Like most Sox fans, when the Sox unveiled the “All In” slogan for the 2011 season in mid December I was excited; sure they went “All In”; they signed Adam Dunn, the definition of a Designated Hitter with huge upside potential, resigned Konerko and Pierzynski and dropped a fair amount of money into the bullpen. Like most Sox fans, though, as the season has deteriorated, I thought to myself, “All In, my ass!!!” But, when I take a step back and look at this situation was the “All In” slogan really all a bunch of B.S.? I look at the tagline line as a two-fold commitment.
“The idea of being bad for two or three years is a horrible thought when you’re 75 years old.”
The first part of the commitment was the White Sox management, namely Kenny Williams and Jerry Reinsdorf. The Sox were at a crossroads at the end of 2010, they easily could have allowed fan favorites Pierzynski and team Captain Konerko walk in favor of younger, cheaper players, giving Tyler Flowers and Dayan Viciedo an opportunity to prove themselves at the Major League level. When asked about the decision to go All In, Reinsdorf explained, “What we have to do to get better than Minnesota? We were going to have to spend more money, we felt we could take a chance, it was a better alternative than getting bad for two or three years.” So, They put all their chips in the middle of the table by committing the largest salary in White Sox team history to the 2011 club, raising the payroll 24M over 2010’s numbers.
“All we’re asking or hoping for is everyone has his normal year. If everybody has his normal year, we should be in it all the way.”
The second part is the players; they need to perform for the team to succeed. The team was built with a base of consistent players in mind, Adam Dunn basically wakes up in the morning with 40 homers and 100 RBIs, and Konerko is a .290 hitter who will guarantee 30+ bombs and 90+ RBIs, you know what to expect from AJ, Alexei and Buehrle. There were some question marks; Sale and Morel to be exact, but those were just role players, not guys expected to contribute. There was no way that the Sox management could have predicted that the historically consistent players would be so bad. When Adam Dunn compiles a .184 average and Juan Pierre makes defensive miscues to cost games or when the best defensive outfielder, Alex Rios, brings his poor hitting to the field, this becomes a recipe for disaster. Nobody could have predicted the fails of this year.
“Our fans are optimistic and enthusiastic, they want to see [success] out on the field.”
I was going to include a third part, but we all know our role, the fans, in this equation, but let’s be honest, Sox fans aren’t going to pay your money to see a disaster. All winter we heard, “Sox fans gotta show up, we spent the money”, but management has to know that the fans aren’t going out to see a loser. The Chairman knows this fact, “We never expected people to go wild and buy tickets like mad. We know we have to prove we have a team worthy of winning the division. If we do, we’ll draw better”.
So this season is 100% on the players, not Kenny Williams, not Ozzie Guillen, not Jerry Reinsdorf. The success 100% lies on the players.