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The 2022 White Sox: Looking Back and Moving On

by Joe Ruffalo

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!


The calm before the storm. Guaranteed Rate Field awaits its first crowd of the 2022 season. Photo taken on April 12th, 2022.
Handing over their marker and baseball, a lucky White Sox fan prepares to receive an autograph from Dylan Cease. Photo taken on July 22nd, 2022.
A sea of fans wait to enter through the gates at Guaranteed Rate Field prior to the start of the Chicago White Sox home matchup against the Los Angeles Angels. Photo taken on April 30th, 2022
Two lucky fans make a lifetime memory at the ballpark, thanks to White Sox starting pitcher Michael Kopech. Photo taken on July 9th, 2022.
Following a big day at the plate, White Sox slugger Andrew Vaughn is interviewed by Jason Benetti and Steve Stone. Photo taken on April 27th, 2022.
White Sox infielder Leury García high-fives teammates after defeating the Detroit Tigers. Photo taken on July 9th, 2022.
 White Sox relief pitcher Kendall Graveman nails down his third save of the season as the South Siders defeated the Baltimore Orioles, 4-3. Photo taken on June 26th, 2022.
Tools of the trade. The bat and helmet belonging to Chicago White Sox slugger José Abreu lay near home plate. Photo taken on April 27th, 2022.
A closer look at the Eloy Jimenez/Luis Robert dual bobblehead, which was given away to the first 20,000 fans in attendance during a White Sox home game against the Orioles. Photo taken on June 25th, 2022.
After warming up in the bullpen, White Sox starting pitcher Johnny Cueto prepares to take the mound against the Cleveland Guardians. Photo taken on July 23rd, 2022.
For the love of the game. White Sox fans patiently wait to receive an autograph from slugger Gavin Sheets. Photo taken on August 13th, 2022.
A closer look at the Uncle Sam bobblehead, which was given away to 1,500 fans with a special theme ticket for Grateful Dead Night at the ballpark on July 5th, 2022.
White Sox starting pitcher Vince Velasquez takes time to meet and chat with several White Sox fans before first pitch. Photo taken on May 11th, 2022.
A closer look at the South Side Hockey jersey, which was given away to the first 20,000 fans in attendance at the White Sox home game against the Los Angeles Angels on April 30th, 2022.
White Sox starting pitcher Dylan Cease goes head to head with fellow Cy Young contender Justin Verlander and the Houston Astros in one of the best pitching matchups of the year. Photo taken on August 16th, 2022.
Chicago White Sox infielder Tim Anderson stands along the third-base line with teammates during the National Anthem. Photo taken on April 15th, 2022.
With White Sox Team Photographer Darren Georgia behind the camera, National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum President Josh Rawitch joins Minnie Miñoso’s wife and son to help unveil the 2022 inductee’s newest plaque at Guaranteed Rate Field. Photo taken on July 30th, 2022.
A member of the Chicago White Sox Grounds Crew carefully cleans home plate shortly before first pitch. Photo taken on April 26th, 2022.
Chicago White Sox legends Harold Baines and Bo Jackson hug after delivering the Ceremonial first pitch during the 2022 home opener at Guaranteed Rate Field. Photo taken on April 12th, 2022.
Tradition. Photo taken on April 12th, 2022.
Trade deadline acquisition Jake Diekman faces Colorado Rockies hitters at Guaranteed Rate Field. Photo taken on September 14th, 2022.
Gavin Sheets cracks a smile while tossing the ball with teammates. Photo taken on April 28th, 2022.
A closer look at the Tim Anderson Field Of Dreams Walk-Off Home Run Bobblehead, which was given away to the first 20,000 fans in attendance at the White Sox home matchup against the Yankees on May 14th, 2022.
Smilin’ Slydah. Chicago White Sox closer Liam Hendriks warms up prior to first pitch at Guaranteed Rate Field. Photo taken on July 23rd, 2022.
Andrew Vaughn and his shadow round the bases during the South Siders’ afternoon matchup at home against the Colorado Rockies. Photo taken on September 14th, 2022.
White Sox infielder Josh Harrison smiles for the camera. Photo taken on April 15th, 2022.
Fans cheer as White Sox infielder Jake Burger belts his seventh home run of the season. Photo taken on June 9th, 2022.
Seats at Guaranteed Rate Field remain vacant after the South Siders’ home matchup was postponed due to a COVID-19 outbreak in the visiting Cleveland Guardians’ clubhouse. Photo taken on May 11th, 2022.
Afternoon shadows at the ballpark, featuring Joe Kelly. Photo taken on September 14th, 2022.
Standing behind the dish, former White Sox catcher Reese McGuire communicates with coaches on the bench. Photo taken on April 27th, 2022.
Practice. Photo taken on May 11th, 2022.
Chicago White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson poses for a photo with hometown recording artist Lil Durk during pre-game festivities for the inaugural “South Side Mondays” promotion. Photo taken on May 2nd, 2022.
While standing on-deck, Chicago White Sox infielder Jake Burger sprays his bat before stepping into the box. Photo taken on April 27th, 2022.
Beloved White Sox slugger José Abreu smiles with teammates after defeating the Los Angeles Angels. Photo taken on May 2nd, 2022.
Chicago White Sox infielder Elvis Andrus makes solid contact during the team’s home matchup against the Colorado Rockies. Photo taken on September 14th, 2022.
Legendary White Sox head Groundskeeper Roger “The Sodfather” Bossard prepares the infield prior to first-pitch. Photo taken on April 26th, 2022.
White Sox starting pitcher Michael Kopech faces Kansas City Royals hitters at Guaranteed Rate Field. Photo taken on April 28th, 2022.
A closer look at the Liam Hendriks bobblehead, which was given away to the first 20,000 fans in attendance at the Chicago White Sox home matchup against the Tampa Bay Rays on April 15th, 2022.
Chicago White Sox outfielder A.J. Pollock reunites with former Dodgers teammate Justin Turner. Photo taken on June 9th, 2022.
The sun sets through the upper deck of Guaranteed Rate Field during the Autumnal Equinox. Photo taken on September 22nd, 2022.

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