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In My Words

In My Words: Reinsdorf on Hawk

Special to MLB.com

When you get older, you're always amazed about how fast time seems to go. How things that happened years and years ago seem like yesterday. It truly seems like yesterday that I first met Ken Harrelson.

I remember so vividly when Harry Caray left, and we were looking for a whole new TV crew after the 1981 season. We narrowed it down to Don Drysdale and Hawk. We figured we only could afford one of them. Eddie Einhorn and I couldn't decide, so we stuck our necks out and hired both of them.

When you get older, you're always amazed about how fast time seems to go. How things that happened years and years ago seem like yesterday. It truly seems like yesterday that I first met Ken Harrelson.

I remember so vividly when Harry Caray left, and we were looking for a whole new TV crew after the 1981 season. We narrowed it down to Don Drysdale and Hawk. We figured we only could afford one of them. Eddie Einhorn and I couldn't decide, so we stuck our necks out and hired both of them.

What I remember from meeting Hawk for the first time is that he wasn't at all like his public image. Going in, my only impression of him was of the Nehru jackets he wore as a player. I quickly realized this was a very serious guy who wanted to do a good broadcast. He was articulate, and it was obvious that he had a little bit of a flair -- which we thought would make him interesting.

Don and Hawk really got along on the air and off. They shared a lot of the same opinions. One guy was a pitcher and the other was a position player. I liked that they complemented each other.

In 1986, we made Hawk the general manager. During the course of the 1984-85 seasons, we had a lot of conversations. After having won the division in 1983, we weren't able to compete. We found our farm system was very, very weak. Drysdale and Hawk would point out to us all the things that were wrong with the system. Remember, Eddie and I were relatively new as owners. It takes you five, six years to learn this business. It was obvious what they were telling us was right, but it was a mistake to make Hawk the GM. There's an analogy I like to use. If you go to your intern, and he says you need heart surgery, you don't let him perform the surgery. You want a heart surgeon. With Ken, I made the mistake of letting the guy who diagnosed our problems try to solve them. From the standpoint of talent evaluation, he was good. He's always been good. However, he just didn't have the experience of running an organization. A general manager has to do a lot more than make trades. In retrospect, it was unfair to put him in that job.

After that season, Hawk went to New York to broadcast for the Yankees for a couple of years. Then, he contacted me and said he wanted to come back.

I didn't like homerism in the booth when I got here in 1981. With the announcers I listened to growing up -- Red Barber, Mel Allen -- you knew they wanted your team to win, but they never said, "C'mon, let's get a hit." When Drysdale and Harrelson first came here, I asked them not to be homers. And that went over like a lead balloon. So when Hawk came back, we turned him loose. That's what the market wanted.

What stands out for me is the passion in how Hawk calls a game. How hard he roots. How into the game he is. He is the ultimate fan. Hawk definitely takes losses hard. Before a game, he'll often come into my office. A lot of times, he's still living last night's game.

Hawk also knows how the game is played. I always wanted announcers to be able to teach the game. Hawk teaches you the game. Steve Stone teaches you the game. I grew up with Red Barber and Mel Allen, and they taught you the game. I got to Chicago, and there weren't any announcers who taught you the game. Harry wasn't a teacher. Hawk is great at teaching you the nuances of the game.

A lot of Hawk's phrases just kind of evolved. "Put it on the board" comes from golf. "Yes" is something that came out spontaneously the first time. I don't think he ever set out to have these phrases. Remember, Hawk is a Southern guy from Savannah, Ga.

There really are two sides to him. I don't think it is a secret. In the public, there's Hawk. In private, he's Ken. When entertainers are on, they become different people.

When he comes into my office, it's always Ken. He doesn't talk with Hawkisms. We talk about the game. We talk about family. He's just an ordinary guy. He's got family joys. He's got family problems. No matter who you are, famous or not, everyone has the same joys and the same problems.

In life, you only have a few really good friends. All Hawk wants from me is what he thinks would be good for me. There's no agenda. He only wants what would be in my best interests. I know he never would betray me, and he knows I never would betray him.

I can't imagine why Hawk hasn't won the Ford Frick Award (an honor presented annually for excellence in baseball broadcasting by the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum). It doesn't make any sense. Not to take anything away from the guys who have won the award, but nobody has made an impression on the public the way Hawk has. He deserves the award.

I probably won't believe Sunday will be Hawk's last telecast. It's going to take a while to sink in. There are certain things in life, when they occur, it doesn't seem possible. When Franklin Roosevelt died -- I was 9 years old -- it didn't seem possible that he wouldn't be the president anymore. You think someone like Hawk is going to be around forever, but it doesn't work that way.

I don't know how he is going to keep it together for the last broadcast. There's going to be a lot of tears. But he's still going to be around. He's going to be associated with the White Sox in an ambassador role.

The Hawk may be going away, but Ken's not going away.

As told to Ed Sherman

Jerry Reinsdorf is chairman of the White Sox.

Chicago White Sox

In My Words: Jerry Reinsdorf

When I first heard about Major League Baseball having a special day every year for Jackie Robinson, I thought it was a terrific idea. This Sunday, we will once again pay tribute to a great man.

I actually went to the first game Jackie wore a Dodger uniform in New York. In 1947, the Dodgers played the Yankees in a preseason game in Brooklyn.

When I first heard about Major League Baseball having a special day every year for Jackie Robinson, I thought it was a terrific idea. This Sunday, we will once again pay tribute to a great man.

I actually went to the first game Jackie wore a Dodger uniform in New York. In 1947, the Dodgers played the Yankees in a preseason game in Brooklyn.

Back then, the significance of his color didn't sink in to an 11-year-old. I just knew the Dodgers had two rookies coming up: Jackie and Spider Jorgensen, a third baseman. We just wanted to see them play.

I don't really remember what he did that day or much about that game. Maybe I should revise history to tell a better story, but the fact of the matter is all I cared about was if he was going to be any good.

The first time it dawned on me that something more was happening was when I asked my friend, Lester Davis, who was African-American, who his favorite player was. He looked at me like I was an idiot and said, "Jackie Robinson, of course."

