White Sox Prospect Fatigue
May 21, 2018
Hi, I’m BeefLoaf and I have White Sox Prospect Fatigue.
That was a tough sentence to write, mostly because, a half dozen righteous twitter folks are going to say “This BeefLoaf idiot just doesn’t get the rebuild”. Believe me, I get the rebuild, I understand how it works and I think the 108ers as a whole have been critical but fair regarding each of the moves so far that have encompassed the White Sox rebuild. I’m also fine with being patient about said rebuild. You have to remember, the 108ers are LONG TIME season ticket holders. We aren’t just folks spouting off on twitter, we put our hard earned cash into this team on an annual basis. Never mind the tickets, you see the “sundry” items we buy in the ballpark. WE ARE INVESTED.
We have discussed ad nausem that this process is going to take a much longer time than most people think. There was a Bacci’s sized pizza slice of the White Sox fan base that thought they would compete for a playoff spot, THIS YEAR. The 108ers have been saying this is going to be the WORST year and that next year, you might start seeing some signs, but even next year it seems aggressive to think of the White Sox as a playoff team without a large injection of talent via the free agent market. These are all coming as stark realizations to the fan base, as we are 20% into the season and we are watching a HORRID on field product, but none of these are really surprises to us in the 108.
So…..you are probably wondering, “BeefLoaf, WTF is your problem?!?!?!”
My problem is the incessant beating of the drum of the “prospects”. I am NOT trying to belittle the terrific coverage that is provided by various outlets on the minor leagues. I read and enjoy those products, but I’m coming to the point where I might have to start limiting myself from ingesting those products because it is making me sad.
SAD!?!?!? How could seeing that Luis Basabe or Blake Rutherford are crushing it in Winston Salem make you sad!?!?!
Because I realize just how far away they are and just how unlikely it really is that any single one of them is crushing it in the majors some day. These are out of the money options…these are the controlling stock in a cash negative business that the owner can really only cash out on the valuation IF someone buys the company. When will that be? Will the value go to zero before it can be realized?
I’m a big BIG fan of Nassim Taleb, if you don’t know his writings, you should check him out, or don’t, to each his / her own. Regardless, he’s many times noted in books and videos or articles that it isn’t healthy or helpful to look at your stock portfolio daily. The incremental movements (both good and bad) are unhealthy for ingestion by us humans and they don’t have much baring on the long-term success or failure of the portfolio. This is what we are doing to ourselves by looking everyday at whether or not Micker Adolfo struck out or Dylan Cease had a regular bowel movement or whatever the fuck. IT IS TOO MUCH! At least for me. I’ll be limiting myself from this coverage as much as possible. I even skipped through 30 mins of my favorite White Sox podcast because it was going on and on about people that will likely never make a difference to the club on 35th and Shields. I can’t do it, won’t do it. Life is short my frents.
So I am going to limit how much I ingest of this, if I find out some prospect is having Ron Kittle‘s 1982 Edmonton season at some level of the minors, I’ll probably become intrigued, but given the level of expertise you need to understand how underlying prospect performance turns into major league performance and the nuance required to teeter from numbers to scouting to reports about make-up, I think it is best for me to limit my how much of this stuff I take in. Apologies to those that do a great job covering this stuff, you’ll still get a twitter follow, I’ll still be a supporter of your work, but I’ll be tuning out for the majority of the prospect stuff.
Happened on this, what I find to be a very thoughtful post, by accident, because, while recovering from minor surgery, I was checking out some prospects in lieu of checking out yet another gruesome CWS loss online.
And, this hints at the main point of my reply, but I’ll get back to that after I give you a little background for context. Please bear with me here, there’s a Sox epiphany at the end!
I’ve been a lifelong Sox fan, watched them lose the World Series to LA in `59 as a one-year-old, still revel in the `05 victory like it was the greatest year of my life, fight like hell with my best friend of youth and most of my in-laws, because they’re all @^%*& Cubs fans.
I now live out on a small farm in very rural White Salmon, WA, and moved out of the Chicago area way back in `73 when I was 15. But I have followed the Sox wherever I went. Rooted for them in KC for a couple years, then in Michigan for about 8 years, then in NYC for 7 years, where I saw Tom Seaver win his 300th game in Yankee stadium.
I went to a ton of Sox games at the old Yankee stadium because a colleague’s dad worked for ABC and we could get into the ABC suite for free whenever there was space. There was usually plenty of space when the paler Sox were in town.
