A Sox Machine open house for Opening Day week

Over at Defector, Justin Ellis wrote about the latest round of media layoffs, most notably at outlets backed by big money. Dollar Shave Club is shuttering MEL Magazine, while Medium is commencing mass layoffs. Ellis’ post is behind a paywall because Defector rose from the ashes of the original Deadspin due to its own financial/editorial tensions, so you’ll need a subscription to read it, but one part resonated with me.

The problem is that words like “viability” and “success” mean different things to different people. Tallying up 700,000 subscribers and $35 million in annual revenue would be clear markers of success to a person who just wants to run a viable, mid-sized business that pays people good wages to write interesting things. But those numbers mean something wholly different to an unfathomably rich person like Williams, who is always in search of the next billion-dollar idea. MEL succeeded in publishing work that people wanted to read, but perhaps not in providing whatever it is a razor company was looking for when it decided to launch a publication.

It’s tiring to keep living in cycles where headcount at some point becomes bodycount for editorial operations, either through incompetence, negligence, or hubris of would-be media barons. And these notions of what a successful media company actually looks like will only become more distorted as more of them are placed in the hands of rich people who suffer from a terminal disconnect from reality. The last several years in media has brought breakneck deals between former media upstarts that mirror the legacy newspaper mergers they thought they were innovating beyond. Vox Media gobbled New York magazine, Vice handcuffed Refinery29, BuzzFeed grabbed HuffPost at the end of last year. When these mergers happen, employees always get the same gaslit song about how cuts won’t be made. BuzzFeed founder Jonah Peretti told The New York Times last fall that everyone should feel good about his company’s merger with HuffPost. A few months later, he went about gutting HuffPost’s newsroom.

Last month marked my 15th anniversary of launching the original Sox Machine, and I’ve seen and been subject to a bunch of editorial whims and reversals of course. The challenges are so immense that swings and misses are unavoidable, but the ones that drive me nuts are the ones that take readership and community for granted. If you’re lucky enough to have considerable, thoughtful readers and listeners show up every day, and even luckier that they want to contribute to the discussion and make the whole enterprise better, why would you make it harder for them to do so?

I could get more navel-gazey and inside-non-baseball here, but my larger point is that it’s a relief to be insulated from that whiplash thanks to the support of a great community. But that reminds me that we shouldn’t go on autopilot either.

Usually the first post of the work week is the Sox Machine Podcast, but this week’s episode is delayed because Josh is finishing setting up his new house. In its stead, let’s do an open house. Have questions? Shoot, and I’ll answer the ones I can. Have suggestions for the upcoming season? Let ’em rip. Want to introduce yourself? Please do. Want to bring something to the attention of everybody? Go for it. If you’ve been lurking and don’t know when to jump in, here’s a great time to do so.

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Jim Margalus
Jim Margalus

Writing about the White Sox for a 16th season, first here, then at South Side Sox, and now here again. Let’s talk curling.

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Whew! I didn’t like the way this post started….15 more years, please!


I wouldn’t blame you but it’d be a serious loss in my personal life. I’d get over it, but life would be slightly less beautiful to not have this site.


Use those 8-figures to build a SM auto-post bot and see

  1. how long it takes us to figure it out
  2. how angry we get when we realize it’s not you 🙂

I’ll give you $50 and 5 day-old scones. Final offer

As Cirensica

I started Oh No’ing in the 2nd paragraph.


Any other DGS grads on here? What year you grad Jim? ’03 here.

Ted Mulvey

Along the lines of “Want to bring something to the attention of everybody”: it may not need mention, but anybody who hasn’t given the podcast a listen yet, I’d highly recommend it. I’ve been listening since the episodes were numbered (started around 40, I think), and it’s been a real pleasure to hear Josh and Jim evolve over the years. And huge ups to Josh, who puts in an incredible amount of time and energy to produce the excellent podcast, more than I think some folks know.

