By Adam Hoge–
By now, you’ve all heard that the White Sox are “All In” this season.
You’ve also heard the way too easy joke that the White Sox are “All in, except for defense and relief pitching”.
“All In” is just the latest in a long line of yearly slogans designed to generate interest in the team. But this year’s slogan means a hell of a lot more than old ones like “The Kids Can Play” or the popular “Grinder Ball Rules”.
“All In” isn’t just a marketing strategy. It’s a direct message to the fans telling them that the White Sox are 100 percent committed to winning the World Series this year and they need to get their butt to the ballpark and support them.
With that said, Jerry Reinsdorf and Kenny Williams realize that a slogan isn’t enough to fill seats. “All In” doesn’t mean anything unless you win ballgames. Before the season started, White Sox brass openly admitted that they needed to draw 2.6 million fans this season just to break even. They also stressed the importance of winning in April to prove that the White Sox are serious contenders.
Twelve games in, the White Sox are 7-5 with six blown saves and have drawn an average of 23,313 fans in their seven home games. If that average stayed the same the rest of the season, the White Sox’s total attendance would be just under 1.9 million, nowhere near their goal of 2.6 million fans. Granted, attendance will improve once the weather warms up, but if the White Sox want to hit the 2.6 million mark, they need to average 31,579 fans a game the rest of the way.
That might not even be a realistic number if the White Sox are running away with the division, let alone if they are blowing a save every other game.
The sad thing is, these blown saves have masked a lot of extremely positive signs and spoiled what could have been a historic start to the season — the exact kind of start Reinsdorf and Williams dreamed of when they made their $127 million bet in the offseason.
White Sox starters are off to a 5-1 start with a combined 3.22 ERA. Offensively, the White Sox are first in the American League in runs (73), hits (127), batting average (.284), on-base percentage (.349) and total bases (199). The team has held a lead in every single game and their only loss that did not include a blown save came in their third game at Cleveland.
It’s pretty remarkable to have six blown saves in only 12 games, but to somehow have seven wins despite six blown saves is even more remarkable.
The good news for Jerry and Kenny is that all signs point to this being a really good team (and not sure if you noticed, but the American League Central Division looks horrible so far). The bad news is that the easiest way to anger a baseball fan base is by blowing games you should win and the White Sox have done that four times, including three times at home in front of their own fans.
Do you want to pay good money to go see a blown save? So far White Sox fans have answered that question with a resounding “No.”