White Sox Opening Day!!! Is it a Holiday in your world? Go Go White Sox!!! Part 2 of my White Sox fan journey.

In my last post I talked about my experiences as a kid growing up as a Southsider and White Sox fan. I have many fond memories of the original Comiskey Park, games there with my dad, my cousin Joe, times with school trips, etc… When the new stadium was built and that inaugural game was played against the Tigers, I had mixed emotions. While a new ballpark, I missed the coziness of the old ball park. Truth be told, nothing go you in and out of the bathrooms faster than the old troughs, but everything was now shiny and new. I was in college now, and life was moving fast. Days and weeks just flew by…just like the White Sox seasons. We also had that other distraction until June of each year during this time period, as the Chicago Bulls and Michael Jordan had made Chicago a “Basketball Town”. Sure the Blackhawks had played in the Stanley cup final in 1992, but make no mistake…Chicago was full on MJ and the Bulls.

Old Comiskey Park. Tony Fremarek watched a lot of games here.
Original Comiskey Park

I was married in June of 1994, and by the following July, I became a Dad. Now becoming a Dad came with serious responsibilities from a sports fan standpoint. My Cub fan in-laws thought it would be funny to buy my son Cubs gear to wear…wrong answer. As he got older, he was showing little interest in sports…I guess I should have had more realistic expectations for a 3 year old, then he got into Nascar…yes Nascar…I had spent all of 5 minutes of my life watching let turns for hours…but I was now a full on Nascar fan…going to driver events to wait in line for signatures, practice day at the track, etc…However, somewhere out of that he started to follow baseball…

So It Begins…

Anthony was now into baseball, and he was into the White Sox. Amen. I remember taking him to some of his first games. Back then a game was quite an experience from all the gear we brought with us, 2 gloves, bag of “supplies”, blanket for when it was cold, and who knows what else…I always felt like I had my arms full of stuff, while holding onto my young son’s hand, and more often, holding him, and all the gear. I have so many memories, which I look back on fondly now, of getting into the park, getting food and drink, getting to our seats, getting settled, to only hear those dreaded words…”Dad I need to go to the bathroom.” Which meant, grab all the gear, head to the bathroom, then back again, all while juggling the gear, and keeping track of the boy.

The Tradition starts…

April 6, 2001Opening Day 2001. I don’t remember much about this game. However the importance of it become more important every year, as this was the year the tradition started with Anthony Fremarek V, my son, and I. As he was now in Kindergarten I told my wife I wanted to start a tradition of taking him to Opening Day every year. I always found it kinda cool when you would see fans who had attended so many Opening Day games in a row, so I thought…this is what we will do. So it began, and continues through to today. Last year during COVID we were there in spirit, as our cutouts sat in the stands, Section 145, Row 4, Seats 1&2.

Tony Fremarek and Anthony Fremarek White Sox game 2020
Tony Fremarek and Anthony Fremarek, Row 4, Seats 1&2

We watched Opening Day together at home in 2020, our 20th in a row. Now we are die hard Sox fans, and we never leave a game early, regardless of the score. We have sat through all the elements on Opening Day. Some of my memories are so funny now as I think back on them. Early on in the run there was an Opening Day the was delayed because of rain, it was pouring, raining sideways through the concourse. I remember my son, as a little guy, standing in the center of a circle of me, and my brother-in-law Ken and his buddies, trying to keep him warm and dry. I remember sitting in snow, more rain, overcast skies, games where it seemed so cold I felt like we were dressed for a Bears game in December, and not a White Sox game in April. One of the best stories was the year I decided to splurge and found tickets in the Club section, not the 300 seats, but the all you can eat and drink behind home plate club section. So we get to the ballpark early that day (is there any other way to go), and we start to eat and drink, and it keeps raining, and raining, and finally, after sitting there eating and drinking for about 3-4 hours, they call the game. So what did we get to do, the same thing the next day. We certainly got our money’s worth for those seats.

Opening Day Guests

With 20 Opening Days under our belt we have had many people share in this tradition over the years, too man people to mention, but my Cousin Joe was a mainstay for many years. It was rare for him to miss a game with us. As we like to say, we are Brothers from a Different Mother. Our Mom’s are sisters, and Joe has always been the big brother I never had. Anthony and I have had games with groups as large as 8 people one year, most of the time it was four, he and I, Joe, plus one…that one was often a buddy of his, or another friend of mine. Becca, my daughter, has also been to a number of games. Sometimes it was hard to find that 3rd or 4th person, as not everyone appreciates the fact that in the Fremarek Household, Opening Day is a Holiday.