I said, "Oh yeah, that's right."

I was 11 years old. What did I know about social issues? In fact, it wasn't until a couple of years later that I became more aware of what was going on. In 1949, our family took a trip to Mexico and we had to go through San Antonio, Texas. I saw signs for colored water fountains and bathrooms. I thought, "What is that?"

None of that existed in Brooklyn. I grew up in a Jewish neighborhood, but our high school had a lot of African-American students. Looking back, Brooklyn probably was the ideal place for Jackie to play in the big leagues. It was a city of churches, and yet there was a big population of Jews, Irish and African-Americans. Everyone mixed with everyone else. It was a real melting pot.

It quickly became apparent that Jackie could play. He wasn't the best player I ever saw, but I always say he was the most exciting. He could do everything. He could run, bunt, steal bases and hit the occasional home run. I vividly remember Jackie jockeying back and forth on first base, messing around with the pitchers.

One maneuver Jackie loved was after hitting a single to right field, he would take a big turn around the bag. Very often, the right fielder would throw behind him and Jackie would race to second. Joe Torre once said the most exciting thing about Jackie Robinson is that you couldn't tag him out. He was incredible to watch in rundowns.

One time, I went with a friend to a sold-out game at Ebbets Field. This guy comes by and said, "Would you like to be on The Jackie Robinson Show?" He did a TV pregame show on the field. Well, we were pretty savvy and were thinking this guy just wanted our seats, so we said no. An hour later, these two kids came by and said, "Hey, we were on The Jackie Robinson Show." That's as close as I got to meeting Jackie.

When it comes to his legacy, Martin Luther King Jr. once said he couldn't have done what he did without Jackie Robinson. If Jackie had failed, it would have been years before we would have seen another African-American player in the big leagues. Everyone would have said, "They're not good enough." It was a major accomplishment for him to be able to face everything that was thrown at him and still be successful. It really opened the floodgates.

One of our initiatives with the White Sox involves growing the game in urban areas through our Amateur City Elite (ACE) program. Founded in 2007, it is designed to provide resources and hope to more than 100 inner-city youth each year, kids who might not otherwise be able to keep up with the travel-team culture that has permeated today's youth baseball.

We've had 19 players from the program get drafted, but the real goal of ACE is to help kids go to college, using baseball as a way to get an education. We've had 168 kids receive college scholarships.

I believe there is a crisis in this country with the underclass. The way to get people out of the underclass is through education and jobs. We didn't create ACE because of Jackie Robinson, but I would like to think he would be pleased with what we're doing with the program.

When I think of 1947, it makes me think of how old I am, and yet it seems like yesterday. Everyone from that era in Brooklyn felt like we were part of the Dodgers, and by extension, part of Jackie Robinson. I've always been very proud of the fact that Jackie Robinson was a Brooklyn Dodger, and that's where the color barrier was broken.

As told to Ed Sherman, a contributor to MLB.com.

Chicago White Sox

In My Words: Jose Abreu

Special to MLB.com

Thank you. Just thank you all for your support. I sincerely don't have enough words to express my appreciation for the honor of being your and the Chicago White Sox representative in the 2018 All-Star Game.

As I always say, I don't play baseball for personal accolades or recognitions. That is why, for me, this election to be the starting first baseman for the American League in this year's Midsummer Classic was a surprise. I'm really overwhelmed with the honor, especially after realizing that the last White Sox player to be voted in by the fans was Frank Thomas 22 years ago.

Thank you. Just thank you all for your support. I sincerely don't have enough words to express my appreciation for the honor of being your and the Chicago White Sox representative in the 2018 All-Star Game.

As I always say, I don't play baseball for personal accolades or recognitions. That is why, for me, this election to be the starting first baseman for the American League in this year's Midsummer Classic was a surprise. I'm really overwhelmed with the honor, especially after realizing that the last White Sox player to be voted in by the fans was Frank Thomas 22 years ago.

At first, I was questioning my election because the last month and half I haven't been producing or performing at my best, even though I've been working as hard as possible. But that is how baseball goes, and I just have to deal with it. I can't quit or retreat. I need to keep moving forward. I need to be strong to overcome slumps, struggles and obstacles, just like every other person in real life.

After I received the official news about my selection to the All-Start Game, all my doubts and feelings that were holding me back and making me feel guilty disappeared. I just felt happy and relieved because all of a sudden I realized being voted by the fans is an honor and a responsibility bigger than me. I also understand that this was a recognition of all my effort since I started playing in the big leagues in 2014.

Video: Abreu lands a spot in the 2018 All-Star Game

Without question, this is a motivation that I hope to carry with me to Washington and for the rest of the season. I am making a promise to all of you: I'll give my very best effort to represent you and the great White Sox organization at Nationals Park on Tuesday.

I'm sure it will be an overwhelming experience, much like my first one in 2014 at Target Field in Minnesota. Back then, I was a rookie and I had the opportunity to be around great players like Derek Jeter, who was in his last year as a player, and share the field with them. But nothing was more exciting than hearing my name attached with the Chicago White Sox: "From the Chicago White Sox, first baseman Jose Abreu." That gave me goosebumps.

This time, in Washington, I will have the blessing and opportunity to enjoy the All-Star Game with my entire family and loved ones. But most importantly, I will have my two sons, Dariel and Josué, with me. They weren't with me in 2014. Dariel was in Cuba, and Josué wasn't born yet.

This wouldn't be possible without the support of all of you, and for that I am sincerely grateful. As I always say, I play this game to bring you joy, to represent the Chicago White Sox organization and to make my mom and all my family happy and proud.

Thank you.

Jose Abreu is a first baseman for the Chicago White Sox.

Chicago White Sox, Jose Abreu

In My Words: Fatherhood on deck for Lopez

Special to MLB.com

I'm ready and excited to become a father.

This is the greatest blessing a human being can have. For me, it is everything. That is the reason why I feel happy, excited and nervous all at once. My baby girl will be my princess and the new light of my life.

I'm ready and excited to become a father.

