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Family man Sale cherishes bonds with loved ones

CHICAGO -- There are some who believe that Chris Sale would have won the Most Valuable Player Award at the 2013 All-Star Game if it wasn't the final All-Star appearance of Mariano Rivera's legendary career.

In reality, Sale already had taken home his greatest reward before stepping on the mound and striking out two over two hitless innings at Citi Field.

Sale, 24, shared the All-Star nod and its ensuing great moments with his family, specifically his young son, Rylan.

"This is kind of a once-in-a-lifetime experience that I'm fortunate enough to be able to go through twice," said Sale, who has been selected to be an American League All-Star in each of the past two seasons. "And having [my son] here, taking pictures, being able to show him when he gets older, 'Remember doing this?' [It is great to] see how much fun he's having.

"During the parade, he's waving and saying 'hi' to people -- just seeing the enjoyment he gets out of that."

Rylan and Brianne, Sale's wife, often can be found in the stands as main sources of support when the White Sox left-hander is working on the mound. Sale's devotion as a husband and a father mirrors the close-knit bond he has with his dad, Allen.

It's a truly All-American baseball story, with a young son growing up in Florida loving the game and his dad providing all the support possible.

"Up until I got up to college, he might have missed a handful of games. He was there every step of the way," Sale said. "Even Little League, he would stay for four innings and show up late to a meeting for work so he didn't miss the whole thing.

"He built a mound in the backyard. Once the weekends came, we were always at the park playing, working on picks at first, fly balls in the outfield, hitting. He's probably a little upset that I didn't become a hitter just because I can't even imagine starting to count all the baseballs he must have thrown to me throughout the years."

When Sale was in discussions concerning the five-year, $32.5 million extension he eventually agreed upon with the White Sox during Spring Training, it was his father who Sale turned to for advice.

"My father has made a pretty good living. So, he would ask me, 'How much money does this person make or that person? Put this in perspective,'" Allen Sale said. "I explained it to [Chris] in a way where he could get his hands around how much money this was, because there was no way for him to grasp that amount of money -- or half that amount of money."

"He's kind of let me be an independent person since high school," Chris said. "He kind of let me do my own things and figure things out on my own."

That sort of parenting will someday be handed down by Chris to Rylan. For now, it's all about sharing memorable experiences, many of which are baseball-related.

"Especially when I don't get to see him too much during the season, you're on the road a lot," said Sale, who finished the season with an 11-14 record, a 3.07 ERA, a league-leading four complete games and 226 strikeouts in 214 1/3 innings. "Being able to share this means the world to me."

Scott Merkin is a reporter for Read his blog, Merk's Works, and follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin.
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