It turns out the White Sox pried the wrong left-handed hitter away from Cleveland.
While César Hernández slugged .299 for the White Sox during the regular season and .286 over 11 postseason plate appearances, Eddie Rosario can’t be stopped. He’s raked since joining Atlanta, and took it up a notch in the NLCS by winning the series’ MVP award. He led the Braves over the Dodgers in six games by hitting .560/.607/1.040, going 14-for-25 with a double, a triple, three homers and nine RBIs. Those in Cleveland who saw Rosario disappoint are left scratching their heads.
Rosario probably wouldn’t have been enough to reverse the Sox’s fortunes against the Astros, who shook off a couple of rough performances and an injury to Lance McCullers Jr. to rally for a convincing victory over the Red Sox in six games, so both Houston and Atlanta enter the World Series playing their best baseball.
The two teams will get two days off before starting Game 1 in Houston. We’ll see if Rick Hahn uses the 48 hours of downtime to provide his usual end-of-season address. Just about every team’s GM has already done the same this month, providing a summary of what they saw during the (post)season, staffing changes, health updates and a few possible hints about a winter shopping list.
Instead, we’ve had to learn about White Sox injuries in dribs and drabs, like Evan Marshall’s Tommy John surgery via James Fegan …
… and Yasmani Grandal’s knee surgery straight from his Instagram account.
Like an umpire review, the longer we spend standing around, the less confident we can be of what’s being discussed on the other side. The White Sox waited 10 days between the end of the 2020 season and the shocking decision to fire Rick Renteria, which retroactively justified the delay in having a conference. Today marks a dozen days since the offseason began, which makes it easier to think that some changes are in store.
Jon Greenberg dug into each Chicago team’s season-ticket pricing and notes the White Sox are raising prices, although they had lowered their ticket prices over the course of the previous decade commensurate with product quality and demand. He’s expecting the Sox to make a big push at the gate in 2022, given that 2021 attendance looked pretty good when taking into account the restrictions for the first half.
The Sox had 40,000-plus crowds for their two home playoff games and they were regularly drawing crowds in the 35,000 range for weekend games once their capacity limits were eliminated. They finished with the 13th-highest attendance in baseball at 1,596,385. (The White Sox waited a couple of weeks longer than the Cubs to go full capacity because of their sales strategy for June games.)
Like the Cubs, the Sox were looking forward to an offseason of being able to sell group packages and an assortment of mini-plans, along with 81-game packages. Given the excitement around the team, and the likelihood of free-agent additions this winter, expect the Sox to make another big jump in attendance in 2022.
In his overview of the division, Dan Szymborski isn’t a fan of the way the White Sox have handled Andrew Vaughn thus far.
Vaughn did a respectable job picking up the outfield on the fly and even briefly cosplayed as a second baseman and a third baseman. But while he showed a solid eye at the plate, as in A-ball, not a lot of power came out of it; he struggled to a .613 OPS in the second half, and righties dominated him with breaking stuff all season. In the end, Vaughn would have been better served at Triple-A, which already would have been a big leap; the White Sox didn’t get anything from him they couldn’t have gotten from any other random fourth outfielder on a one-year deal. […]
The fundamental problem in right field didn’t go away, where they ended up getting a .227/.297/.374 line out of the position overall. They might be content to use Vaughn here next year, but I’d rather they be more ambitious and let him get time in Triple-A to learn how to leverage his pitch recognition abilities into professional power and escape the Ben Grieve Trap.
As Luis Robert’s career appears set to take off into the stratosphere, Michael Ajeto suggests that it’d be cool if the White Sox could revisit the official pronunciation of his name. While it might not be possible for English speakers to nail the consonant sounds at the beginning or end of “Robert” — I, for one, can’t roll my R’s despite repeated efforts — getting the vowel sounds correct would be a good start.
In Cuba, they roll the R and the first syllable makes a “Roh” sound, while the second half makes a “burr” sound, while “eating” the T. Outside of Cuba, the first half is similar, with the second half making a “burt” sound. Either way, neither is consistent with the pronunciation that the team has instructed people to use.
I wouldn’t rule out that Robert is comfortable enough with the anglicized version because our attempts at the real pronunciation might be just as grating to the ear, but it’s worth knowing either way. (James Fegan said that he’s been trying to get it right for years, and he’s settled on “Roh-burrt” for now.)
And if Robert would prefer his surname being said truer to form, then it starts with the broadcast booths. We were well into Alexei Ramirez’s career when we learned that he pronounced his name “Alice-A” instead of “uh-LECK-see,” but in the end, Gene Honda was the only official voice that formed a new habit.
