I hate to bring up 2005 because like Cubs fans will tell you, “That happened over five years ago, get over it!” However I still do it. I do it because that is a team I will always remember. I remember them because they were a well liked team. The manager and players were all people the fan base can get behind and it was an energy that took them all the way to a World Series win. Last year’s team was just the opposite and ultimately led to their demise.
Other than Paul Konerko and Mark Buehrle, I can’t think of anybody else on last year’s team the fans really liked. Maybe Alejandro De Aza but we did not see enough of him to really fall in love. Instead what we saw Alex Rios lazily attempt to chase down fly balls. Adam Dunn strike out three times a game and not seem to care about it. Jake Peavy and A.J. Pierzynski argue about what pitch to throw next. Should it be the B.P. fastball or the breaking ball that no longer bites? We love Konerko for what he does on the field but he’s always been a shy quiet guy so he can’t be the go to personality on a team. Gordon Beckham is not the young darling we thought he was, Alexei Ramirez doesn’t say much of anything and on the personality meter John Danks and Gavin Floyd sit at about a three.
Worst of all was the manager and General Manager. Ozzie Guillen wore out his welcome with the fan base. His constant remarks about how he didn’t care if he got fired or wanting a new contract grew old and tiresome. Kenny Williams seemed to have blamed Sox fans for the team’s stuggles because the ballpark wasn’t full enough. Like it was Sox fans who traded for Rios and Peavy or gave Dunn a big contract. Then how can we forget the constant fighting between the two that seemed to play out in public on a daily basis. Sox fans hated their team last year and the attendance reflected that.
The team needs to look back to 2005. Back when we still loved A.J. for being the “smart” baseball player, Bobby Jenks was the jolly closer with a killer fastball, Scott Podsednik was the speedy heartthrob and Ozzie embodied the fiery South Side style. Most importantly they need to like each other. Be willing to go to battle with each other, a feeling you haven’t felt from a Sox team in years.
The Tampa Bay Rays and St. Louis Cardinals made impressive runs last year due to talent and cohesion. It is up to Robin Ventura to provide that culture early on. The one time fan favorite needs to remind his team who White Sox fans are. They are hard working, grind it out kind of people who expect the same from their baseball team. Sox fans have always proven they will support a team they can get behind. A team with some personality willing to fight for one another and have fun on the field. Hey who knows, if they buy in they might just make a run. Remember what happened in 2005.