Right on Q: The most wonderful time of the year

David Banks

Pitchers and Catchers report in five weeks. Plenty of time to allow our imaginations to run wild. Plus, a modest TV proposal.

This really is the best time of the year. Yeah, the weather is rotten, but we can amuse ourselves by imagining what the White Sox will be like once April rolls around.

Right now, the Sox are nothing but potential. The Potential White Sox are a great team. The 2011 Potential White Sox were fantastic. Adam Dunn crushed 45 home runs for the Potential White Sox that year. The Sox won six more games and made it into the Potential Postseason.

Then that pesky reality entered the picture and the Potential White Sox turned to dust.

The same goes for the Potential 2014 White Sox. The Potential 2014 White Sox are young, exciting, and full of possibilities. If they end up landing Tanaka, the Potential 2014 White Sox are contenders once again.

Let's look at the Potential AL Central:

The Tigers are still good, but they aren't the world-beaters they once were.

The Indians won 92 games by going 17-2 against the White Sox. If they go 10-9 against the South Siders, the Indians miss the playoffs.

The Royals are good and getting better.

The Twins are ... the Twins.

The White Sox are primed to make their trip into Baseball Hell a short one.

SoxFest is coming up in a couple of weeks. The Potential White Sox are the greatest team in the world ... within the confines of the Red Lacquer Room at the Palmer House.

SoxFest, if you haven't attended, is a combination of a time share presentation and an old fashioned revival. Hawk Harrelson bounds up on to the stage and works the crowd like a Country Preacher. But unlike MarJoe Gortner, he's not asking for money. He wants you to buy into the concept that this is the year Gordon Beckham finally puts it together.

And you know what? I believe it. Every time. And I don't care.

It is much more fun to imagine the White Sox as world-beaters (or competent at the very least) than to imagine the worst-case scenario every time. I never understood the psychology behind the fan who is miserable every moment of every game. The guy who would pay money to attend a game and then do the following:

  1. Yell "TAKE HIM OUT!" as soon as the pitcher walked his first batter.
  2. Say "I knew that was going to happen!" when a batter struck out in a key situation.
  3. Allege that Jerry Reinsdorf is cheap which is why they don't try hard.

This isn't exclusive to the White Sox. Twitter feeds like Bears Facebook always quote fans who promise to quit/boycott/hold their breath until they turn blue over some imagined slight.

Do a YouTube search for "fan burns jersey." Even after you filter out all of the Cleveland Cavaliers fans torching their LeBron James merch, you still see a lot of your fellow Americans setting fire to clothing.

Yes, believing in the Potential White Sox is a frustrating experience. That's because the Actual White Sox are never as good as their potential counterparts.

Pesky thing, that reality.

But I would rather live in a world where my optimism is dashed, than be a miserable fan who is incapable of enjoying anything.

At least the positive fans don't resort to burning their clothes.

***

Meanwhile (as Hawk would say), Comcast SportsNet Chicago should rerun old White Sox games. In honor of Frank Thomas' induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame, CSN ran a Sox game from May 25, 1994. It was a 12-1 win over the Minnesota Twins at Comiskey Park. Frank Thomas went 3-4 with two home runs and five RBI.

A number of things flashed through my mind while watching that game from 20 years ago. I was in eighth grade. I remember going to New Comiskey in all of its blue-seated glory.

The memories also came with a twinge of regret. That team was supposed to go to the World Series. Then came the strike, and Sox spent the rest of the decade looking up at the Cleveland Indians.

Old game broadcasts are like old songs, they take you back in time. In Chicago, there are five radio stations devoted to music that was released between 1965-1993: WLS-FM, WERV, WDRV, WLUP, and WJMK. WXRT plays plenty of old cuts along with more recent product.

The six oldies/classic hits/classic rock stations in the Chicago market account for at least 14.5 percent of radio listening (as of November. December/Holiday don't really count because Christmas music on WLIT beats everyone by a country mile). If radio cash in on old music, why not Sports TV?

Images from old games can trigger the same emotional response as an old song.

Sure beats infomercials.

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