As Cirensica

When I used to commute…I don’t even remember anymore, I used to download the podcast to listen to in my car during my commute to work. It’s like listening a top notch White Sox radio show. Josh should try radio. He has the voice for it, and more specially, that ye ne se quoi to be a successful radio host


100% agree — Josh has an amazing radio voice (not to take anything away from you, Jim, but Josh *super does* 🙂 )


I don’t remember the year I started listening, but it definitely was the perfect length for my previous Monday commute. Currently off on Mondays and now listen while watching my two small children.

Sometimes feel bad that they are gonna be Sox fans. Then I remind myself that’s it’s the shared experience with the community that makes sports fun to me. If it was results based, I would have given up on it years ago. This community is fantastic and I’m happy to be a part of it.

As Cirensica

Don’t feel you need to answer, but I am worried sometimes the current Patreon system to gather revenue is not enough to keep Sox Machine. Should I worry? You have not idea how I keep rooting for you guys to grow more and more. When I see Josh doing interviews, I am so happy because I want you guys to succeed more and more. Still the best source of White Sox news out there. Fegan is a close 2nd.


Good. I don’t need to see any manscaping.


Rare poster/podcast questioner, long time reader/listener.

Have you ever had the inkling to write about non-sox subjects? I know you dip your toe in from time to time, but I wasn’t sure if there was a pull to dedicate a weekly/monthly post to comedy/music/culture. I feel like we have similar comedic tastes and would truly enjoy a deep dive on old Conan bits or why Bonanas for Bonanza is the greatest comedy creation in the past decade. Definitely things that appeal to the masses…

I’m sure you have a full plate, especially when the season is in full swing, but just curious on your desire to expound on the lighter side of life.


Built to Spill and curling news/notes will always be well received by this guy. Just sayin.

Michael Kenny

I recently went back and read some of my articles from my six weeks leading SSS. I’m telling you all, the best way to appreciate Jim is to try doing what he does. It is hard to put out quality content every day, especially during the offseason. Six weeks was enough to burn me out, yet this enterprise has been going 15 years strong.

Anyway, thanks for making it look so easy, and for providing us with so much great reading/listening over the years despite this ever-changing media landscape.

Right Size Wrong Shape

You did an outstanding job during that interim period, BTW.


I agree with RSWS … also I appreciated the thought you put in to your winning SoxMath videos last year. I especially enjoyed the one where you had a Sox “stock” ticker of Sox information. You packed a lot of detail into that short video. I hope they do that winning video segment again this season.


Long time listener, first time caller. Been reading since like ’06 or ’07. I’m not from the Chicago area, but Frank Thomas was my favorite player as a kid, so here I am.


Right outside Rome, NY, though we moved around a bit because my dad was in the Air Force.


I was in central Illinois, so WGN carried enough games and Frank/team success hit that sweet spot age-wise. I am curious to see how MLB’s insistence to stick with traditional cable might be hurting their future fan-base.


I am in south eastern South Dakota, and Frank was the main lure for me as well. This is heavy Twins country and they won in 91, so it was no small feat that I ended up a Sox fan. I think a guy like Tim Anderson has the personality to pull in fans from other areas of the country.


I love how baseball is a generational thing, unlike any other sport I think. I came in to know Wilbur Wood, Ralph Garr, South Side Hit Men, short pants, and of course 1983. Now some many years later, my soon-to-be-7 yr old is rooting for Eloy (still pissed at him), Timmy, Moncada, Abreu et al. And someday she’ll be telling her kids about those great Sox teams of the ’20s.


I’m in KY and Frank was also my favorite player. I have no Chicago connections and my Dad is a Cardinals fan. I got hooked on the White Sox when I was on the Sox in Little League and learned about Frank through that.


I was in a bar in Washington DC the night Frank made his MLB debut. That the bar was showing the Sox game was a great victory. Came back to Chicago in time for his two MVP campaigns (and a lot of needless trashing of him by Jay Mariotti).

