Schriffen bringing high energy to White Sox broadcasts

April 30th, 2024

This story was excerpted from Scott Merkin’s White Sox Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

CHICAGO -- John Schriffen’s debut season as the White Sox television play-by-play voice began with 22 losses in 25 games. But it never dampened Schriffen’s high energy and positive attitude.

“Everything I imagined and then some,” Schriffen told me Sunday, when asked to describe his first full month on the job. “When you go through a tough stretch like we had for the start of the season and still get the fan support and the love, I think it shows what this city is all about.

“It’s the reason why I came here. They are real fans. They understand what’s going on. They understand I’m in it with them. I feel the pain. I feel the wins, the losses. And even though it has been a roller coaster this first month, I’ve loved every minute of it.”

That roller coaster included a recent 0-7 stretch in Philadelphia and Minneapolis and a 2-16 ledger against the American League Central. With a 3-2 loss to the Twins on Monday at Guaranteed Rate Field, the White Sox have won three of their last four overall and four of their last five at home.

Their three-game weekend sweep of the Rays included a walk-off home run from Andrew Benintendi on Saturday before 28,009, with an intense flourish to Schriffen’s regular victory call immediately following the blast.

“Say it with me. Say it proud,” Schriffen said. “For all the haters, South Side, stand up!”

Some social media comments took “haters” as a possible reference to White Sox fans, who understandably are not happy with the organization. Schriffen has nothing but high praise for those White Sox supporters, explaining his comment was steeped in relation to outside reaction to the team’s woeful start.

“We had 28,000-plus in this stadium, and I fed off every bit of that energy,” Schriffen said. “It wasn’t planned. I didn’t think about what I was going to say.

“It’s just one of those moments where it was like, ‘This is who this team is and for all those people who are talking crap about the White Sox, we’ve got something ready for you this season.’ That’s the haters, all the people who are piling in on the jokes.”

Schriffen, a former news reporter for ABC, is a self-proclaimed news junkie and surfs channels on the road to view different newscasts. He also catches the various sportscasts to see what’s being talked about, which he did recently in Minneapolis.

“Every sportscaster was piling the jokes on, ‘The Twins were sucking it up, and now, thankfully, the White Sox come to town, and they are going to get us right. I can’t wait. Wish we can play the White Sox all the time,’” Schriffen said. “The jokes like that, all the people who think they have jokes on us now, it’s like, ‘OK, haters, we see you, but we’ve got something coming for you.’”

White Sox players have been extremely talkative through these tough on-field times with Schriffen, who works the pregame and postgame clubhouse, while always attending manager Pedro Grifol’s media sessions. He appreciates the accessibility, as well as the expert guidance from White Sox television analyst Steve Stone.

Schriffen loves the genuine fan interactions, whether they take place away from the field or last Saturday during the pregame Sox bar crawl at the park. He understands criticism is also part of the job.

“I’m used to taking heat,” Schriffen said. “It was a tough position walking in, and I knew that was going to be the case. All I asked is for people to be fair. When people cross the line, I’ve learned the block button [on X] has become my best friend.

“When it’s just genuine criticism or genuine frustration, and it doesn’t cross that line, that’s fine. I get it. You are a fan. I was a fan. I’m never going to tell anybody how they should feel because that’s what’s fun about sports. We all have our own opinion.”