Wednesday, April 17, 2024

From South Side Fandom To Twitter Stardom: A White Sox Enthusiast’s Journey

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For some reason, people on the internet are fascinated with me. After all, the selfie I posted on Twitter last week got over 145,000 impressions, hundreds of likes, and dozens of comments. There have also been several Reddit threads about me in which people gossip about my Twitter account and who I am. But the truth is, I am just a regular 25-year-old lifelong White Sox fan. I’m not famous or a celebrity; I just have a Twitter account (@ChiSoxFanMike) that many people interact with.

My White Sox fandom primarily began because of my grandpa. Born and raised on the West Side, he has spent all 89 years of his life in the Chicagoland area, and his White Sox fandom dates back to the mid-1940s. He always talks about Luke Appling, Billy Pierce, Luis Aparicio, and all the other Sox legends of that time period and is still angry that they lost to the Dodgers in the 1959 World Series. Thankfully, the Sox rewarded his decades of investment in the team in 2005. He was also lucky enough to attend Mark Buehrle’s perfect game, which he still talks about to this day. He is a true Sox fan through and through, and 2005 is something he will never forget.

Coincidentally, my Sox fandom began that very year. I was in first grade then and went to my first Sox game that season. Buehrle pitched 7 strong innings that night, Konerko hit a 2-run homer, and the Sox beat the Mariners 4-2, pushing their record to 71-38. I still remember the bright blue seats the stadium used to have and the fireworks show afterward. I also still have the Pierzynski ‘shirsey’ my dad got me that night as a souvenir. That was the only game I went to that season, but at least I can say I attended a game the year the White Sox won the World Series.

At the time, 6-year-old me had no idea how unusual that season really was. But from that point on, I was hooked. I have lived and breathed the Sox ever since. Between my grandpa’s fandom and 2005, there was no way I would ever root for a team that wasn’t the White Sox. I was the kid who wore #25 in travel ball because of Jim Thome. I modeled my batting stance after him too. I also wore my Gordon Beckham shirsey proudly in middle school as often as I could. I memorized the stats of Sox players more than the material in school study guides. I left a baseball tournament early to see the Sox play in Milwaukee when Buehrle hit his first and only MLB home run. I was pissed when the Sox collapsed down the stretch in both 2010 and 2012. Opening Day is one of my favorite days of the year, even when the team stinks. I have experienced way more bad seasons than good ones, but I will never give up on the White Sox. The team is part of who I am; I will never give up on them. I am no different than any other diehard Sox fan out there.

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There aren’t many Sox fans where I am from. There were over 1,000 people in my high school graduating class, and I can only name a handful who were Sox fans. It is almost all Cub fans up here. In 2015, I discovered Twitter, and the rest is history. People always accuse me of buying followers or manipulating my account. Nope. If you’re passionate about a specific topic, I’m proof that you can build an audience from that. I never realized how many other passionate Sox fans there are until I joined Twitter. I have made many good friends through Sox Twitter and experienced exciting moments with this community. For that, I am thankful.

I wanted to thank Chris, Zo, East, and the Sports Mockery team for allowing me to write on this platform. I have wanted to start blogging for a long time, and now the opportunity is here. I cannot wait to provide more Sox-related content to everyone!

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