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Sox hoping Big Frank phones home
By Barry Rozner | Daily Herald Columnist
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Published: 1/29/2010 12:01 AM

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There was one man conspicuous by his absence last weekend at SoxFest.

One very big man.

Frank Thomas was nowhere to be found, and at least a few White Sox fans noticed.

They'd like to know when or if Thomas will return to have his day, get his number retired and visit his statue.

And it's really all up to Thomas now.

"The door is open," said White Sox GM Ken Williams. "It's pretty much in his court as far as what he wants to do."

Despite his conflicts with Thomas in the past, Williams said it's all forgotten, and he was in favor of Thomas returning last year so that he could retire in a Sox uniform.

"If he felt like the time was right to come back for a day and retire with this uniform, I think everyone here wants that to happen," Williams said of Thomas, who hasn't played since August 2008. "I don't know that we'd want it to be an official appearance, because then you'd have to restart the clock on his Hall of Fame status."

As of now, Thomas will be eligible for a Hall election in January 2014, and with the steroids revelations of the past few years, Thomas has gone from a mere possibility to a virtual lock in the eyes of many voters who see him as one of the clean players in a dirty era of baseball.

It would seem that he's done playing, but there are rumors out there that Thomas wants to try one more time.

As soon as Thomas is certain he has had enough, Jerry Reinsdorf will arrange for work on a Thomas statue.

Now it's simply a question of Thomas letting the Sox know he's ready, and some in the organization think that will happen this year.

Ivan Boldirev-ing

You'll forgive me for laughing about the uproar over a couple of photos of drunken Blackhawks.

Was it foolish to be in that situation in this era of ubiquitous cameras? Sure. Avoidable? Of course. Embarrassing for management and ownership? Yeah.

And is it a given that Patrick Kane will continue to act like a spoiled child, believing he's eternally entitled? Seems like it.

But no one got hurt and as far as we know nothing bad happened. Sounds like just a routine night on the town for pro hockey players.

As someone who has been involved in the game since the age of 5, believe me when I tell you that if this is the worst thing the Hawks are pictured doing off the ice this season, it's been a terrific year for the franchise.

Super changes

The Bears and the Colts have made plenty of changes since they met in Super Bowl XLI three years ago, with quite obviously different results.

One similarity is both teams have three new offensive linemen, but it has worked fine for Indy and not so much for the Bears.

The Bears have a new quarterback, running back and receivers, with poor results, while the Colts are able to bring in wideouts at the drop of a hat and have them play at a high level, not only because of a great QB but also because of coaching.

On defense, the Bears' line is mostly the same, while Indy has changed the middle of theirs. Both teams have much different defensive backfields, but the Bears have only gotten worse in that area.

Perhaps nothing has hurt the Bears as much as taking their best weapon of any kind, Devin Hester as a return specialist, and turning him into a bad returner and a mediocre wide receiver.

It's too easy to say all their success is only because the Colts have the best QB in history. Coaching and player evaluation are a part of it as well.

The good cause

K's for Kids Club, a nonprofit troop that takes underprivileged children to Cubs games, will hold its second annual fundraiser at The Ram Restaurant in Wheeling on March 15 at 6 p.m.

The group was formed in honor of the late Tom Bujnowski, a teacher, coach and Cubs fan who began bringing "K" signs to the bleachers in May 1998, on the day Kerry Wood fanned 20.

In 2007, Bujnowski was struck and killed by a train in Fox River Grove.

In 2008, K's For Kids rewarded 50 deserving kids from Maryville Academy, and in 2009 they brought 50 children from Kaleidoscope 4 Kids to Wrigley Field.

For more info, visit ksforkids.com.

The good kid

Rather than accept birthday presents, 9-year-old Wolves fan Brianna Bocian of Countryside asked her family and friends for donations, and last weekend the Wolves matched the $300 she collected and gave $600 to the Bear Necessities Pediatric Cancer Foundation.

Bounty hunters

After watching them try to take Brett Favre's head off, won't the Saints go after Peyton Manning early and often?

And if they get him in the first half, what will Super Bowl ratings be like in the second half?

The inevitable

Winfield e-mailer Ryan Rockafellow: "Jim Thome will hit 18 home runs in 2010 - and 9 of them will be against the White Sox."

Just asking

Is Ron Turner still available?

Best headline

Sportspickle.com: "Ben Sheets excited about the opportunity to work with A's team physician."

And finally -

Comedian Alex Kaseberg: "NBC paid Conan O'Brien $30 million to do absolutely nothing. As a result, Conan has been named an honorary New York Knick."

brozner@dailyherald.com