A healthy Eloy sure seems like an approximation of Thomas, though Thomas was essentially RHB Ted Williams for much of the 90s. His discipline and able to punish the ball was rare, and well worth his regrettable recent contributions to the history of sexuality with Nugenix ads.


Hi Jim, just want to thank you and the others writing (and podcasting) for Soxmachine. I’m trying to follow as much baseball from the Netherlands as possible. This website keeps me engaged and provides me with great insight. Sox fans are lucky to have this place, it’s one of the few nice things that we are allowed to have as White Sox fans. Looking forward to your writing in the upcoming ‘Seven (hopefully) fat years’ of white sox baseball after I don’t know how many lean years.

Lurker Laura

Did you watch much of the Scotties and/or Brier? How about Bottcher’s angled run-back to win the semi? Just another day on the ice.


Oh my god. Ask and I shall receive I guess.


As someone who has been increasingly grouchy about what new owners do to informative media companies since Rupert Murdoch bought the Sun-Times, I am happy to support this most remarkable independent outlet with my money and my attention.


If you’re lucky enough to have considerable, thoughtful readers and listeners show up every day

Humble of you to assume we don’t show up every hour, Jim


I absolutely love it here and appreciate the heck out of this community. Thanks, Jim and team ????

Last edited 2 years ago by digger0910

Jim, you do great work here, and I am happy to continue supporting. I grew up in Central IL through the mid-80s Sox and remember Fisk in LF (which seems pertinent these days). Living in SC for more than 20 years (and far away from Chicago media orbit), this site is my go-to source for the Sox. As important as it is to folks anywhere, I think the quality of work here plays up for those outside of the Chicago region.


still my favorite username on this site 🙂


Is there an option for a yearly charge via Patreon versus the monthly? It would keep the credit card statement leaner.

As Cirensica

That’s a great idea.


Should be worried that Jimenez doesn’t fully recover from his pectoral muscle tear?

As Cirensica

He will recover. I am a lot more worried about the Vaughn experiment.


As a reader since 2007-ish and a member of the daily comment crew on SM 1.0, it’s remarkable to see how SM has not just endured but thrived while so many other sites burned out or faded away. Always worth reading, the depth and breadth of the articles and podcasts has grown so much. Even during times when the team itself was… not safe to observe directly with the naked eye, a new post or podcast was always worth checking out. Seconding the call for another 15+ years.

As Cirensica

You made me wonder about SSS which I haven’t visited that blog in ages. It does not look like there is much going on in there, but I just gave it a quick glimpse.

Right Size Wrong Shape

I count 11 new articles in the past 2 days, along with multiple different podcasts a slew of writers and an active commentary base. I read both sites regularly and am not telling you one is better than the other, just that the “not much is going on there” comment is weird. I appreciate anyone who is out there trying to put out quality Sox content for the masses.

As Cirensica

Yes…that’s good. Good for the White Sox fan base. Like I said, I gave it a quick glimpse, and looked at the number of comments only. Glad they are still active.

Right Size Wrong Shape

Yeah, I think the lack of comments is probably a function of the high output of content. The numbers for gamethreads is pretty respectable.

As Cirensica

wow… that’s a lot of writers! I counted 26

Chet Lemonhead

I knew going in I could never do what Jim does, and I do not have the confidence to assume folks want to follow my thinking, and pretty much only my thinking, aloud. Despite numerous other personality flaws, I have long been tarred as “a man of the people.” If that is an inadvertent strength, so be it. SSS is rolling hard with that concept.

I would hope there is plenty of room for the deep dives at SM and the outrageous onslaught of SSS. I presume most readers engage with the sites in complementary fashion, as there is nowhere else nearly as informative and personal in the White Sox universe.