Daryl Van Schouwen surveys said voices of the White Sox to hear what they saw from the team, and what they’re expecting to change in the offseason. Jason Benetti says his work on ESPN informs his perspective:
“Doing the Statcast shows I do for ESPN makes it difficult for me to watch ground balls offensively,” Benetti said. “The White Sox [third at 46.1%] were the only team in the top 12 in ground-ball percentage to make the playoffs this year. The slugging percentage in the league on ground balls is .266. Slugging the ball is really important.”
Three of the final four postseason teams were among the bottom four in ground-ball percentage. Tim Anderson’s ground-ball rate was 55%. Eloy Jimenez’s was 48%. Abreu (46%) hit into 28 double plays.
“That’s not sustainable over the long haul,” Benetti said.
Whenever I see some Twitter CHUD getting dunked on for stupid comments about the neighborhood around 35th and Shields, I’ll click on his name and see that he’s some out-of-towner with 13 followers. Then I’ll wonder why this guy and his brain drippin’s are being made available to me, because my experience on this planet is no better for having known it.
Ian Bogost picks up on this context collapse and suggests connection limits would right a lot of wrongs on the Internet. In the middle of it, he inadvertently created the perfect mission statement for the Sox Machine relaunch:
Wouldn’t it just be better if fewer people posted less stuff, less frequently, and if smaller audiences saw it?
- The Ozzie Guillén-Bobby Jenks beef got flash-fried by Guillén’s son, Twitter and throat-rip threats — Secret Base
On the subject of social media and my old employer’s demands, here’s a worthwhile video about the Ozzie Guillén-Bobby Jenks flap. Whenever Sox fans stump for Ozzie to return to the dugout, I understand the impulse, but I don’t understand why anybody would expect it to work out any differently, only faster.
(Photo by Dale Zanine/USA TODAY Sports)
We can only hope Vaughn is not who they envision in RF next year.
I like Dan Szymborski’s thought about the Sox being aggressive and getting Vaugh some time in AAA. The Sox need a 2B, and if they go get a stud their (Seager, Semien, etc) I could see letting RF/DH start with Sheets, Engel and Adolfo (Vaughn after injury or ineffectiveness for 1 of those guys). I would still want another FA option for that spot to compete though…
The original sin with Vaughn was thinking he should be the DH. It just ballooned from there. Perhaps if Engel was healthy, Vaughn would have found his way to Charlotte. But given the sub-optimal situation at all of DH, RF and LF, probably that wouldn’t have been enough. I would like to think the Sox are willing to take a step back and develop Vaughn, but that means walking away from a cheap option
The harsh reality is that they won’t upgrade every gap to our satisfaction.
Vaughn faded but he still batted .235 with 15 home runs when he had no business jumping from A to MLB last year. 2022 can’t be the year of experimentation but he is here, he is cheap and if that allows them to fill other positions, then I would say we need to find his ceiling.
IF they cannot fill some other gaps, then by all means trade him for a proven RF’er with a left bat.
I’m really unsure about what to do with Vaughn, but I can see the justification for each option. I think if they aren’t planning to play him regularly, you send him down. One thing I will say is that at this point he has to be aware of what his weaknesses are at the MLB level, which is a good thing to know if you get sent down to AAA; it allows him to work on specific things.
Having him work on his OF defense wouldn’t be terrible either.
Something else I don’t see brought up: Sox are now in a position where free agents they sign deny those players to their postseason competition.
A White Sox team that signed Michael Brantley not only would have had a better outfield, and increased our overall depth, it would have denied the Astros someone who absolutely murders the Sox.
It’s not a primary consideration, but given our market size, we could bully more teams around then we do.
Starling Marte please
Thank you so much Jim for that Ian Bogost’s article reference. That’s a reading I recommend everyone to read. Critical thinking has been limping since the proliferation of Social Media, and I believe this could be a problem for humanity. It is definitely a fascinating topic from an anthropological point of view.
I had a conversation last night about this very thing, how conflict filled and destructive so much of social media can be (even though not all of it is). I think humanity was a lot healthier and more connected before the technological advances of the past 25 years.
I’ve never seen so many fat teenagers and young adults, probably because healthy social activities and even exercise has been replaced with cell phone and social media OCD. Incredibly dysfunctional really.
Humanity is no more worse off than it was 20 years ago. You just didn’t see all the bad things because they weren’t around you. Now everyone has a camera and a voice to connect to the world and things that happened in the shadows before are now seeing the light of day more often.
