Guest Blogger: Jordan Danks

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Hey everyone, my name is Jordan Danks and I am a 22 year old outfielder in the White Sox organization. You may be wondering why my last name sounds so familiar, that is because if you are a Sox fan you have probably heard of my older brother John Danks who just spent his second full season in the big leagues for the sox. I like to believe that I’ve been with the Sox longer than he has though because I was actually drafted out of high school by them in the 19th round in 2005. However, I elected to attend the University of Texas and play for Augie Garrido. After three years as a Longhorn I was lucky enough to play in the same organization as my brother. I signed in late August and was immediately shipped out to Kannapolis North Carolina to play for the Intimidators (class low-A) for the remaining 12 games of their season. When the season ended I had about two weeks off before attending the instructional league right here in Arizona. After spending a month in Arizona I was only home a week before discovering I would be returning for another month. Truth be told I was bummed at first because I had just gotten back home. Once I realized what a terrific opportunity this was though I became ecstatic. I have enjoyed my time here so far and met a lot of great guys. We have unbelievable team chemistry. It is really fun being able to play with guys from different organizations and especially with those you read about every time a new Baseball America is published. Also it is really cool to be wearing the official uniform of the Chicago White Sox. hopefully after the saguaros win the AFL, Ill get to wear it at US Cellular Field some day. 

       Sincerely,

             Jordan Danks

Master of Your Domain

Hello everyone!  I hope this letter finds everyone safe and well.  So, as many of you don’t know, I am a big fan of Seinfeld.  For any of you that have not seen some episodes, it’s a show about nothing.  So in the spirit of Seinfeld, this blog will be about nothing but encompass everything.

First I would like to say thank you to the many readers, and for all your kind words.  I recently visited the Soxtalk website thanks to a comment below my last post.  I want everyone on that forum to know that I, as well as many of the other minor leaguers, really appreciate your support.  It is my sincere hope that I can give you guys some good things to talk about someday on the Pale Hose forum.  By the way, every time I hear the phrase “pale hose”, I always think about the movie Major League II.  Bob Ueker (no idea how to spell that) states that the Tribe will play the “Pale Hosers from the windy city”, makes me laugh.  Anyways, thanks again for your support.  As I am sure you know, none of the White Sox players ever want to let the fans down.  But, as I’m sure you know, this is Baseball.  It is quite possibly the most difficult and frustrating game anyone can play.  When in life do you fail seven out of ten times and still be considered good?  Never.  That is the measure of a difficult game.  But to quote Tom Hanks in A League of Their Own, “Baseball is something that gets inside you, it’s what lights you up.  If it wasn’t hard, everybody would do it.  The hard is what makes it great.”

I also received a question about Jordan Danks.  Danksy has become a very good friend of mine since we both began Minor League Baseball.  This guy is a very humble and nice guy and I am proud to call him my teammate and friend.  Talk about an athlete.  This guy is 6’6 and runs like a deer.  It takes him about three strides to get to first base.  I think Chicago will really enjoy watching him play one day, as I am sure he will make it to the big leagues sooner than later.  Don’t try to get in a movie quote war with the guy either, he dominates. 

My roommate out here is Brett Wallace.  Wally World, as I call him, is one heck of a baseball player.  I nicknamed him Wally World because of the obvious reason, Clark W. Griswald.  In the first of his famous Vacation movies, he takes a cross country trip to Wally World, a theme park on the west coast I believe.  But it was closed and he then proceeds to hold a security officer at gunpoint to experience all the rides.  ANYWAYS, Wally has been playing excellent baseball and should be playing in the big leagues very soon.

So recently I have been swinging the bat pretty well.  To take a quote from Will Ferrell in Old School, “What happened…I blacked out.”  I am very happy to be finishing the AFL season on a high note.  It’s always nice to finish a season on top so you have a little momentum going into spring training.

Once again I hope everyone is well.  “And in case I don’t see ya, good afternoon, good evening and good night.”    

Spandex, all spandex.

Hello everyone!  I hope this letter finds you well as always.  In the last week I have experienced a couple of important dates in history.  It’s pretty amazing that I get to play baseball for a living.  There are so many people that work so hard for their paycheck.  And while I consider my job to be very difficult and frustrating, I can always be reminded that I play a sport for a living.  I know I have worked very hard to get to where I am today and I have to pinch myself to make sure it’s actually real.

The most recent event that happened other than playing a baseball game would be the election of President Barack Obama.  We live in a pretty amazing country and we have come a long way in a short period of time.  While I might not agree with everything that the President elect says and does in the future, I do hope that he can continue leading this country in the right direction.  It is my sincere hope that President Obama will guide this great nation forward through the many perils we have in front of us.

