Improved attendance encourages Williams

CHICAGO -- With school ending around Chicago and the temperatures rising, White Sox fans are slowly coming to embrace a winning product.

Over the first six games of the team's current nine-game homestand, the Sox are averaging 23,825 fans. A modest number to be sure, but it's about 10 percent higher than their current average. There was an announced crowd of 25,743 Thursday night, with specially-priced $5 and $10 seats in the upper deck.

Before Thursday’s game against Toronto, White Sox general manager Kenny Williams said it’s “nice to see” a few more filled seats, but he wants more than sellouts. He wants a blackout.

“I want to play well enough that someone has the great idea to bring back the blackout,” he said referencing the Sox’s black T-shirt “blackout” for the one-game playoff at the end of the 2008 season. “I’d like to see it more often, the Cubs series maybe. Anytime we wan two games and we’ve got a chance to sweep that last game, I’d like to see people adopt that as something.”

With the misery of last season behind him, Williams is enjoying watching his first-place team. So far, at least.

“They’re very professional with the way they go about their business,” he said. “The staff challenges them to get better every day and the players have embraced it. Win or lose, we’re all committed to coming here the same way every day, the same way with the same spirit and energy and all of that. I credit Robin (Ventura) and coaching staff.”

Of Ventura’s early success as a manager, Williams said: “There are not too many things I’ve been sure of in this game, but that was one of them.”

Williams also sees room to improve this team without making a big trade.

“The great thing is that we’re in this position and our starting pitching hasn’t clicked as a whole yet,” he said before Jake Peavy threw six innings of three-run ball. “We know John Danks is better than he’s been. We know Gavin Floyd is better than he’s been. We know Philip Humber is better than he’s been. We got a kid coming up showing he can pitch too in Jose Quintana. Where we sit, you can have a lot of optimism.”