'Sodfather' Bossard eyes 55th home opener

April 7th, 2021

Roger Bossard opened his Tuesday Zoom session, discussing his 55th home opener with the White Sox, by providing the most salient information.

The White Sox head groundskeeper since 1983 presented the weather report for Thursday’s contest against the Royals at Guaranteed Rate Field.

“Things are looking really charming for Thursday,” the always-upbeat Bossard said. “However, there’s talk about rain starting 8 or 9 o’clock at night [Wednesday] and going up to noon or 1 o’clock.

“I’m thankful we have a 3 o’clock game. I think we are going to get it in. I’m going to make a few phone calls and try to get that sun to come out and it will be about 65 degrees.”

Known as The Sodfather, Bossard is one of the most influential groundskeepers in all of baseball and even had his own bobblehead giveaway. He has worked for four owners with the White Sox and can rattle off a who’s who from the game, in terms of his friends made over his tenure. That list includes George Steinbrenner, the longtime Yankees owner, and of course, White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf.

“There’s only one Jerry Reinsdorf,” Bossard said. “He’s that special.”

Roger Bossard in the 1970sCourtesy of Chicago White Sox

Bossard followed in the groundskeeping footsteps of his grandfather, uncle and father, Gene, who was in charge with the White Sox from 1940-83. Bossard has his health, loves his job and doesn’t think about leaving the business any time soon.

“I talked to [general manager] Rick Hahn probably five or six months ago and said, 'I’m not quite sure what’s going on,'” Bossard said. “And then all the sudden, I see what Rick and [executive vice president] Kenny [Williams] have done with the club and I don’t know if I’m going to retire any time soon. I would love to get that second ring.

“I’ve got a feeling that these two guys are going to get it. They might have to put up with me.”

Vaughn seems natural in left

Andrew Vaughn was back in left field Tuesday night after helping Carlos Rodón get out of the fifth inning Monday by grabbing a Kyle Seager drive near the wall and then snagging an Evan White line drive in left-center. Vaughn, the team’s No. 1 prospect, per MLB Pipeline, played only three games in left field during Cactus League action.

"It's a testament to his hard work,” White Sox manager Tony La Russa said. “Right now, the way he's playing, he's getting better-than-average jumps. That's not an average left fielder out there.”

Vaughn entered Tuesday 0-for-9 with five strikeouts, one run scored and one RBI. But he’s not taking that into the field.

“He's such a proud hitter,” La Russa said. “And I told him this on the bench: The really, really outstanding players, they separate their offense and defense.

“He had a strikeout [that] I know upset him, he goes out there and makes a play. He's got great instincts. He's got a great head for this game.”

Third to first

• Catcher Yasmani Grandal was slowed during Spring Training after twisting his right knee during a running drill on Feb. 24. So, he’s still getting his timing back at the plate and overall.

“There’s still a few things we need to clean up, or I need to clean up, but it’s going to come with time,” Grandal said. “The more I play, the more I’m going to figure it out what I need to do.

“A game like the last game in Anaheim just can’t happen. I can’t be missing that many balls in the strike zone, whether it’s a miss location or not. On the plus side, blocking’s been good, knee feels fine, throwing seems to be coming along, but it’s going to take some time to be behind the plate for a long period in order to get to exactly where I want to be.”

Grandal had a scheduled day off Tuesday. He’ll play Wednesday afternoon and in Thursday’s home opener.

• Tim Anderson tested his tight left hamstring with some pregame running drills and is making progress. La Russa still isn’t sure on a timetable for the shortstop's return.

They said it

“It means a lot. Not too many people get to hit 150 homers in the big leagues. Hopefully we can get 150 more.” -- Grandal on reaching a career milestone Monday

“I want to play my first game with the fans in Chicago. I want to see my fans over there on Opening Day in Chicago. I want everyone to talk to me. I want to see my people. I want to see the Yermín fans, the Yermínator fans. I’m so excited I can’t wait.” – Fan favorite Yermín Mercedes on Thursday’s home opener