The second big event was of course Halloween.  Apparently Halloween is a big deal out here in Arizona.  So, I of course dressed up like the rest of the population.  I hope everyone has seen some episodes of Saturday Night Live.  I decided to dress up as Patrick Swayze in the Chippendales skit with Chris Farley.  That’s right.  If you were looking for a guy in skin tight pants (basically spandex), all you would have to do is find me.  On the top shelf was a button down polo with the sleeves cut off.  And of course I cut the cuffs off and wore them around my wrist.  All you have to do is type in Chris Farley Chippendales into youtube and you will get the exact replica of my outfit.  My buddies and I decided to go to a block party in Scottsdale put on by Steve Levine.  Steve did an excellent job with the party and I had a blast.  Overall this was an exciting week and I look forward to writing you again next week.

Guest Blogger: Cole Armstrong

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Hi everyone my name is Cole Armstrong and I am a 25 year old catcher in the Chicago White Sox organization.  I split this past year between Double A Birmingham and Triple A Charlotte.  I was born and raised just outside of Vancouver, British Columbia….Yes Canada.  While most of the kids I grew up with dreamt of suiting up for the canucks or some other NHL team my love was always baseball. (Although I do religiously follow the Canucks.)  I was drafted by the Mets in 2001 but elected to attend the U.of Kansas.  After a year as a Jayhawk I transferred to Chipola Junior College in Florida.  Following that 2003 season I was drafted in the 16th round by the Braves, and signed my first proffesional contract.  After three seasons spent in the lower levels of the braves sysetem I found myself coming off of a subpar year in Low class A.  To make things worse I had Brian Mcann, Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Clint Sammons ahead of me in a catching thick braves minor league system.  That winter I caught a break when the White Sox claimed me in the minor league portion of the Rule Five Draft.  I have spent the past  three seasons working my way up the ladder and as I said earlier finished this year in Triple A.
Upon being told I would be playing in the AFL I was ecstatic.  Just thinking of how many great players spent a fall in this league made me realize how close I was to my ultimate goal of being a major league player.  Aside from being thrilled that Im enjoying 95 degree weather in October I have had a blast playing with the Saguaros.  Our team immediatly gelled this fall getting off to an 8-0 start.  While we have run into a few losses sice then we have stayed atop our division standings.  As Im sure youve read in other blogs by Saguaros players the chemistry on ths team is increadible.  Its like being on a team that has played together for years, we seem to have a never say die attitude that is infectious through our dugout.  I attribute alot of our success to our coaching staff who have worked tirelessly with all of us.  They are by far the first ones in the clubhouse and the last to leave.  One experience I have really enjoyed out here is interacting with players from other organizations.  It is amazing to see the similarities and differences between us as we all reach for the same goal.  The only complaint I have to this point is the lack of hockey coverage out here, however I did make it to a coyotes game so that should suffice for a few weeks. Hopefully “The Cacti” as we have come to call ourselves continue to roll all the way to an AFL championship.  Go Cacti!

Sincerely, Cole Armstrong

Guest Blogger: Cole Armstrong

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Hi everyone my name is Cole Armstrong and I am a 25 year old catcher in the Chicago White Sox organization.  I split this past year between Double A Birmingham and Triple A Charlotte.  I was born and raised just outside of Vancouver, British Columbia….Yes Canada.  While most of the kids I grew up with dreamt of suiting up for the canucks or some other NHL team my love was always baseball. (Although I do religiously follow the Canucks.)  I was drafted by the Mets in 2001 but elected to attend the U.of Kansas.  After a year as a Jayhawk I transferred to Chipola Junior College in Florida.  Following that 2003 season I was drafted in the 16th round by the Braves, and signed my first proffesional contract.  After three seasons spent in the lower levels of the braves sysetem I found myself coming off of a subpar year in Low class A.  To make things worse I had Brian Mcann, Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Clint Sammons ahead of me in a catching thick braves minor league system.  That winter I caught a break when the White Sox claimed me in the minor league portion of the Rule Five Draft.  I have spent the past  three seasons working my way up the ladder and as I said earlier finished this year in Triple A.
Upon being told I would be playing in the AFL I was ecstatic.  Just thinking of how many great players spent a fall in this league made me realize how close I was to my ultimate goal of being a major league player.  Aside from being thrilled that Im enjoying 95 degree weather in October I have had a blast playing with the Saguaros.  Our team immediatly gelled this fall getting off to an 8-0 start.  While we have run into a few losses sice then we have stayed atop our division standings.  As Im sure youve read in other blogs by Saguaros players the chemistry on ths team is increadible.  Its like being on a team that has played together for years, we seem to have a never say die attitude that is infectious through our dugout.  I attribute alot of our success to our coaching staff who have worked tirelessly with all of us.  They are by far the first ones in the clubhouse and the last to leave.  One experience I have really enjoyed out here is interacting with players from other organizations.  It is amazing to see the similarities and differences between us as we all reach for the same goal.  The only complaint I have to this point is the lack of hockey coverage out here, however I did make it to a coyotes game so that should suffice for a few weeks. Hopefully “The Cacti” as we have come to call ourselves continue to roll all the way to an AFL championship.  Go Cacti!