This is the greatest blessing a human being can have. For me, it is everything. That is the reason why I feel happy, excited and nervous all at once. My baby girl will be my princess and the new light of my life.

Becoming a father has been one of my dreams during my whole life, just like becoming a Major League pitcher. This would be my biggest achievement. I feel very proud, because I've been able to accomplish each and every one of my goals. First, to help my family and provide for them. Second, I got married to an awesome woman who is now carrying the soon-to-be most important treasure of my life, and our life together. Third, thanks to my work, my effort and daily dedication, I am in a position in which I can sustain my own family.

The most important value of being a Christian is family; to build and maintain a happy family. Family is everything. I'm always thanking God, because He is the one who gives me strength and guides my steps.

I have always felt the need and desire to be a father, and I believe I am ready. Everyone in my family always asks me for advice. I think it is because I am the oldest grandchild in my family, I have had to carry the responsibility of being an advisor for my sisters, cousins and other relatives. Even though this will be my first experience as a father, I think I have the knowledge to manage and succeed in that role.

I truly believe I know how to care for and raise my daughter. Of course, the real test will be once she is born. With God's will, I will do a good job as a father.

The first thing I want to teach to my baby is to love God. My family taught me to love God as a good Christian. I will teach her that God exists and is alive within us. I also will teach her values and reinforce them during her whole life. Values are important in order to be a good and humble person.

Zoe will be her name because I have always liked it since the first time I heard it from actress Zoe Saldana. My wife also likes the name because it means life and hope. She will be an extra source of motivation for me, for my life and for my career. Actually, she has been the force that has been driving me this year. Everything I do is for her.

My life is going to change now that I'm having a baby. But it will be a good change. I am excited, my little princess Zoe, to have you with me and in our life. God bless you.

As told to Billy Russo

Reynaldo Lopez is a pitcher for the Chicago White Sox.

Chicago White Sox, Reynaldo Lopez

In My Words: Tim Anderson

White Sox shortstop discusses baserunning, having fun on the field
MLB.com

It's great to have fun playing baseball again. I'm enjoying the game a lot more than I did in 2017. Last year brought a lot of pain after the death of my close friend Branden Moss. I felt so numb. It was terrible to go through, but I learned from it and grew from it. It helped me mature as a player and person. Now, I'm getting back to my old self and having fun.

Sometimes, I feel like my friend is living through me. He was a happy guy, always positive. I'm talking more, and I try to always be smiling. If you treat people the right way in this game, your name goes a long way. That's important to me. I try to show up to the ballpark and be the same person every day. Not let the game get the best of me, try to have fun with it, no matter what happens.

It's great to have fun playing baseball again. I'm enjoying the game a lot more than I did in 2017. Last year brought a lot of pain after the death of my close friend Branden Moss. I felt so numb. It was terrible to go through, but I learned from it and grew from it. It helped me mature as a player and person. Now, I'm getting back to my old self and having fun.

Sometimes, I feel like my friend is living through me. He was a happy guy, always positive. I'm talking more, and I try to always be smiling. If you treat people the right way in this game, your name goes a long way. That's important to me. I try to show up to the ballpark and be the same person every day. Not let the game get the best of me, try to have fun with it, no matter what happens.

My family has helped me a lot. My daughter, Peyton, and my wife, Bria, are my world. I'm always with my family. I try to keep them with me as much as I can. To be hands-on with my daughter, be there every step of the way, and to be with my wife, it's awesome.

On the field, I feel like I am growing every day as a player. I'm getting better at shortstop. I'm getting better as a hitter, as a baserunner.

I am among the Major League leaders in stolen bases. I hope everyone in the stadium knows that if I get to first, I'm going to steal. That's always been my game. I feel like I got away from it last year. I wasn't using my legs. This year, I am.

Video: CWS@HOU: Anderson steals his 21st base of the year

My speed is something that works in this game very well. Being able to take that extra base, steal a base in a key situation, that's always huge for a team. You can score much easier from second than from first.

I'm doing a lot of homework studying the pitchers. I try to see what sticks out when a pitcher goes to the plate or when he goes over to first. Our third-base coach, Nick Capra, does a great job feeding me information. I use it, and it's been working.

I want the pitchers to know I'm over there, hopefully get them a little jittery. I drew two balks in one night. They know I'm over there, and they know I'm going.

The goal is to be a complete player. I haven't been a full-time baseball player for that long. Now I'm able to just focus on just baseball, and it's been great. I'm working my tail off every day, and it's showing. The more reps, the more games I play, it all allows me to continue to grow. There's still a lot more in there as far as what I can do as a player.

It's just great that everything has been better this year. The light has been bright from the dark moments of last year. I've been enjoying the ride.

As told to Ed Sherman.

Chicago White Sox, Tim Anderson

In My Words: James Shields

Special to MLB.com

I know it is very important to have a guy with experience show the young players how to do things. Fortunately, when I was coming up, I had my cousin, Aaron Rowand. I trained with him a lot during the offseasons. He helped me a tremendous amount as far as dealing with the mental side of the game. He helped me handle all the trials and tribulations of playing baseball.

Aaron told me how to prepare for the 162-game grind. He stressed that you always have to be mentally prepared. You need to have a good routine between starts. Even as a starting pitcher, you have to prepare yourself every day like you're going to play. As long as you work hard each day, you've got a chance to succeed. That's the main thing where he helped me out.

I know it is very important to have a guy with experience show the young players how to do things. Fortunately, when I was coming up, I had my cousin, Aaron Rowand. I trained with him a lot during the offseasons. He helped me a tremendous amount as far as dealing with the mental side of the game. He helped me handle all the trials and tribulations of playing baseball.

Aaron told me how to prepare for the 162-game grind. He stressed that you always have to be mentally prepared. You need to have a good routine between starts. Even as a starting pitcher, you have to prepare yourself every day like you're going to play. As long as you work hard each day, you've got a chance to succeed. That's the main thing where he helped me out.

