Casting the Chicago White Sox As AMC’s Mad Men

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Aug 30, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Chris Sale (49) throws a pitch against the Detroit Tigers during the first inning at U.S Cellular Field. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

Roger Sterling: SP Chris Sale

At first glance, some might find it odd I am nominating young Chris Sale to fill the shoes of one of SC&P’s oldest members, Roger Sterling. Hear me out. Roger is an accomplished, cagey veteran in his industry. Sterling is the name that headlines the SC&P firm, as well as, the firm it was born out of. Roger may not be an everyday player in the field like Ken Cosgrove or Pete Campbell, but when his skills are needed, he slips in, orders a vodka martini and casually works his magic. He knows something his clients don’t know, and they want to know it, but he doesn’t seem to care if they do. He’d be happy to tell them, though. I mean, why not? Sip, handshake, repeat. That’s how Roger Sterling seals a deal and steals the show.

However, he’s not without his faults. He’s traded gin for vodka and Smirnoff for Stoli. He embodies every trend on Madison Avenue hoping to prolong his relevance. He’s afraid of not being in the game. He’s trying to outrun, or better yet, ignore irrelevance.

He can’t be out on the field every day, but when the team needs him every fifth start, he calmly takes his place on the mound and he does what he is paid to do; he wins.

Chris Sale is the ace of the White Sox pitching staff. He hung around the Cy Young conversation throughout the 2014 season by posting a 2.17 ERA with 208 strike outs. It’s been this way for years. Sale will be entering his sixth season in the majors next year, having already earned three All-Star appearances. He can’t be out on the field every day, but when the team needs him every fifth game, he calmly takes his place on the mound and he does what he is paid to do; he wins. He’s won 40 games in the last three years, and even that total seems unfairly low, given what he’s done for the team.

He is calm, lanky, and unassuming, but he’s also ruthless. He may even be a bit paranoid, as an episode with the Detroit Tigers on August 24th, 2014 may have illustrated. Chris Sale hit Victor Martinez with a pitch in the sixth inning of the contest, then jawed at Victor and pointed to center field as V-Mart took his base. Martinez didn’t make it all the way to first before benches cleared. During the on-field song and dance that transpired as a result of Sale’s errant pitch, Avisail Garcia explained to his former teammate that Sale felt he was stealing signs with the aid of someone in center field. Later Sale was seen in the dugout making a gesture with his hands that looked like he was making goggles or, dare we say, binoculars over his eyes. Thus, binocular-gate was born.

Chris Sale is the marquee name on the White Sox pitching staff. He’s only 25, but he’s been around the block. He’s dominant, yet complex. He makes millions of dollars playing a professional sport that requires focus and consistency, but took the time to choose a word of the day to use in every post-start interview in 2014. He’s laid back, but he won’t be upstaged. He’s one of the most feared pitchers in the American League, but he might be a little paranoid himself. Sounds like the perfect guy to portray SC&P’s standard bearer, Roger Sterling.