August and September have truly been the “dog days of summer” for White Sox fans for a long time, outside of a late-season collapse in 2012, and of course the “black-out game” of 2008, the White Sox have not been competitive in the latter months of the Major League Baseball season for much of the last decade. They really haven’t been competitive in the middle months of the MLB season either for that matter.
For the last several seasons in particular, April has been filled with exceptional amounts of optimism and excitement due to a few splashy offseasons, or splashy in terms of the expected spending by White Sox ownership in past seasons, however you want to look at it. Of course, like many of the half-cooked plans that we have witnessed on the south side of Chicago, Sox fans had the optimism and excitement sucked out of them by June, left with nothing but aggravation and eventually sulking and anticipating the upcoming offseason, because they’d have to get it right this time, right?
Last year was the worst of them all, as many White Sox fans still scorned from the unmet expectations of 2015 were hesitant to fully get on board with the excitement that surrounded the 2016 season. After the White Sox paced the best teams in baseball for the entire month of April, most of those reluctant fans went all-in with their feelings once again. Well, you know how the rest of that story goes, I’ll spare you the details.
But this winter, this winter they finally got it right on the south side. Instead of adding the wrong pieces, they went the route of addition by subtraction, selling high on Chris Sale and Adam Eaton to begin turning over the roster for the rebuild that White Sox fans were more than ready for.
After turning a lower-third farm system into the best farm system in baseball, the White Sox fan-base was ready for a season that indeed would include the same appearance as the ones before, but this time with a purpose. This time without the false hope and aspirations, and the gut-wrenching disappointment that always ensued.
This time around we know that the White Sox will not compete for a division title, but this time we know its for the greater good of the team’s future success, for the White Sox farm is filled with reasons to be excited about the future. Last Sunday I was at the ballpark with my wife and kids to take in some Mother’s Day baseball between our beloved White Sox and the San Diego Padres.
The game flew by for the most part, and the White Sox were trailing by a small margin as the game entered the late innings, and I remember not really being phased by the potential loss, instead enjoying basking in the sun, taking in a game with my kids as my daughter inadvertently decorated her Todd Frazier Jersey with soft serve ice cream and candy toppings before catching some Z’s after a long day in the sun. Then came the home half of the eighth inning, and the White Sox put up eight runs to take a commanding lead heading into the final frame, and for 35 minutes a healthy Guaranteed Rate Field crowd was on their feet. Cheering, laughing, clapping and high-fiving’. At one point the wave made its way around the ballpark 10 times before Todd Frazier‘s near grand slam was corralled to end the inning.
The top of the ninth inning came and the White Sox secured the victory, their second come-from-behind victory in 24 hours. I exited the stadium thinking to myself as I evaluated my sun burn, “Man, that was a fun!” I said it to myself, and I actually believed it for the first time in a while.
On Tuesday night as the White Sox trailed the Angels 5-2 entering the ninth inning, I said to myself, “Hey, why not pull off another one?” And after Melky Cabrera and Jose Abreu recorded back-to-back singles to open the frame, I shouted to a friend of mine, “The Comeback is on again!” Indeed it was, as the White Sox rallied for three runs to tie the game, and eventually took the lead in the eleventh, before falling in the bottom of the eleventh inning. Even after watching Leury Garcia catch the final fly-ball off of the bat of Albert Pujols with the side of his face, I wasn’t angry about the loss. I wasn’t even disappointed, I was actually happy that despite the loss, I got to watch another fun ballgame out of my White Sox.
These White Sox are not the White Sox that we will root for in an October in the not-so-distant future, but some of the individuals will be apart of that, and Manager Rick Renteria, who has this team that was supposed to patrol the cellar of Major League Baseball playing competitive and clean baseball on most nights, will most certainly be at the helm.
Even when we lose, we still have the joy of watching the talented prospects grow within the system. Whether it’s a comeback win, Moncada mania, the Luis Robert sweepstakes, #TankForBeer, or counting Kopech’s K’s in Birmingham – White Sox fan’s are having fun.
A lot of the names in regards to the future of the White Sox are known, and yet many are still in flux, but two things are for certain moving forward. The trajectory for this franchise is pointing upward, and the White Sox are finally fun again.