Things have changed on the south side. New middle management, new(ish) corner outfielders and of course with a new year comes a new slogan. Brooks Boyer and co. unofficially give us, “Appreciate the Game.” My initial response to this is to wonder, “Why so feeble?” Why not chuck the brevity and let us really have it?
“Hey, guys, it’s possible we’ll win some games but probably not a lot so just enjoy whatever we put out there, ok?”
“If you aren’t generally in the business of winning but do enjoy the game of baseball itself then by all means, stop by and check us out.”
However as I ponder it a bit more, it occurs to me that perhaps it’s not about that. Maybe it’s not about tempering expectations. Not completely, anyway. This may be something worse. In not knowing whether or not the team will be competitive entering the season and certainly not having any interest in eating the same crow as last season’s campaign with an overly confident tagline, perhaps the Sox have opted to take a small jab. There are 30 MLB teams and 5 teams in the division, why attack them when you can up the odds and take a quick jab at the city’s other team? “Appreciate the Game” just might be playing into the hands of the sector of White Sox fans that rampantly attack the ability of an average northsider to take in a baseball game and be able to tell you what happened upon completion. The reputation of party zone Wrigley eats at many Sox fans. Why should they be so popular when nobody even cares? It’s not entirely true, of course. There are a great many Cubs fans that are pure baseball people. The loudest ones are the ones that are heard though. It’s the same reason that a single father/son team was able to give Sox fans a terrible reputation for many years. If that’s the case, I ask, “Why go there?”
In all likelihood, it is the tempering of expectations. It’s the team asking, “Hey you have fun here at the ballpark, right?” and then begging us to continue to show up. Without a lot of confidence coursing through the city for this summer’s baseball, there weren’t a lot of options. We all know how “All In” turned out, so maybe “gee, we’d appreciate it if you continued to support us, maybe, perhaps,” will be the sentiment behind a team that surprises the city and exceeds expectations.