Another year down, another year of reflection and thanks.
I said the same thing last year, but it still remains relevant: For those of you who have been personally affected by COVID, please know my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family, and all of those you know who have been affected. Whether because of personally getting the virus, knowing someone who got it or lost their life because of it, or knowing someone who lost their job due to it, the “new normal” still sucks for so many people.
But, even in the midst of a global pandemic, we carried on through 2021 in this “new normal” and sequel that we never asked for but got anyway. In many ways, 2021 was just like 2020 for me: The White Sox lost in the first round of the playoffs, I spent a ton of time working from home, and I lost in the #SoxMath Championship for a third consecutive year (I just can’t win).
But, at the same time, things felt different this year – in a good way, too. We started out with limited capacity crowds as we slowly started to bring the joy of in-person games back into our lives. We got a no-hitter from Carlos Rodon, and some of us (me) were lucky enough to be there. We had the excitement of the first full capacity game mid-season, and by the end of the year, selling out Guaranteed Rate Field was the norm on the weekends. Then came the playoffs at home for the first time since 2008 – and, for many of us, the first time in person (Video included below).
The common theme throughout all of that? Getting to experience it all with fellow White Sox fans. I think we all learned to appreciate the sense of community amongst our crazy crew a lot more than before… you never know what you have until it’s gone – or, at least, temporarily taken away – right?
It’s that same sense of community that we feel at the ballpark that we continue to build online. Whether on Twitter, Facebook, or elsewhere, the White Sox community remains strong, and will only get stronger with new members in 2022 and beyond. I’m excited to see some new faces at the ballpark next year – as well as the usual familiar ones.
We’re also excited about what 2022 will bring for content. As you probably know, we partnered with Sox in the Basement starting in December. Chris Lanuti and Ed Siebert bring both the professionalism and die-hard attitude you would expect from White Sox fans, and there is so much everyone can learn from them. Whether it’s over the airwaves or in-person, the collaboration between our two pages is only going to make what we can bring to all of you better. We couldn’t be more excited about our partnership with two of the best in the podcasting business.
On the field, the team remains as exciting as ever, making our content all the more engaging – no matter where you get your information, the White Sox will continue to provide plenty to talk about: good, bad, and ugly. A full season of Luis Robert, Eloy Jimenez, Yasmani Grandal, as well as steps forward from Dylan Cease, Garrett Crochet, and Michael Kopech, will be fun to see. At the same time, we will get to appreciate the familiar faces of Jose Abreu, Tim Anderson, and yes, even Leury Garcia, for a full season in-person (so long as this lockout figures itself out). In short, we need more games in the playoffs, because everything about being part of White Sox nation is more fun when the team is good.
As usual, this note of reflection isn’t complete without two shoutouts. The first, as always, goes to Joe Binder. Joe continues to go unappreciated by Sox fans because his work is behind the scenes, off-camera. And while he clearly likes it this way, it doesn’t mean he should go unnoticed – our page wouldn’t be able to do half of what we do without him. I remain grateful for the opportunity he gave me to start writing back in 2017 and for our friendship – whether he realized what he was getting himself into when he brought me on, I’ll never know.
And, finally, the most important shoutout and thank you is to all of you, the readers. I thank you on behalf of our entire site for making this writing journey everything it has been. Without all of you, everything we do as bloggers is useless – and that goes for every person on every page. Whether listening to podcasts, reading our articles, or interacting with our tweets, it continues to be a joy to be a part of the page that can bring White Sox nation together. We are incredibly fortunate to have such an expansive, tight-knight online community that comes together to support one another.
As for me: you all continue to make me a better writer by challenging me to explore new ideas, new points of view, and write articles in different ways than I usually would. Because of your support and challenges, I look forward to some of the things I’d like to do in 2022 – stay tuned for that. But, at the same time, please continue to challenge me in the new year.
Last year, I closed by saying: “Here’s to 2021 – because it can’t possibly get worse, right?” I don’t know how I feel about that statement looking back at this year. But what I do know is that by constantly supporting one another – both online and in-person – and showing the short of kindness we come to expect is given to us, we can tackle whatever comes our way.
So, here’s to 2022. Let’s just see what the heck happens next.
2021 Year-in-Review at Sox On 35th
My 5 favorite Sox On 35th articles from the year:
- Tim Moran: “Determining the Optimal Batting Lineup for the White Sox“
- Nik Gaur: “Craig Kimbrel, Small Samples, and the Causal Fallacy“
- Jordan Lazowski (shameless, I know): “Dylan Cease is Already Better than You Think – And He’s Improving“
- Adam Kaplan: “Ranking Every Trade Made by White Sox GM Rick Hahn“
- OC Ospreys: “Sox Caps Showcase: Concepts that Blend the Past With the Present“
My 3 favorite Sox On 35th interviews from the year:
- Interview with Former White Sox SS Alexei Ramirez – Link Here
- Interview with Highly Touted Prospect Norge Vera – Link Here
- Interview with White Sox Organist Nancy Faust – Link Here
My 3 favorite Sox in the Basement podcasts from the year:
- A Friendly Chat with Liam Hendriks – Listen Here
- David Samson Talks White Sox & Much More – Listen Here
- How Umps Impact White Sox Games – Listen Here
Thanks again, Sox fans. Looking forward to another great year in 2022!