8/27/2014 9:13 P.M. ET
Williams implores Chicago to denounce violence
By Scott Merkin / MLB.com
CHICAGO -- The White Sox will honor the Jackie Robinson West All-Stars for their U.S Little League championship accomplishments during a special pregame ceremony prior to the start of the 6:10 p.m. CT game agaisnt Detroit of a split doubleheader on Saturday. The White Sox will host team members, coaches and families for the game as guests of the team, and all fans attending the game are encouraged to wear gold in honor of the champions.
It was White Sox executive vice president Ken Williams who used this amazing success story to make an important life point loud, clear and effectively through his speech Wednesday during the rally at Millennium Park as the celebration culmination.
In fact, Williams spoke for five or six minutes but only needed four words to grab the attention of his audience.
"Put down the guns," Williams said to the approximately 10,000 in attendance.
"People who are gathering and rallying, they are sending a message to put down the guns," Williams said. "Pick up a ball, a glove, a book, a paint stick, a science project."
Williams thanked the "superstars" who didn't suit up for JRW, namely the leaders of community organizations, teachers, before-school programs, after-school programs and the in the middle programs.
"And the people in the neighborhood who haven't given up on the village mentality," Williams said. "It does take a village."
This important message, mixed in with some humor and congratulations for the way the players handled their success, did not go unnoticed.
"That's the biggest thing that you take away from this because with the violence that's going on, people can unite for a good cause," said White Sox director of youth baseball initiatives Kevin Coe of Williams' comments. "I mean, those viewing parties were like family reunions. Today was one big family reunion. So many people from the city of Chicago, all ethnicities, all genders, all ages were out to support this team of 12-year-old baseball players, and it shows we are capable of doing something positive in this city. We just need a leader to step up and do it."
Konerko content with role during season's final month
CHICAGO -- With September basically being viewed as Paul Konerko month on the South Side, the White Sox captain probably will get a few more at-bats outside of his regular 2014 starts against left-handed pitching.
Konerko remains aware of the possibility, but he doesn't want anything to change from the manner in which his part-time playing and full-time leadership role has been handled during his 16th and final season with the club.
"I'm here to do whatever [White Sox manager] Robin [Ventura] wants," Konerko said. "I'm just here to serve really. I have no expectations one way or the other. You want me to play, I'll play. You want me to sit for a week, I'll sit for a week.
"I'll do whatever I can to help. Whatever Robin wants to do or [general manager] Rick [Hahn] or the team, whatever they want to do, it's right. There's no discussion. It's impossible to offend me. It really is."
Ventura earned praise from Konerko for the way in which he handled the player this season, with Konerko adding that Ventura made the year more fun for him and is "good in my book forever." Konerko doesn't see any coaching or managing in his baseball future, although he smiled and added that he's already committed to one of his young son's teams this fall.
His commitments for the rest of the season will include playing in the season's final four games, from Sept. 25-28, at home against the Royals, according to Ventura's comments Wednesday.
"If they play me too much, I might demand a trade. I don't think that's going to be a problem," said Konerko. "Listen, this has all been good. The whole thing, there's no expectation on my part. I don't want anybody out there trying to make those guys feel uncomfortable."
"It's important to us to have him play quite a bit in that last weekend that we're home, if he can do it," Ventura said. "I don't know if we'll get all four out of him. We can get a few."
McEwing downplays managerial rumors
CHICAGO -- Joe McEwing has heard the rumors attaching his name to the Arizona managerial position if Kirk Gibson is not retained past this season. That connection comes from McEwing being respected throughout the game and having strong ties to Arizona chief baseball officer Tony La Russa from the two years he played for him in St. Louis.
But McEwing stands as the third-base coach for the White Sox and isn't campaigning or looking for another job.
"I consider myself a loyal individual and my loyalty is here," McEwing told MLB.com prior to Wednesday's contest with the Indians. "The White Sox have given me an outstanding opportunity, to start coaching here and in the Minor League system, and [White Sox manager] Robin [Ventura] brought me in at the big league level and I couldn't be more thankful for that opportunity.
"People have talked about [Arizona]. But, you know, rumors are rumors and you can't control the rumors and my thoughts and focus are here. I'm trying to help us win here and continue an outstanding thing we've got going on here."
Shortly after being named the team's third-base coach in the 2011 offseason, McEwing interviewed for the Cardinals' managerial position vacated by La Russa. McEwing enjoyed the interview process, but the 41-year-old is in no rush to run his own team, even if it possibly meant working with La Russa.
"He's a tremendous baseball mind," said McEwing of La Russa. "He's an individual I learned a lot from as a player and he's where he belongs -- in baseball. Any part in this game that he's attached to, it's better for it: Whether it be on the field, in the Commissioner's Office, in the front office. The game is in a better spot because he's a tremendous baseball mind and an old-school mind."
Third to first
• Ventura has made it clear that he wants September callups when rosters expand on Monday to be able to play and not just sit on the bench in reserve. The month of September becomes an important talent evaluation period for the team.
"You hear about them and you see the stats and everything, but you always want to see what it is and how it plays up here," said Ventura of top Minor Leaguers such as Andy Wilkins, Josh Phegley and possibly Carlos Rodon. "So whenever that happens, talking to Rick, I want them to be able to play and see what they can do up here and make some decisions in the offseason with how you go forward.
"In September, guys that come up, it's their chance. I don't think they gain anything, they gain something, but I don't think they gain enough of coming up here and just sitting on the bench and watching."
• White Sox assistant general manager Buddy Bell celebrated his 63rd birthday Wednesday. Jim Thome, who serves as a special assistant to the general manager and recently retired with 612 career home runs, celebrated his 44th birthday.
• Avisail Garcia turned a potential leadoff triple into a double during the sixth inning of Tuesday's loss when he lost track of the ball in the right-field corner and slid into second as it was bouncing around. Ventura said the matter was discussed with Garcia, focusing on Garcia taking a glance at the ball in that situation and then picking up McEwing.
• Ventura said a second starter for Saturday's doubleheader has been discussed but not decided on.