Being a Chicago White Sox fan in 2020 is a paradox. One minute, it’s something good, weird, or interesting. The bites are sweet and sour simultaneously, but none of it acrid to the taste. You could make a correlation to it being like a Japanese game show where people have to guess if something is cake or furniture. (Yes, this exists.) Because trying to pinpoint the highs and lows of this past season and the offseason is a lot of information for the average White Sox brain to compute. Is that shoe leather, or is it chocolate cake? Gotta bite to see! Is George Springer going to suit up for the south side? Gotta taste to see!
Chicago’s Up-And-Down Offseason
In just a few short weeks since the White Sox were knocked out of the playoffs in Oakland, it’s been a nuthouse down on 35th and Shields. And it’s not even the horror show scenarios like the faithful are used to expecting come every offseason when the front office wrings their hands at front line starter’s market price and winds up with some dude two years past his prime. We’re used to being disappointed and discouraged by this point of the year – not weighing options if we can lure Trevor Bauer to give us one of the best 1-2-3 tandems in baseball. This is not average White Sox stuff.
The White Sox have one of the most exciting clubs in the game of baseball. The core of young stars like Eloy Jimenez, Lucas Giolito, and Tim Anderson lit the baseball world up by not conforming to the sport’s cultural norms but by defying them. The White Sox didn’t only play well, but they showed competitors they were there to “change the game” as the slick marketing campaign wanted fans to embrace. And with every bat flip, pimped home run ball, they did – to the tune of Rookie of the Year runner-up Luis Robert winning a Gold Glove, Eloy Jimenez, Jose Abreu, and Tim Anderson each took home Silver Slugger awards. Oh, and those gold gloves? The White Sox had five players into the finals. Cy Young nominations and Giolito threw a no-hitter. And Abreu, again, came through winning the MVP. Whereas in 2019, Tim Anderson won the battling title.
But then we’ve got this LaRussa thing. The geezer is supposedly this racist, old drunk. What are we supposed to do with this? He’s also a Hall of Fame manager. He’s got three rings, an armload of pennants, and some of the best to play the game has suited up for the guy.
The front office fired Rick Renteria, which everyone saw after he managed the team in the playoffs. Uncle Jerry is getting up there, and he wants another ring before his clock runs out. We get that as the faithful. But LaRussa? Critics and baseball minds across the board have panned the move, wondering why the Sox didn’t jump on the chance to sign AJ Hinch, who you know, won a World Series only a few years ago. The Tigers ended up with that prize. Jose Abreu, the heart of the team, has been outspoken about looking forward to playing for LaRussa, and if there’s anyone the fans believe, it’s him.
We could throw in the Cubs rivalry, but why bother? The White Sox are exciting enough on their own. And this core is arguably better than the Bryant/Rizzo/Schwarber/Baez core from a few seasons ago. But that core has a ring to prove their dominance. The last time the White Sox won a title, we didn’t have Uber, kids in college only used Facebook, and Netflix still mailed you DVDs. How this offseason is going to play out eventually is anyone’s guess. With LaRussa’s DUI affect players coming to play for the White Sox? Probably not. Anyone in baseball can see their prime to make a run. From ESPN to Bleacher Report, to anyone in Timbuktu knows all they need are a few pieces. The White Sox are a club that can chase a title. Who the White Sox end up with when the season starts is anyone’s guess. It could be Springer. The front office could make a trade for Lance Lynn and Joey Gallo. One of these premier guys on the market will choose a legacy over a paycheck. The writing is there in big, black letters signed with a bat flip. The kids on the south side are coming for your heads. And good, take them, wear those wins like soldiers lost in the jungles of war, it’s indicative of the south side attitude of “fuck you, pay me” that residents champion. The swagged out players’ culture with red gloves, cocked hats, and big chains ain’t anything Chicago hasn’t seen. Let the culture do the talking – one strikeout or death-defying catch at a time. Chicago is the city of the Blues Brothers, Chief Keef, Al Capone, and Michael Jordan. This new White Sox core is bound to be a part of the city’s legacy in a way never seen, despite the team’s decades of tradition.
Sox Are In Uncharted Territory
Whatever dramatic turn the organization takes during the rest of this offseason, it’s uncharted territory. Still, for once, even with the weird, it’s an exciting time to be a White Sox fan and dreaming about a regular baseball season where the games aren’t ½ full but instead, a thriving culture that the team deserves. After so many garbage teams, bad managers, washed-up players, and high dollar busts, it’s time. Uncle Jerry is on a mission. He doesn’t care if you end up biting the leg of a table instead of vanilla cake. He wants a ring – one made of gold and diamonds.