It's the all-star break, and the unofficial first half of the season is in the books.
On the plus side for the White Sox, they have two of the best players in the game: Jose Abreu and Chris Sale.
Abreu has already drawn comparisons to Frank Thomas and Albert Pujols, and the 27-year-old rookie hits the break with a major-league leading 29 home runs. Abreu, who missed 14 games (May 18-June 1) with an ankle injury, is tied for third in the American League with 73 RBI, only 2 behind the Tigers' Miguel Cabrera.
Sale missed five weeks with a strained flexor muscle, but the 25-year-old lefty still showed he is one of the top starting pitchers in baseball, even though he had to schelp through the Final Vote to gain All-Star Game status.
On the negative side for the Sox, they have 23 other players on the roster that were consistently inconsistent, and that explains the 45-51 record.
You have heard me comment on all the ups and downs throughout the first half of the season, so let's again use the all-star break to review some of the notable quotes from White Sox players and staff:
"We feel that we have made a lot of progress in the last 10 months in terms of getting to where we want to be. We are certainly not fooling ourselves. We know we're not there yet. But at the same time, we're optimistic about the upside that some of these new additions bring."
-- General manager Rick Hahn on March 31, the Sox' season opener.
"Obviously, it's lousy. It stinks for the kid, who is crushed right now, who is very disappointed. It stinks for White Sox fans who are going to be deprived of the opportunity of seeing this kid on a daily basis this year. It's really just one of the crueler realties of sports."
-- Hahn on April 10, the day after right fielder Avisail Garcia was ruled out for the season with a shoulder injury suffered trying to make a diving catch at Colorado. Garcia has healed faster than expected and he could return this year.
"Yes, I am surprised. I didn't have these expectations, especially with the cold weather, the way it is right now. I go to the field to play baseball, help the team. I really don't go looking for records, but they're definitely welcome."
-- Abreu on April 27 after driving in 4 runs and setting the major-league rookie record with 31 RBI in the first month of the season.
"I'm not going to sit here and lie to you. I feel much better than when we started this process. I threw a 40-pitch bullpen today, got after it pretty good. There's nothing there today that made me think there should be any setbacks."
-- Sale on May 5, his first comments since landing on the disabled list on April 22 with a strained flexor muscle.
"It's always nice to get the first home run of the season, no matter who you are or where you are at. I've been swinging well and hitting some balls hard and you can't -- in the role I'm in -- you'd like to go in and do big things. But it's kind of that back and forth between not trying to do too much to where you totally get out of control, but you would like to try to be in a good position to drive the ball."
-- Paul Konerko on May 10 after hitting his first home run of the season.
"It was pretty uninspired by us all the way through. It started from the first play of the game and continued on and it stunk, pretty much the whole thing."
-- Manager Robin Ventura on May 11 after a lackluster 5-1 loss to the Diamondbacks.
"Most of my interactions was watching them on TV and watching Jose Abreu hit some bombs, that's about it. It's a great team. I think they have a postseason run in them this year if they keep playing well."
-- Carlos Rodon on June 6 after the White Sox drafted the left-handed starting pitcher with the No. 3 overall pick. Rodon agreed to a $6.582 million signing bonus last week.
"I made a mistake and, whatever, I lost the game."
-- Ronald Belisario on June 23 after giving up a walkoff 3-run homer to Baltimore's Chris Davis. Belisario lost his closer's job following the Sox' fifth straight loss.
"In Cuba, we don't have that many awards. You never get that many awards. That is probably why I look kind of cold when I get these awards here because we're not used to that."
-- Abreu on July 1 after batting .313 with 10 home runs and 22 RBI en route to winning AL June Rookie of the Month honors.
"You're down there with a pretty young group. You're seeing them kind of get their feet wet and get in situations that they probably haven't been in before consistently. There's probably going to be some growing pains with it and hopefully those guys grow into being able to get it done."
-- Ventura on July 6, discussing the Sox' ineffective bullpen.
"I'd like it to be better. We've had spurts where we play well, we've had spurts where we didn't. You wish you were in a better spot but you come back and try to clean that stuff up."
-- Ventura on July 13 after the White Sox lost to the Indians and ended the first half of the season tied for last place in the AL Central.