When sitting back and reflecting on the Chicago White Sox 2012 campaign, what is one supposed to think? How should one feel? When a team spends practically half a season atop a division, ahead of a Detroit Tigers team that had been seemingly declawed, any fan would expect that success to carry into October. But as all we South Side fans know, that hasn’t been the case. The White Sox blew it. A choke of epic proportions. Well… perhaps not epic. In all fairness, the White Sox were supposed to struggle getting second place in the division, let alone first. However, that doesn’t help with the disappointment. In fact, it stings even more.
If we look to the North Side of town, the Chicago Cubs weren’t able to stop themselves from losing 100 games. They played horribly all year… but whose fans are more disappointed? Who spent more time and interest in their respective team? I’ll venture to say I possibly wouldn’t have been let down as much if the Sox had sucked all year like the Cubs did. As I’ve mentioned several times before, the White Sox take you on a roller coaster every season. The highs are really high. Game winning homers, perfect games, young pitchers coming up and dominating… it’s like it’s out of a storybook.
But then the lows take you into the bowels of the earth, and it feels like there’s no return in sight back to the top. And of course, that lowest of the low had to take place just two weeks before season’s end. One thing to emphasize, however, is that the Tigers didn’t deserve to win the division. Looking beyond the stats and the numbers, the Tigers looked like a shell of what was expected of them throughout most of the year. The White Sox took the chances given to them and that’s how they stayed atop the Central division for so long. The Tigers basically sneaked in through a back door. Yes, the Sox played poorly too, but the division was handed to Detroit, plain and simple.
So what is the main thing to look back on? I’ve thought a lot about this over the past two days. At first, I was bitter and angry that the Sox could choke to such a degree. But despite that ride they took us on, it IS possible to view this season from the glass half full perspective. Let’s not forget that Alex Rios and Adam Dunn finally started playing the way they should and put up awesome numbers.
The pitching was also a surprise. After Chris Sale dominated the first few weeks of the season, he was almost relegated to closer duties by Kenny Williams. His own tenacity kept him in the rotation, he was clearly the standout of the rotation this year, was able to be included in Cy Young talk, and proved that he could be an anchor for this young White Sox rotation for years to come. Jake Peavy was also able to come back from his very unique surgery, and while his offense didn’t always support him, he pitched like the Cy Young award winner he used to be on the San Diego Padres. Unfortunately, his return to the team in 2013 isn’t as clear, but at least fans can sit back and remember his tenure with the team wasn’t a complete bust after all.
However, the most important thing to remember is the fact that the White Sox surpassed, exceeded, and demolished all expectations others had of them for the 2012 season. Now we have even more question marks for the 2013 squad, but hopefully we can use 2012 as an example. Maybe it’s good for the Pale Hose to fly under the radar. If they made it this far this past season, who is to say they couldn’t meet or exceed that again next year? If there’s one thing I’ve learned now, you can never count out the Sox. I may get disappointed at times with their play, or lack thereof, but at the very least they keep it interesting. For that, you just can’t fault them.
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