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VAfan

The Sox' moves have me interested as a fan again

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I've been a Sox fan since 1970 (permanently left the Cubs after the 1969 collapse). I grew up in the Chicago area (Evanston), but I haven't lived in the Chicago area since I left to go to college. Lived 10 years out in Washington State, and since the mid-1980s in Northern Virginia. Thus my blog name VAfan. 

I was all-in on the Sox for many years, hanging on their every move year after year. That was true up through the glorious World Series year, which came almost out of nowhere. What a magical run 2005 was. (I wrote a 17-page recap of that season so I'd always remember it.) We still have the best post-season run of any team in the current format, with only 1 setback, a 3-2 loss to the Angels we might have won had Contreras thrown home to get the lead runner instead of trying for an unsuccessful DP. That run was the difference. 

I stayed with the Sox as they tried to get back to the World Series, but kept falling short. Once the World Series players left, the Sox still had interesting guys like Chris Sale, Adam Eaton, and Jose Quintana. But it wasn't enough, and the disastrous attempt to be relevant with Jeff Samardzija (who cost us Marcus Semien), Todd Frazier, Melky Cabrera, and David Robertson led the team to blow it up and start over (but not before trading Fernando Tatis, Jr. for James Shields!!). It was around that point that I stopped paying much attention. Oh, I knew the roster for the most part, and noticed who they traded for and who they drafted high. And my son and I would usually go see the Sox for a game when they came to Baltimore or DC, but otherwise I didn't watch the futile last several years.

This year is going to be different. I'm back to being interested in the team again. 

All the moves may turn out for naught, just like they did in 2015. I don't think we're World Series contenders by any means. And even making the playoffs is going to require a lot of things to go right. But the team should be interesting again. They aren't stocking their lineup with 4-5 below-replacement players any more, waiting on their young guys to be ready. The young guys are ready, or at least ready to debut on the major league stage. 

I'm excited to see Luis Robert and Nick Madrigal. I'm eager for Yoan Moncada to take another step forward. I wanted to see Zach Collins, but I'm fine waiting for him while Edwin Encarnacion hits bombs. It was great to see Lucas Giolito make such strides last year. Can Reynaldo Lopez and Dylan Cease make their own leaps forward? What do Michael Kopech and Carlos Rodon have to offer? Is there anyone else on the farm who is going to emerge this year or next and make an impact? 

I think it was smart for the front office to add guys to the young core to try to be relevant in 2020, even if there is a need for a bigger push in 2021.The key was that the team didn't surrender anything but short-term money to do so. No prospects, and no long-term contracts they will be sorry for. (Abreu's renewal might be a year too long and too expensive, but he's a clubhouse leader who might help keep the other guys around.) 

Dallas Keuchel is a fighter who can win on a Sox team with the new lineup we're likely to see. Gio Gonzalez will walk way too many guys, but he's a great back-of-the-rotation addition to hold the fort while Kopech and Rodon come back from injuries. Nomar Mazara is still super young, but has 4 years of experience and some upside. We needed lefty bats and he added one. We can add a platoon partner, or just use Leury Garcia and Adam Engel. The biggest addition was Yasmani Grandal, who turns catching into a strong point. His pitch framing should help corner nibblers Keuchel and Gonzalez, but also the young guys. His switch hitting adds another lefty bat. The last addition, so far, was Encarnacion, who struck me as superfluous at first blush, but now seems like a no-brainer. This is a HR hitting league, and Encarnacion has the potential, with all the other additions, to move the Sox from 6th worst (182 HRs) in baseball to top 6 (254 HRs - Steamer estimate). All these guys are role players, but they can all play above-average roles. 

