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Tony La Russa tries his best to get fired, as the White Sox beat the Rays despite a clear setup to get smoked

Burger and Engel win this game, despite inexplicable absence in the starting lineup

Chicago White Sox v Tampa Bay Rays
Jake Burger, unbenched, wins the game for White Sox.
Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

Happy Saturday, White Sox fans, and happy Dylan Cease Day, I guess. Our losing streak has ended, and we can continue that endless, season-long climb back up to .500 in the most confusing way possible.

Today’s comeback was a struggle through every moment, and it’s on par with what’s expected these days from this team. Being a lifelong White Sox fan has netted many despondent seasons on par with this same level of disappointment, but I didn’t anticipate suffering the years of that painful rebuild to get to this pole-obscured, 500 level of hell, and maybe the escalators aren’t broken today with this win, but the bathrooms near our seats are closed, so we have to walk all the way across the concourse just to pee, and we’ve had six beers.

Embarrassingly, I bet a White Sox World Series loss for 2022, and I’m feeling pretty foolish as I watch the South Siders claw their way up the mountain to .500 over and over again, endlessly sliding down the sisyphean hell slope that is a relatively easy AL Central schedule. The injuries don’t matter at this point, because the healthy White Sox bats seem bored, and the bench players are saving the day. The White Sox are a bunch of high school seniors during the last week of science class, staring forlornly out the window toward a picturesque beach party where their friends are having a blast, and they’re stuck listening to how horrible polio is and how amazing it is that vaccines exist.

(Cease was on the beach with his friends that day).

Cease, unvaxxed and ready for monkeypox, or whatever is next in the dystopian nightmare of our timeline.

Don’t be fooled, White Sox fans, for this is a team of amazing bats, it’s just that those bats are currently impotent and spiritless, and the animated ones are on the rack. Not a single player on the White Sox starting roster won this game today. José Abreu’s 12-game hit streak ended, after successfully resuscitating his bat after a long slump. Our Good Guys don’t suck, but they lack direction and proper leadership.

I’ve been here a while, fellow White Sox fans. I remember a team so bad in my early childhood that my dad would take me to a game just to watch them lose and enjoy the fireworks after, and if they won, it didn’t matter, due to the team being long out of contention. I remember the feelings of hope in 2000, confidently watching my all-time favorite hitter, Frank Thomas, blast dinger after dinger and taking us to the playoffs. Even with the obviously gaping holes in the team, it was fun to watch the White Sox win or lose. In 2004, after the All-Star break, I remember turning around and yelling to everyone in the bleachers, “2005 is our year, baybeeeeee!” and the surrounding fans cheering in response, all of us believing in the team taking it all the way. We didn’t win in 2004, but watching every game was fun, and we felt a blend of magic and optimism witnessing the entire roster bust their asses and give it their all even without a chance for postseason play. Remember having fun? Even 2008 had many great moments, some more clutch than others, but once again, the hope was there, and it was fun.

Although there were winning records since then, that weighted hope and renewed optimism we collectively felt during the truncated 2020 winning season breathed life into many of our dark quarantine caves of despair. Feeling that all-encompassing hope when the current White Sox rebuild team started winning was some quarantined fans’ only bright spot in an otherwise bleak, horrifying year. The White Sox, under the tutelage of Tony La Russa, have since lost their way, and the fans are once again back to this old, familiar feeling of unpredictable, irrational suck. It’s as if none of the White Sox players believe they’re on a good team, and it shows in every losing game — and even in some winning games, like today.

It’s painful to be a White Sox fan again.

These days, there are very few hits, and even fewer home runs. OBP’s are in hell, and no one is even walking. Small ball has disappeared. Dozens of runners are left stranded. Let me regale you with the White Sox highlights of today’s game:

  • Cease was pulled in a reasonable amount of time.
  • Adam Engel (who didn’t start) scored on a Danny Mendick double, and Jake Burger (who didn’t start) hit a two-run homer.
  • Liam Hendriks was lights-out, getting three outs on just nine pitches.

You know the bar is in hell when you applaud a manager for pulling a struggling pitcher before he gives up 16 runs. How does the only notable offense come off of the bench? Leury García “batted” in the leadoff spot today, and since that random madness has become routine, we have to figure that La Russa is doing his best to get fired. Maybe he creates the batting orders by donning his dungeon master gear, summoning Odin, and rolling a D20 on the locker room floor covered by the active roster’s names on a board.

Tony La Russa, rolling his batting order.

Even though that sounds kind of cool, it’s not working. Something has to change.

The White Sox are 24-27 with today’s win, and this team won’t win in the postseason if they get there with the current management in place. The White Sox can be a winning team, but they’re not. No one likes losing, unless you’re playing in a ramshackle poser den, surrounded by people who thought they were going to a Phish concert but ended up at a baseball bar. The White Sox aren’t lovable losers. That’s idiotic toxic positivity and it doesn’t belong on the South Side, because (most) White Sox fans live in reality.

The reality of the 2022 season is that this team has stopped being the winners from last year, or even from the beginning of April. We’re barreling toward All Star break at a dizzying speed, falling further behind every game, and the constant calamities of injury coupled with the seemingly arbitrary management moves are exhausting. Target those at fault. Fire La Russa. Fire Frank Menechino. Fire every trainer until our active roster stops injuring themselves because they pulled a groin muscle during a sneeze.

Something’s gotta give, and even though the White Sox won today, I refuse to enjoy losing.