Happy February, White Sox fans. It’s almost time for Spring Training, and many of you may be wondering how to move on from the nauseatingly mediocre 81-81 season of 2022, after being subsequently bludgeoned by the empty offseason impotence of the front office. It hurts to be a White Sox fan again, during a time the power rankings predicted we’d be celebrating. To soothe your soul, I’ve assembled this handy cope guide for those of you who are apprehensively looking to the future. Get ready for ...
A painful offseason recovery.
With a rebuild now old enough to enter second grade, there’s no way the White Sox wouldn’t invest in a second baseman, solid pitching, and filling defensive holes, right?
Wrong. Our offseason was studded with disappointment: No stellar signing, a problematic new pitcher, a vanishing Sox Fest, our beloved closer’s cancer diagnosis, and the catastrophic loss of José Abreu — exit, Houston. This is where I tell you to have faith, or whatever, right?
Wrong again, Miss Kurland. In 2023, we revolt, and no amount of praying will change our bitter minds. Only wins will do that.
No room for toxic positivity.
The front office has done us dirty, White Sox fans, and after reaching out and asking for our trust on social media, they’ve exploited our loyalty yet again. Obviously there’s still hope for a season that has yet to enter Spring Training, but no one can blame us for reacting to the hair-brained offseason moves we’ve suffered. Instead of a second baseman, we got two new bars in the 500 section. Instead of the promise of a monumental trade move, there’s an inflated the parking lot fee of $30.
How do we redirect our ire as White Sox fans? You can take a page from this North Side transplant’s book, and implement unhealthy projection as a coping mechanism by watching Cubs games (for free, please) and cheer for their opponents. I now own an official jersey and/or shirt for every National League Central team that isn’t the Cubs, and I’m not ashamed to admit that it makes my bitter old crone ass happy. Living close to Wrigley isn’t easy, and the desire to show my support for anyone but the Cubs every time I’m in public, while feeling too butthurt to put on my White Sox gear, soothes the wounds of the current era of South Side suck. I guarantee that we as White Sox fans will be able to fall back on a better record than that team in the crumbling stadium down the street.
Unfortunately, there are some things we can’t transform with bitterness ...
Prepare yourself emotionally for the first regular season game.
My eyes just watered imagining José Abreu in another jersey, and I know I’m going to cry during his first at-bat. Astros fans will offer him an enthusiastic, deafening welcome from their trash cans at Minute Maid Park on March 28, as he and his rubber-banded beard step into the box wearing a World Champion Houston Astros jersey. It’s tragic enough to use as an actor when the scene calls for tears and you can’t get there on your own. Prepare yourself emotionally, or you’re likely to have this horrible image stain your optimism for the rest of the season, even if the White Sox are nursing a winning record.
But if it’s a losing record ...
Look to the promotional calendar for reasons to go to games.
A nice memory from my childhood was going to a game during a losing season with my dad. “We’re only here for the fireworks,” he said, as Frank Thomas hit a pointless dinger, and the White Sox lost anyway. The fireworks were fantastic that evening, despite a White Sox loss, and even though hot dogs are fucking disgusting at best, you can’t beat pig lips and buttholes in an intestinal casing for $1.
We’re no lovable losers here, and it’s neither fun nor cute to be a shitty team, but us White Sox fans are cursed with our signature South Side loyalty, so we’ll keep going to games as long as the organization gives just enough for us to stay.
Although kitschy, the promotional boons from last season were plenty, my favorite being a White Sox hockey jersey. This year, the PR team has concocted some nice bribes for hard-hearted fans, including a White Sox bucket hat, 1993 AL West Champs sweatshirt, the ever-popular Hawaiian shirt, and basketball, soccer, hockey, and football jerseys. If you still have money left over from parking, you may be asking yourself …
Which 2023 White Sox jersey should I buy?
The José Abreu hole in our hearts will never be filled, but we still have a lot of good bats. Among those, the most lovable (and promising, according to some rankings) is still Eloy Jiménez, if he stays healthy. If you’re looking for something not mainstream and want to be one of those fans with a less popular jersey, look no further than former enemy Andrew Benintendi. When it comes to hating good players on opposing teams, Benny was always an easy target, and now that he’s on the White Sox, we like him by default. Bonus, his number 23 jersey doubles as an homage to MJ. It’s amazing how quickly the F word can transform from “fuckingsuckmyassBenintendi” to “fan.” Still, I’mspringing for the Eloy jersey.
Speaking of rankings …
The latest MLB power rankings are a reasonable reflection of the humdrum 2022 record.
Surprise, surprise, the White Sox are smack-dab in the middle of the MLB Power Rankings. At least we can say we’re back to normal, as most commentators are back to not believing in the White Sox. At the close of the 2022 baseball season, to switch gears and keep expectations low, I declared with confidence a guaranteed four wins from the Chicago Bears. A seemingly easy feat, and although my football bar was in hell, the Bears still managed to disappoint me. I’m not taking any chances with the White Sox this year, so I’ve set my expectations to a single game better than .500 at season’s end. This isn’t a prediction, it’s a coping mechanism.
I have faith that Pedro Grifol can find someone to fill Abreu’s role as tetam leader, crank up the White Sox offense, and focus the defense. I believe that our bats will re-engage and put up the numbers we thought they’d be producing last year — but without defense, that won’t make much of a difference. If Oscar Colas’ ready timer dings, and he graces us with his dynamic presence, add another five games in the win column.
If the American League Central Division is as lackluster as anticipated, maybe the White Sox will have just enough this year.
If not, at least we can get one of those sick-ass bucket hats.
White Sox fans, please remember to pick up your Team Liam T’s supporting Lymphoma research.