In baseball, it's important to not have weak links, in the lineup, the rotation, and the bullpen. The new lineup may not have ANY weak links once Robert and Madrigal are up to speed. That doesn't mean they'll have superstars throughout, but they also won't have any negative WAR players like they used to have in multiples. The rotation still has Lopez and Cease as big question marks, but they are young players with upside. And there are reinforcements behind them who are working back from injury. The bullpen has some weak links, but everyone expects the Sox to add here before the season starts. And we may have arms in the minors who could eventually help. If they can find a synergy and get on a roll, who knows where the team might go.

In baseball, it is sometimes the oddest things that can make a difference. Who'd have thought Gerardo Parra, the "baby shark", could have helped catapult the Nationals to a World Series title? He arrived last year at their 19-31 lowest moment, and completely changed the energy for the team. Sure, the Nats had a bunch of great players, but they weren't going anywhere until Parra loosened them up and got them playing up to their potential. 

Who knows how the 2020 White Sox will play together? I don't. But I do know that these moves have gotten a 50-year fan like me to get interested in White Sox baseball again. And my son along with me. 

Go SOX!!

 

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I'm just hoping that if this team starts winning the White Sox fans come out and support the team. I'm hoping for attendance of 2 million people in 2020.

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33 minutes ago, WBWSF said:

I'm just hoping that if this team starts winning the White Sox fans come out and support the team. I'm hoping for attendance of 2 million people in 2020.

Jerry, Kenny, and Rick should all be aware of one fact about Sox fans...

 

"If you win... they will come"

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I remember contending teams that did not draw that well (2000). I would let go of the attendance thingy.

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12 minutes ago, pcq said:

I remember contending teams that did not draw that well (2000). I would let go of the attendance thingy.

There's genuine hype about this team though.  

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Just now, BackDoorBreach said:

 There's genuine hype about this team though.  

There does seem to be a Team That Was Promised feeling among fans. 

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All I really want is to watch meaningful games and be engaged with the team after June.  The last half a dozen late summers or so have been completely pointless as an everyday follow outside checking the highlights and box for Moncada or TA or Gio or Eloy highlights.  Thanks to the pitching and black holes in the lineup watching the actual games stunk.

This year I'd love to just watch a team sitting at 50-40 after the first half try and make the playoffs.  Regardless of outcome just being in the hunt and winning 85+ will be fun.

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9 hours ago, chitownsportsfan said:

All I really want is to watch meaningful games and be engaged with the team after June.  The last half a dozen late summers or so have been completely pointless as an everyday follow outside checking the highlights and box for Moncada or TA or Gio or Eloy highlights.  Thanks to the pitching and black holes in the lineup watching the actual games stunk.

This year I'd love to just watch a team sitting at 50-40 after the first half try and make the playoffs.  Regardless of outcome just being in the hunt and winning 85+ will be fun.

Same. Into the race in mid-august would have me giddy.

 

Low bar, but we've seen some bad shit...

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15 hours ago, BackDoorBreach said:

There's genuine hype about this team though.  

Star Power!  First WS team ever with so many potential stars.

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15 hours ago, chitownsportsfan said:

All I really want is to watch meaningful games and be engaged with the team after June.  The last half a dozen late summers or so have been completely pointless as an everyday follow outside checking the highlights and box for Moncada or TA or Gio or Eloy highlights.  Thanks to the pitching and black holes in the lineup watching the actual games stunk.

This year I'd love to just watch a team sitting at 50-40 after the first half try and make the playoffs.  Regardless of outcome just being in the hunt and winning 85+ will be fun.

On a seasonal level and on an individual level. I can get somewhat excited to watch our young talent even if the team is 52-70. I feel like I spent numerous days last summer whittling the hours away to a 1:10 game, anxiously counting down, planning my game snacks and buying some beer to enjoy with it, only for Dylan Covey to pitch and us be down 5-0 at the end of the first. And then, 25 minutes in, I’m wondering what the hell I ought to do for the rest of my day.

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On 12/26/2019 at 6:09 PM, VAfan said:

I've been a Sox fan since 1970 (permanently left the Cubs after the 1969 collapse). I grew up in the Chicago area (Evanston), but I haven't lived in the Chicago area since I left to go to college. Lived 10 years out in Washington State, and since the mid-1980s in Northern Virginia. Thus my blog name VAfan. 

