The key to being a top AL reliever? LEGOS

June 4th, 2021

CHICAGO -- When Liam Hendriks talks to the media for an extended period of time, it’s very difficult to focus specifically on baseball.

And the White Sox closer certainly has a wealth of knowledge concerning the game where he excels, but his gregarious personality almost always takes over the moment.

On Thursday, in a 20-minute media session beginning with Hendriks discussing his American League Reliever of the Month honor for May, Hendriks also discussed his love of LEGOS. He’s a different sort of character, but different in the best possible manner.

“Yeah he’s definitely different,” said a smiling White Sox catcher Zack Collins of Hendriks. “He puts together LEGOS almost every day.

“He’s always coming in with something new and that’s the stuff you need in the clubhouse. There’s always different guys like that and just staying loose and doing his thing. He’s a kid at heart.”

How did Hendriks get into his work with LEGOS? Let’s allow the closer to explain.

“So 2019 is when I first started with Nanoblocks,” Hendriks said. “And then Chicago has a very nice LEGO store, so I went down there one day and picked up a 'Friends' set. And since then, it's evolved into the 'Friends' set, anything to do with ‘Star Wars.’

“I got a gift from one of our friends, Joey, he actually bought the cityscape of Chicago, which I did initially. Then that turned into the 'Friends' set. Today, I'm starting the 'Friends' apartment. The first one was Central Perk. Now we're going Monica and Rachel and Joey and Chandler, their housing, apartment setups, with a little bit of cheesecake in the middle. Anyone who knows the story, they'll understand that.”

Hendriks, 32, tries to get through one set per homestand.

“Now it's just a matter of trying to put it on display somewhere in my locker so I can have at least some people gawking at it a little bit,” Hendriks said.

The right-hander went 0-1 with a 0.00 ERA in 11 2/3 innings in May, producing a 0.86 WHIP, a .182 average against and eight saves in eight chances. He fanned 19 over 13 relief appearances. But that month-long dominance took a brief back seat to another one of his passions, which might lead to fans sending him LEGOS to add to his collection now that it’s known.

“Fingers crossed but not expecting it, I’ll take whatever people send me,” Hendriks said. “But no, I need an outlet to get out of my own head.

“That’s when I listen to heavy metal music and do my LEGOS or heavy metal music and read my young adult teen fiction books. You need an outlet and those two things are what I do. On the road it’s too hard to transport the LEGOS back, so it’s always books. At home it’s always LEGOS.”