Whether it’s SoxFest or Cubs Convention, the kids-only question-and-answer sessions contain mostly sweetness, such as a little girl asking about players’ favorite ice cream flavors.
Sometimes, though, some sour gets mixed in.
White Sox outfielder Nicky Delmonico didn’t hold back during Saturday’s session with young fans. He was on a panel with teammates Yolmer Sanchez, Tim Anderson and Adam Engel, as well as moderator Zoraida Sambolin, a news anchor at NBC-5 and the wife of Sox Executive Vice President Ken Williams.
A 9-year-old named Anthony asked, “Which fans do you get annoyed by the most?”
“Cubs fans,” Delmonico said with no hesitation, an answer that was met with cheers in the Hilton Chicago’s continental ballroom.
“Whenever the Cubs play (in) our home you all have got to literally give them hell.”
Sanchez added: “That’s the answer right there.”
Some other kids’ questions included:
Do you have a favorite and a least favorite team to face?
Anderson: “I feel like Detroit was my favorite team to play (last) year because I hit well at their park. And my least favorite team is probably the Indians because their starting lineup was nasty and they crushed me.”
Engel: “I would agree with him about the Indians. (Corey) Kluber had my number for some reason this year. But I’m working on it, so we’ll see how it goes. I like Detroit. We face them a lot so you kind of get a feel for what guys are doing to you. I like playing at that park, too. It’s a big center field and it’s fun to roam out there.”
Delmonico: “I wouldn’t say there’s a team I don’t like to face, but the teams I do like to face would be Yankees, Boston. Those are the teams I grew up watching play and for me it touches home.”
Sanchez: “The team I like to face is Detroit, too. Last year I think I had a good series against them. And Indians, I don’t like to face the starters for the Indians.”
Do you have a pet?
Anderson: “I have a miniature poodle. His name’s Teddy.”
Engel: “I have a dog. His name’s Kuma. And my wife has a cat. I can’t claim the cat.”
What is your favorite video game?
Sanchez: “FIFA. And I’m the best.”
Delmonico: “I like Call of Duty. Probably my favorite all-time game is Zombies.”
Anderson: “I don’t have time for games. I usually just be with my daughter, so I don’t have time for them.”
Engel, to Anderson: “Mario Kart?”
Anderson: “Oh yeah, Mario Kart’s a good one. I knew it was one of them somewhere.”
Engel: “I hardly play video games either but l like Mario Kart too. … I don’t play much, I have to watch.”
What was your favorite position growing up?
Each said shortstop.
What’s your favorite kind of ice cream?
Anderson: “Strawberry. So good.”
Delmonico: “I gotta go with cookies and cream.”
Sanchez: “Chocolate. I love chocolate.”
Engel: “Black raspberry chocolate chip from Graeter’s. If you guys have never had it, go to a Whole Foods and look for Graeter’s. … It’s unbelievable.”
What are your thoughts on (Manny) Machado coming to the team?
Anderson: “It’d be cool to have him. I think that he’d do more special things than we’re already going to do. I think he’ll a great bat for the team, great defense, all-around player, so you can never have too many great players on one team.”
What is your favorite state or country to travel to?
Delmonico: “I like Florida. I think the beaches in Florida are the best.”
Sanchez: “I know Venezuela is in a lot of trouble right now. I’m from Venezuela, it’s a really beautiful country. I hope someday that we escape from these problems (and) you guys can go out there and see my country.”
Engel: “I like to go to places that are log-cabin types. So for me Gatlinburg (Tenn.) is a cool place to go, or Hocking Hills (Ohio). … Anywhere you can get away off the grid. You’re with your family. It’s cold, you can go sledding or … build a fire, just kind of relax.”
How many bases are you going to steal this year?
Sanchez: “I go for 100 this year.” (Audience laughs.) “What? What’s so funny? I want to take 30 bags. I’m going to do my best.”
Anderson: “Hopefully more than I did last year. I had 20.”
Engel: “I’m going to try to get Tim to let me in on some of his secrets, so more than last year. I had 16 last year. So 30, 40 … 50, 60.”
Who do you think will win the Super Bowl?
Delmonico: Tom Brady. Patriots. (The crowd boos.) “Did you not watch the last game he played? The guy can’t lose.”
Anderson: “I don’t want to say.”
Engel: “I think the Rams are going to win.” (The crowd cheers.)
Anderson: “Yeah, the Rams are going to win.”
What do you do in your off time?
Anderson: “I’m a family man. I spend most of my time with my family. They’re important to me. I spend a lot of time on the baseball field, so I try to cherish those moments that I get outside the field and use it with my family.” (wife Bria and daughter Peyton are in the audience).
Delmonico: “I play a lot of golf. I just broke 90 so I’m pretty pumped about that. I golf right-handed, and then other than that I work out with Yolmer Monday through Friday.”
Sanchez: “Like TA and Engel I spend a lot of time with my family; my wife, my son. We’re expecting another boy. My wife is pregnant.”
Who’s your favorite MLB player that’s not on the White Sox?
Anderson: After proclaiming himself a fan of Sanchez, he said, “I’m not no fan of nobody else.”
Sanchez: “(Mike) Trout. (Chris) Sale. Too many good players, it’s hard to pick one.”
Engel: “I guess we get to know first baseman probably more than anybody else. … I guess if you’re you guys (on the panel) you hit doubles more than I do, maybe you get to know (other infielders). … Joe Mauer, I know he’s announced retirement, (but) he was one of my favorite guys to get to first base and kind of talk to. Joey Votto’s another guy that was cool to talk to. He’s got such a different perspective and outlook. I’m from Cincinnati, so I’ve watched him for a pretty long time.”
For Delmonico, if you were stranded on a desert island would you rather eat the sand or chicken tenders?
Delmonico: “The sand. … I’m not having chicken tenders for a long time. I had food poisoning on Thursday from chicken tenders.”
For Sanchez, how many people are you going to dump Gatorade on this year?
Sanchez: “A lot. A lot of people. So, you guys, be careful.”