On Thursday morning, White Sox players held a meeting to discuss the team’s current state. According to Scott Merkin, the discussion centered around “having fun once they get on the field for this final month.”
Losing is not fun, and the White Sox have done more of their fair share of losing this season. Throw in Tony La Russa had to leave the team with a heart issue; the mood in the locker room seemed bleak.
“Coming out of that meeting, it was just, “Look, we need to stay positive with not only ourselves but everybody else around and control what you can control,” Liam Hendriks told David Kaplan of NBC Sport’s Chicago. “I’m not going to be out here trying to control the offense. And the offense isn’t going to be trying to control the way I pitch.”
The message seemed to get through in the opening game of September. The White Sox bludgeoned the Kansas City Royals 7-1.
Andrew Vaughn and AJ Pollock homered, while Elvis Andrus, Leury Garcia, and Romy Gonzalez drove in runs via singles. Meanwhile, Johnny Cueto earned his seventh win after tossing 5.1 innings of one-run ball, striking out five.
While it is a positive start, how long will the good vibes last? This is the second meeting the White Sox has held in as many months. In August, eight to ten veteran players held a “leadership meeting” that focused on building a positive attitude and uplifting the club. That meeting seemed to turn the tide as the White Sox ripped off five victories in a row, including two come-from-behind wins against the Astros.
But the White Sox quickly reverted back to their old ways. On August 18th, they were blown out 21-5. They then proceeded to lose seven of their next ten games.
Not everyone is a fan of the White Sox “stay positive” approach to turning the season around, either. Former Chicago Cub and MLB Network analyst Mark DeRosa appeared on 670 The Score and voiced his concerns.
“That wouldn’t be my message,” DeRosa told Laurence Holmes. “My message would be, ‘The talent in this says we’ve underachieved the entire season. Our fans deserve better. We deserve better.
“‘We’re not out of this thing yet. We go out and win every damn ballgame until this thing’s over and see where the dust settles. We don’t truly believe in here that the Guardians and Twins are better than us.’
“‘That would be my message instead of ‘fun.'”
DeRosa raises a vailid point. Trying to light a fire under these guys may be a better approach than going out and” having fun” while sitting in third place.
That said, he is not in the locker room and does not know what makes these guys tick. Miguel Cairo is filling in as acting manager while La Russa is away. This season, he is 2-1 in his three games at the helm. His energy in the dugout has been noticeable and a nice change of pace.
The White Sox will have three pivotal games against the Twins this weekend in an actual test to see if the meeting affected the team.