An Existential Crisis
"What the fuck am I doing here?"
I'm on vacation from work this week and trying to avoid the internet as much as possible during that time. My morning routine remains mostly unchanged, though, as I wake up, crack open the laptop, do Immaculate Grid and Wordle, and skim to see what I've missed since last connecting myself to the collective hivemind. While doing this, I saw a headline about how Dylan Cease was coveted by the Houston Astros from Jon Heyman.
I then looked at Houston's farm system to see if they even had enough to pry Cease away, and that's when I asked myself the question above.
What the fuck was I doing? Was I really beginning to look at prospect lists for teams interested in White Sox players? Was I going to pretend to give a fuck about some kid I've never seen play again?
I went through it a few years ago when The Great Rebuild began. We all did, and you know what? While some of the games were fun because of the low stakes, and the concept of hope was great, as a whole, it sucked. I don't mean the rebuild results-- though they suck too! -- I mean the whole process.
I'm a White Sox fan. I'm not a Charlotte Knights fan or a Birmingham Barons fan, and while I love the Kannapolis Cannonballers logo and mascot, that's where the affection ends. Sure, I want prospects to pan out, but I'm not trying to watch them figure it out on MiLB.TV.
However, that's not my biggest problem with these White Sox. As the trade deadline approaches and the sell-off looms, the prospect of another rebuild -- even if it's more of a re-tool -- doesn't scare me as much as something else. It's not that I don't want to deal with it (I don't); it's that I don't really care.
It's a feeling that has been prevalent while watching the White Sox all season long. I worry that this franchise has finally broken me. I've been a White Sox fan my entire life. For most of that time, the Sox were the team I cared about more than any other. While I followed other sports and teams, and they mattered to me, for the most part, they were a way to get through the White Sox offseason. Killing time until the following April when the one team I truly felt something for would start anew and eventually let me down.
But that's disappearing, and it's not some old man "the game used to be better" bullshit, either. I love the rule changes MLB has implemented, and find the sport much more enjoyable to watch now than before. It's the White Sox I'm growing tired of.
I have not tweeted about them nearly as much this season, and the tweets I have sent are usually statistics I tweet in the morning. They aren't during games because I'm not watching the games. During Tuesday night's 11-10 loss to the Mets, I was reading a book when my wife texted me from another part of the house to ask me "if I was watching this dumb game." I wasn't and told her so. I did not ask her what was dumb about it, but she proceeded to tell me in the next text. The bases were loaded, the Sox scored on a wild pitch, and they might actually win the game.
"Cool," I texted back before returning to my book about Rickey Henderson.
I didn't care whether they won or lost, and that's been the case far too often this season. I also get the strong sense I'm not the only White Sox fan who feels this way. Whether it's Twitter mentions, radio, podcasts, Reddit and other dark recesses of White Sox fandom on the internet, it's a concerning theme.
The Athletic getting rid of the White Sox beat is more about the state of the industry than that of the White Sox, but it should still send alarm bells through the front office at 35th and Shields. You're an MLB franchise in the third-largest market in the country, and one of the largest media outlets in the country decided your juice isn't worth the squeeze. Ditching one of the best beat reporters in the industry (not just MLB or Chicago) won't make people more interested in your team. So far, the only increase it's led to is text messages about The Sopranos from an unemployed James Fegan.
Yes, James, it's a good show. Everybody but you has known that for 25 years now. What's next? Are you going to check out The Wire?
Anyway, like Tony Soprano asking about whatever happened to the strong, silent type, I wonder what's happened to my sense of connection to the White Sox. It's dissipating at an alarming rate, and I worry the final straw may come in a few months.
After the dust settles on this clusterfuck of a season, will Jerry Reinsdorf fire his front office and start over, or will he keep doing the same shit he's been doing and tell us to all go fuck ourselves once again?
I don't know that the former will fix anything, but I know the latter won't.
And if it is the latter, I'll be forced to ask myself the same question again.
What the fuck am I doing here?