As a White Sox fan who just turned 25, I realize that I have not been through nearly as much as other generations of fans. Growing up in the early 2000s during a time where Paul Konerko manned first base, Jim Thome was chasing after 500 home runs, and Mark Buehrle could get you in and out of US Cellular Field in under 2 1⁄2 hours was incredible. I had the thrill of seeing my team rise above the rest and bring a World Series to the South Side at the ripe age of eight. Needless to say, I was hooked on the glory of winning by the time I turned 10. In the best way possible, the White Sox took my youth.
Then, I was sold a rebuild.
A rebuild can be a hard thing to sell to a fanbase, but when you know you are going to lose, the pill is easier to swallow. Jerry Reinsdorf and company had a plan that could be summed up in five steps:
- Trade valuable talent for prospects
- Lose a lot of games
- Draft top prospects as a result of step two
- Develop talent in farm system
- Bring talent up and contend for/win championships
It goes without saying that steps one through four were completed, and somewhat successfully. The 2020 and 2021 seasons were “successful” in the sense that the White Sox made the playoffs. Sure, losing in the ALDS to a team that would later lose the World Series to an 86-win Braves team is frustrating, but we were promised that the contention window was still wide open.
The first mistake was that I believed everything I typed above.
The tale is as old as time; 2022 was THE year.
It was at that moment I boarded the emotional rollercoaster.
I was trash-talking anyone and everyone who would listen to me after the team’s 6-2 start this April. A hot start would bring on an eight-game losing streak, which would be followed by a team flirting with .500 all summer. If that wasn’t painful enough to watch, the injuries began piling up. Every anatomical region of the body was injured by the White Sox roster this season. Oh and just for fun, add in people in positions of power telling fans to enjoy the ride.
Combine all of this, and you get a team that is still competing for the AL Central during the third week of September. The White Sox took my mental energy.
When I tell you I bought into this season, I truly mean, I bought in. It wasn’t just emotional or mental. My father and I split a 20-game ticket package, and I was poised to take in as much baseball as possible at 35th & Shields.
So now, I invite you to do a little bit of math.
$20 ticket x 20 games
$15 parking x 20 games
3 beers/game x $12 beer x 20 games
$20 food x 20 games
That’s $1,820, minimum. The White Sox took my money.
And now, during a must win-game with the “playoffs” starting two weeks early, this week hosting first-place Cleveland, the White Sox have finally given us the final blow. A game that saw the South Siders up 3-1, come back from a 5-3 deficit to tie in the bottom of the 10th, and give up a five-spot in the top of the 11th.
After a 10-7 loss on Tuesday, there is no way for the White Sox to win the season series against Cleveland and therefore, no way for me to remain hopeful this season.
The White Sox have broken me.