Are you still with me, White Sox fans? I know some of you are starting to re-emerge as fans, like the tender lilacs in May, or the reticent fawn prudently approaching the apple slice you offer with an outreached hand from your car, even though the deer overpopulation is so out-of-control that it’s legal to shoot them with a homemade bow and arrow.
I get it. It’s hard to be a fan sometimes, especially when there was such promise two years ago.
Some fans may have felt a perplexing sense of relief at the early-season assfest of April 2023, as it offered a concrete judgment of “this team blows dicks, man,” instead of the existential crisis of last season’s maddening, middling record. The will-they/won’t-they dance is only fun in well-written sitcoms, and even then, it tends to be tropey and tired.
Enter May 2023. The White Sox have strapped in and inexplicably turned on an offense that was absent, and in the most sudden and unexpected way. Our run differential remains laughable comparatively, but how did the same struggling team from April score 17 runs on Sunday, and win two series in a row after winning none the whole season?
Enter yesterday’s series opener in Kansas City.
Somehow, the Royals still have a shittier record than the White Sox, despite some bottom-of-the-barrel performances, Little League-caliber offensive humiliations, injury curses, and no slugger in sight on the South Side. Traditionally, no matter how poorly the Royals are playing, they stomp our asses, and I’m sure it irks the players more so than the fans.
It’s so bad, that in the last couple of seasons, the Royals have replaced the Twins as my personally most-hated AL Central team. (Remember in 2004 when Torii Hunter slammed into Jamie Burke, in a dirty, underhanded, world’s-biggest-asshole type of way? I was in the bleachers during that game, and I’ll likely never be that angry about a play again. Even aside from that unprofessional revengefest of a series, fuck the Twins eternally for many more reasons.)
The White Sox should have won the series opener yesterday, but they didn’t. Instead, Amir Garrett puked on the mound, Dylan Cease has continued to suck, and “Let’s go Blackhawks” was the chant booming from the Kansas City seats last night. Baseball is confusing.
How are the Royals 3-16 at home before this game, and then trounce White Sox, 12-5, with our once-upon-a-time-ace Dylan Cease on the mound? It makes no sense. Why does the cashier turn the little cash register iPad thing around to ask for a tip when I ordered for pickup online and all he’s done for me is turned the screen around for a tip? Befuddling. Why the hell do we still utilize Daylight Savings Time? Baffling.
Even as a writer, I struggle to express the feelings I’ve experienced so far during this confusing White Sox season. So here are some anecdotes that may help me express the bewilderment, among other things, that I’ve felt during the 2023 season.
On Saturday, I drove with my husband to the suburbs to get our vehicle emissions test, in order to skip the long lines of the city testing facility. We’re rarely in the suburbs, so when we passed the Skokie Steak ’n Shake, my husband exclaimed, “Wow! I haven’t seen a Steak ’n Shake in so long. I used to love going there!”
“Do you want to go?” I asked.
This is the overall feel of being a White Sox fan in the 2023 season thus far.
In high school, I worked as a cook at Pizza Hut. It was a job I liked, because I got to make pizzas, which I think is fun (fight me), and I was allowed to take the mess-ups home. Food was hard to come by in those days, because my egg donor and I were poorer than dirt, and I had to fend for myself once she gave up on parenting, which was when I was about 15. My $700 lemon Ford Taurus broke down at least once a month, so merely waking up every day was anxiety-inducing, especially considering that I wasn’t an adult, so I couldn’t get a credit card for emergencies or food. One busy evening right before closing time, a customer had dropped something from his pocket as he was paying, and he didn’t notice. As he walked out of the restaurant with his pizzas, I mentally begged the universe for no one else to notice what looked like cold, hard cash, just lying on the floor. I desperately rushed over and covered it with my foot while trying to look casual, and pretended to adjust my shoe as I grabbed the bill and hid it against my palm like a sleight-of-hand magician. When I went into the bathroom and looked at it, hoping for a twenty, I was elated to reveal a one hundred dollar bill. It doesn’t sound like much, but it was an intensely uplifting lifeline for me.
The White Sox scored 17 runs on Sunday to win the second series of the season. Suddenly, the team had an offense. There was a bright spot. Unexpected happiness.
In my noob sketch comedy days, I was lucky to be in a group with several people who would become some of my best friends. Before we learned how to put up good shows, we had some screw-ups, and during one of our most poorly-planned shows, we didn’t do a dress rehearsal. Opening night, we were unaware that the masks we had to wear, as we skulked weirdly through the audience and on the stairs, would obscure our vision. Did I mention the house lights were out? I desperately grabbed for the wall as we slowly made our way down the blackbox theater stairs and onto the stage. The one person with the microphone didn’t realize it was off, but still said his lines into it, and I was glad to be wearing a mask, because I was laughing hysterically behind it at how badly the show was going. Then I accidentally punched my best friend in the face, as she laughed behind her mask and tried to tell me that the microphone wasn’t on, as if I didn’t fucking know by the obvious cacophonous confusion happening all around us. This was a show with a paying audience, and one of the worst performances maybe ever in the history of that long-storied theater. It’s still one of the funniest memories I have.
Sometimes it’s nice to have friends that are going down with the ship beside you. The St. Louis Cardinals have lost eight of their last 10 games and are 12-24.
Five years ago, someone I love told me that the guy she was seeing had asked her to marry him in Mexico, where they’d planned on taking a trip together. It was pretty early in their relationship, but she was pregnant, so it seemed believable. She asked me to go wedding dress shopping with her, and she tried on several dresses, each one more beautiful than the last. Most importantly, she looked happy. I wanted so badly for her to have a happy ending, but there was no conceivable possibility that this guy wouldn’t screw her over in some way, and I knew this because she would send me screenshots of his obvious gaslighting and mental abuse. It was tragic, because it didn’t matter what I, or anyone, said to her. She was determined to be with him. And even though he sucked, I thought she was getting her life back on track, so I was at least happy that she said she was happy, despite knowing how it would end (he turned out to be much worse than even I could have imagined, and is a laughingstock amongst his peers). This was five years ago, and they’re still together, still not married, but she truly believed that they would be, so much so, that she bought one of those wedding dresses, and has yet to use it.
A couple of my friends are Cubs fans, and since they actually like baseball (and one works in the Cubs office), I want them to be happy, even though I know they’re on a sinking ship. The Cubs are better than they were supposed to be so far, but it’s still not going to be enough. And even though the White Sox are worse, I’d still rather be a fan of the losing-record White Sox than a fan of the stinky shit-trough Wrigley bar bitchbaby Cubs.
You may be confused and think that you accidentally clicked on a link for my 2001 Livejournal account, but you didn’t. You’re here, on South Side Sox, and you’re likely as confused as the rest of us White Sox fans. Let’s try to enjoy this weird ride together.