By Liam Jones
CHICAGO – On June 1, White Sox ace Chris Sale concluded a complete-game two-hitter in front of more than 23,000 fans at US Cellular Field. Backtrack to 2009 and the Eagles’ star put on a similar performance against Stetson, with just 75 people in attendance.
It’s safe to say that the former FGCU ace has experienced a change in scenery.
“At first I had some nerves and a little anxiety just because I had never pitched in front of thousands of people before,” Sale said of his first appearance with the White Sox. “But I enjoyed it and learned how to handle it and try to not pay attention to everyone in the stands.”
But Sale’s dominance on the mound has stayed consistent, if not grown, over the years. Out of Lakeland High School, his heat caught the eye of the Colorado Rockies, and he was drafted in the 21st round. Instead, Sale chose to attend Florida Gulf Coast University.
“I felt like at the time it was just a better opportunity for me. Not only to mature as a baseball player but as a person. Coming out of high school, I was 18 years old and didn’t really have a good grasp on life,” Sale admitted recently while sitting in the White Sox dugout the afternoon following a one-run, 10-strikeout performance against the Tigers.