I am too busy juggling writers, photographers and podcasters to read every word here, but you bet I am a big fan of Jim. We can debate for hours on the strengths and personalities of the sites, and of course I feel SSS still provides the best user experience. But there’s no one better on the White Sox, and I’ve said that even when I was writing on the actual White Sox beat and just getting to know him/SSS.


Very real possibility that one game in five the Sox will start 5 home-grown first-round drafter picks: Rodon, Madrigal, Anderson, Vaughn, and Collins. Add to that 2 international signings in Abreu and Robert.

How cool is that? How uncommon is that?



As Cirensica


Michael Kenny

From the MLBTR writeup:

Yoan Moncada plays Lambs’ natural position at third, though he has offered to play the outfield in the past, including last offseason when Chicago was entertaining making a run at free agent Anthony Rendon.

Wait what


Agreed, bizarre signing. Is it a major league deal?


He can be sacrificial


Probably an infield backup reclamation project to stash in Charlotte. Can’t imagine him DHing or playing LF.

Trooper Galactus

He’s gonna be on the OD roster.


I thought we already had a 3B named Jake.


Twitter scuttlebutt is that it’s a major league deal and that he’s replacing Mendick. White Sox Dave, FWIW, is saying that Hamilton and Mercedes are making the team. Lucroy released, as mentioned elsewhere in the comments here. I haven’t seen word on Collins.

dat gummit

Hi! I’ve been lurking and reading daily for the majority of the 2010s. I’ve always loved baseball, but your writing helped me deepen my understanding of it as a business and cultural phenomenon. I shudder to think of what kind of meatball fan I’d be if I didn’t have your analysis to show me new perspectives and help me think more critically. I especially appreciate your clever wordplay; it’s refreshing to read words that have been crafted with attention to detail and dedication to quality. You respect your readers and it shows. Thank you!

Enough flowers. I’m curious: when do swag packs get sent out for recent patreon subscribers? Looking forward to hanging that pennant in the home office. Cheers, thanks!


I shudder to think of what kind of meatball fan I’d be if I didn’t have your analysis to show me new perspectives and help me think more critically. 

This. So much this


I started listening around 2016 (my most difficult time as a White Sox fan lmao) and started subscribing when I could. I have enjoyed Sox Machine more than actual white sox games since the rebuild doesn’t help.

Just wanted to say I appreciate everything Sox Machine related and I can’t wait what excitement I’ll feel reading posts and listening to future podcasts when the White Sox are dominating.

Right Size Wrong Shape

This seems as good a place as any to ask this. Any time I make a comment with a link (twitter or otherwise), it goes straight to purgatory never to be seen again. Am I doing something wrong? Is there an extra step I need to be doing?

Right Size Wrong Shape

OK, thanks!


I had a couple of injuries that took me out of baseball, and it caused me a lot of physical and emotional pain. For a few years there it was hard to watch or even think about baseball, let alone the White Sox who were middling at best.

The Chris Sale trade brought a weird feeling of renewal…like it was my opportunity to get back in on the ground floor of the team I loved so much. And that day I happened to find SSS. Being able to commiserate with the community (even though and am still mostly a lurker) and learn more about the sport was huge for me and still is.

Thanks Sox Machine team and fellow Sox fans


James Fegan reported that Lucroy will not make the opening day roster.


The org appears to have a lot of faith in Grandal’s health and Collins’ abilities that I don’t quite share


Curious to see if they carry a third catcher or if they’re not planning on DHing Collins. My assumption was the Jimenez’s injury was guaranteeing Lecroy a spot.


I’d actually be happy with a Grandal, Collins, Mercedes trio of catchers. Just like Erik Katz should be given a chance to see what he can do with the batch of young wild arms around, Jerry Narron should be given a chance to see what he can do with Collins.

At the very least, he can’t be worse than Omar Narvaez with the glove…..right?

Michael Kenny

And he’s been released


I’ll admit something: I’ve never been to the city of Chicago in my life. I’m planning to visit in the future. Other than whatever they call Sox Park at the time, what should I visit?

