South Siders' California boys come home

South Siders' California boys come home

ANAHEIM -- It shouldn't be a surprise to hear an inordinate amount of applause for Trayce Thompson and Tyler Saladino during Monday night's game at Angel Stadium, despite both players starting for the White Sox.

They are California kids who have made it, with strong family and friend support with them on the West Coast.

"I have no idea. It's going to be a lot," said Thompson, when asked how many friends and family members will be in attendance Monday. "I know my brother got a box, so I know a lot of his friends are going to come. I don't have a set number. I just got tickets for my parents. That's it really."

"I'm excited for that," Saladino said. "All my family will be there and friends and family. I haven't seen a whole lot of them yet. So it will be a nice homecoming."

Much already has been made of Thompson's famous family. His brother, Klay, is an All-Star sharpshooter who helped the Warriors win last season's NBA title, while his father, Mychal, won two titles with the Lakers. His brother, Mychel, also played professional basketball in Cleveland.

One baseball standout among a family of hoops stars, but a baseball standout who doesn't get overmatched in pickup games.

"I'm the most physical one. I can get in their heads, too," Thompson said. "I like to talk a little bit. We play a game called 'in the paint' -- so you can only shoot when you're inside the paint. The last time we played, I actually won.

"There's no fouls, so you just got to be pretty tough. But I can't shoot like they can at all, especially Klay. And Mikey's the most athletic one. He can rise above both of us."

Thompson spent part of his younger years in Oregon, so he was more of a Mariners fan with Ken Griffey Jr. as his favorite player. Thompson does know Angels legend Rod Carew, who was present on Monday, with Trayce having gone to high school with Carew's stepson. Some of his friends, though, where strong supporters of the Angels.

All of those friends and family members will get a chance to talk with Thompson and Saladino postgame. Until then, they have to block out the support system.

"Especially when you come into where you know there's going to be a bunch of friends and family showing up," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "That's part of the gig, and sometimes it's harder than other times because you want to do well, you get ticket requests, people calling from all over.

"[Thompson's] background of how he grew up, with his brother, he gets that part of it, but it's not going to stop him from doing well. He can limit the distractions probably better than other people."

Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.