I was all-in on the Sox for many years, hanging on their every move year after year. That was true up through the glorious World Series year, which came almost out of nowhere. What a magical run 2005 was. (I wrote a 17-page recap of that season so I'd always remember it.) We still have the best post-season run of any team in the current format, with only 1 setback, a 3-2 loss to the Angels we might have won had Contreras thrown home to get the lead runner instead of trying for an unsuccessful DP. That run was the difference. 

I stayed with the Sox as they tried to get back to the World Series, but kept falling short. Once the World Series players left, the Sox still had interesting guys like Chris Sale, Adam Eaton, and Jose Quintana. But it wasn't enough, and the disastrous attempt to be relevant with Jeff Samardzija (who cost us Marcus Semien), Todd Frazier, Melky Cabrera, and David Robertson led the team to blow it up and start over (but not before trading Fernando Tatis, Jr. for James Shields!!). It was around that point that I stopped paying much attention. Oh, I knew the roster for the most part, and noticed who they traded for and who they drafted high. And my son and I would usually go see the Sox for a game when they came to Baltimore or DC, but otherwise I didn't watch the futile last several years.

This year is going to be different. I'm back to being interested in the team again. 

All the moves may turn out for naught, just like they did in 2015. I don't think we're World Series contenders by any means. And even making the playoffs is going to require a lot of things to go right. But the team should be interesting again. They aren't stocking their lineup with 4-5 below-replacement players any more, waiting on their young guys to be ready. The young guys are ready, or at least ready to debut on the major league stage. 

I'm excited to see Luis Robert and Nick Madrigal. I'm eager for Yoan Moncada to take another step forward. I wanted to see Zach Collins, but I'm fine waiting for him while Edwin Encarnacion hits bombs. It was great to see Lucas Giolito make such strides last year. Can Reynaldo Lopez and Dylan Cease make their own leaps forward? What do Michael Kopech and Carlos Rodon have to offer? Is there anyone else on the farm who is going to emerge this year or next and make an impact? 

I think it was smart for the front office to add guys to the young core to try to be relevant in 2020, even if there is a need for a bigger push in 2021.The key was that the team didn't surrender anything but short-term money to do so. No prospects, and no long-term contracts they will be sorry for. (Abreu's renewal might be a year too long and too expensive, but he's a clubhouse leader who might help keep the other guys around.) 

Dallas Keuchel is a fighter who can win on a Sox team with the new lineup we're likely to see. Gio Gonzalez will walk way too many guys, but he's a great back-of-the-rotation addition to hold the fort while Kopech and Rodon come back from injuries. Nomar Mazara is still super young, but has 4 years of experience and some upside. We needed lefty bats and he added one. We can add a platoon partner, or just use Leury Garcia and Adam Engel. The biggest addition was Yasmani Grandal, who turns catching into a strong point. His pitch framing should help corner nibblers Keuchel and Gonzalez, but also the young guys. His switch hitting adds another lefty bat. The last addition, so far, was Encarnacion, who struck me as superfluous at first blush, but now seems like a no-brainer. This is a HR hitting league, and Encarnacion has the potential, with all the other additions, to move the Sox from 6th worst (182 HRs) in baseball to top 6 (254 HRs - Steamer estimate). All these guys are role players, but they can all play above-average roles. 

In baseball, it's important to not have weak links, in the lineup, the rotation, and the bullpen. The new lineup may not have ANY weak links once Robert and Madrigal are up to speed. That doesn't mean they'll have superstars throughout, but they also won't have any negative WAR players like they used to have in multiples. The rotation still has Lopez and Cease as big question marks, but they are young players with upside. And there are reinforcements behind them who are working back from injury. The bullpen has some weak links, but everyone expects the Sox to add here before the season starts. And we may have arms in the minors who could eventually help. If they can find a synergy and get on a roll, who knows where the team might go.

