With the virtual Hot Stove burning bright and hot to the touch, is it too early to take a sneak peak at the proposed 162-game schedule for the 2021 White Sox? Dear reader, I humbly submit to you that it is most definitely not. And I say this as the man who wrote this very same post for the 2020 Sox campaign, and boy did that turn out to be time well spent, right!
Anyway, a brief recap:
Long ago, in the olden times of July 9, MLB and all 30 teams released their proposed, full, 162-game 2021 schedules. Mind you, we were two weeks out from the New Opening Day 2020, and a couple of months past watching Tony Clark and Rob Manfred nearly self-own themselves into no 2020 season at all. So this normally-exciting look ahead to next season now is tinged with the immense hubris that comes with anticipating a pandemic simmering down to a level that will allow constant coast-to-coast air travel.
Did that stop me from devouring the schedule and fantasizing about the fun matchups, even as MLB is already talking about delaying the start of the season to May 1? You’re DAMN RIGHT IT DIDN’T. So here goes my Sisyphean struggle one more time.
Let’s dive on into 2021, shall we?
April: West Coast High Choppers
In a throwback to the seasons of my youth, the Sox open the season with a weeklong two-step in the Pacific Time Zone. We begin with a four-game set in Anaheim versus Mike Trout’s Angels followed by three against the Mariners in Seattle. Personally, I’m completely for the Sox starting every season where it’s warm or domed, and until Jerry decides his magnum opus is Sox Park III having a retractable roof, I’ll take late-night Opening Days over lake effect snow any time.
Other Notable Series: Opening Day at the GRate is the (hard to believe I’m typing this) eighth consecutive game to start 2021, versus the Royals. There’s Dastardly Dane Dunning’s return as the Rangers come to town (Lynn better be lined up for that game) and three separate series against the Cleveland Offensive Stereotypes!
May: Flyover Country Living
All but two series are against our Central Cousins (even the inbreds from the NL). In an effort to expunge as much exposure to Ohio as quickly as possible, series against Cleveland begin and end the month of May. There’s a two-gamer in Cincinnati versus the Bauer-less Reds, and the Tony La Russa comeback tour gets a visit from his old friends the Cardinals in Chicago. Sprinkle in some Twins and Royals matchups and we’ve got ourselves a fine Central Stew.
Other Notable Series: The AL East butt their way into the party with a trip to Yankee Stadium to see the [checks notes ... yep] Yankees, and everybody’s favorite Gatorade-dumping Baby Boy Yolmer Sánchez brings his Orioles to town. Sorry buddy, visitors get scalding hot oil for their victories.
June: The Rainbow Cone Slate
Much like the delicious ice cream legend from South Chicagoland, the schedule has a little bit of everything! Savor the rich chocolatey divisional matchups with the Tigers and Twins and (AGAIN?) Cleveland!
Tickle your tastebuds with the Pirates Interleague layer, the tropical Sherbert matchup with Tampa Bay, and ... I’m getting word that this metaphor has officially jumped the tracks.
Other Notable Series: The remaining three Continental directions are dabbled with, as the North (Blue Jays), South (Astros), and West (Mariners) all make their acquaintances.
July: Road Sweet Road
The midpoint of the Sox season has them spending just nine games in the comforts of home (including this year’s makeup of the All-Star game). Again, thanks to the not-at-all coincidental choice for interleague to stay regional, the inclusion of a roadie up I-90 to face the Brewers in Miller Park among the many divisional games means much fewer travel miles are getting racked up. And since roughly 70% of our South Side Sox staff also digs the Brew Crew, a site-wide road trip might be in the making!
August: Two Franchises Passing in the Night
We get to the Dog Days, and look who finally wiped the sleep out of their eyes and showed up! The Cubes drag their Len Kasper-less squad out to start the month at Wrigley and end it on the South Side; can’t wait to see what the standings look like by then! There’s also the redo of the Field of Dreams matchup, back with the Yanks tho. (I guess Ricky will need to get an AirBnb if he wants to see this matchup from the tiny tiny stands.)
Other Notable Series: The Sox face their 2020 executioners with four games against the Athletics and we’ll have to see if Trudeau has reopened the Canadian borders by then — or else the Sox will enjoy the lovely Buffalo scenery against the Jays. And I just realized the Sox will have finished their entire Twins portion before the month is done. Weird!
September/October: Bah Dee Yah ... Say That You Remember
The final stretch of the 2021 campaign features the Red Sox making their only visit to Chicago (remember when the Other Sox were must-see TV?), the other half of the home-and-home versus the Reds, and closing out the season (COVID-free, we hope) against, sigh ... A.J. Hinch and the Tigers.
Other Notable Series: Well I mean, the only possible remaining series of note isn’t guaranteed, aka, the franchise’s first back-to-back playoff appearance. (That’s 10 flukes into the playoffs in 120 years, for those keeping track.) And it’s that very depressing factoid that will make the 2021 season, quite possibly, the most important in Sox history.
Rick Hahn, bless his heart, taking the steps that he feels will check off more of his precious “firsts” boxes and get to “repeat playoff series.” He hired a World Series-winning manager. He traded for a workhorse starter to fill out a potential 1-2-3 playoff rotation. Spanky is back, with a ring. And there will be more. There has to be. pray hands emoji
That’s all for today, folks! Which series are you most looking forward to? What are the odds of the season starting on time? When will fans be let back into Sox Park? Let us know what you think!