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White Sox truck rolls ahead to spring camp

Clubhouse staff also packs gear for season-opening road trip
MLB.com @scottmerkin

CHICAGO -- The temperature in Chicago on Friday checked in at a less-than-balmy 19 degrees and dipped to 8 when factoring the wind chill.

But over at Guaranteed Rate Field, where the truck was being loaded for White Sox Spring Training and then departing for Camelback Ranch in Glendale, Ariz., it felt a little like baseball's very unofficial beginning.

CHICAGO -- The temperature in Chicago on Friday checked in at a less-than-balmy 19 degrees and dipped to 8 when factoring the wind chill.

But over at Guaranteed Rate Field, where the truck was being loaded for White Sox Spring Training and then departing for Camelback Ranch in Glendale, Ariz., it felt a little like baseball's very unofficial beginning.

"It does," said Rob Warren, who is beginning his third season as White Sox home clubhouse manager. "I'm sure the front office gets the feeling once SoxFest hits, that's when it's, 'OK, we are getting going here. We are right around the corner.'

"We leave the next weekend [after SoxFest, which ran from Jan. 26-28], and guys come in the week after that. It's nonstop from there for eight months basically. It's a long road."

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Warren was joined by visitors clubhouse manager Jason Gilliam, umpires clubhouse manager Joe McNamara Jr. and assistant home clubhouse manager Tom Bafia as part of the group to get things organized over the past month and ready for Friday's departure. The truck should arrive "Monday-ish," per Warren, depending on the weather. Warren and his crew will start unpacking on Tuesday.

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That schedule gives them about one week before White Sox pitchers and catchers report on Feb. 14.

"We've got stuff from our scoreboard departments for when they come down and do promo videos and things you see on the scoreboard," Warren said. "Just luggage and things from staff and front-office staff, and things we can help out with on that end. Training room, they have product, weight room has some product.

"It's a wide variety of gear that fills up that truck. But the majority is clubhouse equipment."

Things such as bats, uniforms and equipment bags are shipped directly to the White Sox complex in Glendale. But the preference is to get as much as possible shipped to Guaranteed Rate Field, where they can box it up, label it and put it right into the players' lockers to cut down on extra work during what promises to be a busy upcoming week.

Take hoodies and shorts, as an example. The clubhouse staff has the players' sizes on file, so they heat stamp their names and numbers on them before boxing them.

Tweet from @scottmerkin: Moving day for the White Sox. Arizona bound. pic.twitter.com/s0NqNgri4s

There were no special requests from players for truck add-ons, considering most players live in warmer climates outside of Chicago during the offseason. There also were no special deliveries, such as when Paul Konerko's home clubhouse locker was on the truck to bring to his Arizona home after Konerko's retirement.

With the White Sox on the road to begin the 2018 regular season, Warren did have to include items for that six-game journey to Kansas City and Toronto.

"Everything we normally travel with on the plane, that has to come down with us," Warren said. "We might not go into it during Spring Training, but we need it because we leave straight from there. We go to Kansas City at the end of March, so we've got to bring the stuff for cold weather."

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast.

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