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Sox: 'No grief about our mascot'

CHICAGO -- Don’t try telling elementary school children that mascots are a waste of time.

While the Chicago Cubs have been getting criticism this month for introducing the first mascot in team history, the Chicago White Sox had another opportunity to see Wednesday how a friendly furry creature can stir the next generation of fans.

White Sox manager Robin Ventura and second baseman Gordon Beckham were greeted with moderate applause when introduced to a portion of the student body at McClellan Elementary School on the South Side.

When the White Sox mascot Southpaw was introduced, though, there was a welcoming high-pitched shrill at least triple of anything either the manager or the player received.

Beckham read to the students an anti-bullying story. Southpaw, who was the main character of the narrative, acted out the scenes along with help from students and faculty. Both Ventura and Beckham are in town in advance of SoxFest this weekend at the Palmer House Hilton.

“Southpaw has done a great job of starting this campaign and the White Sox have continued it,” Ventura said. “To do it at a school so close to the stadium, it’s special. They are right in your backyard and it’s fun for us to be able to come and do this.”

Beckham, who got married this offseason, said he was pleased to deliver an anti-bullying message, but isn’t prepared to have his own children just yet.

“We’re going to wait,” he said. “I thought I wanted kids quickly but the more I think about it, the more I think we’re going to wait. We’re happily married now so all is good.”

Neither seemed bothered about being upstaged by a furry creature in a White Sox uniform.

“We do not get grief about our mascot,” Ventura said. “We got a great mascot. Southpaw does a lot of great stuff. Southpaw always gets the biggest applause. Southpaw has been doing a great job for years. It’s for the kids. The kids really enjoy him. We enjoy having him here too.”