Williams implores Chicago to denounce violence

Williams implores Chicago to denounce violence

CHICAGO -- The White Sox will honor the Jackie Robinson West All-Stars for their U.S Little League championship accomplishments during a special pregame ceremony prior to the start of the 6:10 p.m. CT game agaisnt Detroit of a split doubleheader on Saturday. The White Sox will host team members, coaches and families for the game as guests of the team, and all fans attending the game are encouraged to wear gold in honor of the champions.

It was White Sox executive vice president Ken Williams who used this amazing success story to make an important life point loud, clear and effectively through his speech Wednesday during the rally at Millennium Park as the celebration culmination.

In fact, Williams spoke for five or six minutes but only needed four words to grab the attention of his audience.

"Put down the guns," Williams said to the approximately 10,000 in attendance.

"People who are gathering and rallying, they are sending a message to put down the guns," Williams said. "Pick up a ball, a glove, a book, a paint stick, a science project."

Williams thanked the "superstars" who didn't suit up for JRW, namely the leaders of community organizations, teachers, before-school programs, after-school programs and the in the middle programs.

"And the people in the neighborhood who haven't given up on the village mentality," Williams said. "It does take a village."

This important message, mixed in with some humor and congratulations for the way the players handled their success, did not go unnoticed.

"That's the biggest thing that you take away from this because with the violence that's going on, people can unite for a good cause," said White Sox director of youth baseball initiatives Kevin Coe of Williams' comments. "I mean, those viewing parties were like family reunions. Today was one big family reunion. So many people from the city of Chicago, all ethnicities, all genders, all ages were out to support this team of 12-year-old baseball players, and it shows we are capable of doing something positive in this city. We just need a leader to step up and do it."

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.