When I got called up to Tampa Bay in 2006, we had a similar situation as to what we have with the Sox. We had such a young team. I remember they called me "Gray Beard" at the age of 25. I was the oldest guy on the pitching staff. We were in the middle of a rebuild. We lost 101 games in 2006 and 96 in 2007. Then we went to the World Series in 2008. No doubt, it shows you how quickly things can turn around.

The White Sox have a lot of great young talent throughout the entire organization. It's just a matter of these young guys believing in themselves, believing they can win. They're going to be fun to watch the next few years. For my role here, it's not as important to be the leader. It's more important to teach our staff to stick together, to be brothers. The atmosphere I try to portray to everyone in the clubhouse is that we're all in this together. We need to bounce things off each other, to help each other.

If I can help in any way, that's what I try to do. It all depends on the situation. If one of the young guys is going too fast in a game -- the game speeds up on you -- I might talk to them about that. I'll work with them on how to guide your way through a game.

I want them to feel supported, and I want them to support me when I'm out there. That's the kind of atmosphere I want to bring here. I keep going back to that brotherhood.

When I think about my career, it hasn't sunk in that I've played as long as I have. More than anything, it's my kids who are making me feel a little older. I have a 14-year old who is going to be a freshman in high school next year. That's hard for me to believe.

I've been fortunate to have a good long run in the big leagues. Hopefully, I can continue. As long as my body holds up, I'll keep playing.

I always go back to something Andy Pettitte once told me. We were working out in a gym, and I asked him for one piece of advice. He said, "You're never going to stop learning until you're done playing this game."

That was a long time ago, but it is so true. At this point in my career, I'm still learning something every day. I pass that advice on to the guys here.

This is a very humbling game. You have to keep working at it. That's why I enjoy every minute.

As told to Ed Sherman.

Chicago White Sox, James Shields

In My Words: Palka on rookie success

Special to MLB.com

I'm mad it's September and there's only one month left in the season. People say to me, "It's almost the offseason," like that's a good thing. I'm like, "Shut up. I don't want to hear it." The offseason is not as good as being here, playing in the big leagues, playing for the White Sox.

I was excited when the White Sox picked me up. I felt like this is a great place to get my foot in the door and solidify who I am as a baseball player. Since they were a young team, I knew I could be myself. I didn't have to tiptoe around. I could fit in with these dudes.

I'm mad it's September and there's only one month left in the season. People say to me, "It's almost the offseason," like that's a good thing. I'm like, "Shut up. I don't want to hear it." The offseason is not as good as being here, playing in the big leagues, playing for the White Sox.

I was excited when the White Sox picked me up. I felt like this is a great place to get my foot in the door and solidify who I am as a baseball player. Since they were a young team, I knew I could be myself. I didn't have to tiptoe around. I could fit in with these dudes.

At the end of April, I got called up and made my Major League debut. I didn't feel pressure. I took it as, "I'm going to do whatever the team needs me to do." That's how you stick here. This is what I've wanted all my life, so I'm not going to sit around and be scared when it happens. I felt like, "I don't care if I'm only in the big leagues for one day, I'm going to act like I always belonged here."

From a personal standpoint, it doesn't surprise me that I have had some success this year. I feel like it is even a little less than what I know I can do. I'm very confident in that aspect. My goal is to be a complete hitter. The RBIs and power numbers are great, but I don't want home runs with 200 strikeouts. The more I'm hitting, the more I'm scoring, the more they need me in the lineup.

Video: CLE@CWS: Palka hammers a walk-off home run to left

It's hard to explain, but when you get here, you really realize who you are as a baseball player. Then you have to figure out what you've got to do to make the adjustments. You go on a hot streak, and you think, "I can hit anything they throw." Then I get a little aggressive, and I'm swinging at rosin bags. You have to pull yourself back in. I expect to be able to make the adjustments.

My walk-off homer to beat Cleveland, 1-0, on Aug. 10 was awesome. I had three strikeouts in the game when I came up in the ninth inning. I wasn't thinking, "I have three strikeouts. I could have four." It was more like, "I could end the game." The whole time running around the bases, I couldn't believe I hit that pitch. It was about 1 1/2 feet outside. I knew right away it was gone. It's something I'll never forget.

It's been a big year for me. I definitely know what I am zeroing in on. I have a plan. I've never had an offseason where I was thinking, "I'm not ready to play in the big leagues." The difference is now I know 100 percent what I need to do to succeed here.

As told to Ed Sherman.

Daniel Palka is an outfielder for the White Sox.

Chicago White Sox, Daniel Palka

In My Words: Yolmer Sanchez

White Sox infielder enjoying the moment in the big leagues
MLB.com

My family is a big reason for the way I am. I have a big, big family. My mom has 10 brothers and sisters. We have a lot of cousins, uncles, aunts.

My whole family has a lot of energy. They like to have fun all the time. I think I get it from them.

My family is a big reason for the way I am. I have a big, big family. My mom has 10 brothers and sisters. We have a lot of cousins, uncles, aunts.

My whole family has a lot of energy. They like to have fun all the time. I think I get it from them.

I worked so hard to get to the big leagues, and I really want to enjoy my time here. I play hard, really hard. Respect the game, but I also want to have fun every time I go out there.

When I get a base hit, I look to my teammates in the dugout, my wife, my son. I do the "Mickey Mouse ears" sign with my hands. My son, Noah, means everything to me. He loves to watch Mickey Mouse. It's something special for him.

Video: CWS@CIN: Sanchez puts Sox ahead with single in 7th

When I get to know my other teammates, I let out my personality. I don't do it right away, especially here in the big leagues. When I first came up to the White Sox in 2014, I felt a little shy.

But after being here for a few years, now I have chemistry and good relationships with my teammates. I try to keep the team loose when I can. You have to wait for the right time. You're not going to play around with someone who just went 0-for-5. I know everyone here. I know when they're mad and when I can play around with them. That's why I never get in trouble.

I got a lot of attention for dumping the Gatorade bucket on my head after Trayce Thompson hit a walk-off homer to beat Minnesota in May. It was crazy. I remember we were tied in the bottom of the ninth. I got to the dugout. I don't know why, but I was 100 percent sure we were going to have a walk-off. I didn't know if it would be a homer or a hit. When I came to the dugout, I started to think, "What am I going to do celebrate? OK, let's dump the water on me."

