It has been an extremely trying time for everyone across the world with the current COVID-19 pandemic. Millions have seen their daily lives impacted to measures never seen before. For baseball fans, it is still clear on if and when the 2020 season will start once the outbreak is brought under control. If and when it does take place in the summer of 2020, White Sox fans will be ready for baseball, and specific moment will touch it all off.
Whether it takes place in late-May, June, or July, the White Sox home opener will be one of the most anticipated moments in team history. It will finally be the long-awaited unveiling of the rebuild that took nearly three and a half seasons to complete. It is sad-irony for a fanbase that waited so-long for March 26th, will have to wait just a little bit longer.
When the gates open and fans are in their seats, it will feel weird as it will mark for many their first time in a large social gathering since the outbreak guideline has gone into effect. Fans will cheer, but it most likely will be reserved cheers met with an uneasy feeling. They still will be happy to see baseball, but something will be missing.
All of that will change when the first White Sox home run is hit. Whether its hit by team-captain Jose Abreu, the newly acquired Yasmani Grandal, rising star Eloy Jimenez, or the new rookie Luis Robert, fans will erupt like never before. It won’t just be high fives and claps, but jumping up and down with hugging of the strangers next to you type cheering.
The first home run will signal that the new era of White Sox baseball has arrived and that the painful rebuild is finally over. Fans will rejoice as it will be just another sign that life is returning to normal. Whoever hits that first home run will make a memory for thousands and will most likely have to take a curtain-call for the fans.
These types of home runs have been seen before in White Sox history. In 2006, The White Sox unveiled their 2005 World Series banner on Sunday Night Baseball against the Cleveland Indians. A majority of the sell-out crowd was forced home due to a lengthy rain delay, but the game resumed as many missed the team’s first home run of the season. Jim Thome hit a mammoth home run that landed halfway up the right-field bleachers. Fans cheered as if it was a long-awaited moment they had been waiting for.
Another example was game 162 of the 2008 White Sox season against the Detroit Tigers. The team needed to win the last game of the season to force a one-game playoff against the Minnesota Twins. Although the Tigers were finishing as one of the worst teams in baseball that year, they still put up a good fight as the game was tied at two thru five and a half innings. With the bases-loaded, rookie shortstop Alexei Ramirez hit a no-doubt grand slam that sent the whole stadium into a frenzy. Before the home run, it felt that fans were pessimistic about any playoff possibility. Following the home run, it was as if fans instantly realized that the team had a significant chance to win the division with two more wins.
When everything does get better hopefully sooner rather than later, everyone will have a significant appreciation for life. The hobbies we love that we don’t have now will come back eventually. For White Sox fans, that love is their team and being able to spend time at Guaranteed Rate Field with friends and family members. When that first home run is it in 2020, fans will rejoice like never before.