With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the likelihood of MLB games being played in 2020 decreases every day. It is unfortunate for the Chicago White Sox organization as the team had high expectations due to their recent rebuild. Fans and the media were eager with anticipation to see the young White Sox roster this season. This isn’t the first instance where Chicago’s hopes and aspirations were dashed due to some untimely misfortune as the team could be snakebitten.
The last time there was a significant postponement of play came back in 1994. On August 12th, the MLB players went on strike, resulting in the loss of the remainder of the season and the playoffs. At the time, the White Sox had the second-best record in the American League and were favorites to win the World Series that year. Slugger Frank Thomas would go on to win his second consecutive MVP award in 1994, and the team would have been the only team with recent playoff experience.
The strike would continue into the 1995 season as the season would not start until the end of April. When play did resume, the White Sox got off to a terrible start that pretty much ended their season before it began. Chicago would finish with 68-76 record in a 144 game season in which manager Gene Lamont was relieved of his duties 31 games into the season.
In 2008, Chicago would be one of baseball’s best teams that year before injuries got the best of them. Although the White Sox made the playoffs, significant injuries nearly cost them the division and hampered their ability to make a deep playoff run. The worst injury came when outfielder Carlos Quentin broke his hand punching his bat in early-September. Quentin, who had 36 home runs and 100 RBIs at the time of the break, would be lost for the remainder of the year. The All-Star outfielder was the team’s best bat in 2008 and would have gone on to win the AL MVP award had the injury not happened.
Quentin’s injury wasn’t the only injury as the team also lost Joe Crede, Jose Contreras, Scott Linebrink to season-ending injuries in the second half of the season. Crede was one of the best defensive third basemen in the league and hit 17 home runs through 97 games before a recurring back injury ended his season. Linebrink was the team’s setup man and one of the best relievers in 08 with a 3.69 ERA. Contreras ruptured his Achilles Tendon on August 9th, the team lost a reliable starter and finished the season with a four-man starting rotation. By the time the playoffs began, Chicago’s starting rotation was almost a three-man rotation as the team was eliminated in four games by the Tampa Bay Rays in the American League Divisional Series.
Fast forward to the present day, where the White Sox organization had been rebuilding since the end of the 2016 season. The team had acquired a large number of top prospects including, Yoan Moncada, Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez, Luis Robert, Eloy Jimenez, Michael Kopech, and Dylan Cease. A majority of their prospects were expected to be ready to contribute this year, which is why general manager Rick Hahn added prominent free agents during the offseason. Hahn added All-Star veterans including, catcher Yasmani Grandal, pitcher Dallas Keuchel, and Edwin Encarnacion.
There is a good chance that the team may not play a single game this year due to the pandemic. Furthermore, there is a good chance that there is no season in 2021 with a potential work stoppage that is expected to be a significant one. White Sox fans may not be able to see the competitive team that they have been longing for until 2022.
Unfortunately, the White Sox have had misfortunes arise whenever it seems they are on the verge of winning a championship or at least competing for one. Whether it’s postponements, injuries, or work stoppages, it appears that the team simply can’t catch a break. If and when White Sox baseball begins again, there is no telling what might happen next for the team.