Look, I get it.
The last thing that White Sox fans want to be reminded of is the nightmare that was the 2022 season. Given the circumstances, talent, and overall expectations surrounding the roster, last season, simply put, was a disaster. At certain points, it seemed inevitable that every step forward would be followed by five steps back. Whether it was incessant injuries, questionable strategies, or general underperformance, it started to feel as though the baseball gods were hexing the South Siders with an unforgiving curse.
And as the final out of the season was recorded on October 5th during that 10-1 loss against Minnesota, one thing remained clear: this fanbase deserves better.
After two-consecutive winning seasons which resulted in back-to-back playoff berths, the promise and expectation of a World Series Championship remained high yet again for the White Sox in 2022. On paper, it felt like this team could walk away with the division and hold their ground against powerhouse organizations in the postseason, like the mighty Astros and Dodgers. But, as reflected by their 81-81 record, this was far from reality.
Sometimes, no matter how promising the circumstances may feel, they won’t turn out as planned.
As a creator, I deal with this frequently when I pick up my camera. Before each shoot, I have an idea of the way that things should go. Depending on the situation, I think about where to position myself, what settings to use, and also the equipment necessary to get the shot. More often than not, the elements will work against me in some shape or form.
While covering the 2022 White Sox, there were several instances when I prepared for a pivotal moment, such as a walk-off win, and the moment never came. While shooting from the seats, there were many times that the netting got in the way of a quality image, or one was obstructed by a person walking down a nearby aisle. And during the rare moments that I put my camera down, I would occasionally miss documenting a special occurrence. But despite all of these setbacks, the negatives have a way of developing into something worthwhile.
Photography will always remind you that there will be twists and turns during any process.
I have found that one of the best ways to prepare is to avoid creating expectations. The same can apply to those rooting for this White Sox team. When expectations are at a minimum, there becomes less room for disappointment, and more space to embrace the good when it does surface – because it eventually will. And while it’s justified to be frustrated right now, one can only mull over the shortcomings of a situation for so long. Whether or not you agree with the direction of the team moving forward, it’s a positive sign that the front office is already acknowledging that changes need to be made, as exercised with the thorough hiring of new manager Pedro Grifol.
The first step towards growth is welcoming change – and right now, it’s the only way forward.
But before moving on, I just want it to be known that 2022 was not all bad. For one, there’s no denying that the organization knocked the promotional schedule out of the park, featuring stadium giveaways like the South Side hockey jersey, Hawaiian shirt, and countless unique bobbleheads. Photo and video coverage provided by the organization’s content team remained top-tier, and in my opinion, is still the best in Major League Baseball.
NBC Sports Chicago helped give us reasons to laugh or smile, with on-camera antics from Ozzie Guillén, Chuck Garfien, Jason Benetti, and Steve Stone. Consistent efforts from players like Dylan Cease, Johnny Cueto, José Abreu, and Elvis Andrus made some of the most frustrating games worth watching. And even during those times at the park when things felt abysmal, seeing a young fan’s day being made after meeting their favorite player was always enough to make my own.
Despite the ball club’s performance, connecting with Sox On 35th’s talented contributors at Guaranteed Rate Field was the biggest highlight of this season, without hesitation. The hard work and commitment that this group devotes to delivering the best Sox content year-round is something that should always be acknowledged. I am immensely proud to have been a small contributor to this site again in 2022 and share with you what it is that I love doing the most.
Thanks for your support, and I hope you enjoy a few of my favorite shots from the 2022 season. Go Sox!