Video: MIN@CWS: Thompson crushes a walk-off homer in the 9th

Five seconds later, Trayce hit the homer. I took the water -- it was a little heavy -- and poured it on my head. I saw the reaction of the people. They said, "When are you going to do it again?" I don't like to do it every day. People will get tired of it. So I look for the right time.

Make no mistake, there's a serious side to me too. People don't see what I do to get ready to play. When I get to the ballpark, I work out. I hit in the cage. I take ground balls. It's a lot of work. I believe in the work I put in. I know if I do everything I practice, I'll get good results.

It's important to always be positive. If I have a bad game, I'll think about what I did wrong. Then I'll enjoy my family and come back the next day. This game is so hard. It's easy to get frustrated. Staying positive is the best thing you can do.

Playing in the big leagues was my dream since I was a little kid. I meet a lot of great people. I see a lot of kids smile. Oh man, this game brings a lot of happiness to my life. You never know how long this is going to last. I want to enjoy every second while I am here.

As told to Ed Sherman.

Chicago White Sox, Yolmer Sanchez

In My Words: Delmonico on chemistry

Special to MLB.com

I've been in a few locker rooms in baseball, dating back to my days as a bat boy when my dad was the baseball coach at Tennessee. I have to say, what we have right now with the White Sox is the best clubhouse I've ever been in. And the fact that it is at the big league level is unbelievable.

The character, the love we have in the locker room -- I don't think I've ever been a part of anything like it. It's a lot of fun to go out and play with these guys every day.

I've been in a few locker rooms in baseball, dating back to my days as a bat boy when my dad was the baseball coach at Tennessee. I have to say, what we have right now with the White Sox is the best clubhouse I've ever been in. And the fact that it is at the big league level is unbelievable.

The character, the love we have in the locker room -- I don't think I've ever been a part of anything like it. It's a lot of fun to go out and play with these guys every day.

:: Chicago White Sox: In My Words ::

Last year, at the end of the season, we were getting really close. We were playing well, and everyone kind of meshed. We saw it then. Then, when we all got together during the offseason at SoxFest, we grew even more. You could feel it when we came to Spring Training. It was awesome to have everyone feeling the same thing.

Ricky [Renteria] sets the tone of how we do things. Minor Leagues, big leagues, the White Sox are one big family. So if you're in our organization, you're a part of our family. That is what he has established. We've got everybody from top to bottom buying into this. I saw it last year, I saw it even more in Spring Training, and I see it even more now with the season beginning.

When I got called up last year, I got welcomed with open arms. Everyone was awesome. It made me feel so comfortable. All the success I had last year was due to my teammates treating me with the utmost respect.

The biggest thing is being comfortable with yourself. Coming into our clubhouse knowing you can be yourself, and then going out and playing hard, everyone is comfortable in the clubhouse with each other. There's no worry about fitting in, trying to do the right thing. Everybody knows what you're coming in to do that day. You feel like everyone has your back.

James Shields does a great job of bringing everyone together, getting people to do stuff. He is one of the best I've ever seen at doing that. He's one of the greatest teammates I've played with.

Tweet from @MLBNetwork: What's going on back there? 😂😂😂@TimAnderson7 & @Nicky_Delmonico had a little fun during @whitesox teammate @CarlosSan29's interview on #MLBCentral! pic.twitter.com/UcXHaAaFYU

You've got guys like Yolmer Sanchez, who keeps the clubhouse so much fun, loose. You've got Tim Anderson, who always has a smile on his face, cracking jokes. We just have a good group of guys who love coming to the field every day.

During Spring Training, we had fun with social media. Every day it was someone's day, and we all posted about him. For instance, we had a day where everyone would post about Matt Davidson. I had a day. It's just another thing we do to try to bring us together, along with interacting with the fans. It was a lot of fun.

Tweet from @whitesox: It's #NickyDDay! Give @Nicky_Delmonico a follow on Twitter and Instagram. 🤗 pic.twitter.com/dbM5lFq2Bk

Chemistry is big in this game. From my experience in baseball, the teams that get along the most, play for one another, play the game right, they tend to be successful. It was like that with my dad's best teams. If you look at any winning team, I don't think it has a bad clubhouse. They all get along. There are other parts, too, but chemistry goes a long way.

Everyone in our clubhouse believes that we're at the beginning of something special. We're all going to do it together and keep riding this train.

As told to Ed Sherman.

Chicago White Sox, Nicky Delmonico

In My Words: Thyago Vieira

MLB.com

I am proud to be only the fifth player from Brazil to play in the big leagues. To say the odds were against me ever getting here would be an understatement.

You may have heard, but people love soccer in Brazil. Baseball is not big there. It's probably near the bottom among sports people play or follow. You see people on the streets wearing Yankees and Red Sox hats and shirts, but they don't really know what those names are all about.

I am proud to be only the fifth player from Brazil to play in the big leagues. To say the odds were against me ever getting here would be an understatement.

You may have heard, but people love soccer in Brazil. Baseball is not big there. It's probably near the bottom among sports people play or follow. You see people on the streets wearing Yankees and Red Sox hats and shirts, but they don't really know what those names are all about.

I started to play when I was 9 years old. My aunt had a friend who was married to a Japanese man who knew all about baseball and invited me once to play. I didn't know anything about baseball. The first time I played, I went to the field with shorts and a short-sleeve shirt because I didn't know what to wear.

It was love at first sight. I started understanding the game the more that I got more involved, and I liked it more than soccer. But in 2005, when I was 12, they stopped playing baseball in the town where I was living, Tatui, which is about two hours from Sao Paolo. I had to start playing soccer instead. Soccer, though, wasn't my passion. I kept asking my friends if they knew of somebody who had a place where I could play baseball, but I couldn't find anyone to give me the opportunity.

I went two years without playing baseball. Finally, I met a man in Sao Paolo who invited me to play in his baseball school. I used to go there on weekends to practice. Between taking buses and trains, it was like a seven-hour commute. But it was worth it, because I got to play.

