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updated: 4/30/2014 10:04 AM

Jose Abreu demands your attention

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  • Associated PressChicago White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu set two records in April with the most home runs and RBIs by a rookie.

    Associated PressChicago White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu set two records in April with the most home runs and RBIs by a rookie.

By Chris Rongey
Special to the Daily Herald

I've lived in Chicago nearly 12 years. I grew up downstate in the St. Louis metropolitan area, where most of my family still lives.

Occasionally, I'm fortunate enough to have them up for a visit, and many times when they're able to make it to a ballgame, the good people in White Sox premium seating are kind enough to set them up in the Home Plate Club. In case you're unfamiliar, that's the area on the second level with an enclosed bar area, which is where most people sit to take in the game on a cold night.

That's where I'll sit, too, when I'm able to go downstairs and visit with my parents. With multiple TVs around the perimeter, I'm not missing anything.

Last weekend, as I was talking with my family and watching the game on TV, one of the terrific hosts in the club stopped by the table to chat with them (I think they like my family better than they like me).

At one point, as my mother was midsentence, the host said, as politely as possible, "Hang on. Abreu's about to hit. I want to go watch," and excused himself to go outside.

I treasure the moments I have my family. I love the rare occasions they visit me, and I enjoy when I'm able to get away to visit them. Those times don't happen often enough. Now that I've said that, I'll tell you that as soon as the host walked outside, I followed him.

I wanted to watch, too. And I wanted to see the moment in person.

On Sunday, one of my colleagues, Matt Spiegel, tweeted about a "Twitter bot" that would alert us every time Abreu steps to the plate. There isn't one, but there should be.

During last Saturday's "White Sox Weekly" show on WSCR 670-AM, I asked hitting coach Todd Steverson if Abreu can get even better than what he has been so far. His response: "Better? He just broke a couple records."

He sure did. For rookie home runs and RBIs in the month of April, plus the record for RBIs in a player's first 26 career games, which is a franchise record. On top of that, Abreu has the most homers and RBIs in the American League (before Tuesday's action).

The point is: Jose Abreu, in just one month, has become an appointment hitter.

It's been some time since White Sox fans have been able to say that a rookie of their own makes them stop whatever it is they're doing just to see him hit. Who was the last player to illicit that behavior, really? It has to be Frank Thomas, doesn't it?

What we've seen from Abreu so far is special, and I don't know if he can keep it up quite to this degree, but I think we're looking at the start of a very good career.

I walked away from my own mother just so I could watch every detail of his at-bat. He made an out, but it doesn't matter. I'll probably still put mom on hold the next time he comes up.

Sorry, mom.

• Chris Rongey is the host of the White Sox pregame and postgame shows on WSCR 670-AM The Score. Follow him on Twitter @ChrisRongey and at

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