I am not sure about this. It is a very complex topic. In many areas such as technology, medicine, science, etc, humanity is better off, and some other aspects like mass shooting, broadcasting of mass murderers and terrorism, childhood obesity, election of clowns for important political posts because his/her tweets are witty, etc, humanity is worse off.
I think the good things are getting better. I just think the bad things aren’t necessarily getting worse. They were always there. We just currently live in a world where it is much easier to put things in a spotlight and its much more profitable to constantly shine that spotlight on the bad things.
“You just didn’t see all the bad things because they weren’t around you.”
I don’t think that’s what he was referring to. He was alluding to social media itself being bad for people.
I agree. Technology and social media have made many facets of society much worse. One thing I miss about the “good old days” is being unreachable, and people also didn’t freak out if they couldn’t reach you. Much easier to be left alone
I find it a little bit interesting how Ajeto suggests that it’d be cool that baseball broadcasts and team’s members learn how to correctly pronounce names of players with Hispanic’s origin. Spanish has so many variations of accent, that sometimes I might mispronounce a Hispanic name even though Spanish is my mother tongue.
Cuban accent is one of the strongest in Latam. It is very distinctive. A Hispanic person can pick up a Cuban accent in seconds, and it is particularly distinctive in the way Cuban’s pronounce the “r” sound. They don’t roll the “r” as people from other Latam countries such as Venezuela or Colombia. Depending of the location in a word, the “r” has more of a “d” sound than an “r”. Take Robert for example, the first “r” is definitely rolled, but the last is closer to the sound of the “d” in the word “bad” than in the word “Burr”. Cubans are known to use the word “barbaro” (amazing) a lot, and unlike many other Latam countries, they pronounce that word like “BAD-ba-ro” where in countries like Venezuela, it is pronounced “BAR-ba-ro”.
I am far from an expert in Spanish pronunciation, but in my experience, the most beautiful accent can be found from people in Colombia. Specially from Bogota. It might be the closest pure/perfect Spanish (aside from Spanish from Spain) you can find in Latam.
Thanks for the insight. I wonder if the variety of dialects is why Robert is used to rolling with mispronunciations than most people would be. I can correct wrong attempts at “Margalus” because it only takes one try. If it takes 20 tries and still isn’t right, you just might learn to not care.
Probably Robert, by now, does not give too much importance as to how his name is pronounced. My name’s relatively simple (Javier), and it’s been a long while since I stopped correcting people because life is too short ????. Some people show interest in learning how to pronounce it, and I teach them, but in most other cases, I just don’t care.
Jose Abreu is another constantly mispronounced name in baseball broadcasts because English speaking people tend to pronounce the vowel “u” like “eu” (“iu” in its Spanish form), but the sound “iu” does not exist in Spanish unless it is to pronounce a word containing an “i” followed by an “u” like in the word “ciudad” (city). Abreu should be pronounce A-bre-oo, but the sound “oo” (u) should be dry or brief (not sure how to explain it). the strength resides in the “e”.
I think Jason Benetti cares a lot about how to pronounce players names of any language. Benetti’s pronunciation of Spanish names is almost perfect. I am so glad we have him on the booth.
The way A-Rod pronounces “Abreu” is different than anybody I’ve ever heard pronounce it. I’ve always just written it off as him not being a particularly good broadcaster; but now that I’ve read your explanation, it’s possible that A-Rod is the only one getting it right.
My name is legitimately difficult to pronounce for anyone who is not of my specific Asian ethnic subgroup. I long ago stopped correcting people who mispronounce my name, but I do appreciate it when someone makes an effort to learn the proper pronunciation. It just doesn’t matter that much to me, partly because I’m equally likely to butcher someone else’s name (my nightmare would be being in a room with a bunch of French people). What’s interesting is that the younger people I work with go to much greater lengths to try to make sure people use the correct pronunciation (actively correcting them, putting the phonetic spelling of their name in their email signature, etc) and consider it to be a microaggression if their name is pronounced wrong. To each his own, but it’s never seemed worth the effort to me.
Vuh-nill-uh. What’s so hard about that?
“I say ‘vuh-nell-ah.'” — Ella Fitzgerald
“The Dodgers got 17 combined innings in six games out of their once-vaunted starting rotation….” (Washington Post)…. Damn that sounds familiar….