Also, please track down Don Cooper and see what he’s up to. I’m afraid he’s down at some shady park trying to teach kids cutters.


I’ve always loved the Art Institute. Be sure to gorge on Italian beef.


My wife asked me last night what Coop was up to. I had no answer, though I was pleased she was curious. She didn’t care about baseball when I met her 40 years ago.


I always recommend the Architectural tour and Zanies comedy club


95th floor of the Hancock for cocktails. If they still do that.

And I always liked The Green Mill to entertain out of towners. And Miller’s pub, have a drink in the Sox corner.

Caveat: I’ve been out of Chicago for 15 years so things could have changed.

Last edited 2 years ago by ParisSox

First time, long time. Former South Side resident and Sox fan since the early 80s. (Yes, I’m that old!) I wanted to to let you know that I really appreciate the work you put in with the site and the podcast. The quality information you put out helps me stay connected with the team, which, if I had any sense, I should have given up on long ago. Anyway, I’m really excited for this year and Go Sox!


My father, a Pirates fan, is the hopeless baseball romantic from whom I adopted my sports fandom. Optically, there hasn’t been much romance in his Pirates fandom (in favor of cursing at ESPN Gameday as he works) the last 30 years, but certain elements of his fandom were admirable: the consistent devotion, relentless self-education, and thoughtful observations of the team, even if it tended in the ‘nihilistic’ direction during my childhood. I noticed he also lurked on message boards of like-minded Pirates fans, and despite not much input added from his end, I think there is a sense of belonging he found.

I gave a few White Sox outlets a shot but haven’t been as consistently impressed, challenged, made to think in my fandom as I have been here on SoxMachine. I started with Podcast hunting and finding SoxMachine, being impressed by the thoughtfulness of both Josh and Jim, and my time on the blogs (just a few months now) has proved over again that Jim has a knack for articulating the thoughts I hadn’t been able to articulate myself. Yet, my favorite part has been the comment section, knowing the like-mindedness of other readers is thought-provoking and, more often than not, hilarious. I’m grateful for having found it, and congratulations on the milestone. SoxMachine has existed for 60% of my life.

On a different note, Jim–I hope that you like Nashville? I miss the city dearly and even though much of the Nostalgia is woven into college nostalgia, I always maintained that it would be an excellent place to raise a family. Although the year has been unrepresentative, what are your broad thoughts on your new hometown?


Got a little nervous when I started to read. I thoroughly enjoy being the dumbest, least witty and least aware baseball fan on this much appreciated site.


This reminds me of when I worked at the car wash in high school. It was slow, and Mapes, Turk and I were playing cards. Turk was dealing. As he was dealing, Mapes just stared at him and said, “You know, I’m sure I’ve seen someone uglier than you, but I can’t recall when.” Turk finished the deal, picked up his cards and without even looking at Mapes, just said, “Well, think.” I don’t know who won the game, but Turk won the day.


Jim and Josh deserve TONS of praise for their tremendous work with this site AND the Sox Machine Podcast.

20 months ago, my girlfriend and I started working on a podcast of our own (a history/true crime series about a Chicago hospital) and the amount of work that went into this thing makes me appreciate Sox Machine THAT MUCH MORE! From sound quality to guests to Jim talking me off the ledge, I’m so impressed by the quality you consistently crank out — especially during the craptastic rebuilding teams. You’ve both done this while also navigating your own lives (homes, women, jobs). My status on most Sox Machine products falls under “lurker”, but an “active lurker” who appreciates your efforts!


that sounds interesting, what’s the name of your podcast?


Thank you! Yes, it’s called “If the Walls Could Talk” — you’ll find it on Apple, Spotify, Google and all the usual places.


great, i’ll check it out for sure. i remember hearing the story of Edgewater at the time so a deep dive is going to be fascinating.