People used to make fun of me. They would say, "You always have a glove on your hand." But baseball was the sport I loved, so I didn't pay attention to what people were saying.

In Brazil, when you are 17 or 18, you start looking for a job. I went to a grocery market to submit my resume, but it was too far away. Instead, I focused on baseball to try to get better. I didn't even start to pitch until I was 17. Previously, I played third base.

I was a pretty good pitcher, and the people from the academy sent out videos of me to the scouts. The scout who oversaw South America for Seattle saw my video and signed me to a contract.

After I signed, I played in Venezuela for two years. I saw some Major League games on TV. I thought, "Man, that's really far away to reach that goal." But once I came to the United States, I knew it was possible.

I made my big-league debut last year with Seattle, and now I am with the White Sox. This organization has given me the opportunity to keep improving, to keep moving forward.

On Aug. 4 in Tampa, I recorded my first career save. It was a big moment. It was a payoff for all the work, all the things I had to do during my career to get to that point. There were a lot of people who didn't believe in me. There were people who I said I couldn't make it, but I made it. That moment there, having the ball in a save situation for a team, that was my chance to prove I could do it. That was why I celebrated the way I did, by beating my chest like King Kong. My teammates made fun of me, but I didn't have that planned out. I was just so happy in that moment.

Video: CWS@TB: Vieira fans Adames, collects 1st career save

This whole thing -- someone from Brazil playing in the big leagues -- is like a dream. It feels like I'm dreaming all the time. God gives you a plan. You don't know how it will go, but you follow the plan. Honestly, I don't know how else to explain it -- it's just God's plan.

As told to Ed Sherman

Chicago White Sox, Thyago Vieira

In My Words: Tilson living out boyhood dream

Chance to play for hometown team motivated outfielder through injuries
Special to MLB.com

I have to admit it is a bit surreal to drive to Guaranteed Rate Field these days.

It isn't my first time driving to the stadium. I spent a lot of mornings in the winter in the gym here working out with Allen Thomas, our director of strength and conditioning. Considering all that I've been through with injuries, it was such great motivation to do everything I could to get healthy again.

I have to admit it is a bit surreal to drive to Guaranteed Rate Field these days.

It isn't my first time driving to the stadium. I spent a lot of mornings in the winter in the gym here working out with Allen Thomas, our director of strength and conditioning. Considering all that I've been through with injuries, it was such great motivation to do everything I could to get healthy again.

That's what makes this so special. Now I'm making the same drive, knowing I am going to be in a White Sox uniform for a game in a few hours.

I was a White Sox fan growing up in Wilmette. They had an inspiring group of players. They played the game hard -- especially when you think about 2005, with Ozzie Guillen as manager. Grinder ball is my style of play. I loved Scott Podsednik. He showed that a guy like me who may be a little undersized but with a lot of speed can make a big difference. It was an important year for me in my development.

I always felt like this was possible, but there are so many things you have to accomplish first. Whether it's striving to make the high school team, then college, it's always, "What's the next step?" Now here you are. It's incredible.

I mean, I get the opportunity to work with Aaron Rowand. He's a guy I watched as a kid, and now I'm working with him one on one. There are so many things like that -- I can go on and on.

It's been a long road to get back here. After I got hurt in my first big league game in Detroit in 2016, I basically went 1 1/2 years without playing because of injuries. There were times when you feel like it's a cruel joke to have this great opportunity and then see it slide away from you for an extended period of time.

Video: Charlie Tilson on his first game of spring training

Anyone who's been injured knows there are some days filled with hope and other days when you're down. Unfortunately, it wasn't the smoothest ride back to full health.

Luckily, I had unwavering support from so many people. That's what allowed me to put in the time and effort to continue to stay the course.

I'll never forget what it was like to play my first game at Guaranteed Rate Field after being called up a couple weeks ago. I hadn't been to the stadium to watch a game in so long. When I went out to get ready, I looked all around. I saw things like the pinwheels in the scoreboard. It definitely brought back so many great memories. It was a pretty surreal moment. I feel so fortunate and just excited to have the opportunity to fight for a team I grew up watching.

That first day, I called my high school coach, Mike Napoleon, to tell him that I was going to be playing. It was 11 in the morning and we were playing at 1:10. He showed up with my hitting coach and pitching coach from New Trier. It was pretty special to have someone who always supported you be there in that moment.

I'm really trying to appreciate everything about being here. At the same time, you have to tell yourself it's just a game. You actually can use that to your advantage. As players, you're always trying to bring yourself back to those times when you were a kid. That's when you're just lost in the competition. Baseball's not necessarily a business. It's about having fun. For me, that's when I'm playing my best, just enjoying the game.

Being able to put on a White Sox uniform takes me back to being a kid and loving the game. I want to embrace those feelings so I can continue to help this team any way I can.

As told to Ed Sherman.

Charlie Tilson is an outfielder for the Chicago White Sox.

Chicago White Sox, Charlie Tilson

In My Words: Volstad's climb back to the bigs

Special to MLB.com

After our 2017 season ended in Charlotte last September, I drove back to Florida. I thought I was done for the year.

Almost immediately, I had to work to get ready for Hurricane Irma, which was supposed to hit the state. I spent the day boarding up windows, helping my parents and sister.

After our 2017 season ended in Charlotte last September, I drove back to Florida. I thought I was done for the year.

Almost immediately, I had to work to get ready for Hurricane Irma, which was supposed to hit the state. I spent the day boarding up windows, helping my parents and sister.

Then the White Sox called, and they said they wanted me to come up to join the team. It was kind of crazy. I wasn't thinking it would be an option. It was a surprise.

My next thought then was, "I hope I can get out of here." Everything was shut down because of the hurricane. I'm thinking, "I finally get called up again, and I might be stuck in South Florida."

Fortunately, I did get out and was able to finish the season with the Sox. Now I'm back with the team in 2018.

Video: CWS@HOU: Volstad earns first win since 2012 in relief

Getting back to the big leagues has been a long time coming. Since the end of the 2013 season, I only had appeared in one game with Pittsburgh in '15 prior to being called up last year.

