OTTUMWA — Chase Wood outwardly embraced a reserved demeanor Tuesday in one of the many rooms that fill The Ottumwa Courier's time-tested building.
Content to let his dad, Rick Wood, do most of the talking, Chase, sporting the build of a linebacker and decked out in an Ottumwa Baseball T-shirt, elected to keep his answers short and sweet. Yet, when nudged, the junior Bulldog spoke warmly and enthusiastically about his team's seven-game winning streak, pinpointing the moment where he thought his team began to turn its season around.
For Chase and Rick, however, the surging Bulldogs weren't the main topic of conversation. Instead, the focus revolved around Chase being invited to a Chicago White Sox Area Code Tryout. For those unfamiliar with the team, the Chicago Area Code White Sox are one of eight teams built by Major League Baseball teams representing eight different regions in the country. The White Sox-built team comprises elite players from the Midwest region. Chase will participate in the White Sox Position Players tryout June 24 at Carthage College in Kenosha, Wisconsin. The invite, which Chase received in the form of a letter, said all 30 Major Teams will attend the tryout.
"This event is a vital process in which the White Sox evaluate high school players for the 2015 & 2016 Major League Baseball drafts," the letter read. "For some, this is the first step into a possible professional baseball career."
At first glance, Chase said he thought the invite was scam of some sort. But, after doing some research, he soon realized it was the real deal. And, if Chase has a good enough tryout, he will become part of a Chicago Area Code White Sox roster that will compete against other Major League-built teams in Long Beach, California from Aug. 4-Aug. 9. The other Major League-built teams will be comprised of players scouted by the Cincinnati Reds (Four Corners, Hawaii), Kansas City Royals (Pacific Northwest region), Milwaukee Brewers (southern California), New York Yankees (Northeast region), Oakland Athletics (northern California), Texas Rangers (Texas, Louisiana), Washington Nationals (Southeast region, Virginia).