White Sox see better days ahead after long losing stretch
Youth will ultimately be served in the case of the Chicago White Sox, and for win-starved fans that destiny could come about much sooner than many of them ever imagined.
After five straight losing seasons and no-bonus baseball in the form of the postseason since 2005’s World Series championship season, the Sox are finally showing signs of resistance to all the drudgery.
"We're going to shoot high, and we'll see where it falls," manager Rick Renteria told the Journal & Courier.
As opening day goes, the Sox were a rousing success, belting out six homers in a 14-7 clubbing of the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium.
Veteran designated hitter Matt Davidson led the charge, becoming just the fourth player in MLB history to hit three home runs on opening day.
That’s quite the bang for a team that finished ahead of just three others last season at 67-95. But all the struggle has done little to diminish the fire or confidence of a team where the average starter was just 26 years old.
Shortstop Tim Anderson, 24, joined the 27-year-old Davidson in the highlight reel with two blasts and elder statesman Jose Abreu, all of 31, connected for the other dinger.
Not to be left out, Yoan Moncada, the team’s 22-year-old second baseman, drove in a pair of runs.
"Special day in anybody's book," Renteria told ESPN. "Just in general, I thought it was a nice start. We fell behind early, and that seemed to not matter to any of the guys."
That’s all part of the vibe you sense around Guaranteed Rate Field, where fans can be assured Renteria’s young, confident and even brash team won't back down from anyone.
Finally, the recent dealing of stars such as former ace Chris Sale and veteran outfielder Adam Eaton doesn’t seem like just giveaways, with Moncada and pitchers Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez and Michael Kopech all coming in those deals.
Later, the youth movement continued when prized outfield prospect Eloy Jimenez was added in the cross-town deal, which sent starter Jose Quintana to the Cubs, and the team also signed Cuban outfielder Luis Robert in May.
In Kansas City, all the puzzle pieces finally looked like they were starting to come together.
"The boys did an unbelievable job hitting today,” starter James Shields told ESPN. "It was amazing to watch. I told them, you don't see that many home runs at Kauffman Stadium this early in the year."
But members of this White Sox group are convinced they are more than just an ordinary squad, and soon they may have the results to prove it.