CHICAGO -- The entire White Sox team will make the trip to the Magnificent Marriott on Michigan Avenue on Saturday morning for the Beacon Awards Luncheon from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. CT. Those awards will be followed by Major League Baseball's seventh Civil Rights Game on Saturday night, marking the third one in which the White Sox have participated.
They took part in the second contest in Memphis, Tenn., as the final preseason contest in 2008, and then moved to Cincinnati in 2009 for the first regular-season Civil Rights Game. It's an honor for the players and manager Robin Ventura to take part in this special contest.
"It's cool, it's definitely the right thing to do," said White Sox captain Paul Konerko. "You get a lot of different things that happen throughout the course of the year where they want to honor certain things. And there's no question that that's something that should be done, so it's good that MLB has jumped on board with that over the last few years."
"This is my second time I get to play in it," White Sox designated hitter Adam Dunn said. "It's amazing how much of a, I don't want to say spotlight, but it does, it brings to your city and it's a really big game to play in. And it's an honor, I think that's how everybody looks at it."
Hector Santiago was thrilled to find out that he will get the start Saturday night for the White Sox, after originally figuring that Chris Sale would get the nod. He's equally thrilled to have a chance to interact with Bo Jackson and Henry Aaron on Saturday, among the dignitaries scheduled to attend the Beacon Awards, with Jackson being honored.
"I think the last one in Cincinnati, we're in the locker room and Muhammad Ali came in, and that just doesn't happen on a normal game," Konerko said. "So that's kind of cool for the players, and I'm sure something like that will happen [Saturday] night. It'll be some good energy there. You'll see some people that you don't normally see around just a normal game, so yeah, I think it's all good. It's definitely something that should be recognized."
"We're fortunate to have it," Ventura said. "It's important that all our guys go, sit there, listen and understand and kind of appreciate what has evolved and where the game is right now."
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Merk's Works, and follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.