At my age, 31, you do wonder if you'll ever get the call again. But I continued to work hard and kept believing. I always thought as long as I still had a jersey on my back, I had a chance.

Having been in the big leagues for a while, knowing what it is like, that's the drive to get back to The Show. Also, this being my second year with the Sox, knowing everyone on the team and wanting to be a part of what is happening here -- that was a big motivating factor, too.

I never thought about quitting. I always was dedicated to figuring out a way to get back and have success. I never felt I was too far off.

I've had an interesting journey in baseball. When you're growing up, get drafted, start playing, you don't really envision bouncing around this much. After being picked in the first round by the Marlins in 2005, I only was 21 when I reached the big leagues in '08. I had some success early on, going 12-9 in 2010. After being traded to the Cubs in '12, I ran into some tough times. I've spent the better part of the last five seasons in the Minors. In 2014, I played in South Korea.

Looking back, I didn't handle adversity really well. There was a lot of frustration. I kept trying harder, putting pressure on myself. I was getting in my own way.

The biggest thing for an athlete is relaxing and letting your natural ability take over, as opposed to trying to force the issue and thinking too much about what's happening. It's more playing the game like you did when you were young. It would have been nice to do that at 24. But no matter what profession you're in, you always can look back and say, "If I only had done that when I was younger …"

Video: SEA@CWS: Volstad strikes out Gamel to end the frame

Now taking that pressure off has made it a lot more enjoyable. I am competing against the best hitters in the world, and I've been able to have some success.

Besides baseball, I'm involved in owning a brewery in Jupiter, Fla., called Civil Society, with my cousin, Karl Volstad and my good friend, Evan Miller. It's been a lot of fun, and our IPA beers are gaining some popularity in the area. We're hoping to open a second brewery this year.

During the offseason, I try to learn all the ins and outs of brewing beer. But I'm not ready to go full time into the beer business just yet.

Physically, I feel great, maybe the best I've felt throughout my career. I'm learning my body more as I got older. Even though I am 31, I don't see any reason why I can't go on for a while. Besides, for me to stop playing, they're going to have to take the jersey off my back. I'm not going to give up.

There's nothing like being in the Major Leagues. I love being in the locker room, dugout, field. At a younger age, it's easy to think that's normal and it will be that way forever. Now, when you've been away for a while, you appreciate every day even more.

As told to Ed Sherman.

Chris Volstad is a pitcher for the Chicago White Sox.

Chicago White Sox, Chris Volstad

In My Words: Rick Renteria

We have nine players who will be experiencing Opening Day for the first time Thursday. It is going to be a special day for them.

My first Opening Day was with Seattle in 1987. When you break with the club out of Spring Training for the first time, you're going to be very excited. It's monumental, because not everybody can do it. It's something everyone dreams about. When you finally do it, it's a little surreal and, at times, it feels like a blur because it just goes by so fast.

We have nine players who will be experiencing Opening Day for the first time Thursday. It is going to be a special day for them.

My first Opening Day was with Seattle in 1987. When you break with the club out of Spring Training for the first time, you're going to be very excited. It's monumental, because not everybody can do it. It's something everyone dreams about. When you finally do it, it's a little surreal and, at times, it feels like a blur because it just goes by so fast.

I had to wait until 1993 for my second Opening Day in the big leagues. I had been bouncing around for a few years when I finally got back with the Florida Marlins. I was more elated because you're older and you realize that being up here for Opening Day doesn't happen every day. You appreciate it more. It's always surreal. Major League Baseball is a surreal life.

It isn't just the players. Last year, two of our coaches, Nick Capra and Curt Hasler, got to experience Opening Day for the first time. I wanted our team to know how special it was for them. The Major League arena starts in the Minor Leagues. It takes a lot of good coaching to develop these players. It's somewhat of a thankless job for the coaches. I wanted to acknowledge all the hard work Nick and Curt put in. They've been through all the battles for a long time. Being part of Opening Day for the first time was just as exciting for them as it was for the players.

As a manager, it always is a thrill to line up with my team for the introductions. I look at my players just like I look at my kids. We're living through our players. The game is about them. We have pride in them, we have joy with them, we suffer with them, and everything in between.

It's one of those things where from day one of Spring Training, everyone tries to get themselves ready for the season, to be able to put your best foot forward every day. You're hoping you can do everything necessary to become a true family as a baseball team.

I would expect some of our young guys to have some butterflies on Opening Day. Everyone does. That's not necessarily a bad thing. But after the first pitch, the first swing, all of a sudden, you come into a kind of calm. I don't think these guys are going to get too excited. They're very focused, and they prepared well. They understand exactly where they are and the job they have to do.

For the manager, there is a lot of hoopla on Opening Day. I understand it's all part of the day. Once the game starts, that's when it is the easiest. I'm back in the arena. That's the most comfortable place for me to be.

Opening Day is the beginning of a long journey. Every spring they say, "Hope springs eternal." You have the optimism, and you're looking forward to all the positives.

But during the season, when you hit that little valley, that wall, I always try to tell the players to revert back to the day we broke camp. What did it feel like? What were you thinking about? What were your expectations? Those expectations haven't been removed from you. You have to go back and remember what they're all about and continue to move forward.

As told to Ed Sherman.

Chicago White Sox

In My Words: Capra more than just 'traffic cop'

Special to MLB.com

When people ask about my role as a third-base coach, I tell them I am a traffic cop. I direct traffic on the bases. Scoring runs is obviously the big part of this game. When our players get on base, their main objective is to touch home plate. I try to help get them there.

It happens very fast for the players and myself. There's a lot of different things we think about, and we try to think through everything before it happens. The score of the game dictates what you might do. How many outs? We're going to try to be as aggressive as we can, depending on the score of the game. If it is late and we're down by a run, we've got to score that run.

When people ask about my role as a third-base coach, I tell them I am a traffic cop. I direct traffic on the bases. Scoring runs is obviously the big part of this game. When our players get on base, their main objective is to touch home plate. I try to help get them there.