Best blog for any sports team that I root for, and it isn’t even close. Question: Was the halting of ‘The Athletic’ columns your choice?


Too soon

Trooper Galactus

I started following your work at SSS back around 2011, but I generally just lurked until I finally made an account a couple years later then started commenting while I was on my second deployment. It takes a certain type to manage an online community, and you have always handled the worst of people both there and here with much more grace than I could ever have mustered. Happy to keep supporting the work being done here.


this site is pretty good but i remain unclear on whether the pitchers are in their toes or not, please update


Random thought – stay away from the gambling advertisers. I don’t think you’d entertain that but at the risk of being an old prude, just say no.


Wait isn’t Frank Thomas shilling for a for a boner pill. Can’t censor the big hunk I mean Big Hurt.


Well done. You’ve identified the two really obnoxious ones. I’ll keep an open mind to the rest.


Jim (and Josh, although I know he has domestic duties currently) love ya, love your show! Just curious when you feel you found your voice (how many reps / what year in?)…both on the blog / writing and separately doing the podcast / audio. Keep up the great work!!!


Just wanted to drop in and say it’s been a pleasure to listen to you guys get better and better as podcasters. Been listening since 2015 or ‘16 and the work you all put into the show is evident and appreciated. Probably time to boost my subscription again. Here’s to more playoff pods this year. Cheers!

Last edited 2 years ago by _usox_

So I’ve been a reader and listener since 2008 but I think I’m the only one who was banned by Jim from southside sox for a lurid comment about players weekend jerseys…which I don’t even remember. I never left mostly bc I enjoy your ability to analogize the actions of a complex dysfunctional organization in the language of everyday folk. I feel the white Sox organization is like bluth corporation and Jim at his best is Michael. I mean this both for better and for worse.

As Cirensica

Oh my… Jim also banned me from SSS. It was mostly a stupid argument (from my part). I am a terrible debater, but I have learned (thru Jim and other SMers)…trying to be better.

Last edited 2 years ago by As Cirensica

Hi, Jim. I appreciate your writing and insights. I have become a much more knowledgeable Sox fan and baseball fan in general because of SoxMachine. I am a regular reader, but infrequent commenter. I love reading through the comments and conversations, but often feel like my level of knowledge is still far below where the bulk of this community is. Honest question: Do you feel that comments from us “novices” detract from the overall vibe or the site, and that us simply continuing to lurk keeps the vibe where it needs to be? Or would us jumping into the fray add something you are hoping for? I think I refrain from posting comments because I don’t want to be part of dumbing down a great site. Thoughts?


Now, FloridaJim, that’s a writer. I miss him


Hey Jim. Been reading you since the first incarnation of this site, though I tend to lurk more than comment (here, anyway–I’m way too addicted to Twitter). Love the site and am happy to support it.

My question is: what do you see as growth for Sox Machine? My concern is that I see a lot of sites/podcasts talk about this and they decide that it’s more content. More posts per day, more and longer podcasts each week, etc. And the problem is that that requires me to either A) devote more time to this hobby, meaning I take away time from other ones, or B) come up with some metric to filter stuff out, which kind of makes me do work I’m not looking to do (and sometimes just leads me to giving up entirely).

The thing is, I appreciate the expertise of who I’m reading to boil things down for me, and winnow out stuff. That’s a real skill that I look for in who I follow and support. And when I just get MORE STUFF, I feel like I lose that expertise.

To put it another way, I like drinking from the hose, but a lot of sites seem to think that that means that I want to DRINK FROM THE FIRE HOSE!!! (insert UHF gif)

This is not really a complaint against anything you’re currently doing, just an opinion I want to register. In your plans to continue building the site, try to keep in mind those who are not looking to devote more of their time.

Regardless, thanks for everything.


Jim, a few months back I stumbled across an old White Sox annual review (100 pages or so) you wrote and published. Any plans on something like that again in the future?

Last edited 1 year ago by ChiSox8305