Baseball

The 2016 White Sox Come Back For Their Nostalgia Tour

Deep down, you kind of love this, right Sox fans?

I’ll admit to being a bit distracted in 2016 with my side of town, but that doesn’t mean I wasn’t aware of all that went on with the White Sox in 2016. And frankly, I’m happy for the reminder of just how ridiculous it was. I didn’t appreciate it enough. And how important it might be, because that team ended up smashing the previous model for the White Sox and giving fans this one, which is pretty much what they wanted for years. Except for that botched Machado thing.

When Todd Frazier and Adam Eaton were doing handbags at ten paces on Monday, all the details came flying back. Because you really have to take a step back and marvel at the pure farce that the mere suggestion Drake LaRoche should haul his hilljack ass out of the clubhouse half the time caused his dad to retire! No one asked that Drake probably couldn’t read was something that was amiss, just that he belonged out there taking grounders. I mean, if you think about it for too long your brain bubbles. An adult male, or at least a facsimile of one, was told to stop bringing his child to the office, a place of business, and he reacted by packing up his stuff and going home.

This seemed such a normal request, and no one ever bothered to ask Jose Abreu what he thought about it, being separated from his entire family for years. I don’t have to wonder too hard why Adam Laroche probably didn’t care all that much about that. But you add the layers to it and it gets so much better. Jimmy Rollins, an actual grown-up even if he was completely busted as a player by that point, needed all of eight minutes in spring training to make it clear to Kenny Williams this shit had to stop. And then he saw the reaction, took 40 games, and decided he’d had enough of this shit. And this is a guy who built a career in Philadelphia!

And it just kept getting better. If anyone was really paying attention, Adam Eaton would have been the subject of talkshows nationwide after claiming Drake LaRoche–again, a child whose marketable skill is probably chewing cud–was a team leader. Where else could this have taken place? If he had said that in New York the Post and Daily News would have euthanized him for his own good. And yet it merely passed by here.

Adam Eaton was just the torch-carrier from Nick Swisher and his Dirty Cat Salon ploy, which had everyone in the clubhouse ready to go Brutus on his ass. That doesn’t mean anyone should have sided with Frazier either. Any player Hawk Harrelson likes that much should be heavily side-eyed.

Oh, did we forget Hawk Harrelson leaving the booth to check on Frazier after like, a bruise? Where else could this happen? What did Frazier and Herm Schneider do when Hawk breathlessly and covered in sweat burst into the trainer’s room? The correct answer would have been stabbing him with a tranquilizer and going about their business. I’d really give anything to go back in time and see that scene.

I’m trying to picture Michael Kay sprinting down the Yankee Stadium tunnels to see if Gleyber Torres’s allergies were acting up, and no vision of it doesn’t have Brian Cashman catapulting him into the East River. There wasn’t one functioning element to the whole operation, and I’m really greatly saddened it basically took place in the dark.

Sox fans may think I’m mocking them, but I’m really not. If you’re going to be a dysfunctional mess, why not just go for it? Don’t half-ass it. Go big or go home. When the Sox become contenders again, the 2016 team will be talked about in bars and living rooms across town as a sign of where they’d come from. It’s their Lee Elia tirade. It’s Dave Manson chasing Mike Keenan down a hallway during an intermission.

It all went so wrong that Kenny Williams’s policy of collecting whatever veterans he could find, sometimes multiple times, and rolling the dice again and again was consigned to a dumpster out back and never to be spoke of again. Maybe the Sox won’t get there but at least you know they’re run by something resembling adults.

The Goodman or Steppenwolf needs a show about the ’16 White Sox. They need to be burnt into the memory of every baseball fan. And they’ll be a turning point for an entire organization. 20 years from now the Sox will still vow to never be that again. It’s so wonderful. You basically have the Bulls being a cover band for them now. What a gift.

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