A Chicago White Sox fan walked as much as the mic throughout a session with gamers on the 2001 SoxFest and posed a easy query to pitcher Kip Wells.
“What are you going to do about these walks?” he requested. “It’s pushed me to drink.”
It was a typical SoxFest second, and Wells didn’t take it personally.
“I do know,” Wells replied with a sheepish grin. “I’m the one on the market strolling them.”
SoxFest tends to be somewhat edgier than its counterpart, the Cubs Conference, with blunter questions and a few heated back-and-forth between followers and administration. When government vp Ken Williams was normal supervisor, you possibly can see the steam rising from the highest of his head. Sox followers don’t mince phrases.
Attributable to causes unexplained, the group opted to not maintain SoxFest this winter, a choice that has created an incredible quantity of backlash on Twitter and the web, particularly after the Cubs held their conference final weekend.
It was comprehensible SoxFest was canceled in 2021 and ‘22 due to the pandemic, however a number of groups, together with the Cubs, St. Louis Cardinals and Boston Pink Sox, resumed their fan fests this month. Had been the Sox making an attempt to keep away from the wrath of followers, or was there one more reason for the choice?
It doesn’t matter now. What’s performed is completed. And with somewhat greater than three weeks earlier than spring coaching begins in Glendale, Ariz., the Sox desperately want some assist getting followers enthusiastic about what’s in retailer for the 2023 season.
Luckily, we’re right here to assist.
Listed here are 10 issues to stay up for in 2023.
1. It couldn’t get any worse
This goes with out saying. The Sox had been overconfident heading into 2022, from higher administration to the gamers, however spent many of the season making an attempt to get to .500. Accidents had been part of the struggles, however underperforming stars comparable to Yasmani Grandal, Yoán Moncada and Lucas Giolito additionally factored into the mess. Motivation needs to be no drawback in ‘23.
2. Pedro Grifol just isn’t Tony La Russa
SoxFest would’ve been the proper time to get to know the brand new supervisor. Oh, properly. At first look, Grifol looks like the proper antidote to La Russa, and he’ll get an opportunity to indicate what he’s all about in spring coaching. Each new supervisor deserves a honeymoon interval. How lengthy it lasts for Grifol will rely upon how the Sox begin the season.
3. The chip on Dylan Stop’s shoulder
After being left off the American League All-Star staff final summer season, the staff’s poet laureate used the snub for motivation. “Simply making an attempt to win is sufficient motivation for me,” he stated after getting back from the break. “However I’ll take any chip on my shoulder I can get.” The chip labored, and Stop completed second in AL Cy Younger voting. It’s going to be onerous to disregard Stop this time if he continues dominating hitters as he did in ‘22, however the chip ought to stay.
4. Andrew Vaughn is out of the outfield
Vaughn tried his finest, however with a minus-14 in defensive runs saved, he ranked because the second-worst defensive outfielder within the American League behind the Seattle Mariners’ Jesse Winker (minus-16). With José Abreu gone, Vaughn will return to his pure place at first, with slick-fielding Andrew Benintendi taking part in left and Eloy Jimenez turning into the first designated hitter. Sox pitchers ought to profit from the swap.
5. Tim Anderson is wholesome once more
After surgical procedure in early August to restore a sagittal band tear on the center finger of his left hand, Anderson was slated to return for the ultimate weeks of the season. He by no means made it again however needs to be totally healed and able to return to his first-half type. Anderson has two seasons earlier than free company. However after seeing how a lot Trea Turner, Carlos Correa, Xander Bogaerts and Dansby Swanson had been paid this winter, he needs to be primed to enhance defensively — and to remain on the sector.
6. Garrett Crochet ultimately will return
When the left-hander will probably be added to the Sox bullpen is unknown. After Crochet missed 2022 following Tommy John surgical procedure, the Sox determine to begin him in Triple A and management his workload. However his significance is magnified with nearer Liam Hendriks battling non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and the Sox will want Crochet within the second half for a postseason run.
7. ‘Hello, Mother!’ Speaking Bobblehead Day
The coveted Eloy Jiménez speaking bobblehead will go to the primary 20,000 followers to indicate up Might 13 towards the Houston Astros. Eloy’s mother just isn’t included.
8. Response to Joe Kelly’s e-book
After a dismal begin to his Sox profession, Kelly completed with a 1.13 ERA in his remaining 9 appearances, exhibiting indicators of his previous self. With the discharge this spring of his new e-book, “A Rattling Close to Good Sport,” Kelly will probably be within the highlight all over the place he goes, simply as he prefers, after ripping Carlos Correa, Josh Donaldson, the Astros and others. Now he has no alternative however to pitch properly this season.
9. Two new bars within the higher deck
The Sox are opening two upper-deck consuming spots they’re calling “View Bars” in Sections 516 and 548. The staff launched two images of the bars, which will probably be accessible to all followers and likewise by means of group gross sales. Promoting upper-deck tickets has been a troublesome activity, apart from opening day and the Metropolis Collection towards with the Cubs, so it is sensible to attempt to entice followers to hike as much as the five hundred degree.
10. Liam Hendriks’ rehab
Stop advised reporters final week that the information on Hendriks was “fairly devastating” for everybody. “However it appears like one thing he’ll have the ability to overcome, and clearly it’s far more essential than baseball,” he stated. “We’re all with him.” Everybody agrees that Hendriks will beat this factor. Hopefully he’ll be again on the mound quickly, however even seeing a wholesome Hendriks in avenue garments could be an inspiring sight for Sox Nation.