Looking at the impact Bill Walton’s White Sox TV appearance had, and asking if this is something that should happen again.
Friday night Bill Walton spent an evening with Jason Benetti in the Chicago White Sox TV booth in California. The broadcast was probably not the best that Sox fans have ever seen. Walton is obviously not a baseball expert. He got excited over a short pop fly into left field as if it were a grand slam in the World Cup. It was weird and wacky. I think Jason Benetti would drink a lot more if this was an everyday thing.
Here’s the thing though, this was great for the White Sox. Last night was one of the best nights of the season for the White Sox because the White Sox were actually talked about. This was a meaningless August game against the Angels. Neither team is making the playoffs. Had Walton not been there, the only nationwide attention to last night’s game would have been talking about how much this generation’s greatest player dominates the White Sox like no other team (Mike Trout has a higher OPS against the White Sox than against any other American League team). The Sox would have been a footnote like they typically are portrayed by nationwide media.
For a night, the Sox were the talk of baseball. Not only were they the talk of baseball, but important players performed well. Lucas Giolito pitched very well, almost ace-like. The team’s most marketable player Tim Anderson had two hits and James McCann hit another grand slam. The players that actually matter for the White Sox going forward did very well. These players may have finally gotten some nationwide attention last night.
Do you want proof that this was great for the Sox? The White Sox play the Rangers next Friday night. The Rangers and Angels are teams of similar quality but see how much attention the Sox get in nationwide circles next weekend. Will they have this same level of attention? Unless there’s some sort of four home run game, a perfect game or something else of great importance, no, they won’t.
What will be remembered from last night’s game? Another Trout home run? Doubtful. Trout has hit a ton of meaningless home runs for bad Angels teams. People will remember Bill Walton’s insanity. Was it goofy? You bet. Should it happen again? Probably not. The Sox are typically forgotten nationwide. For one night though, they weren’t. This is a team in the midst of a rebuild and a losing record. Yet, for a night the Sox were the talk of baseball. For that, Sox fans should be thankful for Bill Walton. For any Sox fans who didn’t want to laugh along with the insanity, mute it and come back next week for a more normal broadcast.