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So, you want to become a White Sox fan?

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Dearest SSS faithful,

With our Sox on the upswing, there are going to be a lot of new fans entering the fold. They might be jumping ship from another team, Chicago area residents who never really paid much attention to baseball, or anyone from anywhere. It’s important to remember to welcome them to the family and congratulate them on their brilliant decision and, also, their stunning good looks. This is for them — not people who need help choosing a team or need to be convinced to root for the White Sox, but people who have made their decision and need someplace to start.

If you’re reading this, it means you’ve decided to become a fan of the Chicago White Sox. Congratulations on your excellent choice! This guide is intended to cater to YOU, new fan, and give you a rough idea of what you’ve signed up for. There are lots of reasons you might decide to follow the White Sox:

  • Your team suffered an absolute shellacking at the hands of the White Sox and this is the only reasonable course of action.
  • New baseball fan, and they seem cool, I guess.
  • Like the very stylish hat, but want to wear one and still act superior to others by being all “Oh sorry, I thought you were a fan,” if someone mentions it.
  • Want to upset your friends and family, who wrongly like some other team and must be punished.
  • Liking the Cubs isn’t cool anymore because they’re not Lovable Losers, they’re just some mainstream team like everyone else.
  • Getting in on that bandwagon early.
  • Fan of a high school/college player who is now in the Sox system.
  • Lost a bet that for some reason involves really immersing yourself in White Sox fandom.
  • Friendly or romantic interest in a White Sox fan led you to lie about being a fan yourself, and you have found this guide as the result of frantic googling in the nearest restroom after being asked a question that was, to you, barely identifiable as English. Like you recognized most of the words, but the order seemed off, and you briefly considered that you were suffering from aphasia. Look, you’re just trying to fit in and play along, why did they have to take you seriously and make this so complicated?
  • Time traveler looking to blend in.
  • Alien looking to blend in.
  • Cro-Magnon man frozen in ice for millennia and now thawed by the rise in global temperature, wandering this strange and confusing world and looking to blend in.
  • Claimed to be a White Sox fan once to avoid an awkward spot of conversation and the lie has just snowballed to the point that you are taking time out of your day to maintain it, and you have been reading South Side Sox to absorb the Sox meta but you find yourself slipping and sort of actually starting to care.
  • You’re new to the city of Chicago and needed some local sports merchandise to make you feel like you fit in, and the White Sox cap was the cheapest one, but you’re afraid not knowing anything about the team will make you even more of a pariah.
  • Other

If any of these sound like you, then you’re in luck because we have created this all-encompassing guide tailored specifically to your needs as an individual. Without further ado, here are some frequently asked questions about the White Sox:

Have they ever won a World Series?

No, and most recently certainly not in 2005.

What city do they play in?

Chicago, America’s third largest city. Specifically on the South Side of the city, where the REAL BLUE COLLAR FOLKS live.

What stadium do they play in?

The Sox played in Comiskey Park basically forever, but now they play in a new park that they called New Comiskey and Comiskey II until they called it U.S. Cellular Field and now they call Guaranteed Rate Field, and no, your gut reaction on the awfulness of that name is not wrong. Your best bet is to keep it simple and call it Sox Park, and anyone who faults you for it can come down here to the SSS offices and say it to my face.

I thought the Cubs were the Chicago baseball team.

This is a common enough belief. In fact, the University of Chicago’s crypto-anthropology department has been investigating claims of people seeing White Sox games on television, hearing them on the radio, and even attending them in person. There are some interesting artifacts and a whole mythos surrounding some sort of World Series in the mid-2000s, but right now it seems to be nonsense. The supposed World Series, for example, was won against the Houston Astros, a team from the same league, and there is just no concrete evidence supporting it taking place. For the time being, the leading theory is that Internet trolls borrowed a graffiti logo popular among hip hop artists and created their own backstory, and we’ve all now Mandela Effected our way into believing it because we’re all a bunch of mindless sheep. Strong words, I know, and I was surprised when Dr. Mazzarella from the university’s crypto-anthropology department used them, but ultimately they’re his words and you should definitely direct your complaints to him.

So you guys took your name from the Red Sox, huh? WEAK.

There is some understandable confusion here, my new friend, but the Chicago White Sox won themselves a World Series under that name before the Boston Red Sox existed as “Sox” at all. So if some ruffian in the street starts giving you any guff, lay that one on ’em.

What is the team’s character or identity?

The White Sox are Chicago’s blue-collar, working-class team, which is code for “not just upper-middle class white people.” Recently, the team has been trying to woo the growing Latino population.

What is their style of play?

Traditionally, the White Sox have been a weak-hitting, speedy, strong-pitching team. See: the “Hitless Wonders,” “Go-Go White Sox,” or “that year 5-foot-5 Harry Chappas was supposed to be the shortstop.”

In recent years, the White Sox have tried to fit into the “pitching and dingers” mold. They play in a ballpark that’s pretty good for hitting home runs, so they try for pitchers who don’t give up a lot of those and hitters who hit a lot of those. The inevitable compromise is that they’re perceived to be a team with old dudes with statuesque defense and baserunning. But everyone on the team is young and fresh-faced now, so who knows! They’ve got some dudes who look like they could legit be good at everything. The early preview I can offer for the NEW SOX would be: High-velocity power pitching and aggressive hitting, with a lot of strikeouts and few walks.