Sincerely, Cole Armstrong

Visitors

Hello everyone!  Another week has passed and my how they seem to fly by.  Thank you to all of the responses that I received last week.  I really appreciate people taking time out of their day to write such nice notes.  To the Matheson’s, I would have called but I lost my phone so I don’t have your number!  So would you please make my phone ring so I have your number once again.

This past week has been a little less eventful than the week before.  I played in the rising stars game this past Friday.  I was selected along with everyone else by various scouts and GM’s from around the league.  It was obviously a great honor to be selected and I enjoyed every second of the game.  It is fun to play with the best in the minors everyday, but it is another to play with the best of the best in one game.  The game was actually the most intense game I have played in since the last game of the College World Series.  We went into extra innings and ended up losing in the bottom of the tenth on a walk off walk.  Talk about a way to end a game.

Probably more importantly than baseball, my mom and sister flew in today.  Gwen, my sister, is actually missing the Georgia-Florida game this weekend to come see me which is a big deal for any Georgia fan.  The Georgia-Florida game is the biggest game of the year for the Dawgs and the Gators.  And my little sis decided to skip it to come see me so it means a lot.  Mom is also taking some time out of her busy schedule to come see her baby boy.  I keep telling her I am not a baby anymore, but apparently she doesn’t really care what I think.  It is always nice to see them and even more so when I had not seen them in about a month and a half.  They bombarded me with questions of course because they are women and that’s what women do.  I tried to answer as patiently as I could but enough is enough.  They will obviously be hitting up fashion square for the remainder of the weekend (sorry Dad), and they will catch a couple of games while they are here.  But other than that, all is quiet on the western front.  I look forward to writing you next week. 

 

Shock and Awe

Hello everyone! First of all I would like to just say that I appreciate all the people that have written such nice comments below my entries.  I would also like to give a special hey to Margaret and Granddaddy.  I hope that you are well and I can’t wait to see you when I return to Atlanta.  I want you to know that I love you and think about ya’ll everyday.

Today I would like to point out two different occurrences that happened in the last week.  The first happened while I was sitting on the bench for a game earlier this week.  I was in the zone so to speak.  I thought that I was “on fire”, telling joke after joke and getting incredible outbursts of laughter every time I spoke.  A run scored and I went to congratulate my White Sox teammate Cole Armstrong.  Cole had just masterfully trucked around the bases at a record pace to put the Saguaros ahead.  I made the comment that we needed to get Cole an oxygen tank.  While hitting is an impressive skill of Cole’s, running is not his forte.  But be that as it may, I thought a little fresh oxygen would not hurt.  After saying this I was met with another roar of laughter.  Once again I was “on fire”, walking tall back to my spot on the bench, really feeling good about myself.  It was at this point that I realized something was wrong.  I thought to myself; I’m never this funny, and as cunning as I may think I am there is no way this is actually happening.  I looked forward, pondering what the heck was going on, and then like brick wall it hit me.  I slowly reached for my hat, took it off my head, and stared childishly at a bubble on the top of my hat.  (It’s the oldest trick in the book people.  Blow a bubble and place it on the hat of an unknowing victim.)  Then, as calmly as I had taken off my hat, I put it back on, bubble intact.  I sat there for a second and then burst out laughing along with my thirty or so teammates.  My hot streak was over and I was once again the rookie on the bottom of the totem pole.  This situation was only reinforced the next day when someone asked for an autograph.  I walked over as I usually do and I was met with a picture, a picture of me with a bubble on top of my head.

