If the Chicago White Sox play baseball this season, they could start behind the eight-ball.
Everyone is holding out hope that at some point, the Chicago White Sox are playing baseball in 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown a galaxy-sized bucket of cold water on sports — at least up to this point.
That last part is critical, as there has been growing hope, if not optimism, that some sports may be able to start to get up and running again. However, if and when sports return, they will look dramatically different than what we are used to.
And I’m not just talking about the absence of fans in the seats, or players sitting six-feet apart and not high-fiving each other. For example, baseball may see a fundamental shakeup in how the “divisions” are aligned.
As you may have heard, baseball is contemplating playing its season entirely in Arizona or possibly split between Arizona and Florida. The plan would limit the teams’ need to travel and would allow baseball to quarantine not just the players, but all the support personnel who would be necessary to pull this thing off.
In order to do that, the league would need to make drastic changes to how teams are aligned. The initial plan would be to align them by Spring Training League. One proposed realignment structure would divide teams between the Cactus League and Grapefruit League, with divisions within each league.
The White Sox would obviously find themselves within the Cactus League. However, they would, under the current proposal, play in the West Division, which includes Central Division rival Cleveland Indians, the Joe Maddon-led Los Angeles Angels, Cincinnati Reds, and the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Pound for pound, this would be a much tougher division than they would have faced in the Central. Let’s compare the divisions.
For starters, the Dodgers had the second-best record in all of baseball last year, winning 106 games. The Central winning Minnesota Twins won 101. The Indians would cancel each other out. The White Sox finished third in the Central with 72 wins, followed by the 59-win Kansas City Royals and the 47-win Detroit Tigers. By contrast, the West Division would be rounded out by the 72-win Angels and the 75-win Reds. Put another way, the worst team in their new division had as many wins as the Central’s third-place team last year.
The Sox had hopes of legitimately competing for a division title, and that goal has become exponentially tougher as the South Siders will be in a division of teams with the same or better record than they had last year. Just their luck, right?