It is a wise move to take an anthropological view of the Internet, and perhaps the White Sox as well. When Root Cause says “the harsh reality is that they won’t upgrade every gap to our satisfaction,” not only do I know that is true, but I realize I have to check in myself any hope that they will. Had the team gone for it in 2021, had Hahn filled RF, DH and backup catcher with quality players in March, would the White Sox be in the World Series now? Like many, I think the front office made mistake not loading up in 2021. You don’t have infinite chances to go to the Series–ask the Dodgers and Giants. The White Sox have to take advantage of having this amazing core of young players now. But I know not to expect too much.
I’m not concerned that they won’t upgrade every gap to our satisfaction. I’m concerned that they won’t upgrade ANY to our satisfaction. To me, it’s Castellanos or Semien, maybe Baez would be ok. I don’t expect miracles but hope they make at least one signing that we can all be on board with and be excited about.
They are not spending 100+mil on 2nd base for anyone. They are way better served signing multiple needs than one huge player.
2B, RF, 2RP, and maybe a SP if they can dump Keuchel, also let’s see what happens with Rodon.
Realistically I could see them signing Eduardo Escobar for 2yr/ 25mil. ish.
Chris Taylor is an option but not sure they spend in the 4yr/ 60mil range either.
They need a star addition, or two, not 5 average players. They need to address multiple needs AND get one huge player. There is nothing that precludes them from doing so, other than a cheap owner full of empty promises.
Exactly my point. As you said address multiple needs. That alone leaves us somewhat limited. Reinsdorf may increase payroll a little next year, yea sure, but he’s not signing a 150 mil guy. And not taking payroll anywhere close to 175mil next year.
Most all teams not tanking/rebuilding could use a star or two Who wouldn’t? Doesn’t mean because fans want it, it will happen. In our case, it Doesn’t align financially.
Story, Semien, Baez..all not happening, if fans want to believe Jerry will spend that to keep hopes up then go for it keep dreaming, whatever works and gets fans thru the fall into winter.
Better to have realistic expectations.,
Also they are not adding 5 average players, that’s not the alternative. They can add multiple ( 3-4 ) war players and stay in line with budget. Instead of 1 (6-7) war player and try to fill the rest with cheap gambles.
I do recall the local writers and media asking Robert on how he wants his name pronounced early on.
When I was doing the PA at the high school games, I’d seek out a player or coach or parent to get the pronunciations of any names I was unsure of. I’d write them out phonetically on my lineup.
The small effort was always appreciated.
That’s more effort than I see from many of these national broadcasters. Which is weird considering they are well compensated.
The Robert thing reminds me of Quimby’s son (or whatever relation he was i forgot) and the waiter pronouncing chowder.
I’d love to see the Sox get big names for 2B or RF, but I think having just good players at those positions would be a huge improvement. Someone who gets on base, has great speed ideally, and plays really well defensively is all I ask for 2B, while I think our RF needs to be someone who can move decently, has a big arm, and hits for power.
I’m also intrigued by Paul DeJong, even though I think they should aim higher.
Regarding social media, I deactivated my Twitter account in the middle of the summer and have found it to be my best decision in years.
There are some things I liked and still miss about Twitter, a big one being the communal experience of sports, even when at home and on my couch, but the overall communication shift towards conflicts and “dunking” was increasingly grating to me, even if I agreed with the ‘dunker’.
I had previously deleted the app, only to end up using the browser to fire up Twitter.com after a few weeks. With no account to return to, I’m off for good.
I never really felt Twitter itself gave me anxiety, but the world feels so much lighter when you’re not checking into that cesspool 9-10 times per day.
I did the same with Facebook. I created my Facebook account many years ago to follow the “crowd”. I realized immediately it was not what I wanted. I didn’t close it but I haven’t used it in more than 10 years. Same with Instagram. I still use twitter, but really, the main reason I do is because you can’t get real-time update of events as faster as in Twitter. I don’t post that much over there.
I’m still confused by the Robert excerpt. Is “Roh” supposed to be pronounced “row” or “raw”?
It’s hard to tell with the rolled R’s, but it sounds like a “ruh” when he says it, and Billy Russo’s translation says “row/roe.” Either one is not quite “Rah” as in “Robert.”
That’s why I’m not convinced that a great change is in order, but it’s worth revisiting as he becomes more prominent. Some guys become more confident in correcting the record once they’re established, like Alexei explaining his name, and Carlos Sánchez switching to his given first name, Yolmer.
What I’m hearing is “Rubber” but with some extra emphasis on the R’s…
Although his pronunciations are sometimes lacking, I do remember DJ pronouncing Alexei’s name “Alice-A”.