The other three stars of SoxFestOnly one of the three stars is pictured here. No offense to Zack Collins or Jake Burger.

The other three stars of SoxFest

While I decided that Rick Renteria seemed to take advantage of SoxFest more than anybody, Ken gave away my not-too-distant second place in the comments:

Carlos Rodon kind of became the Rock after a run of Rocky Maivia. He used to be pretty boring and dry. Now all of a sudden he was getting millions and millions of fans to chant his name while giving the peoples eyebrow. Was a real coming out party for him.

I, too, noticed Rodon’s transformation. He never seemed particularly outgoing on his better days over the first three years of his career, and the way he handled his preseason injury reinforced the idea that he had little to say to people at best.

Given this, it was strange-but-welcome to see him gradually increase his level of involvement in the proceedings, and without a clear ceiling. Maybe it’s because he’s starting to emerge from the post-surgery haze. He described his procedure as “very minor” in its removal of bursitis and fraying, and he had a firm start date on a throwing program (Monday).

But he had more answers for everything in general.

He took on the elder statesman role on a panel of first-round picks. Jake Burger said Rodon told him that he should expect to hear his balls busted about the preferred status of a first-round pick, and he may as well own it. Rodon told a fan politely but firmly that “my expectations are higher than yours.”

Given his history of being taciturn, it would’ve been noteworthy if Rodon reliably stood out on seminars. By the end of the weekend, he was hosting them, and organizing pranks in the process.

If I didn’t tell you that was Carlos Rodon, would Carlos Rodon been in your first five guesses?

He also showed the ability to spin a yarn, such as his involvement in the Yordano Ventura-Adam Eaton brawl during his first week in the majors, which James Fegan relayed:

“Yordano Ventura’s on the mound,” Rodon said. “[Adam] Eaton grounds out to Yordano, Yordano starts screaming at Eaton, Eaton starts screaming at Yordano and here, we, go. Bullpen gate opens and [I’m] looking around like ‘What do I do?’ First day on the job, it’s 35 degrees, and they start running and David Robertson’s like ‘Yeah, you’re coming too.’ So I’m out running and I don’t know what I’m doing. I’m wearing this big puffy coat. I get into the scrum and I’m standing there like, ‘What’s going on?’ Lorenzo Cain is on top of friggin’ Jeff Samardzija, and there’s a big pile. I grabbed Lorenzo Cain’s leg because he’s on top of Samardzija like ‘Get off him!’ I don’t know what to do and I’m grabbing and pulling away.”

To hear Rodon tell it, all the veteran relievers who led him out were singlehandedly occupied by journeyman Royals catcher Erik Kratz, and he spent his first night looking at pure terror in his teammates’ eyes while sifting through the pile of major league bodies.

I still think Renteria made the most of SoxFest due to future availability. It’s important for Renteria to convey what he’s about given that he’s in charge of the rebuild and will be heard from upwards of 200 times over the coming year. While Rodon now clear to start throwing, his return date (he gave a generous window of the All-Star break) and impact thereafter remain murky, because shoulders are shoulders.

If one had to name SoxFest’s biggest overachiever, though, Rodon would be the easy call. If I wanted to set a narrative for him, but it’s almost as though he wants fans to remain invested in his future even if all the pitching prospects make him less necessary.

* * *

Actually, it’s probably a combination of having more experience than most of his teammates, and having a lot of teammates who aren’t afraid to mix it up themselves.

The players all do seem to get along famously, and while it’s hard to put a win total on that, I like this experiment the White Sox are conducting. After years of looking outside to address intangible shortages — think Adam LaRoche for leadership and Brett Lawrie for energy — the Sox are now content to have an abundance of identities in the minors.

That’s probably the place to develop them, because it’s a lot like the other skills. You don’t even have to buy into the idea of chemistry to agree that if players are going to irritate each other in the process of figuring out how they fit, it’s better to do it when wins and losses don’t matter.

Besides Rodon, two other players used the platform better than the others:

*Delmonico used SoxFest to show the “it” factor Renteria talked about last year. Based on fan reactions during the opening ceremony and autograph lines, he had the most disproportionate level of support based on his track record or prospect stock.

That’s not a bad thing. It just creates a ton of ground between the endpoints of potential outcomes. He could lead the Sox in jerseys sold if he sticks as merely a reliable regular. If he can’t quite hang, he might be a human “Thrillibridge” t-shirt.

*Along the same lines, Yolmer Sanchez bolstered his fan-favorite status with a weekend full of abusing Jason Benetti, dancing and singing for the kids, and trash talk for the adults.*

One example of the last part: On an all-Latin panel, a fan asked the players about Renteria’s ability to communicate, but added a second question about Eloy Jimenez about punching out a light tower bulb during batting practice. While the question was translated for Jimenez, Sanchez filled in the silence by saying, “By the way, that was a Little League ballpark.”

Yet Sanchez didn’t have the last word. After the laughter subsided, Jimenez responded, “But I still hit it.”

(*OK, Sanchez also saved some trash talk for the kids’ panel, although the children did the heavy lifting.)


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ParisSox
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ParisSox

I had to look up “garrulous”.  First time I’ve ever seen that word.

Thanks for these Jim.   It gives us fereners a good idea of what it might have been like to have been there.

katiesphil
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katiesphil

Damn, but this group seems bound and determined to make the Sox fun.

 

I like that.

