White Sox ace Chris Sale maturing on, off the mound
BY DARYL VAN SCHOUWEN email@example.com July 26, 2012 9:46PM
Lefty Chris Sale has an 11-3 record, a 2.37 ERA and a two-year-old son he cherishes. | Gregory Shamus~Getty Images
SOX AT RANGERS
The facts: 7:05, Ch. 26, 670-AM.
The pitchers: Chris Sale (11-3, 2.37 ERA) vs. Yu Darvish (11-6, 3.88).
The rest of the series
Saturday: 7:05, CSN, 670-AM. Philip Humber (4-5, 6.25) vs. Matt Harrison (12-5, 3.02).
Sunday: 6:05, CSN, 670-AM. Gavin Floyd (8-8, 4.46) vs. Roy Oswalt (3-1, 5.22).
Updated: August 28, 2012 6:22AM
ARLINGTON, Texas — Chris Sale is handling his rapid rise to stardom as easily as he deals with major-league hitters.
Becoming a father and husband at 21, before he cashed his first paycheck, is probably a big reason why. With more on his plate than most of his contemporaries, Sale has grown up in a hurry after embracing the challenge of being a family man. The reward? A sense of balance that keeps him grounded and equipped to handle the pressure and expectations that grow on the 23-year-old All-Star with each start.
“It’s awesome,’’ Sale said. “I love my mom and I love my wife, but there’s no words to explain having a child. It’s been a fun journey so far.’’
Sale and his wife, Brianne, can’t tell yet whether 2-year-old Rylan Allen Sale is right-handed or if he’s a lefty like his gifted father.
“He shovels in food with both of his hands,’’ Sale said.
What is known is that the young’n helps his young dad put everything in perspective after a rare tough day at the office.
“I’ve always been hard on myself,’’ said Sale, who, takes an 11-3 record and 2.37 ERA into the White Sox’ game tonight against the defending AL-champion Texas Rangers and right-hander Yu Darvish. “You have a bad game, you walk through that door and he doesn’t care if you gave up five runs or had a bad day. All he cares about is wanting to play with you. He still loves you for everything you are.
“A few years ago, in college, I’d be ticked off for three days after a bad outing. Now, I’ll be mad here in the clubhouse but when I get home and see him, I realize it’s not that big a deal. You get over it.’’
When you’re a big deal like Sale, teammates, manager and coaches watch to see if you act like a big deal. Sale doesn’t.
“You forget sometimes how young he is because of what he’s done on the field,’’ fellow starter Philip Humber said, “but the way he’s handled himself, handled the attention and the well-deserved praise he’s got has been impressive. That’s part of being a good teammate. That bodes well for him in the future because I think he’s only going to get better and have a lot more stuff come his way.’’
General manager Ken Williams, who was on the receiving end of a mature, passionate and convincing plea from Sale to keep him in the rotation and not dispatch him to the bullpen when a minor elbow issue surfaced in May, was impressed by Sale’s pitch. In the weeks that followed, Williams lauded the extra work Sale was putting in on days off to keep himself fit. Williams also doesn’t have to worry about Sale showing up on a series of Deadspin frat-party photos from a college campus somewhere in the U.S.
‘‘Having someone else depend on you, you have to be more responsible and make better choices,’’ Sale said. “Someday you’ll have to explain to him what you did and why you did it.’’
Sale says his father, Allen Sale II, showed him how to be a dad while growing up in Florida.
“My father was always there, every single day,’’ Sale said. “He was home from his job every day at 3, and the second he got home to the time I got to sleep we were in the yard shooting basketballs, kicking soccer balls or throwing a baseball or football.
“He was always there for me. He was my father but he was like my best friend. I couldn’t wait to get home and hang out with my dad. Whether we were watching Batman or playing in the back yard, I just remember how fun it was for me. I want to be that kind of figure for my son, too.’’