White Sox: It’s phase two and a rebuild for fans, too

KANSAS CITY, MO - MARCH 29: Matt Davidson
KANSAS CITY, MO - MARCH 29: Matt Davidson /
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There is a phase between being a 95-loss team and contention. It’s called The 2018 White Sox Season.

Okay, let’s be real. This White Sox team is better than anyone thinks. Watching the season opener, the infield hit six home runs.

Will that happen every day?

Of course not.

But it did.

First time out.

The players named Avisail Garcia, Matt Davidson, Tim Anderson, Yoan Moncada, Welington Castillo, Nicky Delmonico, Adam Engel, Yolmer Sanchez and, oh yeah, that Jose Abreu guy can flat.out.hit. With modest pitching, they could easily hit their way to a winning record.

The pitching was good, too

But the pitching is better than modest. It’s dynamic. The league doesn’t know much about it yet. And more is coming. Am I getting too excited too early? Rather, should I have realized this more fully and gotten excited sooner? We’re here and we’re near, get used to it! (hey, that sounds like a great bumper sticker).

KANSAS CITY, MO – MARCH 29: James Shields
KANSAS CITY, MO – MARCH 29: James Shields /

I got a text midway through the opener after the Sox put up eight runs in two innings. It was simple: “They are going to be good, dude”.

I agree.

However, it’s not always appropriate and even less classy to brag before you have any results to back it up. Better to wait and lay low – and then when the obvious becomes reality then jump on board. Safer that way. Ask any bandwagon fan and they’ll say it’s so.

It’s okay that Sale and Quintana are gone

Playing it safe reminds me of the not too distant past when the team felt that Chris Sale and Jose Quintana represented the core of a winning framework. They weren’t, and so the wolf ate grandma and here we are in a rebuild. Rebuilds are not safe. A rebuild model is based on trading known assets for a greater amount unknown ones and potentially gaining a greater reward for taking on greater risk. Rebuilds are inherently risky.

The offseason is a period of hope, expectations, speculation, wonder, and anticipation. The season is a period of reality. The offseason is all about something that is going to happen – as fans, we just don’t know what. During the season, the “it” happens. That might be another great bumper sticker for Sox fans: It Happens.

Well, it is happening

KANSAS CITY, MO – MARCH 29: Tim Anderson
KANSAS CITY, MO – MARCH 29: Tim Anderson /

Enough with the toning ourselves down, hedging our enthusiasm at every turn with self-deprecating statements that include the inevitable phrase “lowered expectations”. Nope, it’s time to “Root, Root, Root, for the White Sox.” There is no reason to hide your candle beneath a bushel. Why in the world can’t this team win? Someone tell me. It sure ain’t due to lack of talent or level of gameplay. So tell me, why not? We’re in First Place.

Okay, granted it’s only been one day and there are a few unknowns like untested starting pitching, James Shields, a ragtag bullpen, uncertain fielding and risk of injury – just to name five.

There are 161 games remaining

Yes, we just got going and there is indeed a lot of baseball to be played.

Which brings me to being a Sox fan. Somewhere between low expectations and contention is where we are. Time to live in the moment. Eat (Peanuts and Cracker Jack, of course), Drink (I don’t know, Yoohoo?) and Be Merry (which means cheer – yes you!) for tomorrow we may lose. Waaay too long for a bumper sticker but a pleasant sentiment.

I reflected the night before the season opener that this is new ground and uncharted territory for Sox fans. Year Two of the Rebuild. Whatever lies ahead, it’s going to take place on the field and not in the papers or General Manager’s office. A big win and we’ll be riding high. A big loss and we may sulk like Cubs fans facing down elimination during the ninth inning of Game 5 against the Dodgers last NLCS.

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Leave it all on the field

Cmon, we all saw them, faces drooping like their dogs just died. That’s precisely when they should have been going crazy the most. If you want your team to leave it all on the field, a great place to start if by doing the same in the stands and letting the opposition know it ain’t over. To wit, Sox fans. Let’s rebuild our culture as fans too.

No matter about the Cubs, it’s okay at this point to get in touch with our feelings and get excited. That precise attitude is why they could win. Pick any kid and tell them they can’t accomplish something. Just try it. Then watch them go off and work their tails off just to make you eat your words. The baseball world has told the young team they can’t win. The projections are dire. Yet they started the 2018 season by blasting six home runs and thoroughly beating up the Royals. Maybe someone should tweet them a hug. Then again, maybe not.

Next: Six Sox home runs on Opening Day

If this isn’t an exciting start to Phase 2, I don’t know what it is.