With the Detroit Tigers beating the Minnesota Twins, the White Sox are now three games behind the Tigers. What do I hear from White Sox fans? I should be hearing “Wow! The White Sox really tried and competed more than they should.” No, instead I’m hearing this: “What a collapse, typical of a Chicago team.” Or “What a disappointing year.” I guess it’s time to jump in the DeLorean or my TARDIS again and go back in time.
In the 2011 season, so many players had sub-par years. Adam Dunn had a year that he never wants to remember. Remember 2011? Remember when the highlight of the last part of the season was Mark Buehrle’s last start as a member of the White Sox? Or when Don Cooper became manager for a game? Was anyone actually excited about either of those events? I know that I wasn’t.
Robin Ventura took over the team as a new manager. This was his first managing experience ever. There were no expectations in my book that Ventura would do anything. Since it was his first time managing, I expected him to make mistakes. I expected him to learn on the fly.
The Tigers signed Prince Fielder and all the experts, me included, gave the Tigers the division. I expected the White Sox to fall to third place. All over Chicago, I heard fans on the radio and online say that this was going to be a very long season for Chicago baseball. Fans weren’t even looking forward to the start of baseball, since they expected it to be a long drawn out year.
Instead, the opposite occurred. September baseball has actually meant something to Chicago. I understand that the White Sox blew a three game lead in the final stretch. The White Sox played, by far, their worst baseball of the season. But White Sox fans should rejoice because it has been a while since September baseball actually meant something.
This wasn’t an epic collapse by the White Sox. They weren’t the 1964 Philadelphia Phillies, who were up six in a half games with only 12 to play. Want something more recent? Remember the 2009 Tigers? They were up by three games with four to play only to blow that. They would then lose to the Twins 6-5 in game 163.
However, White Sox fans should still be happy that their team competed better than anyone expected. They should still be thrilled that exciting September baseball finally returned to Chicago. They should be happy that their team wasn’t out of the playoffs in May, like the Chicago Cubs.
The season isn’t officially over yet, though it is starting to feel like it. Unless the Tigers collapse like they did in 2009, the White Sox won’t be going to the playoffs. Is that disappointing? Yes it is, especially when you can taste the postseason. Is it an epic collapse? I don’t think so. This is something that the White Sox players and managers can learn from.
So, barring some sort of miracle, the fat lady is ready to take the stage in Chicago. At least remember that in 2011 she was already on stage very early. In 2012, she got to wait until the leaves fell.