then the 31 year old they acquired to play first whose top hr output for a season is 19 and or the 36 about to turn 37 year old they got to dh that is a combined 1.2 war over the last three seasons total…. but thats just me, obviously the pirates are a well oiled machine firing on all cylinders always making the right choices.

mikeyb

Heh it always makes me smile a bit when I remember that there is an org that is somehow worse than the Sox at just about everything.

Yes, I would certainly rather try Burger out than Santana. I don’t think 500+ at bats is likely for Burger, as he can never seem to stay healthy. But assuming he finds a way, if the Sox think he’s got 2b/3b potential, I can’t see another team offering a good enough prospect to get their attention. I would imagine most other teams see him as a 1B/DH option only.

dwjm3

The Braves brought in 588 million in revenue last year. A 20 million year over year increase.

They are owned by a publicly traded company so they have to disclose financials. Of course the Braves are essentially an upper middle market team, so it goes to show the earnings potential of this club if we were a regular winner.

Furthermore, as we sit here today there is no reason we shouldn’t have the revenue to bid on top tier free agents.

This team feels like an undervalued asset for the right pair of hands.

Last edited 1 year ago by dwjm3
HallofFrank

It’s a small point, but I had this question when Law was talking about Schultz and it was mentioned again here, so: are tall pitchers (like Schultz) really an exceptional risk?

Law made a point like, “6’9″ pitchers are really rare, therefore this is a risky demographic.” But my thought was: 6’9″ humans are really rare. Plus, if you’re 6’9″ and have even a whiff of athleticism, you’re getting pushed to basketball. So, I’m wondering if 6’9″ pitchers really are especially risky, or if the lack of 6’9″ players has more to do with the original pool being extremely small in the first place. Surely someone out there has done some kind of analysis on this question?

As Cirensica

This is a very interesting point. Only a tiny fraction of non 6’9″ pitchers made it when compare to the pool of players in each similar height.

Sure, there are a lot of pitchers 6’5″ that made it to the big leagues compared with the 6’9″, but if the pool of the first group is 100,000 and the 2nd is 1,000, then maybe on the % game, the 6’9″ pitchers prospects don’t look that bad.

HallofFrank

Right. It very well may be that the % of 6’9″ prospects that hit really is lower than other heights. But—and this is just a hunch—I’m guessing we don’t have sufficient data to make any pronouncements about how risky 6’9″ prospects are when compared to shorter players.

mikeyb

I think part of the risk that comes in actually IS due to the fact that 6’9″ humans are so rare. Pitching coaches know how to work with pitchers who are 6’2″ and help them deal with their mechanics. They can treat them differently than a guy who is 5’10” or a guy who is 6’5″. They have a wealth of knowledge, from their own experiences and the experiences of others, that allow them to treat each of those pitchers differently.

But most pitching coaches will just have no experience with a guy who is 6’9″ and won’t know other pitching coaches who have that experience.

I agree with you that we have no way of knowing if a guy who is 6’9″ is more likely to get hurt or have more issues than a 6’5″ guy, since the data is limited. But since pitching coaches just don’t have experience with these giants, I would think that inherently adds a level of risk to the equation.

FishSox

Just from a physics standpoint, the length of levers creates additional pressures on joints that are performing identical functions. I.e. doing a pushup for a 6’7″ 230 lb, person takes more strength and puts more pressure on joints than a 6′ 170lb person.

Take the action of pitching and the stride length, and lever force of the longer arm create more torque on all the joints involved, than on a shorter pitcher.

HallofFrank

I can’t imagine that this explains it. Lots of guys have tools or features that are unique (or close to it). I don’t think Ben Joyce is especially risky because he throws 105 MPH, and no one else does so coaches don’t know how to teach him.

I suspect @FishSox is onto something: larger players (of any variety), at least in other sports, seem to get injured more. This may be it.

Augusto Barojas

Big Unit was 6″10. For me, when he was on, he was the most dominant pitcher I’ve seen in my lifetime. Close to unhittable when he was right, and nobody more intimidating than him coming from that arm angle.

Just like in tennis height gives a real advantage on a serve, the same goes for a pitcher because the trajectory of a pitch is at a greater downward angle and less horizontal. That makes it even harder to hit, certainly in the extreme. Assuming their arm is longer than the average person, their release point may be a few inches closer to home plate as well.

HallofFrank

Do you have a sense of how that 21% compares with other age ranges? And, right, comparing how many were drafted matters, too.

Chipporter makes a good point below, that big players seem to be more injury prone in other sports. So maybe that’s the explanation.

upnorthsox

How about under 6′? I’m curious as this demographic has been all but written off.

Maybe I’m missing the point here, are we talking performance or health? I thought Law’s point was about health but I could be misremembering it.

upnorthsox

A significant difference, I would imagine though that the vast majority of them are pre-1980.

As Cirensica

So for pitchers tall as Schultz the % of succeed on getting more than 5 bWAR is 33% which is the highest of the pitchers population Josh data analyze above (Thank you Josh for bringing useful date to this discussion)

As Cirensica

Yet, only 18 candidates. It seems there is a case to make like HoF mentioned above. It might more an issue of the rarity of that player to exist (total pool = 18), than about the chances of succeed.

