Giolito amped for opener: 'Truly an honor'

July 23rd, 2020

CHICAGO -- already had concluded his Zoom session with the media Sunday when White Sox manager Rick Renteria used Giolito’s bobblehead to creatively announce the right-hander as his Opening Day starter.

Four days later -- and one day before Giolito faces the Twins on Friday night at Guaranteed Rate Field -- the 26-year-old’s excitement for the honor remains just as high. Jack Flaherty, his friend and former high school teammate, got the Opening Day nod for the Cardinals. Max Fried, another former Harvard Westlake teammate, will pitch Game 2 for the Braves.

“Yeah, Harvard Westlake pride,” said a smiling Giolito during a Zoom call Thursday. “Being named Opening Day starter means a lot to me.

“Obviously, kind of a crazy path my career has been. Coming off of '18, having the year I had last year, I'm just looking to continue to build. It truly is an honor to be named Opening Day starter, and I'm really, really looking forward to tomorrow. Very excited.”

As is often the case for the erudite Giolito, his interview focused on issues beyond White Sox expectations for 2020 or how he feels after the three-week Summer Camp. Giolito spoke of the team addressing social issues, a topic he eloquently handled during the break caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We’ve had team discussions about that,” Giolito said. “The way we see it is we are all a family here, White Sox, top to bottom. Obviously, there are differing viewpoints, which is OK. That’s America. It’s OK to have those.

“All the discussions we have had have been very civil. We’re able to express our opinions freely, and that’s just the perfect kind of environment, as far as an organization I want to be in. You can expect tomorrow for players to express themselves supporting organizations, issues, continuing to raise that awareness around the country.”

Showing that sort of support is not any way political, in Giolito’s mind.

“Not political -- a social issue, right? That’s my viewpoint 100 percent,” Giolito said. “I’m completely on board with the Black Lives Matter movement.

“It’s a humanity issue. It’s important for us as athletes to be able to use our platforms to use our voice and express how we feel about these things. That’s part of being American.”

Giolito closed with a tribute to Ed Farmer, the longtime White Sox radio voice and gregarious organizational staple who died on April 1. A tribute to Farmer will be part of the White Sox Opening Day pregame ceremony.

“I just want to say, rest in peace, Farmio,” Giolito said. “He is going to be missed this year, big time -- what he provided for us, as far as his companionship, his stories, how wonderful of a job he did up in the booth. Just want to make sure that we are keeping him in our thoughts as we go through this year.”