White Sox fans have been through a lot of ups and downs following their favorite team. Good times are ahead and are closer than many people may think.
One day, late in October 2005, thousands of White Sox fans gathered in unison to celebrate a long-awaited World Series championship. They watched as their heroes were paraded around the city, joyfully exclaiming that the “2nd team in the 2nd city” was finally on top. And they were.
Then, just as quickly as the 2005 team came, it appeared to vanish. Since that time, the White Sox have made the playoffs only once. They contended several times under Ozzie Guillen and once under Robin Ventura, but only played October baseball in 2008 (although it’s worth noting that the 2006 team would’ve at least made the one-game Wild Card playoff under today’s rules).
Sox fans remember 2005 fondly, and it was good enough to quench their thirst for quite some time. Now, in the shadow of a Cubs franchise that has been fortunate enough to follow up their World series victory with consecutive playoff berths, it feels lonely.
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Critics are quick to point out that the White Sox don’t have much of a fan base. Certainly, in the aftermath of such an event where only 974 fans are reported to enter the ballpark, nobody would argue that the Sox are about to break any sellout streaks.
Are ticket prices down? Yes.
Do polls seem to agree with the fact that the Sox don’t have a large fan base? Often.
Does it start rumors that the team might be moved? Sometimes.
However, much like House Mormont in Game of Thrones, if the White Sox do not have the largest of fanbases, they certainly have a very proud – and loyal – one.
Elderly men and women today still tell you tales of the “Go Go Sox”, and how they were the only team other than the Yankees to win a pennant between 1955-1964.
Young people of today may not have much reference for the Sox’ glory days, so middle aged men and women tell them about the teams of 1983, 1993, and 2000. They might even discuss the team that might have been in 1994.
In the days before the 2005 White Sox, when they had such stars as Magglio Ordonez, kids who are now young adults would flock to the field if only to chant “O-e-o, Magglio!”
One interesting thing about being the second team in the second city is that you’re still larger than a lot of the only teams in any city.
Lately, as has often been said, there’s been a dark cloud over the organization.
A hopeful team in 2012 went to a hopeless team in 2013.
A team with good preseason projections in 2015 got off to a slow start and never recovered.
Only needing one win in their final six to avoid 100 losses, the 2018 team was unable to do so and hit the bottom of the deck.
Still, it’s important that those proud White Sox fans stay proud and stay loyal.
Because one day the White Sox will be good again.
And, after having to stomach every season sweep, adjust to every big-time injury, swallow every ounce of pride to accept what is, and wonder every thought of what could have been, Sox fans will appreciate it all the more.
Not despite, but because of the hard times.