This afternoon the Chicago White Sox will kick off their annual offseason convention, SoxFest, at 4:00 p.m. at the Hilton Chicago. The event runs three days, and will feature White Sox players, coaches, and staff, including many of the new prospect arrivals.
Friday passes are only available to fans who are staying in the Hilton, while Saturday passes go for $50 dollars, Sunday for $40 dollars, and two-day passes are at a bargain of $75 dollars.
On Friday, the festivities commence with the 4:00 p.m. opening ceremony, where players and coaches run out onto the stage and are introduced. All evening long after that, autographs and picture opportunities take up most people’s time. Popular personnel should draw big crowds, so make sure to get in line early for: Jose Quintana at 5:00 p.m. (first 250 autographs), Jose Abreu and Yoan Moncada at 5:00 p.m. (250), Lucas Giolito at 6:00 p.m. (100), Tim Anderson at 5:30 p.m. (150 photos), Willie Harris with World Series trophy at 6:30 p.m. (100 photos), and Carlos Rodon at 7:00 p.m. (250 autographs).
Later in the evening, the focus shifts to 45-minute seminars. At 6:00 p.m., Rick Hahn and Rick Renteria present Your White Sox, likely a presentation on their thoughts of the roster and the season ahead. At 7:00 p.m., turn back the clock with retired legends like Harold Baines, Carlton Fisk, and Bo Jackson in Talented Sluggers. To cap off your night, hear about the lives of Latin Sox players, in La Vida Away from the Clubhouse, with Jose Abreu, Melky Cabrera, Yoan Moncada, and Jose Quintana.
Lastly, don’t forget to take advantage of the mini-field, with hitting, pitching, and catching clinics for kids in the evening, led by guys like hitting coach Todd Steverson, Todd Frazier, and Zack Collins.
Saturday events run from 9:00 a.m. until around 6:00 p.m. Get in right at start time for a choice of six prime candidates giving out 175-250 autographs, depending on the player: future Hall of Fame slugger Jim Thome, legendary multi-sport athlete Bo Jackson, and current players Todd Frazier, Melky Cabrera, Yoan Moncada, and Tim Anderson.
As for the rest of their day, there are still many hot commodities to go after. Notable autograph signers include: Frank Thomas at 11:00 a.m. (first 250 autographs), Rick Renteria at 1:00 p.m. (175), Carlos Rodon at 1:00 p.m. (175), Jason Benetti and Ken Harrelson at 1:00 p.m. (100), and Harold Baines and Ron Kittle at 2:30 p.m. (150).
If you’re looking for digital memories, there are plenty of photo opportunities throughout Saturday. Important ones include: Carlos Rodon at 9:30 (first 150 photos), Michael Kopech at 11:00 a.m. (100), Jackson at noon (150), Frank Thomas at 2:00 p.m. (150), and Tim Anderson at 2: 30 p.m. (150).
There are also a plethora of kids’ activities on Saturday. Highlights for them would probably be: A press conference with Todd Frazier, Lucas Giolito, and Carlos Rodon at 11:00, Southpaw autographs at 1:30 p.m., and pitching and hitting clinics at 12:00 and 3:00 p.m.
Saturday is also jam-packed with seven seminars, so don’t miss out. The most intriguing presentations should be: Your White Sox at 10:00 a.m., First Rounders with Tim Anderson, Zack Burdi, Zack Collins, and Carson Fulmer at noon, Speaking Frankly with Frank Thomas at 1:00, and Building the Next Generation with scouting personnel Chris Getz, Nick Hostetler, and others at 3:00 p.m.
Sunday, beginning at 9:00 a.m. and closing out around 3:00 p.m., is fairly similar to the first two days, but I will run over some of the unique and important events of the day.
At 9:00 a.m., catch Nate Jones and Jake Petricka signing autographs (first 250). Kopech holds his first non-kids autograph session at 1:00 p.m. with Ken Kravec (175). For photographs, Moncada is available at 10:30 a.m. (first 100), Fulmer also at 10:30 a.m. (150), Darrin Jackson at noon (100), and the World Series trophy is open at noon too (100).
The mini-field will host “Stretching with Soutphaw” at 9:30 a.m. and an outfield clinic at 1:30 p.m.
As for seminars, they get quite interesting on Sunday. The second presentation is From Food to Films: Let’s Talk Favorites, with Tyler Danish, Matt Davidson, Michael Kopech, and Charlie Tilson. For a real show, watch Tyler Saladino judge Carlos Gaytan and Rick Renteria’s cooking battle at noon. And finally, the weekend closes out with Jason Benetti, Ed Farmer, and Darrin Jackson‘s discussion of broadcasting in Calling the Game.
What to look for
Throughout the weekend, it will be interesting to see how the White Sox talk about/around the trade rumors, especially with Jose Quintana seemingly on the trade block. Additionally, Rick Hahn’s and Rick Renteria’s approach for this season and the future will be interesting to hear.
Look for them to emphasize the future, but be positive and not dismiss chances for success in 2017, despite the long odds. In addition, reports came out this week that Frazier had a rift with ex-White Sox outfielder Adam Eaton, so if someone had the nerve to ask about that, things could get dicey.
On a side note, Kopech’s girlfriend, reality TV star Brielle Biermann, should be in attendance. Through Twitter, she has encouraged outgoing Sox fans to meet her. But most importantly, if you are attending SoxFest, make sure to take advantage of it all. So much talent and potential in one building is a great opportunity to have memorabilia signed and make life-long memories.