By Tim Baffoe–
(CBS) Fight! Fight! Fight fight fight fight fight.READ MORE: Chicago Weather: Second Sunday Night Tornado Confirmed; Cool And Clear Monday Night
This gets chanted in a high school cafeteria about once a week. And it’s always lame. It’s that quick shot of bloodlust the mob craves and hollers for without any repercussion for anyone not directly participating in the scuffle. It’s hyped and then soon forgotten as the feeding frenzy moves on to other chummy waters.
Fist-fighting is stupid. Fist-fighting in baseball is extra stupid. It’s a brain-dead expression of machismo and unchecked aggression, an inability swallow pride and/or think a situation through.
Stupid was on display Thursday night at U.S. Cellular Field. Bad blood has been present between the Chicago White Sox and Kansas City Royals since Opening Day, back-and-forth beanballs having been thrown in the opening series of the season in Kansas City. These bench-clearing therapy sessions happen, and I’m not starting my weekend by fishing for Internet tough guys who think fighting in sports is cool because their dads said so and anyone who disagrees is (insert something derogatory about women).
The larger problem is that 15 games into the Sox season, the melee is the most exciting thing about the team right now. And that sort of sucks.
Less than one-tenth of the games have been played — a small sample size and all — but the 2015 White Sox have been a yawner so far following a lot of preseason excitement. A 6-9 record and a 5.5-game deficit in the American League Central already have set the table for ennui rather than anticipation.
But hey, Adam Eaton is scrappy and takes no guff from the opposing pitcher and has an on-base percentage of .242.
Fans are already moaning that Robin Ventura isn’t the right manager for the team. His bad decisions are magnified by his vanilla demeanor in front of microphone. Hell hath no fury like Chicagoans toward a losing coach who doesn’t yell and curse, of course.
Ventura’s not an idiot who screams his emotions. Regarding the Royals and altercations, he did mention, “It seems to follow them around,” which speaks volumes in Venturese. But he needs to be more Ric Flair in the postgame, right?READ MORE: Video Of Gruesome Humboldt Park Shooting From CPD POD Camera Was Made Public Without City's Permission, CBS 2 Has Learned
The Sox offense as a whole has been meh, though it’s showing signs of life of late other than on a cold Thursday night. But what is there besides Jose Abreu that makes you shift yourself on the couch?
Like the bats, the pitching has been average-ish despite a rotation that looked formidable headed into the season. The bullpen looks better than the walking tumor it was in 2014. David Robertson seems like he’ll be a reliable closer all season. Chris Sale is Chris Sale, but Jose Quintana has caused eye bleeding and John Danks’ ice breaker at parties is that he’s the highest paid player on the team, somehow.
Jeff Samardzija’s been pretty good overall, though. Most importantly, he won over South Side hearts by being fearless in a baseball fight. Because that’s important or something.
There just doesn’t seem to be much palpable positive emotion with the White Sox right now, which understandably isn’t helped by stumbling a bit out of the gate. This isn’t a .400 baseball team by any means, and means will correct as games go on hopefully.
But, ugh, pitching coach Don Cooper has already lit the attendance-questioning fires.
“We will see who our really, really good fans are,” Cooper said Thursday on 670 The Score. “They say if you win, the fans will come out. Well, we won a lot a few years ago (in 2012, Chicago spent 117 days in first place), and they didn’t come out. We really need their support. It is disappointing to think that the opposition sometimes has more fans in the stands than we do. Sometimes I am not sure where are fans are.”
It’s 15 games into the miserable Chicago spring school nights, Coop. Pump the brakes.
Hasty as asking where the winter-coated fans are at so early on is, it speaks to a mutual feeling between fans and the team right now. Where’s the adrenaline? What moves us?
A fight against the Royals, apparently. It would be cool if it were baseball, though.MORE NEWS: LIVE UPDATES: 130 Homes Damaged In Tornado In West, Southwest Suburbs As Dangerous Storms Hit Chicago Area Sunday Night
Tim Baffoe is a columnist for CBSChicago.com. Follow Tim on Twitter @TimBaffoe. The views expressed on this page are those of the author, not CBS Local Chicago or our affiliated television and radio stations.