White Sox Opening Day Overreactions

Chicago White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field - credit City of Chicago_Chris McGuire“The Sox are worse than last year.”

“Their defense is terrible.”

“Jose Abreu is the only good hitter in the lineup.”

“Jeff Samardzija isn’t as good as everyone thinks.”

“Adam LaRoche is the new Adam Dunn.”

These are all complaints that I heard yesterday evening and this morning in the wake of the Sox getting drubbed on Opening Day.

OK, yes, Opening Day 2015 was one of the worst in recent memory – perhaps since 2007. But why must fans continue to overreact every year after just one game? In every season, there are 161 games remaining after Opening Day; yet there are thousands of fans who think their team will be a contender if they win the first game and vise versa if they lose.

Does anyone remember what happened in 2013 after the Sox won the first game? They went on to lose 99 of the next 161.

How about last year after they won the opener? 89 losses ensued.

Certainly, Opening Day carries a lot of weight because it is generally thought to be the one game of the year where everyone is 100% healthy, 100% energetic, and 100% equipped to start off the season on the right foot. However, the fact remains that in the sport of baseball, anything can happen on any given day… Opening Day included.

Regardless of what happened yesterday in the 10-1 loss to the defending American League champion Royals, the Sox are a much improved team from a year ago. If the same problems that we saw yesterday occur frequently throughout the next month or so, then there is reason to be worried. But not yet. Not now.

To help cheer things up a bit on the South Side as we wait for the team to notch their first W, here are a couple of bright spots that were lost in yesterday’s overall performance:

Micah Johnson – The rookie 2nd base prospect made his Major League debut in the season opener. While he looked like a nervous rookie at times, he also looked like a polished veteran at times. In his first big league at bat, in front of over 40,000 fans, facing one of the hardest throwers in all of baseball, he hung in the batter’s box for 13 pitches before being retired. He also notched his first career base hit in his next at bat on a sharp single to centerfield.

Jose Abreu – Although he hit over .500 in Spring Training (yes, you read that correctly), he hit only one home run. In the season opener, he was able to match his spring home run total with a rocket into the left-centerfield stands.

This team has a lot of talent. In my opinion, we haven’t seen this much overall talent since the 2008 season. So give all the new faces some time to mesh together and get comfortable playing with each other. As Hawk Harrelson says, “Sit back, relax, and strap it down” for a long and winding season. Don’t overreact after one game.