With the Chicago Cubs week winding down and the Chicago White Sox running low on tradable assets, it’s an interesting time for White Sox fans to examine what’s important for them. Listening to a talk radio show earlier this week, there was a thought-provoking exchange between the host and a fan that called into the show. The fan stated that this was the playoffs for White Sox fans and was hoping for a string of victories to dash the Cubs chances at the playoffs. The host countered that the only thing that should matter to White Sox fans is getting a better draft position. Is it possible for both of them to be right?
Rebuild Comes at an Interesting Time for Chicago White Sox Fans
Interesting Time for Chicago White Sox Fans to Cheer for Cubs Wins
With nothing at stake on the playing field for the next few years, it’s understandable why the fan would take this stance. The Cubs and White Sox have been bitter rivals forever and for many White Sox fans, seeing the Cubs lose is almost as satisfying as a win for their team.
In the history of this series there have been relatively few times when both teams were competitive, so playing the role of spoiler is about as good as it gets. A couple of wins over a hated opponent will provide some short-term satisfaction while not causing too much damage.
Kris Bryant was the second overall pick in the 2013 MLB Draft and was the National League MVP last season. Mark Appel was drafted first overall in that same draft, but has since been traded by the Houston Astros and is now pitching at the Triple-A level for the Philadelphia Phillies. So moving up a slot is not a guarantee of success when it comes to the MLB Draft.
Conflicting Viewpoints Confusing for Fans
The exchange underscores the difficulty of being a fan for a club in the midst of a long-term rebuild. It’s counterintuitive to watch a sport and root for your team to lose. Even though from a big picture standpoint the fan knows it’s better for his team. Still, it’s an unnatural and non-amusing way to watch a game.
The current White Sox roster has a few players who may still be around when the team is good again. So when Yoan Moncada, Tim Anderson, or Matt Davidson step up to the plate, a fan should be paying careful attention. But what then? You want them to develop into good players, so you want them to do well. But their success could lead to a win, which doesn’t help the team in long run. These conflicting viewpoints can be very confusing for any fan.
Winning is Not the Right Path to Success
While the host is right, the highly-invested fan that is in it for the long-term should focus on the big picture and watch the game with winning a World Series in mind. It’s also okay to have a little fun for a few games over the course of a season. Heck, it could lead to getting Bryant instead of Appel.
So, White Sox fans should feel free to go ahead and cheer for a few victories over the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Cubs, or your despised team of choice for a few times over the next few seasons, just don’t get carried away. A few wins might be good for the soul, but finishing the season at .500 is not going to get the ultimate trophy back on the South Side after over 10 years and counting.