By Adam Harris-

(CBS) Monday night was all about fun for the White Sox, as various players and coaches took to the hardwood, bowling for charity at the Third Annual Celebrity Bowling Classic.

The “fun” however, carries over to the field and has been a main reason the Sox are in 1st place.

“Winning is always fun,” May pitcher of the Month, Chris Sale said. “Just the vibe in the clubhouse, coming in and hearing music playing and everyone’s laughing and having a good time. It’s just awesome.”

Sale went on to explain, in detail, what exactly the fun atmosphere does for him and his teammates.

“If you’re coming to the park and having a good time before the game and after the game, you’re going to have a good time during the game,” Sale said. “You gotta come to the realization that you’re playing a game and it has to be fun. The energy in the dugout during the games is fun to watch because everyone’s pulling for each other and everyone’s into the game. A lot of the times we’ll have four other starters just sitting on the bench talking about baseball…I couldn’t ask for anything better.”

The mentality that fun conquers all, and talking baseball on the bench and in the clubhouse needs to be maintained for success to continue. Manager Robin Ventura isn’t worried about that.

“I’m just lucky to have veteran guys,” Ventura said. “For pitchers, we have Jake Peavy who has been a great influence on especially Chris [Sale]. They like talking baseball. It’s good. For players we have Paul [Konerko], and Adam [Dunn], and [Alex] Rios who have gone through stretches of good and stretches of not so good and they can pass down their knowledge. It’s easier for me to have players like that.”

The difference from this year to last year can not only be seen in the standings, but in the clubhouse as well. It seems more relaxed and the relationships seem stronger.

“We have a great group of guys,” Sale said before he warmed up to bowl. “We all get along very well and there are no sore thumbs. That makes it a lot easier too. We have a great group of guys that are a lot of fun to hang out with.”

Sale is one of the many players that also attributes the White Sox success to their new manager.

“He’s been awesome. He’s laid back, but he does bring energy to the ball club. He simplifies our tasks: show up on time, be ready to play, and play hard and play the game the right way. If you do all those things, win/lose/or draw he’s always got our back. You cannot ask for much better than that.”

Last year at this time, the White Sox were 28-32, seven games behind the Cleveland Indians. Going into tonight’s game against the Blue Jays, the Sox are two and a half games ahead of the Indians with a 31-23 record.

These veteran leaders will make sure the red hot White Sox, who have won 14 of their last 16, will keep the positive attitude and fun times. If it starts going sour, Robin Ventura has told me he will weigh his options and step in when needed.

The players know what’s expected of them, and they respect their manager and veterans.

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