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Meet the Players: Anders Johanson

Well, hi there! I’m very excited to be joining the team here at South Side Sox. I’ve been covering baseball in different capacities for a very long time, and I’m happy to have found a new home here at SSS. You may have heard, my debut for the site was the top-read story in all of SB Nation baseball last week.

So let me just introduce myself!

I’ve been a fan of baseball since early in the 2003 season, but that year I was actually a Cubs fan. (Don’t tell anyone.) My grandparents would come over every Sunday for lunch and my grandmother would save all of the Daily Herald sports pages from the week. Whenever we had time on Sunday afternoons, we would go through each day’s sports page, looking at pictures of guys like Sammy Sosa, Moises Alou, and Kerry Wood, and dissecting box scores. Any time my family went over to their house there was always a Cubs game on, so they were my first real exposure to baseball. When the team collapsed in the 2003 playoffs I jumped over to the other side of town and I haven’t looked North since.

My White Sox writing career started in 2007 when I began blogging as a bright-eyed, 13-year-old, aspiring internet journalist. I remember my older sister getting me set up with a Blogspot domain and then I hit the ground running from there, writing game recaps, features, player profiles, trade opinions, really anything. From those humble beginnings I ventured out and decided to expand my coverage by starting a website called The Go-Ahead Run, a league-wide blog that was fairly short-lived due to the fact that I had the attention span of ... well, a 15-year-old.

Of course that site fizzled out, so I switched over to the MLBlogs platform, where I ran a White Sox blog that would regularly rank among the monthly leaders in views and comments. My consistent performance at that site earned some attention from the folks at the FanSided Network, who reached out to me and asked about my interest in joining the team at Southside Showdown. I made the shift over and spent some time there as staff writer before 17-year-old me took over the editor role. I stepped away after only a few months to focus on finishing up college.

After I graduated with a degree in communications with a focus in journalism from Thomas Edison University, I jumped back in with Southside Showdown as a staff writer. Around that same time I took a job with my local minor league team, the Kane County Cougars, in their souvenir shop, where I worked for six seasons. That was truly one of the best jobs I could ever hope to have and I will treasure my time there forever. If you get an opportunity to work in a minor league ballpark in any way, take it. You won’t regret it.

It was during my second stint with Southside Showdown where I met two guys, Owen Schoenfeld and Patrick Flowers, who I would then break off with to start The Loop Sports, a Chicago-based media company that focused on all of Chicago sports. We launched TLS in November 2016, gaining more popularity and traffic year after year, until late 2019 when our incoming ad revenue no longer made it possible for us to pay all of our writers — a value that we all held in high regard. In January 2020 we closed the books on The Loop Sports and all went our separate ways.

In July 2020 I moved from the suburbs of Chicago to Charlotte, N.C. My wife, Hannah, and I got married in August 2020, watched the White Sox fall to the Athletics in the 2020 postseason, and in the aftermath she sat with me in post-baseball depression through the offseason. When the 2021 season kicked up I reached out to my friend Owen to ask if the site he was with (this very website you are on right now) needed someone in Charlotte to cover the Knights and offer the occasional White Sox opinion piece. He forwarded my name to Brett Ballantini, who was excited to bring me aboard, and here I am now.

Outside of the baseball writing world I am a guitarist in a touring band, I have composed music for short films and university presentations, and I have done photography and videography for bands and documentaries.

Hometown Born in Palos Heights, lived in St. Charles for 26 years, now in Charlotte, N.C.

White Sox fan since: 2004

First White Sox memory Going to Sox games with my dad as a kid. I don’t remember too much about the 2004 season, as I mostly watched on a small, portable TV that ran on four AA batteries, and ESPN 1000 didn’t come in too well on my radio.

Favorite White Sox memory Of course the 2005 World Series was pretty special, but watching the final out with my dad (who saw them lose in 1959) and my older sister is a memory I will always hold close.

I also remember Mark Buehrle’s perfect game quite well, but only because I missed it. My dad does magic shows as a side hustle and I would occasionally go with to help him when I was younger. We were doing a magic show in DeKalb and decided to turn on the pregame show on the way out from St. Charles. As we were getting some things set up outside of the car, we heard Buehrle retire the Rays 1-2-3 and then Rays starting pitcher Scott Kazmir put the Sox down 1-2-3, all in a span of maybe four minutes. I looked at my dad and said “This game is gonna go quick.”

We went inside the DeKalb library, did two shows for two different age groups of kids, then came back out to the car to hear Chris Rongey say Mark Buehrle had just thrown a perfect game.

Favorite White Sox player Carlos Quentin

Next White Sox statue Carlos Quentin

Next White Sox retired number José Abreu

Go-to concession food at Sox Park Frozen marg and a hot dog from the 500 level

Favorite Baseball Movie, and why Honestly, I love Fever Pitch because I relate to Jimmy Fallon’s character on a spiritual level.

Hall of Fame: Speed Round

Mark Buehrle No (sorry)
Joe Jackson Yes
Paul Konerko No (double sorry)
Minnie Miñoso Yes
Omar Vizquel Yes
Chris Sale No

South Side Sox on the field I pitched in high school so I’d love to be back out on the mound, but I was also a pretty good outfielder

True or false: Every jumbled pile of person has a thinking part that wonders what the part that isn’t thinking isn’t thinking of. My thinking part wants to say true.