When Chicago White Sox GM Rick Hahn addressed the media at Camelback Ranch earlier last week, he used one word to describe the organization’s feelings towards their effort in 2022: embarrassed. After ending last year’s campaign on a sour note, the Sox are heading into Spring Training with a hunger to flip the script.
Clearly, the club has its eyes set on a bounce-back year, but many longtime followers continue to express their skepticism.
Based on observation, fan morale is the lowest we’ve seen it ahead of a season in quite awhile.
For 2023 being a crucial year of a competitive window, there still seem to be areas of concern among those who root for the White Sox. Underwhelming projections and grades from various media outlets have only fueled this narrative, while internal matters certainly haven’t helped, either. Short of a few free-agent signings and personnel changes, it’s been a comparatively quiet off-season, and the absences of fan-oriented events (like SoxFest) have resulted in backlash. But in spite of all these factors, the team still remains adamant about earning back the trust of their frustrated fan base.
On Saturday, the organization hosted an Open House event at Guaranteed Rate Field, marking its first major public outing of the year.
The four-hour-long event served as more of an accommodation for potential ticket buyers — giving them a chance to walk freely around the ballpark to scope out various seating options in the Upper & Lower levels, Suites, and Lounges. Fans who ventured up to the 500-level concourse were also able to get a sneak peek of construction for the stadium’s new Molson Coors view bars, which are expected to be ready in time for the home opener on April 3rd.
In addition to touring facilities, attendees were treated to refreshments in the Huntington Bank Stadium Club, where they had opportunities to warm up and score various autographed White Sox items, as well. Although the event yielded a solid turnout, it’s still tough to predict what attendance will actually look like this coming season.
Historically, the White Sox have been masters of creating popular promotional events, attracting droves of fans to the gates of the ballpark.
But this year, it feels as though fans would willingly trade away those perks if it meant having competitive baseball back on the South Side. The on-field performance will be what dictates whether or not people choose to invest serious time and money again in 2023, especially after last season. As we saw back in 2021, winning’s the most sustainable solution for keeping the ballpark at (or close) to full capacity.
Regardless of outside negativity, the opportunity for redemption always lies ahead, especially given the incredible talent that still exists on this roster. Baseball can be an unpredictable game and projections should be taken lightly. While fans are entitled to their own opinions, it feels in their best interest to keep an open mind and allow this season to get underway before trying to determine the end result.
The work is cut out for the 2023 White Sox — and time will tell if this squad truly has what it takes to silence their critics.
Featured Images & Words: Joe Ruffalo (@jruff96)
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