White Sox experienced a dramatic shift in culture this past season thanks largely in part to their new manager. 2017 season was a fun year for many fans.
The Chicago White Sox 2017 team was a joy to watch for many fans despite their 67-95 record. After many years of mediocre results, the franchise finally embraced a true rebuild last offseason. General Manager Rick Hahn traded many of the team’s best players in exchange for some talented youngsters.
Although the Sox finished in fourth place in the American League Central division this past season, the team’s culture changed dramatically in 2017. This can be credited to manager Rick Renteria who managed his first season with the Sox this year. Renteria, who was fired by the Cubs after the 2014 season, instilled a lot of energy into a young Sox team.
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The White Sox started and ended 2017 with winning records in April and September, and they were especially fun to watch in the final month of the season. In their final 44 games, the Sox went 22-22 and also had a winning record in their final homestand of the season. The Sox also had nine walk-off wins compared to just seven in 2016.
Sox fans were demanding a change at the manager position for many years. After former third baseman Robin Ventura was unable to guide the team to the postseason, the Sox made the necessary change and hired Renteria as their next manager. Despite being fired by the Cubs, Renteria didn’t speak badly about his former team and instead helped to change the culture of the Sox. Yes, Renteria did rely on bunting a lot early this past season, but he was able to keep the Sox competitive throughout the year.
A common mantra heard by many Sox fans this past year was ‘Ricky’s Boys Don’t Quit’. This was true as the Sox fought in every game they played in 2017. The Sox were 21-23 in one-run games and were 39-42 at home. With the Sox entering their second rebuilding season in 2018, it will be up to Renteria to carry over the positive momentum from 2017 into next year. Expect the Sox to be fun to watch again, but there will be more growing pains for this young team.