A note for those of you reading: Mismatched Sox is a weekly blog hastily thrown together by Sox in the Basement Co-Host Ed Siebert and is written to present you with White Sox and baseball thoughts in a manner that, frankly, thinks it is funny in the way SNL was funny in the early 80’s. While there will be facts here that will be factual, the opinions and other nonsense are neither reflective of anyone at Soxon35th.com nor believed or intended to cause any harm, but consult the bottom of your next beer and ask if this blog is right for you.
Ah, that time of year when the youth and ambitious amongst us matriculate to whatever awaits them in the future. Inevitably that is disappointment for most of them, some brutally and unfairly so, some rather mildly. But for that moment, when they sit in a robe and a weird square hat with a jaunty tassel, there’s hope. Unabashed hope. Hope running naked and free through a grocery store.
So to offer some words to the Sox Fan graduating class of whatever year this is, here is a graduation speech that should probably never be given.
(throat clearing and cliched mic feedback)
Well we finally made it. This is the last time we’ll all be together because, although this may be hard to believe, there are actually more Sox fans than seats in Guaranteed Rate Field. And even though, like the prom or the first day of virtual learning, there are potential moments that can bring us together, the fact is that between traffic and public transit, they’ll never get all the Sox fans to the parade in the 45-minute break between curfews in the loop. So look to your left, and to your right. Appreciate that they are currently not saying that Kendall Graveman will put them in the grave….maaan. Repeatedly.
It is important as you look to the future that you not get too caught up in the past. Especially when the last 40 years of that past has all of six really good years, one great year, and one year that we’ve collectively agreed would have been great had the year actually finished. Frankly, talking about the past will only help if you take the failures of the past to avoid failures in the future. When, again, the last 40 years encompasses 32 years of questionable choices there’s a lot to process. The human brain has only so much processing power, and if you’re also a Bears fan there’s also a limited capacity for suffering. Anyone who drinks Malort for anything other than cash on the table can attest to the level of insanity that trying to make sense of it all can lead to.
No, the mistakes of the past can live in the past. Unless they create weird situations where one of the most quoted and beloved figures in team history fired the current legit hall of fame manager when he was the GM for some reason. Or where a starting pitcher with a giant beard and shockingly myopic view of his current abilities both proves the current GM right that the money will be spent while proving that the ownership is cheap. Mostly, the mistakes of the past are only to gauge the age of the person in the seats next to you or prove that they aren’t a Yankees fan that was born and grew up in Park Ridge.
So look to the future. But look at the immediate future because the long view is super dark and depressing and probably can’t reasonably include sports fandom. But the immediate future is yours for the grabbing. You can be and do anything that you put your mind towards. But it will take keeping your eyes open and your head on a swivel. Opportunity favors those who know what they want and take great strides to get it, those who are always watching for the moment and are therefore ready to grab it, sometimes sacrificing and sometimes even leaping in before they’re ready. That is what it will take to both succeed in life and get a pretzel-wrapped brat or any park food that isn’t a hotdog or nachos.
And, for Sox fandom the future is indeed bright. The team is full of young stars, even though there only two guys under 25 on the team and 10 guys over 30. But there’s no limit to what the team can accomplish. Just try not to get caught up in what the crowd wants you to care about. Because as a group, Sox fans are always an angry mob in search of an all-night pitchfork and torch store. Try and rise above the wave, because the wave is played out. Cheer for the player that is struggling the most, because your encouragement might be contagious. And if your encouragement catches on, that player will gain the superpower of a fan cult favorite, and be DFA’d or traded to the Twins because Sox ownership senses fun and if it isn’t marketable it must go. But that is the way of the MLB. Still, if we try really hard maybe we can pretend to like Dallas Keuchel enough to see him inexplicably traded for the next Blake Rutherford. Use your fandom for good. For your fandom is your power.
And that, graduates, is what your struggle will be, to gain power. Power will be the thing that you fight for. Not power in the sense that the Sox never seem to actually develop power hitters notwithstanding Frank Thomas, but power in the sense that that you’ll have the leverage and control to get the things you want. That, friends, is a fleeting thing. Because even if you score a 300 level ticket, and that 300-level ticket gets accepted on the 100 level, the parking staff will send you to the loop in order to go south and you still won’t get a pretzel-wrapped brat. But maybe you’ll land in the 500 level and find happiness. Maybe you’ll be in the 100 level and unable to take the strain of being in the thick of it. Power will elude you, power will entice you, and mostly gaining power will cost either gobs of cash or require that you be exceptionally attractive. If you’re broke and ugly, it’ll be rough.
But for now, for today, as you graduates sit in shapeless and off-puttingly itchy gowns and hats that look like Charlie Brown’s kite, your relative attractiveness and wealth are muted. So like every team except the Pirates at spring training, hope springs eternal that this is your time. And as Sox fans, graduates, this is your time. Especially if you’re over 60 because this really doesn’t feel sustainable at the moment. But this is your time, graduates. Make the most of it, because the crushing grip of reality comes around as often as it feels like Leury Garcia is up with runners in scoring position and two outs.
The wish for you is simple: may life give you opportunities for success, the wisdom and ability to take advantage, and either gobs of cash or exceptionally great looks. Go Sox.
WHO HATH WIELDED THE STAFF OF CORK AND KERRY (this week)?
For the uninitiated, The Staff of Cork and Kerry both refers to the people who work at the premiere place to pregame and post-game or otherwise celebrate Soxdom in the shadow of the ballpark and in Beverly, but it is also a mythical weapon that can smite thine enemies faster than they can say “Ow”.
So which White Sox was worthy enough to wield the Staff of Cork and Kerry and destroy their enemies in fell swoop after fell swoop? A.J. Pollack and TA both hit in the .400’s but Michael Kopech spent Sunday night absolutely owning the Yankees after owning them to the tune of 13 straight in his prior start. All in all, 27 straight outs against the Yankees is pretty nasty. Michael Kopech…you have successfully wielded this mighty weapon of lore.
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Featured Image: White Sox / Twitter