Well, that was a year, wasn’t it? But, as New Year’s Eve comes once again to end another year, I want to once again take the opportunity to offer a bit of reflection – and a lot of thanks – on behalf of our entire Sox On 35th family.
Let’s get the rough stuff out of the way first. Speaking from my own White Sox experience: I think it was one of the more frustrating times to be a White Sox fan, given the expectations we had coming into this season. As many of you know, I’m a high school baseball coach, so that was helpful in distracting from what happened to the South Siders on the field. But, I wasn’t exactly disappointed by the fewer times I ended up at the ballpark this year. I mean this season was so bad, I didn’t even play #SoxMath this year… do you know how bad things have to get for a Math nerd to NOT want to do Math??
We don’t need to rehash too many of the negatives, so to put it simply: it wasn’t the year any of us honestly wanted, and I think we’ve all established that White Sox fans deserve a lot better than what they’ve gotten. Perhaps it’s the optimist in me, but, in many ways, the White Sox head into 2023 with a little bit more optimism than last year because of who will be running the show in the dugout. The hope is that there has plenty that has been learned within the organization from the failures that came in 2022. False hope? Maybe. But that’s what New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day are all about, right? You know, the times when you are POSITIVE the new workout routine you’re working on is THE ONE… Though I’m not one with room to talk.
In truth, no matter who you are – whether as individuals or us collectively as a page – we’ve made mistakes. The end of the year gives us a great chance to reflect, figure out what went wrong, but also, find the positives that we can build anew on. We all have those moments throughout the years that have made us better in the future. For us as a page, we have a lot to be excited about. We grew dramatically in terms of the number of contributors in 2022, and we exceeded our own internal growth and viewership goals by the end of this year. We also had the opportunity to partner with NBC Sports Chicago, giving our writers exposure to a new audience and giving ourselves the opportunity to add our incredible talent to NBC Sports Chicago’s website. Michael Allerdyce, Tori Rubenstein, Kevin Anderson, and the entirety of the NBC Sports team have been incredible partners, and we look forward to finding ways to continue our partnership heading into 2023.
We’re heading into 2023 with an even better sense of who we are, what is important to us, and how we are going to work collectively to make things happen. We’re even bringing our podcast back! But, at the end of the day, all of this comes back to you, the fans, who make everything we do possible and worthwhile. Having now completed my sixth season of writing with Sox on 35th, I’ve gotten used to some of the same names commenting on tweets, Facebook posts, and articles, and it’s cool to see those of you who are long-timers continue to come back. It makes each and every one of us proud of the work we do to know we continue to bring many of you back consistently to our website. Without all of you, none of this would ever be possible – writing means nothing without someone to read the work. We’re incredibly grateful for all of you.
I also want to thank the White Sox online community – Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, you name it. It’s a cool and expansive community with a lot of unique personalities that can be celebrated. From my earliest days of writing, I was inspired and guided by those “veterans” in the blogging community, the same ones I get to converse with online all the time now. In their own ways, they bring the White Sox community together, and that community only continues to grow. I look forward to continued opportunities for our entire page to engage with our White Sox community – there are truly some special people within it.
I owe one final thanks – as I do every year – to the page’s owner and founder, Joe Binder. Content with being the face behind the screen, I will continue to work to ensure more people recognize Joe’s work each year that we do this. We’ve been working at this for six years now, and every day brings new challenges and opportunities we didn’t see the day before. I’ve never been so confident in the long-term growth of our page, and it’s because of Joe’s leadership that we will continue to get there… so long as I don’t drive him so nuts that he quits, and I am proud to know I’ve driven him to the edge of insanity at least once or twice. It’s my unofficial job on this site, which I take more seriously than the actual job I have on this site.
A final note from me: as I say every year, I appreciate the challenges you the readers have given me and the ways you’ve aided in my growth. Sometimes, I *may* go a little overboard in my interactions online, but I learn from every interaction and strive to make sure I am doing my part to grow the baseball community in the little niche in which I operate. I look forward to new ideas I’ll look to explore in 2023 and the feedback I’ll get from all of you along the way.
In conclusion, it’s very easy to be upset, negative, and downright frustrated with this baseball team as we head toward 2023. I hope you find ways to separate the pain and joys of the baseball world from the pains and joys of the world outside the white lines – at the end of the day, we all have a lot to be grateful for. Not to mention: it’s baseball, it’s meant to be an area of joy. No matter what happens on the field, I hope you never lose the passion that brought you to this game in the first place.
I think we’ve all learned a lot throughout this year, and I have longed viewed this one as a year of growth for what can happen next for all of us, no matter where our passions lie. With constant and positive support of one another – both online and in-person – and a display of the same kindness we should expect is given to us, we can tackle whatever comes our way next.
So here’s to 2023 – to growth, a quest for renewed optimism, and continued South Side passion in every facet of life.
2022 Year-in-Review at Sox On 35th
My 5 favorite Sox On 35th articles from the year:
- Jordan Lazowski (I have no shame): “What is Causing Lucas Giolito’s Recent Struggles?”
- Adam Kaplan: “Building the Best White Sox Rotation over the Past 20 Years”
- Nico Andrade: “Happy 40th Anniversary: An Ode to Steve Stone”
- Nik Gaur: “Why xwOBA (expected weighted on-base average) is useful”
- Tim Moran: “Eloy Jimenez – A Lesson on Patience Amidst Injuries”
My 5 Favorite Sox On 35th interviews from the year:
- Interview with White Sox pitching coach Ethan Katz – Link Here
- Interview with Codify Founder Michael Fisher – Link Here
- Interview with White Sox minor league pitching coach Danny Farquhar – Link Here
- Interview with White Sox pitching prospect Sean Burke – Link Here
- Interview with NBC Sports Chicago’s Chuck Garfein – Link Here
Thanks again, Sox fans. Looking forward to another great year in 2023!