In baseball, it is sometimes the oddest things that can make a difference. Who'd have thought Gerardo Parra, the "baby shark", could have helped catapult the Nationals to a World Series title? He arrived last year at their 19-31 lowest moment, and completely changed the energy for the team. Sure, the Nats had a bunch of great players, but they weren't going anywhere until Parra loosened them up and got them playing up to their potential. 

Who knows how the 2020 White Sox will play together? I don't. But I do know that these moves have gotten a 50-year fan like me to get interested in White Sox baseball again. And my son along with me. 

Go SOX!!

 

Great post. Enjoyed reading your thoughts and trips down memory lane. I am very excited for this team. I just took my kids to disney and we stopped through Nashville the same night the saints were playing the titans. Me and the kids walked around nashville with our sox gear and were stopped a couple times and asked/told....."that's different......white sox???."  All I said was you will hear a lot more of white sox this year. 

In Disney we were stopped by Cub fans after all the moves and all they could say is you guys are gonna be good.

Cant wait!!!

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This is the first season since 2016 that the MILB package wasn't preferable to MLB.

It’s still easy to wonder if we had guys like Adell, Benintendi, Buehler and Tatis...how much more dominant this run could have been, or even if we hadn’t lost those 10 guys to injuries in the last 18 months, but just knowing they have a realistic shot to compete this year is enough for now.

We deserve good things.  

Maybe it means that Robert, Kopech or Madrigal will be the capstone on everything we’ve been patiently waiting for to kick this whole thing into another gear.

While these new veterans are seemingly closer to Ver. 2014-16 than 2004-05, there’s also never been such a young core in this organization since that 1987-90 run of draft picks by Himes.

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Fair weather fans are always  welcome consumers of tickets, sports merchandise and food and beverages at sports bars while watching games.

Welcome aboard one and all.   You will be missed once the Sox hit another dry spell but not to worry, die-hard fans will hold down the fort until we see them return during the next irruption.

Edited by tray

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40 minutes ago, tray said:

Fair weather fans are always  welcome consumers of tickets, sports merchandise and food and beverages at sports bars while watching games.

Welcome aboard one and all.   You will be missed once the Sox hit another dry spell but not to worry, die-hard fans will hold down the fort until we see them return during the next irruption.

Fair weather fans are in the majority.  In another year all sorts of former Cubs fans will be scampering aboard the bandwagon.

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7 hours ago, tray said:

Fair weather fans are always  welcome consumers of tickets, sports merchandise and food and beverages at sports bars while watching games.

Welcome aboard one and all.   You will be missed once the Sox hit another dry spell but not to worry, die-hard fans will hold down the fort until we see them return during the next irruption.

I've never thought of myself as a fair weather fan, but not living in or around Chicago has made it much easier to find other things to do during baseball season. I could have become a Nats fan, but I haven't, even though I did root for them on their World Series run. Moreover, my son is a Sox fan. I just hope he doesn't have to wait as long for another championship. 

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1 minute ago, VAfan said:

I've never thought of myself as a fair weather fan, but not living in or around Chicago has made it much easier to find other things to do during baseball season. I could have become a Nats fan, but I haven't, even though I did root for them on their World Series run. Moreover, my son is a Sox fan. I just hope he doesn't have to wait as long for another championship. 

I think by virtue of being a poster on SoxTalk, you're not a fair weather fan.

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I’m not sure that one has to force themselves to watch every single meaningless game from midseason 2016 through the end of 2019 to be considered a real fan. 

Everyone has different ways of dealing with disappointment.   If the biggest problem the White Sox have is fighting over delineating bandwagon vs. true diehard fans, it’s a nice problem to have.   There’s always been a very clear correlation (in MLB) between attendance increases following playoff success, rather than the other way around.

In the end, does it really matter why each fan or family that comes to GRF enters the turnstiles?

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