Chicago White Sox: Therapy for a Chicago sports fan, session 2

(Photo by Ron Vesely/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
(Photo by Ron Vesely/MLB Photos via Getty Images) /

Chicago White Sox fans, like many Chicago sports fans in general, have plenty to deal with on a daily basis.

What do fans of each Chicago Sports team have in common?

We are worried about the future of our teams.

Previously I expressed that our beloved Chicago Sports have put us on a perpetual roller coaster over the years. Let’s face it, though; it is 2021, and we are all weary.

Very weary.

In response, I have decided to go to therapy for all of our fans. I went to the first session on the Cubs, and I feel a bit better now, but I have some feelings to work through on the White Sox.

I am a fan of both the Cubs and the White Sox. Maybe it’s sacrilege to you, but my dad grew up on the South-Side, so I grew up watching and liking both teams. You can hate me for that, and I’m OK with that.

Let’s head back to therapy for our second session on the Chicago White Sox.

*Steps into therapy session* 

Hello again; how are you feeling today?

Pretty good, Dr. Kristin.

Why is that?

Well, I’ve been thinking a lot about the Chicago White Sox. I’m not sure if you know this, but the White Sox’s path to a championship is starting to look eerily like the Chicago Cubs’ was.  the White Sox exploded onto the scene last season probably a year early just as the Cubs did in 2015. While the Cubs advanced a little further that season, the White Sox still got significant experience in do-or-die playoff games.

The Cubs won the world series the year after 2015, so that means this upcoming season…

I’m really hoping so. This team is like an All-Star squad: a dynamic shortstop with a beautiful bat flip, the current American League MVP, a leader at catcher, two dynamic star outfielders, another star at second base, three Cy Young Caliber starting pitchers, and arguably the best closer in baseball.

This team is FUN and exciting to get behind.

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Why exactly are you here then, if everything is going so well?

I also feel uneasy.

And why is that?

Our. Owner.

Flashback to 1986  *Imagine it looking something like this funny1970’s flashback*

Current Manager and future Hall of Famer Tony La Russa recently finished his 8th season with the Chicago White Sox with a winning record in that time span.

Our owner, Jerry Reinsdorf, was at a crossroads due to a difficult season and needed to make a change. Would he fire current GM Hawk Harrelson or his beloved coach La Russa? Well, Reinsdorf chose to fire La Russa.

Many years later, Reinsdorf admitted: “I made the biggest mistake of my life. First of all, I made Hawk the general Manager. That was pretty stupid. But I’ve always believed if you had somebody in charge of a department, he should have his own people. So I allowed him to fire Tony. It was the dumbest thing I ever did.”

Letting Tony La Russa go was his biggest regret.

*Flash forward to the end of this season:*

The Chicago White Sox finished the pandemic shortened season 35-25. A change was needed at Manager, however, after the team crumbled down the stretch and almost missed the playoffs.

Their General Manager, Rick Hahn immediately recognized this issue, stating, “We’re looking for that right fit to lead us to that next step.” And there were actual candidates available who fit the bill.

It all set up perfectly as a Joe Maddon-Esque hire. That new Manager would be ready to take this team over the top in the 2021 season as Maddon did with the Cubs.

But then — what do you know — the owner intervened.

He lured his “biggest mistake” in 76-year-old LaRussa out of retirement to become the new Manager. Even better? Said Manager was arrested for drinking and driving only one day before the hiring. On top of that, this news came out today:

On the day when the Sox announced the hiring of LaRussa, it was quite a sight to see our GM look like a robot upon announcing the signing. It was clear that he had no say in the decision.

I wish I could have seen his face when he found out about the DUI.

Wow — that’s quite a story!

It was THE story, and it bothered all White Sox fans. The 76-year-old La Russa hasn’t managed a real team in nine seasons; baseball has dramatically changed since 2011. In what world is he able to connect with and gain the trust of our forward-thinking “swag” players, most of whom are Latino or African American and under 25 years old? Trust me — being a 25-year-old in 2010 vs. 2021 is entirely different.

The White Sox are so close to a title right now, and one risky move like this can throw the whole thing out of balance.

The Chicago White Sox could easily be in the same place five years down the line that the Chicago Cubs are in right now.

It freaks me out.

Look- I’m sorry- It feels so dumb I’m saying this. None of this is actually happening.

Once again, as I said last time. Your thoughts, feelings, and opinions are essential, and I validate you here. You have every right to be upset. 

Let me introduce you to a simple concept you have probably heard of a million times- Mindfulness. In other words, it is about being fully present in each moment. Right here. Right now. Let’s try something called “grounding.” What do you see in this office? 

A picture.

What do you feel?

This soft chair.

What do you hear?

The sound of the fan.

And what do you smell? 

A generic peach candle that is regifted a minimum of 8 times before being begrudgingly used as decor, but never lit, lest it smell like burnt dust. 

Um, that’s creepily accurate. Anyway, uh, you can do this with all 5 of your senses whenever you need to.

Let’s bring this back to the White Sox, shall we? What is factual about this team’s present moment, feelings aside? 

1. The White Sox made the playoffs and won a playoff game in 2020.

2. Jose Abreu won the American League MVP.

3. The White Sox signed closer Liam Hendricks this offseason.

4. The White Sox signed starter Lance Lynn this off-season.

5. We now have four of the top ten Cy Young vote-getters in the AL from last season because of those recent signings.

Awesome! That was pretty simple, right?


Excellent progress today, Tim. Well, it looks like our time is up; let’s get back to the question I posed to you last time: If you could speak to one person in the organization right now to begin your healing journey, what would you say:

I would speak with Tim Anderson, and I would do everything in my power to motivate him and make it crystal clear to him that this is *his* team. His new Manager may know who is playing left field from right, but he can be like Jason Heyward was to the Cubs in 2016 in terms of leadership.

I would probably end up being the one motivated to fix my life after that conversation.

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Great! How do you feel now?

“At ease.”