AirTrafficAJ
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AirTrafficAJ

Nobody tell Robin Ventura.  He’ll come running through the wall like the Kool-Aid man to make sure people “turn down that racket”

katiesphil
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katiesphil

*CRASH*

oh…

 

um…

 

yeah…

katiesphil
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katiesphil

“Delmonico…  had the most disproportionate level of support based on his track record or prospect stock.”

Yeah, that’s why. Right, Lurker Laura?

Lurker Laura
Member
Lurker Laura

Hey, I resemble that remark…

lil jimmy
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lil jimmy

Laura and WU gonna cat fight over Nicky.

Lurker Laura
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Lurker Laura

There’s plenty of Nicky to go around.

Reindeer Games
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Reindeer Games

Are you speaking from experience, or have you just heard stories?

Cerpin Taxt
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Cerpin Taxt

I’m wondering if this is the most attractive Sox team we’ve had in recent years. Some of these guys are so attractive they make me want to cry.

asinwreck
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asinwreck

Adam Dunn doesn’t float your boat?

Cerpin Taxt
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Cerpin Taxt

I’m just happy you said “Dunn” and not “LaRoche.”

Trooper Galactus
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Kinda helps that most of them are in their early twenties, I’d imagine.

MrTopaz
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MrTopaz

Re- asinwreck:

In as much as he was built like a VLCC and about as fast as one of those New York City garbage barges.

rhubarb
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rhubarb

My son and I can be seen right after Davidson says his favorite number is 75, at the end of the last video.  I am in the grey hat.  The kids only press conference was great fun.

billyok
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billyok

This team is so much damn fun. I can’t wait for the winning to start, and I handwave those who say my offseason plan prediction of us winning it all this year is “premature” or “stupid” or “why can’t you ever be serious about anything.” But in the meantime, if SoxFest and the last couple months of last season are any indication, this will not be boring.

Patrick Nolan
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Man, I hope Nicky Delmonico sticks in the majors for the long haul. That guy is just too much fun to lose.

Lurker Laura
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Lurker Laura

Yep 🙂

winningugly
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THERE IS NOT ENOUGH TO GO AROUND, LSQUARED.

I want him all to meself.

tommytwonines
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tommytwonines

Not sure what you meant by “generous window” for Rodon’s return, Jim.  I assume Rodon means All-Star break by the latest? Hell of a window for his “minor surgery.”  It’s nice that he’s more personable these days, but not impressed that his expectations are higher than that certain fan. No s**t. We want to see you on the mound in a real game again sometime

lil jimmy
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lil jimmy

My guess is just lowering expectations on his return. We sometimes forget how young these guys may be.

About the time I turned 30. It occurred to me that up until 22, I was still a dumb kid. Carlos just turned 25. He’s a team leader now and all grown up. It’s nice to see.

ParisSox
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ParisSox
Patrick Nolan
Editor

are you legitimately angry at a baseball player for injuring himself while pitching for your baseball team

katiesphil
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katiesphil

Incredibly inconsiderate of him. What about our needs?

tommytwonines
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tommytwonines

pnoles and Katie this is becoming a pattern, imo.

He told Chuck Garfein this offseason that he took his arm for granted and wasn’t conditioning properly. He felt bad. Great. Pissed me off

Then he says he shouldn’t rush back to pitch an extra month if it means an extra year is lost at the end of his career. Nostradamus Rodon should have foresaw this scenario and had his shoulder surgery much earlier than September. Our loss – one month? – and their gain – whoever signs him come free agency.

Trooper Galactus
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Okay, I get what you’re trying to say, but I still think you’re being a bit unfair.  It’s not unusual for young players to need time to figure out a routine that works for the majors, especially guys with talent like Rodon’s who were able to dominate for years without really having to try much at it.  I’d prefer he figure that out a bit late and have some bumps along the way than just go about business as usual and not give a shit.

Steve
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Steve

While the latin players seminar was going on upstairs on Sunday, Rodon and Delmonico were signing autographs in the ticket sales area.  Along with the autographs, Delmonico was selling pop as well from the bar.  That combo was easily the most popular bunch I saw in that area especially compared to the rather subdued Garland and Baines autograph session that went on earlier in the day.

Trooper Galactus
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Man, wish I coulda gone this year.  Looks like it was quite a good time, as before, and I like that the younger guys are so engaged with fans already.

SeanEldon
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SeanEldon

I like Carlos Rodón. Rodón’s injuries ultimately fall directly onto him, moreso than it falls onto any training staff. He knew he was hurt or getting hurt and both pitched through it (making it worse) and pitched around it (getting pummeled). Hard to not get a little ticked about his innings average being below 125 per season, and shy of 70 last year.

I’m glad he’s a nice, funny guy who is shedding his previously-awkward exoskeleton. I think he can be a pretty damn good pitcher, not just a thrower. I’m just not totally sold on him being the happy-go-lucky jokin’-’round veteran clubhouse presence mook when he averages 50 innings more than a stock relief pitcher.

Would still be nice to see him start on an Opening Day, win 13-15 games over 200 innings, and not need pieces removed from or moved around his arm. Of course I understand that we got him very young, and he’s still very young, but his peak years are only a couple-too-tree away and he’s not yet thrown an entire big league season.

James Shields is starting Opening Day because Carlos Rodón’s arm doesn’t work correctly.

I repeat…

Reindeer Games
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Reindeer Games

Booo

Red_Hair_White_Sox
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Red_Hair_White_Sox

I could watch the apex of Yolmer’s magic trick on Benetti for hours and it would never get old