Tuesday, April 07, 2015
The FGCU Eagles pay tribute to Chris Sale
Florida Gulf Coast University sports fans keep a keen eye on their basketball teams. Both the men’s team and the women’s team have been eliminated from post season play at this time. They are now in the process of gearing up for next year.
The men’s baseball season is now in full swing, if you will pardon that expression. They play at a wonderful stadium beside the arena where the basketball games take place. Near the end of the roundball season, the university decided to pay its respect to the best baseball player ever to wear an FGCU uniform. His name is Chris Sale, and he now toils for the Chicago White Sox.
Sale was humbled by the experience. He was introduced, at centre court, with his wife and child, and his parents. His # 41 jersey was retired by the school, the first to receive the honour. He was genuinely moved by the event. “Everybody up here has done something to help me get where I am. I don’t know what to say. I’m speechless. It’s an incredible honour. It’s very humbling.”
He was signed by the White Sox in 2010, and was their first round draft pick. Since that time, he has won 44 games, and lost 29. He has a very respectable earned run average of 2.76, and was third in voting for the Cy Young Award last year. He has been an All Star the past three seasons, and earned the victory in the All Star game last year.
His coach at FGCU did not mince words when talking about Sale. “He is the best player I’ve ever coached. As good a player he is, he is a better man and a better person. When he came here, I really didn’t know what to expect. He was a string bean of a guy, standing at 6’ 6”, and not much meat on his bones.”
In early March, Sale had a freak accident while unloading stuff from the back of his truck. At least that was how the team described the situation. Sale had his own interpretation, very tongue in cheek, as reported by the associated Press. “The intruder broke into my house at night. So I hit him with a roundhouse, tied him up, and put him by the curb.’ Asked if he was concerned about his foot, Sale carried on with a straight face: “Well, yeah, by looking at the other guy’s head when I kicked him, it didn’t look good”. A great fish tale!
He considers this to be a minor setback. On March 27th, he threw a 75 pitch simulated game. He was expected to test lateral moves shortly thereafter, likely on his birthday on March 30th. He is now 26 years old. He is signed through 2017, and will make 32 million dollars in that period. He is expected to be ready by April 12th, shortly after the Sox begin the season.
The Sox will be in Toronto May 25th, 26th, and 27th, for their only visit to the Rogers Centre, and I look forward to those games. It will be a treat to see such a fine young pitcher in action. He is one of only six players ever to play in the Major Leagues the year that he was drafted. Perhaps he will get some of his team mates to help him unload the truck when he gets to the Windy City.
April 5, 2015