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Lessons learned from the 2022 Chicago White Sox

A writer’s preseason exposure therapy

There is villainy afoot.
| Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

It happens every year, like clockwork.

Sometime in October, the Chicago White Sox make their typical early exit from the postseason — if they made it there at all. As the season ends, fans like me are left to navigate disappointment on their own while simultaneously suffering the excuses and vague platitudes about “doing better” that start trickling out of the front office at 35th and Shields.

But then, the holiday season hits. I’m too busy planning meals and facilitating Christmas magic for my kids to pay much attention to what’s going on at the Winter Meetings. By the time I’m cleaning the house for our New Year's party, most big-name free agents are already off of the market (unless Carlos Correa is having another weird, messy breakup with his team of the week.) My blissful ignorance of news around the league extends into the first few weeks of the year. Deals are still being made, but I barely notice because I’m running around planning birthday festivities for my Capricorn baby.

And then, all of a sudden, all that busyness comes to a screeching halt, and I’ve found myself here — in late January. For me, this has always been a time to collect the broken pieces of my fandom before I dive headfirst back into it.

A sacred pause before the birth of a new baseball season.

The eye of the hurricane, sandwiched between chaos and hope.

While I do feel a little hope about the 2023 season, there’s also a heaviness this time around, a heaviness that makes it more difficult for me to find optimism about this dumbass team that I love.

A heaviness born of the trauma of being a fan of the 2022 Chicago White Sox.

I know that I need to start paying attention to the White Sox again so I can effectively write about them, but the thought of covering the team through another season like 2022 is, quite frankly, depressing as hell. Preparing to write about the 2023 White Sox feels a lot like I’m a kid, and my mom is making me eat all of my broccoli.

So, as writers do, I’ve decided to write through it. I’m reaching for my “Good Vibes” here. I don’t want to be all doom and gloom. That’s just not me, and plus, making you re-live the things that drove us all crazy last season would just be mean.

Instead, I’ve decided to reframe my grief. (Yeah, that’s right. I’m reclaiming it.)

Let’s call this, “Lessons Learned from the 2022 Chicago White Sox.”


Lesson One: There is just no way that anyone should be walking around on this Earth with Imposter Syndrome while Rick Hahn is the general manager of a professional baseball team.
Seriously. Shoot your shot. Apply for that job. Pitch that book idea to a publisher. Why should you feel hindered by feelings of inadequacy when Rick Hahn literally held a presser to announce a new, three-year contract for Leury García — who turned around and had a 42 OPS+ season? That’s ridiculous.

Lesson Two: OK, wow, I guess the manager matters more than I thought.
I used to think that managers weren’t as important or influential as everyone made them out to be.

Boy, was I wrong. The 2022 season taught me that while there might not be many ways a manager can win you a game, there are a hilarious number of ways that they can lose one for you.

Unrelated side note: Can we pay someone to make sure Pedro Grifol knows what the count is before he calls for an intentional walk?

Lesson Three: If that many players can get injured on the job in just one year, I should invest in short-term disability coverage.
I mean, that’s just sound financial advice.

Lesson Four: My favorite thing about being alive is humanity's endless capacity for hope.
Did 2022 smack me around a little bit as a White Sox fan? Yeah. Is it more difficult this time around to be enthusiastic about where the team is headed? Sure.

But will you be there on Opening Day?

Yeah? Cool.

So will I.

Jerry Burke

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