Milestones

So earlier I wrote about the bathroom trips…I have very specific milestones that I have witnessed my son pass and experience over the years. Here they are in order.

  1. Going to the bathroom by himself. Amen. Enough said.
  2. Able to be left in the seats “watching the gear” when the inevtiable “Dad I’m hungry/thirsty” question came up
  3. Anthony, “Dad I’m hungry/thirsty”… Me, “Here some money, go buy yourself why you want”.
  4. Anthony, “Dad I’m hungry/thirsty”…Me, “Here is some money, and bring me back something”. As he’s now old enough to juggle multiple food items and drinks.
  5. Anthony, “Dad I’m going to get something, do you want something”. Code for him actually using some of his own money, which I never let him do.
  6. Me…”Anthony, I’m thirsty, can you go grab us some drinks”.
  7. Now for my favorite…Me. “Anthony, I’d love a beer, how ’bout you go grab us a few”.
  8. The last milestones are still in play, that will be when he’s buying the beers, and paying for tickets…it’s a process.

To be continued.

Feel free to leave your comments or memories in the comments section of the blog piece below. I’d love to hear your White Sox fan journey stories.

Ready for a White Sox World Series? and my Journey as a White Sox fan.

So as we are now a few days into Spring Training, I have to say this is the MOST excited I have been about my beloved Chicago White Sox in a long time. I am a sports fan, without question. I have enjoyed sports for as long as I can remember. My first love of sports has always been baseball and the White Sox.

So It Begins…

I remember as a kid going to Sox games with my dad at the original Comiskey Park. We didn’t go to tons of games, usually we had free tickets from perfect attendance or straight A’s, back in the day when the Sox always needed to fill the stands. I don’t ever remember leaving games early, I do remember getting to the ballpark early, most of the time before the gates opened, so we could catch batting practice, try to get a ball, etc. I was one of those kids that always brought my glove to the game…you never know when that stray foul ball might find you. As I think back to the games as a kid, those great late 70’s uniforms, watching Chet Lemon in the outfield, or Richie Zisk…in his lone season with the White Sox. Interesting fact about Richie Zisk…ok…two facts…first off…he made his major league debut replacing Roberto Clemente at the end of a game, and secondly, and most important to me…my first baseball glove as a kid was a Richie Zisk model baseball glove.

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Richie Zisk Model Glove…my first Baseball Glove
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1977 Uniforms..wow…the collars
Chicago White Sox 1977
1977 White Sox Team Photo

Now…my favorite game as a kid came on September 17, 1983. To set the stage for this game…we need to understand how I came to have those tickets in the first place. I was a paperboy…back then we used to have to go door to door to collect, and door to door to sell new subscriptions. In the spring of 1983, the Southtown Economist was running a contest…you get enough new subscriptions, you could win 4 tickets to a White Sox game. That was enough to motivate me for sure. I sold enough subscriptions, and then in late spring had to chose the game I wanted. After consulting with the parents…we decided on a Saturday night in September, a cooler evening, and fireworks night. Who could have know that the White Sox would be playing a playoff clinch game? I remember that the only time in my life I rooted for a Sox loss was the night before our game…I wanted to see a clinch game. It was knit cap night, and we needed them…it was a rainy evening, and I don’t think we could have been higher up if we wanted to be. I do however vividly remember Harold Baines lifting that fly ball and Julio Cruz scoring the winning run in the bottom on the 9th. The feeling of the ballpark was electric for sure. The sounds, the feeling was just awesome. Something, needless to say, I vividly remember almost 38 years later. I also wore that knit cap for years. Unfortunately that feeling of Winning Ugly lasted for only a few more weeks, as the Sox bowed out of the playoffs, and us Sox fans were left with the clinch game as our big game of the year.

1983 Team

What wasn’t there to love about that 1983 team. We had the starting rotation of La Marr Hoyt, Rich Dotson, Floyd Bannister, and Britt Burns. We had Fisk behind the plate, Vance Law at 3rd, Scott Fletcher at Short, Julie Cruz at 2nd, and Paciorek and Walker at 1st. The outfield of Baines in right, Rudy Law in center, and ROY Ron Kittle in left. That was the first White Sox team burned into my memory. As a kid playing baseball, I was always Ron Kittle hitting that monster home run.

1983 White Sox Logo

To be continued…

A Fractional CFO video of the Day. Are you surrounding yourself with Rock Stars? Do you use Performance based compensation models?

