clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

White Sox promise to keep it fun, through good times and bad

White Sox rookie outfielder Eloy Jimenez (with chain) and Ervin Santana celebrate Jimenez' two-run home run against the Detroit Tigers in the sixth inning of a baseball game in Detroit, Thursday, April 18, 2019. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

DETROIT — The fun-loving White Sox’ good times roll beyond an occasional bat flip from Tim Anderson or walk-off Gatorade dump from Yolmer Sanchez — on a teammate or on himself.

Whether they’re emptying bags of sunflower seeds and peanuts in a teammate’s hair to celebrate a home run, raising a ‘‘You’re Awesome’’ banner in the dugout or hanging a gaudy home-run chain around someone’s neck, the Sox do what they can to take the monotony out of the daily grind of a 162-game season.

This is first baseman/designated hitter Yonder Alonso’s sixth team, and this one is different, he said.

‘‘I’m a guy who’s pretty serious about the game,’’ Alonso, 32, said. ‘‘I don’t really laugh much; I try to focus. But I’ve laughed a few times [on the field and in the dugout], and it’s been noticed by my family.’’

Alonso said one family member told him, ‘‘I haven’t seen you laugh like that in a long while.’’

‘‘Guys mess with me, and I mess back,’’ he said.

And it’s all good, Alonso said, as long as everyone keeps their nose to the grindstone when it comes to preparation, concentration and work, the things he likes to preach in any of his group sessions with the media.

Manager Rick Renteria said he doesn’t promote having fun, but he doesn’t object to it because playing at the highest level is hard and being relaxed is a big component of doing that.

‘‘And everybody does it a bit differently,’’ he said.

Anderson, who is off to a torrid start at the plate, has been saying ‘‘having fun’’ and ‘‘keeping it fun’’ is his juice.

It’s more than that, of course. He said he’s learning the game and becoming more baseball-savvy as he matures.

RELATED

White Sox, Tigers rained out; Manny Banuelos to start Monday

White Sox score plenty for Carlos Rodon in victory against Tigers

‘‘It’s not easy, but I’m getting it,’’ Anderson said. ‘‘I’m getting it a lot more.’’

And balancing the challenges of the game with being himself and expressing his personality is what works for Anderson.

His demonstrative bat flip after hitting a long homer Wednesday against Royals right-hander Brad Keller prompted Keller to hit Anderson with a pitch later in the game. That sparked a benches-clearing melee and resulted in suspensions and fines for Anderson, Renteria and Keller.

‘‘He plays with a lot of heart and emotion,’’ Renteria said of Anderson. ‘‘I want him to have fun, and he’s going to continue to have fun.’’

He’s not going to change, and he’s not alone. The Sox refuse to be staid.

‘‘I don’t know what happened here in the past, but this is definitely a change,’’ Alonso said. ‘‘We try to enjoy ourselves. We have a bunch of young guys who like to have fun.

‘‘And there are no egos. There’s no, ‘Who is playing first base or DHing, Pito [Jose Abreu] or me?’ Or, ‘Who’s in the outfield, getting the start?’ None of that.

‘‘All that matters is that we win. We have to win together and stay together, whether you’re having a good week or a bad week.’’

More victories wouldn’t hurt, of course. The Sox are 8-11. And as former manager Ozzie Guillen liked to say, ‘‘Winning is fun, and fun is winning.’’

‘‘Ricky says it, too: ‘Make sure you compete, but have fun and enjoy it,’ ’’ Alonso said.

‘‘Yeah, man. There is nothing better than a bunch of guys having fun.’’