“Sell the team” formally changed “Fire Tony” on Saturday as the stylish new chant on the South Side.
After venting their displeasure with supervisor Tony La Russa throughout final yr’s misplaced summer time, disgruntled followers turned their consideration to Chicago White Sox Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf throughout a 10-run inning in a shocking 12-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays.
La Russa by no means received fired for final yr’s flop, retiring for well being causes after lacking the ultimate weeks of an underachieving season. Reinsdorf is unlikely to promote the Sox, irrespective of what number of video games they lose this season. Chanting doesn’t often work — Oakland A’s followers have employed the identical “Sell the team” chant throughout dwelling video games because the proprietor prepares to maneuver the franchise to Las Vegas.
But Sox followers made their level, and chanting their needs in public clearly feels cathartic to a large variety of them whereas making for a nifty 10-second video clip on social media. If the poor pitching, psychological errors and basic malaise proceed, anticipate to listen to the mantra repeated within the coming months.
The Sox ended their 10-game dropping streak Sunday with a wild 12-9, ninth-inning comeback win over the Rays, avoiding their longest dropping streak because the summer time of 1956. They’re 8-21 and 3-15 since Tim Anderson went on the injured record April 11 with a left knee sprain.
Anderson returns Tuesday for the opener of an important sequence towards the Minnesota Twins, and Andrew Vaughn’s three-run, walk-off homer within the seven-run ninth Sunday was a second to savor for a workforce that has been working on fumes the final two weeks.
One sport can’t change the Sox fortunes, however at the very least it ended a streak that seemed prefer it may by no means finish. And no “Sell the team” chants had been heard Sunday.
But the Sox’s April stagger has been one of many largest matters in baseball the primary month, and it is going to be some time earlier than they fumigate the ballpark from the stench.
La Russa often is the largest beneficiary of the early woes, which could be traced to holes in roster development and failures by prime prospects to reside as much as their hype. This is usually the identical core of gamers because the 2021 division champs, minus José Abreu, which means the most important change was within the supervisor’s chair, from La Russa to Pedro Grifol.
The concept goes like this: If it’s the gamers’ fault in 2023, perhaps it wasn’t actually La Russa’s fault in 2022.
Not all of it was, in fact. The gamers bear many of the duty, together with the 2 guys who put the workforce collectively: basic supervisor Rick Hahn and govt vice chairman Ken Williams.
But any dissection of the improper flip within the Sox rebuild must embody the actual fact La Russa was steering the ship when it veered off target. Luis Robert Jr. not working arduous to first base Saturday to “conserve” his hamstrings is the direct results of La Russa telling gamers to do exactly that final yr. Grifol promised when he arrived that his gamers would run arduous, however Robert was nonetheless working by the La Russa rule.
Pulling him from Saturday’s sport for a “mental lapse” helped Grifol present he’s in cost, however Robert claimed afterward he was affected by tight hamstrings, giving the supervisor an excuse to take a seat him Sunday quite than bench him once more. Robert pinch-hit within the seventh and was changed by a pinch runner after getting hit by a pitch.
Maybe Grifol will steer the ship into the rocks and be gone when Hahn lastly relinquishes his throne and strikes into some John Paxson-type function within the group. But till that occurs, it’s as much as him to maintain the season from going fully off the rails.
Or perhaps it’s too late and it ”doesn’t (bleeping) matter,” as Sox starter Lance Lynn mentioned Saturday when requested if he knew he had a no-hitter within the seventh, the longest bid of his profession.
Lucas Giolito, Lynn and Mike Clevinger have strung collectively three good begins in a row, one thing the Sox have to repeat again and again if they’re to show issues round.
Lynn’s begin Saturday, which Grifol referred to as “phenomenal,” may have been an excellent audition for his subsequent function as trade-deadline chip. As the veteran chief of the rotation, Lynn’s struggles have been magnified — 0-4 with a 7.16 ERA — and at 35 it’s no shock some have questioned whether or not his days as a dominant starter are over.
But for many of Saturday, he seemed just like the Lynn of outdated.
“I’m back to being me,” he mentioned afterward, disregarding his earlier six begins.
A boisterous crowd, a lot of whom got here out on a cool night time for a pregame pub crawl and a Sox hockey jersey giveaway, was into each pitch as Lynn made his no-hit bid. When Gavin Sheets made a pleasant working catch on the wall for the ultimate out of the sixth to protect the no-hitter, Sox followers started referring to Dewayne Wise’s catch that saved Mark Buehrle’s good sport in 2009.
Everything appeared to be falling into place.
But in a season of blunders that has defied perception, Lynn went from dominant to executed in solely 5 batters, and the 10-run inning that ignited the “Sell the team” chants had begun.
Sunday’s comeback was an ideal strategy to reply. The Sox may breathe a sigh of reduction understanding they received’t make historical past this week with a franchise-record dropping streak. It was as inconceivable a win as we’ve seen on the South Side in a few years.
“Baseball is a crazy game, man,” Grifol mentioned.
Crazy sufficient for the Sox to flip the script?
We’ll quickly discover out.