Often, Arthur and I would leave the closed confines of the well-stocked suite and head out into the crowd, where I’d be my usual obnoxious self, rooting for my beloved Sox no matter how much I’m pissing off others, and got into many, oh, let’s just say verbal disagreements over the years, but never led to anything really physical.
Then came Seaver’s game. No room in the ABC suite, of course, AND, it turned out it was Phil Rizzuto Day the same day, but the place was filled with Mets fans because of Seaver. Huge fights broke out across the park to the point that this obnoxious Sox fan never felt so ignored, inane and irrelevant in enemy territory. I was like the only person in the stands who knew it was the White Sox that the Yankees were actually playing that day.
Not everybody was ignored, though. One young Mets fan not too far from me out in the right field seats actually pulled out a sign that said. “Fuck Phil, this is Tom’s Day!” That sign stayed up for maybe 5-10 seconds before the crowd just pounced on the poor dumbfuck, like a pride of lions on a wildebeest, and by the time security got there the guy was stripped to his underpants and had eaten his sign.
Okay, sorry for the digression, and slight hyperbole. Most of my life, I’ve watched the Sox not at home, but rather in enemy territory, most often now, of course, in Seattle, where I heard Bobby Jenks’ fastball hit the catcher’s mitt in late summer of `05 and thought to myself, holy moly, their pitchers are just shockingly good, and whatever Don Cooper and his staff are doing, I LIKE IT!.
I thought they had built a pitching dynasty, only to watch their pitching just fall apart the next year, following, yes, THE thing that has driven me crazy about the Sox most of my life, that is, they routinely traded away their top prospects for all-stars, who routinely and swiftly outed themselves as shockingly thorough has-beens.
You know them all better than me, I’m sure, the latest being Shields and Tatis. I’d much rather have another Dylan Covey pitching to see if he can become somebody rather than Shields taking up another’s turn trying to see if he still has anything. Okay, maybe he does good enough to become trade bait by the heat of summer, but that’s the best hope the Sox have for him. Meantime, perhaps forget entirely whether or not Tatis makes it in the bigs, rather think about his value to a re-building team as trade bait himself, as opposed to Shields.
Living in WA state I’m not a season ticket holder, of course, though at my age and with my dedication, I’d definitely be if I lived within reach of the park. But, additionally, I live very remotely on a small farm, and have no TV and little radio signal, and so generally am reduced to “watching” the game on the damn “Gameday” page, which is becoming intolerable due to the amazing creativity of the Sox losses.
So, more and more (and this has been the case for me for a few years now), I tend to drift away to more happier places, like to the Barons, Dash or Intimidators, etc. Or, if it’s not good there either, then just find an even more micro “Sox Happy Place,” because between all these great prospects there’s always somebody out there who had a great day.
I’m an environmental writer, ecologist by training and naturalist by heart, and I live in pain when I pay attention to the state of the globe, or even whole ecosystems, but, as my wife always points out, I can always simply focus in and look micro and see a beautiful phantom orchid, or a leaping chinook, or a singing Lazuli bunting, or whatever.
AND, AND, AND… this is the revelatory part I hinted at…
Same deal for me with the Sox, that is, when it looks like the freaking apocalypse at Sox Park, I can always just go look for a flowering prospect and zoom in there, and this makes the pain dissolve and instead fills me with the “promise” of the future, very similar to the “hope springs eternal” feeling of spring training.
I.e., for me anyway, it’s like spring training for the Sox will simply continue until they start winning. I now view the MLB Sox games as just an extension of the prospect training, and look for them to continue to give a bunch of middling talent a chance to prove themselves while they develop the stars more slowly.
Yeah, okay, I’m not forced to sit there through painful home games, and, yeah, like I replied to my Pirates friend a couple weeks ago when he went to a Sox game in Pittsburgh and told me it was the worst outfield play he had ever seen in a MLB game, I replied, “Well, at least I couldn’t `see’ the terrible play.”
Don’t focus on the apocalypse in front of you, look for the flowers at your feet.
AND, AND, AND… the real revelatory part…
Unlike what humans are doing to unravel the world and its life-giving systems, whatever mistakes and misplays the White Sox make, and no matter how terrible they look on the field, they are not going to end up destroying life as we know it. In fact, if we give them time, they might just become a “super-bloom”!
I’m going with that!
White Salmon, WA