Jim Margalus

Bailey Ober could get there in a year or two.

FishSox

At 6’7″ and the recipient of well over a dozen ortho surgeries, it has always been my empirical opinion that tall = susceptible to breakdown. My first ortho procedure was a shoulder when I was 15.

I do however acknowledge that my belief isn’t founded in anything but personal experience and that your question has merit.

StockroomSnail

I think tall pitchers are such a small sample size that history tells you very little.

Augusto Barojas

Lux going down might make the Dodgers a great mid season trade partner. Gio and Lynn will be gone after the season, Graveman and TA after 2024. If the Sox are mediocre mid season as predicted, a package of TA, Gio (or Lynn), and Graveman might get them an incredible haul from a team with a great farm system. Dodgers don’t have great closer depth either. They might have little interest in Gio/Lynn but TA and Graveman might work for them. Both under contract next year, they should have a ton of trade value.

I really hope they get some good prospects for at least a couple of those guys, would be better than getting nothing in return when they all leave.

Foulkelore

Related to spring training availability, Jim usually posts an extremely helpful spring training broadcast schedule that lists White Sox games available on the combination of: NBC Sports Chicago, MLB TV, webcasts, etc. Did I miss this, or is it yet to be posted?

Last edited 1 year ago by Foulkelore
Jim Margalus

The White Sox did the work for me this time.

Foulkelore

Awesome, thanks!

jorgefabregas

Is it available in some mysterious place?

Jim Margalus

Sox Feed is an ex post facto joke.

Foulkelore

Oh wow, so there are hardly any spring games that are available to watch this year. Boy, this team sure does all they can to murder their fan base.

FishSox

Keeping in the new tradition of complete transparency through cancellation, i.e. soxfest.

jorgefabregas

gentle persons, I propose that we gain surreptitious access to their video and create our own “Sox Feed” to gorge ourselves on banal spring training footage.

Foulkelore

Yeah, good point. That seems like way too many marked that have a Sox feed. I haven’t seen a webcast schedule at all.

Joliet Orange Sox

Maybe Rich King is very busy with other things and the Sox know the fanbase will accept no substitute for him announcing the webcasts.

Steve

I loved the Spring Training webfeeds. There were some bumps here and there. The season that started with a live mic in the truck where we got to hear the aftermath of collection call to the gentleman in the truck got the spring off to an awkward start. A lot of the color people were whomever happened to be in Arizona. Some were pretty bad although Katie Eaton was surprisingly good / fun in the booth. Russ Langer was great handling an ever changing spring lineup with a rotation of color people. Considering that most of the color people were not professionals, I can’t imagine the broadcast booth was the major cost.

Steve

Regarding mustaches, some that I remember from the 80’s and 90’s include: Greg Pryor, Dennis Lamp, Ozzie, Rudy Law, Jose DeLeon, Ron Karkovice, Roberto Hernandez, and, until the white flag trade, Danny Darwin.

upnorthsox

Jose Valentin, Tim Raines, Gene Nelson. I think goatee’s played havoc on what would be many mustached players.

asinwreck

And several alumni grew accomplished mustaches only after leaving the Sox. Rich Gossage and Pete Vuckovich come to mind.

At least Richie Zisk had his in his one season on the team.

jorgefabregas

I didn’t remember Kark having a mustache. Here’s what I found when I googled Ron Karkovice mustache https://not.fangraphs.com/the-inside-the-park-grand-slam-an-appreciation/

upnorthsox

It was blond so it was easy to miss.

Steve

Here’s the actual thing. It was against the Twins so that’s an extra plus. https://www.mlb.com/video/karkovice-s-inside-the-parker

Last edited 1 year ago by Steve
soxygen

Right on…Dennis Lamp and Roberto Hernandez are the two that jumped to mind.

asinwreck

Forty years ago, I eagerly watched SportsVision’s telecasts from Sarasota for a glimpse of Daryl Boston.

I’m not seeking out this year’s feed to see Daryl Boston.

Speaking of forty years ago, perhaps my favorite White Sox mustache belonged to Dennis Lamp. Facial hair so impressive it brought back Tom Seaver!

upnorthsox

And his teammate Dick Tidrow! Heck you could add Kevin Hickey too! Now that was a fine mustachioed BP. The epitamy of Winning Ugly

asinwreck

Tidrow was amazing throughout his career (and into his work as a Giants scout). Both Tidrow and Lamp veered letting their 5 o’clock shadow go into full beards at times

upnorthsox

Romy and Lenyn haven’t got out to very good starts so far this spring. Still early but now is when they get the most ABs.

Jim Margalus

This is the year to start slow. With Moncada, Anderson, Robert and Jimenez in the WBC, they probably have at least another week of playing time ahead.

Ted Mulvey

Late to the party, but worry not: I promise to not do a White Sox mustache Sporcle quiz. Sporcle does allow for image quizzes, though, so it would be a quiz akin to the old Deadspin series, “Whose disgusting baseball chin is this?”.

Holland23

Maybe ‘stache’ the idea for future use.