video thumbnail

Ken Williams talks about learning from past struggles

The White Sox will host the Rangers in the seventh annual Major League Baseball Civil Rights Game at U.S. Cellular Field on Saturday night.

It will mark the third time the White Sox will have participated in a Civil Rights Game, as Chicago played in the 2008 and 2009 games against the Mets and Reds, respectively. Last year's game took place in Atlanta.

While the White Sox have played in past Civil Rights games, this season's game will be the first the team has hosted. And it won't be the last, as it will again be played on the South Side in 2014.

The Rangers will be participating in their first Civil Rights Game, and players from both teams are honored to take part in what they say is more than just another baseball game.

"We as human beings, we should recognize equality, and I believe that every person is the same and deserves equal treatment," said Alex Rios. "It's good that MLB is doing something to recognize that on the field and I'm glad to be a part of it."

"This is my second time I get to play in it," said Adam Dunn. "It's an honor. I think that's how everybody looks at it."

Before the game, MLB Beacon Award recipients Bo Jackson and Aretha Franklin will be recognized on the field, with four-time All-Star Willie Horton accepting Franklin's MLB Beacon of Change Award on her behalf.

Tonight's first pitch will consist of a generational "passing of the ball" representing baseball's critical role in the civil rights movement and the enduring spirit of this important era that lives on today. The ceremony features Ernie Westfield, former Negro Leagues pitcher for the Birmingham Black Barons; Minnie Miñoso, former Negro Leaguer, White Sox legend and the first professional athlete of color in Chicago; Sharon Robinson, daughter of Hall of Famer Jackie Robinson and MLB Educational Programming Consultant; Larry Doby, Jr., son of Hall of Famer Larry Doby; Jamal Martin, member of the White Sox Amateur City Elite (ACE) team; and Joseph Debrah, participant in MLB's Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) program. Six-time All-Star and Assistant Hitting Coach for the Chicago White Sox Harold Baines will catch the first pitch.

Platinum-selling, international recording sensation Charice, who is also performing at the MLB Beacon Awards Luncheon, will sing the National Anthem. "America the Beautiful" will be performed by local schoolteacher Gerald Chaney during the 7th inning stretch.

Other highlights of pre-game ceremonies include a special recognition of the new commemorative stamp by the U.S. Postal Service to honor the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, and a check presentation to the Chicago Urban League and La Rabida Children's Hospital by Hall of Famer and MLB Executive Vice President of Baseball Development Frank Robinson and Chicago White Sox Executive Vice President Ken Williams.

As for the contest itself, the records of the respective teams indicate they are headed in vastly different directions, with the White Sox occupying last place in the American League Central and the Rangers atop the American League West with a 3 1/2-game lead over the Athletics.

But despite dropping the series opener, the White Sox have been playing well as of late, winning six of their past seven games and 12 of their last 18.

"It's nice to finally be playing some good baseball that gets rewarded with some wins," said Paul Konerko. "If you string something together like we have, there's a little different energy, even knowing you're way back in the standings."

The Rangers have won four straight, 14 of their last 17 and nine straight road games as they try to put some distance between themselves and the Athletics in a tight AL West race.

White Sox: Santiago sees success when pitching to contact
The White Sox will send Hector Santiago to the mound against the Rangers. He has pitched well in 7 1/3 career innings against Texas. In three appearances, including one start, he's given up one run on three hits and struck out seven.

The left-hander is coming off a solid outing Aug. 18 against the Twins, when he gave up one earned run while scattering nine hits over six innings. Santiago, who has 120 strikeouts on the season, fanned seven Tigers on Aug. 2, but only nine over three starts since.

He said he's been trying to pitch to contact, and it's been working.

"Earlier in the season, every time I had two strikes or every time I had a chance to get a strikeout, I tried to," Santiago said. "It's not always about how many strikeouts you have, it's about how many innings you pitch and how many zeroes you put up."

Rangers: Darvish loves pitching late in the season
Yu Darvish takes the hill for the Rangers. The right-hander has struggled in two career starts against the White Sox, giving up nine earned runs on 15 hits, along with six walks over 12 1/3 innings. He yielded four runs in six innings in a 10-6 win against the White Sox in Arlington on April 30.

Darvish has been very good as of late, however, posting a 3-0 record with a 2.15 ERA so far in August. He says August has always been a good month for him.

"Even in Japan, there have been many seasons where I was just getting warmed up in August. I threw really well toward the end. Physically and mentally I feel fine."

Worth noting
• With their win against Chris Sale in the series opener Friday night, the Rangers have won eight consecutive games started by an opposing left-handed pitcher. The last southpaw starter to beat Texas was Baltimore's Chris Tillman on July 21 in Arlington.

The Rangers hope to continue that streak against Santiago.

• Despite dropping the series opener, the White Sox have won 10 of their last 15 meetings with Texas, including four of their last five at U.S. Cellular Field. Comments