The second situation was removed totally from the game of baseball.  Daniel Murphy and Chad Huffman have put it on themselves to take me under their wings and help me through the tough time of being a rookie (yea right).  They, upon inspection of my barren wardrobe, decided it was time for me to start dressing like a big leaguer.  I of course thought they were nuts and let them know I thought my clothes were just fine.  But temptation got the best of me and I decided to take a sabbatical from the game of baseball to go shop with them one afternoon.  We headed to none other than Fashion Square Mall in Scottsdale.  I wont lie, I felt a little weird shopping for well…anything.  But we headed to Nordstrom’s where I followed them like a fawn follows her mama.  Confused is probably the best word to describe it.  I went from rack to rack, watching Murph pull out expensive button downs.  Finally we headed to the jeans section where I was promptly met by the assistant.  Her first words after looking at my attire were, “You need some new jeans.”  Apparently my comfortable Old Navy jeans did not blow her out of the water, so I tried on some jeans.  I put on a pair of Seven jeans and they fit well.  I recieved immediate feedback from my two buddies and the assistant saying that they looked good.  I liked them so I decided to buy them.  I walked over to the register as she totaled the damage.  My heart almost popped out of my chest when she said “Two-Hundred and fifteen dollars.”  It was at this moment where I felt like I needed a doggy bag or a cold glass of water dumped on my head.  I reached for my wallet slowly, shakily, and nervously.  I asked myself, ‘Do I really need these jeans?  Am I crazy for buying these jeans?  Will my friends back home disown me?’  But, like two devils on my shoulder, Chad and Murph were right there to push me through the torture of giving my credit card up for a pair of jeans.  I could not speak the whole ride home.  But that night, when I put on my new pair of jeans for a night on the town, I felt good and I looked good.  You want to know how I knew this?  I knew because if those jeans didn’t look good, Chad and Murph would be going bye bye.

P.S.  If either Chad of Murph read this, I’m kidding about the bye bye.  Don’t hurt me.

I look forward to writing next week.          

Week 2 in Arizona

Hello everyone!  Once Again I am writing you from the Phoenix Arizona area, and what a week it has been.  The temperature has cooled off as the summer starts to merge into fall.  My team, the Peoria Saguaros, lost our first game two nights ago to the Surprise Rafters.  It is pretty unbelievable that we have only suffered one loss in eight games with the competition as difficult as it is.  I attribute the fast start and the excellent record to great team chemistry.  This team has gelled faster than any team I have ever been on.  We are all very close, thus making us care about how well our teammates do.  So far I have not been playing everyday, which I am not accustomed to doing, but it is an excellent way to watch how older players handle themselves. 

           

            I know I am a young player in the big scheme of things and while it is hard to sit more than I play, I know it will help me in the long run.  I have to learn from watching others, which will in turn help me realize what I must do to be successful.  Baseball is an incredibly difficult game.  When in life are you considered to be great if you succeed three out of ten times?  Baseball was meant for the strong willed and most understanding of people.  You must learn to harness your mind before you can truly be successful.  I often remember a quote from a movie “A League of Their Own”.  Tom Hanks, who is a phenomenal actor states, “Baseball is something that gets inside you, it’s what lights you up.  If it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it, the hard is what makes it great.”  This quote reminds me that baseball is a special game, and not everyone can play it, so be proud of the place your at and enjoy it as much as possible.

           

            I really appreciate all the comments that were left for me by family, friends, and new acquaintances.  As I’m sure you all know, my goal is to show you a little glimpse of my life in the fall league.  And no, I was not an English major, but I know for sure that I will engage you with my words and feelings.  I do not wish to write you a novel, because that might get boring and repetitive.  My major was actually Real Estate, I appreciate you asking.  The Terry College of Business at the University of Georgia is ranked in the top three business schools year in and year out in the entire country.  The Real Estate department is considered to be the second best in the country as well.  My father majored in English and got his masters degree in Business from the University of South Carolina.  He has taught me to be articulate and thorough in all my letters and essays.  And it is because of him I am the person I am today.  I wish all of you well and look forward to writing again a week from today.

Leading Off

Hello everyone!  I hope that this message finds everyone reading it safe and sound.  My name is Gordon Beckham and I was drafted by the Chicago White Sox in the recent June Draft.  Signing in the middle of August left me only about half a month to get my feet wet in pro ball, it’s amazing how much you learn in such a short period of time.

For the next month and a half, I will be representing the White Sox in the Arizona Fall League. So far, I have really enjoyed my teammates and the low-key attitude they seem to have. These guys have much more experience and always take things in stride. I look forward to watching the older guys to see how they handle themselves on and off the field. It will be a privilege to play with these guys day in and day out.

Looking back, I had three unbelievable years at the University of Georgia. My time spent there was some of the best moments of my life so far. I am very proud to say I am a Georgia Bulldog. I am also supported by an incredible family who has always been there for me.  My dad (Gordon) and mom (Sully) have stuck with me through thick and thin and I have always appreciated their unwavering encouragement and support.  My two sisters, Gwen (19) and Grace (16), have always seemed to keep me grounded and I am very proud of the way they handle themselves all the time. I’m just glad they don’t make me have to be a very protective older brother. Enough about me, I look forward to my next post a week from today.

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