Here is a link to my post today on A Fractional CFO.

Are you surrounding yourself with the right people? Do you have metrics and goals in place to judge your team? Do you have compensation plans that are tied to those metrics? If the answer to any of these questions is either no or I don’t know…watch the video, as Tony Fremarek articulates those questions, then contact A Fractional CFO for a free one hour consultation.

If you are a business owner…you need to watch this video. Know a business owner, forward this to them…having the right people and the right metrics and performance based compensation models can literally change the business trajectory.

I’ve also included the link to the video direct on YouTube.

Tony Fremarek discusses performance based compensation plans

Have a Great Day today!!!

Tony Fremarek, Founder A Fractional CFO, LLC

Can you be a Student of the Game?

Here is a link to my A Fractional CFO blog page. As many of you know I do a quick video everyday that highlights a hint, topic, something to think about. Today I discuss becoming a Student of the Game. How are baseball player and business owners alike. How can they each become better at their craft? Give the video a watch and let me know your thoughts in the comments section below.

By the way…Happy Spring Training Day…Pitchers and Catchers Report.

Tony Fremarek gives his thoughts on being a Student of the Game

You can check out my business blog for A Fractional CFO here.

You can also find us on LinkedIn, Facebook.

Winter, Snow, Driving, and Paczki Day!!!

So as I spent hours cleaning up from the latest weather gift of 12+ inches of snow, it really got me thinking about snow, and how my perception of snow and winter has changed throughout the years.

Snow Days

I remember as a kid enjoying the snow, actually looking forward to it. As a Chicagoan, born and raised, we just knew that the snow would come. Hopefully on a school day to give us that “Snow Day” we all wanted. I remember as a kid we had to watch TV as the scrolled through the list of all the schools, or listening to the radio, learning where in sequence your school would be listed or announced. To think that our kids today won’t ever know that…in this day of technology, that message is transmitted to the entire district and the world in an instant, and the information is available on demand.

Well as we get older, and I’m not sure if it started when I needed to work, drive to school, something like that, that the allure of snow started to dissipate. I do remember driving the rear wheel drive cars, and the ass end of the car all over the place. Some of it was fun and a challenge to make sure you could actually keep the car on the road. Pumping the brakes in the days before anti-lock brakes, all that fun we had.

Paczki’s and Paczki Day

Back to the cars…we are so spoiled, Anthony and I did a mini road trip to Weber’s Bakery for Paczki today. For those who don’t know what a Paczki is…for starters, you are missing out…but here is a link to educate you. 😉 Well worth the trip, but I thought as I drove how spoiled we are with today’s cars. All Wheel Drive, anti-lock brakes, anti-skid, traction control, etc. Our drive down I-55 was kinda fun…like one big wide lane…everyone jut kinda drove today. Left lane, middle lane, right lane, shoulders, whatever…just keep it on the road. I will say the the ride was totally worth it. Take a look at today’s Paczki.

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Paczki. Custard, Cheese, Oreo, Peanut Butter and Raspberry
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More Paczki…Apples & Cinnamon, Strawberry with sugar, more Oreo and Custard
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Weber’s Bakery at 5am…ready for Paczki Day
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Gotta Love Weber’s. All the sold today was Paczki
Gotta plug Weber’s Bakery

I hate that damn Snow

Back to the snow and winter issue. We’ve had some mild years with respect to snow…Mother Nature is catching up over the last few weeks. As the snow piles up, I dread looking outside and seeing the snow. More to clear…The packing snow we loved as kids…forget that…I want the light fluffy stuff. The snowblower prefers that too. The issue is now that the snow in many places is so much higher, hard to find a home for it as the piles grow…I feel like it’s a workout to clear it. I am thankful that I don’t have a job that requires me to be somewhere at a specific time.

It Could be worse

I was texting back and forth with a prospect this morning who lives in Dallas. While here in Chicago we laugh at -17, like, just another winter day in Chicago. In Dallas, this has been devastating with the loss of power. He’s been without power for 36+ hours, his house temp is down to 49 degrees. Makes the 18 inches of snow we got seem so much more tolerable. I do remember once we had our furnace go out on a cold day…it got down into the 50’s in the house, and that seemed cold. Remember, we are Chicagoans. I wear shorts in Fort Myers when it’s in the 60’s, and people there look at me like I’m nuts.

I guess this is enough ramblings for the day…enjoy Paczki Day, or Fat Tuesday. Which only means tomorrow is the start of Lent, which means Easter is just 40 days away, which also means Spring has to be right around the corner, Right?