Pigs is Pigs, Warner Bros. (1937)

What do I need to know about their history?

Here’s the short version: In 1900 the White Sox arrived on the South Side of Chicago from some podunk town no one’s ever heard of, courtesy of owner and legendary Chicago tightwad Charles Comiskey, and in 1901 they became one of the original teams in the American League. And hey, they were pretty good! The White Sox won the American League pennant in the league’s first season (there was no World Series played that year), and then they (as “the Hitless Wonders”) won the World Series in 1906 in an upset win over the crosstown rival Cubs.

They won again in 1917, and were favorites to win again in 1919. But they didn’t, because the aforementioned Comiskey’s aforementioned tightwaddery inspired a bunch a Sox to throw the Series in exchange for some cold, hard cash. This messed the Sox up but good and they basically didn’t get out of bed again until 1959, when the Go-Go Sox made the World Series, only to lose to the Los Angeles Dodgers. They didn’t get quite as sad about losing as they did last time, but they were still pretty sad. Then some neat guys did some neat stuff, but they also lost a game because they got distracted blowing up a pile of records and forgot to play.

The Sox made the playoffs in 1983 but didn’t win anything, being booted from the postseason by a team of slick Wall Street type guys who make million-dollar deals for breakfast. Frank Thomas showed up at some point and they made the playoffs again in 1993, but failed to win the World Series in 1994 because the whole league forgot to play the games. They made the playoffs three times in the decade starting in the year 2000 (which is really quite good, considering) and in one of those years, 2005, they won the last game of the season, which is the goal of this whole thing. But since their last postseason appearance in 2008, they have only gotten as close to the playoffs as a cartoon character gets to a pie cooling on the window sill when he’s floating along by the nostrils, sucking up that heady aroma of sweet sweet fruit filling, only to have the window slam shut on a sensitive body part.

The short short version is they were good for a while, then bad for a long while, then good again but briefly, and now they’re bad in hopes that being bad naturally leads to being good even though 90 years of personal experience says it doesn’t. Trust the process.

That all sounds pretty negative.

Life is suffering. But without the suffering, we cannot enjoy the good times. The White Sox basically have had congested sinuses for about 10 years, which clear up just often enough to remind them that they’re all stuffed up, but they ordered some real bomb-ass decongestants and they’re going to be able to breathe again real soon (only they got the cheapest shipping and it’s coming from China via France then New Zealand for some reason, so it might be a few years).

What past players do I need to know?

This question is a bit of a minefield and a lot of people will be upset because I didn’t include a specific player, so

What current players do I need to know? Who are their stars?

You should be familiar with basically anyone who is Cuban. Jose Abreu, Yoan Moncada, and Luis Robert make up the current trio of Guys Who Would Look Good Together on a Poster with a Catchy Nickname (But No Poster Has Been Made Yet Because the Best Nickname We Can Think of Is Three Cuban Dudes Who Hit Baseballs Real Good).

Which players are bad and I should be sure to complain about them?

James Shields is the big bogeyman right now, because he’s bad, he gets paid a lot (way more than anyone else on the team), and the White Sox traded a guy who might be not bad for this guy, who is definitely bad.

When are they going to be good?

In, like, a couple of years? Rebuilding in baseball is not an exact science. It does not deal in time schedules. The plan, though, looks a little like in 2018, bad but promising players start showing up. In 2019, hopefully mediocre, a good number of young, hip, incredibly with-it players are on the team. In 2020, the team is made up of a bunch of dudes who are legitimately good at baseball.

So, who we got beef with?

If you’re talking about the White Sox and someone mentions what sounds like another team, your best bet is to say “I hate those guys.” But specifically, you hate:

Any nicknames I should know?

Good guys (wear black), southsiders, Ricky’s Boys (don’t quit)

What cliche phrases can I use after they win or lose if I find myself in a conversation with someone before I really get on top of this whole thing?

A safe bet if they lose is to say they’re too reliant on the long ball (that’s a home run). If they give up a bunch of runs, you can say something like, “Don Cooper might be losing his touch.” If they win, something something. If you missed the game, a good bet is, “I know it might not always look like it, but I have a feeling the young talent is right on the edge of putting it all together. Trust the process.”

What’s the singular of Sox?

It’s just Sox, never sock. It’s like fish. Ah, but you say, what about fishes? That’s for two different kinds of fish, or for being a verb. But Sox is not really used as a verb, and if a situation came up where you needed to refer to several White Sox and several Red Sox I think it would be an acceptable time to test the waters with Soxes. You know what, just typing it was gross, I hope you feel bad having read it, we’re not doing it.

How about possessive?

Use Sox’s. If anyone gives you flack for it, point them to this article wherein I will tell them to sit on it and spin.

What’s the deal with the minor leagues?

The White Sox have a bunch of teams in other, lesser leagues which they can basically pilfer players from because they own the whole thing.

Do they have a song?

Let’s Go, Go-Go White Sox. Sweet Home Chicago.

Are there any movies about the White Sox?

All movies are about the White Sox if you watch them right and can sufficiently torture a metaphor. But also, Eight Men Out is actually about the White Sox.