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  • Liam Hendriks

    Ah...the White Sox...



    https://www.chicagotribune.com/sport...btq-story.html

    Column: Sage advice? Liam Hendriks turns to his tarot card reader for answers after some early struggles for the Chicago White Sox closer.

    If you were expecting the 2021 Chicago White Sox season to turn into a Seth Rogen comedy before the end of the first month, give yourself a hand.

    Closer Liam Hendriks revealed Monday he expects the Sox to turn things around after talking to his tarot card reader, Rubi Rios, and “saging” the Sox clubhouse to remove negative energy.

    At least I think that’s what he said.

    When Hendriks goes into a soliloquy, it’s hard to keep up.

    “She’s sending me some bracelets and some crystals and stuff like that now to kind of figure out my locker a little bit,” Hendriks said Monday on a teleconference before the Sox played the Cleveland Indians. “I saged my locker. I saged a couple of other guys on the team who were a little bit more open to it.

    “It’s just something that I’ve known, whatever the reason behind it, it seems to change the way I perceive things.”

    How that fits into COVID-19 protocols is anyone’s guess, but just roll with it. Maybe some “saging” and crystals are exactly what the Sox need to get back on track. If it was good enough for the characters in “Major League,” it should be enough for Tony La Russa’s team.

    Hendriks said he began listening to Rios back in 2018, when he was in the Oakland Athletics minor-league system, at a time when his career was on the downslide. His wife discovered Rios on Instagram and connected with her through actress Sarah Hyland, who played Haley Dunphy on “Modern Family.”

    “My wife ended up reaching out to Rubi,” he said. “She wasn’t expecting a response. She didn’t get a response right away, so she did a reading — that would’ve been in the middle of August of 2018. We went through some things and she told me I had to make a change in certain things with my agent. We ended up changing agencies. A week later I was in the big leagues. A month later I was starting in the wild-card game.

    “Other than that, I’ve been using her for kind of manifesting ever since. We spent Thanksgiving with her two years ago. She was over for Christmas. They’re now part of our family. That is the one thing that’s helped us throughout everything. There are no preconceived judgments or anything like that, and she even said that.

    “At the start of the offseason she foresaw ‘above three, not four, and for over 50,’ and this was just after the playoffs. So if you want to talk about accuracy, she’s got that pretty down pat too.”
    Hendriks signed a three-year, $54 million contract that the Sox say is for four years because of the club option for 2024, so Rios’ reading was right on the money.

    Rios posted a photo on her Instagram account in January of her and Hendriks posing with his American League Reliever of the Year award.

    “This is somebody who has committed to his career, mind, body and spirit,” she wrote. “He has reached a level of alignment and I’m excited to keep his energy there. … We going to Chicagoooooo!!!! And as part of your magical team, I’ll be there every step of the way!”

    The magic hasn’t happened quite the way Hendriks and the Sox had planned in the early going.

    He blew a save Sunday, serving up a game-tying home run to Carlos Santana in the ninth inning of a 4-3, 10-inning loss to the Kansas City Royals. He already has allowed two home runs in 3⅓ innings after giving up one in 25⅓ innings last year.

    Hendriks said the Sox are “trying a little too hard, trying to exceed expectations or live up to the high bar we set for ourselves.” That’s what happens when everyone tells you in spring training you’re on the way to the World Series.

    So after Sunday’s performance, Hendriks naturally made a call to his tarot card reader to get some sage advice.

    “She gave me a couple things, right?” he said. “I was already leaning toward those sort of things, but hearing that kind of confirmed from a different source who has never seen me wrong in the past is pretty nice to hear.

    “Certain things, you stop worrying about living up to expectations. Just go out and be you and be pitch by pitch, and that’s when this stuff happens. … I need to make sure to be myself and a day like yesterday will never happen again.”

    Hendriks said Rios knows nothing about baseball and calls the pitching mound the “mount,” as if Hendriks is Moses delivering a sermon and not a 97 mph fastball. She also gives him exercises to keep him “locked … into that positive frame of mind.”

    “It’s a whole thing,” he said. “Like, that’s the best part about it. She’s not a baseball fan that’s giving me information that she thinks is right. She has no idea about the game. She’s telling me purely from an emotional and a physical standpoint of where she can kind of feel and see the difference of the way I’m talking about things and the way I describe things.”

    Rios is not on the White Sox payroll yet, but if they start winning, she might want to negotiate.

    La Russa, who has admitted to being superstitious, has no problem with his closer’s eccentricities.

    “Whatever comes together for somebody becomes outstanding,” La Russa said. “He’s an outstanding closer, right? So whatever the pieces are of his puzzle, I’m all for. There are some guys that want to keep it simple. They don’t have social media. They don’t even have a cellphone or a laptop, and they’re successful.

    “Everybody is wired different ways. All I know is he’s an exceptional closer, and I’ve seen guys that are in that position and they have different approaches. Just let him be him, and he’s strong enough to where I’m not going to try and change him either.”

    Maybe La Russa can burn some sage himself.

    It couldn’t hurt.



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