It happens very fast for the players and myself. There's a lot of different things we think about, and we try to think through everything before it happens. The score of the game dictates what you might do. How many outs? We're going to try to be as aggressive as we can, depending on the score of the game. If it is late and we're down by a run, we've got to score that run.

If there's a runner on second, will I send him home on a hard-hit single to the outfield? Speed really comes into play. There are other factors. Who's on deck? Who is in the hole? Who is struggling at the plate? I think about that before the action even starts. Let's say [Jose] Abreu is hitting well, and he's on deck. We don't want to take the bat out of his hand by making the last out of the inning on the bases.

I watch film of outfielders. When an outfielder comes in on a ball, does he catch the ball flat-footed? Where is his momentum going? What kind of arm does the guy have? We have to know all that.

We want to put pressure on the defense any chance we get: stolen bases, going [from] first to third, scoring from first on a double. If we have speed on the basepaths, we're going to test people. And we have some guys who can run.

A good baserunner is one who makes good decisions, knows his capabilities. A good baserunner can help you win a lot of games. On the other side, you could lose a lot of games on the bases if you're reckless. We try to be aggressive without being reckless.

The emotions of a third-base coach work both ways. You never want to get anybody thrown out at the plate. You want to make good decisions. Sometimes, you make the right decision and there's other times when you don't. Hopefully, nine out of 10 times we're making the right decision.

If you fail, you've got to have thick skin in this game. You go back, watch the film, and say, "What could I have done to make it better?"

There's a lot of communications going on out there. Actually, our signs are pretty simple. We don't use a lot of signs. We try to keep it as simple and as basic as we can without everyone else in the ballpark knowing what we're doing.

We know the other team is trying to pick up on our signs. It's part of the game, and that's why we change from time to time. You're always looking for the edge. Any advantage you have over the opponents is something that comes into play. If you know what they're doing, it just adds to that edge. Hopefully, it will help win you a ballgame.

I managed for 10 years in the Minors, where I got plenty of experience being the third-base coach. Then I spent five seasons as the White Sox director of player development, from 2012-16. It was a great job, and I learned a lot.

I became the White Sox third-base coach in 2017. I love being on the field. That's my personality. I've been in this game for 40 years, and the majority has been on the field. That's where the action is. I want to do whatever I can to help these guys win a game.

-- As told to Ed Sherman

Nick Capra is the third-base coach for the Chicago White Sox.

Chicago White Sox

In My Words: White Sox trainer Herm Schneider

MLB.com

It is hard to believe this is my 40th season with the White Sox. Sometimes, it feels like yesterday, and sometimes it feels like 40 years ago.

You could say I knew what I wanted to do as a youngster. Growing up in Rochester, N.Y., I was the "clubbie" for the Baltimore Orioles' Triple-A team. I was doing a lot of odds and ends for the trainer, and I thought to myself, "I kind of like this."

It is hard to believe this is my 40th season with the White Sox. Sometimes, it feels like yesterday, and sometimes it feels like 40 years ago.

You could say I knew what I wanted to do as a youngster. Growing up in Rochester, N.Y., I was the "clubbie" for the Baltimore Orioles' Triple-A team. I was doing a lot of odds and ends for the trainer, and I thought to myself, "I kind of like this."

I went to college to learn how to become a trainer, and eventually got a job as the assistant trainer for the Yankees in 1976. I remember walking into that locker room for the first time. Let's just say my heart was pounding.

It was a lot different back then. You'd massage a guy or tape an ankle. I remember we had a pitcher with the Yankees, Don Gullett, who was having some problems with his left pitching elbow. At some point, the elbow was just gone. Gullett probably needed Tommy John surgery, but it didn't exist. Maybe he could have pitched for a few more years.

Now, it's much more sophisticated. You have to set up these elaborate rehab programs. When I think of advances in medicine, I think of MRIs and CT scans. Sometimes, they're for the good, and sometimes they're for the bad when you get information you're not really bargaining for.

Some of the things we do now, we did back then, like cupping. Back then, the guys didn't like it. They thought I was hurting them. Now all of a sudden, it's in vogue. Go figure.

The players are different, too. We worried about nutrition back then, but you'd see them having a cocktail and a cigarette. They didn't train year-round like they do now. They didn't make the kind of money. Some of them had to get jobs in the offseason to supplement their incomes. Now, these guys know they have to train hard. They don't want anybody to get an edge on them.

I feel like I can take credit for turning around the White Sox sports medicine program. When I came over in 1979, the program was struggling. It needed to be beefed up. We wanted to make it more professional. We started the process, and kept moving forward.

Our track record has been pretty darn good as far as keeping our guys healthy. We do a lot of preventative work to try to head things off at the pass before they get out of control.

Early on, I wound up working with Hall of Fame manager Tony La Russa for nine years. We became very tight, and still are. He liked the way I did things. Tony was about having the edge on things. He knew having me around, doing what I was doing, gave him an advantage.

I've had the good fortune to work with so many great players, and great guys with the White Sox. There's Harold Baines, Tom Seaver, Rich Dotson, Paul Konerko, (Jim) Thome and so many more. They've all had an impact on me. I hope I've had an impact on them.

I think about the two years Bo Jackson and I spent trying to get him back on the field after left hip replacement. He never said, "I can't do this or I can't do that." I can't tell you how thrilling it was when he hit that homer in his first game back on Opening Day in 1993. It was storybook.

I enjoyed working with Michael Jordan. Early on, his hands were bleeding from swinging so much. I remember he took us down to Spring Training in his private plane. Having him around was pretty incredible.

I worked with Bo Jackson and Michael Jordan. How many people can say that?

I've always felt all of the years I have been with the White Sox have been pretty good. Some years are a bit better than others. Winning the World Series in 2005 is the crown jewel.

It's hard for me to imagine that I have been with the White Sox for 40 years. There's been a lot of turnover, but the one constant is owner Jerry Reinsdorf. I'll do anything in the world for him. Every day I come to work, I want to make sure I do as much as I can for Jerry and the White Sox.

As told to Ed Sherman, a contributor to MLB.com.

Chicago White Sox