Denial Gets You Nowhere



Denial. It is a such a strong emotion. It paralyzes people and keeps them from making deep changes when things are going wrong. Rather than facing tough choices because it is painful, many simply remain unhappy or miserable. Things simply don’t improve.


I had stopped writing about the White Sox on my website, but I feel the need to write something now that the Cubs have made it to their first World Series since 1945. I actually have found that the Cubs finally getting to the World Series isn’t all that bad. What is far worse is the state of the denial that exists within my fellow White Sox fans. Being naïve is another emotion that concerns me.


Bitter White Sox fans do not want anyone criticizing their team at the moment. They want to remain hopeful. But the same front office that gave Sox fans seven losing seasons out of the last ten is still in place. It is hard to stay hopeful knowing that. So, fellow Sox fans, are you acting hopeful or are you in denial?


Denial also comes in this form: Many White Sox fans like to think what the Cubs do has no effect on their franchise. My god, how dumb or more politely, how naïve.


Firstly, a new era has started in Chicago baseball history. The times of the lovable or hapless losers are over. Curses don’t exist but now future Cub teams don’t have to be concerned with a legacy of losing. They will be judged solely on their own merits. That reduces pressure and they can concentrate on the present without worrying about 1969, 1984, and 2003. Additionally, the front office will not feel the need to make desperate trades because they need to win. They have won and will continue to win. We Sox fans used to called them laughable, not lovable. No more.


What does this Cubs success mean for the White Sox? By nature, people go with winners. The Cubs already have more fans, and more will support them. The Cubs fan base will become even stronger because people are not going to flock to the South Side to see a team win 75 games a year while Cubs march off to the playoffs season after season.


Unless the White Sox change their ways, the franchise will become totally irrelevant, even in their own city. Not feeling a sense of urgency is just another form of denial. Several things must be done.


The absolute first and most vital thing to is stop making White Sox fans scapegoats. For over 35 years, the Sox front office has bitched and moaned about attendance. Has it helped? Apparently not, if attendance remains a problem. In fact, it worsens things as loyal fans get tired of the insults. The main problem with Sox attendance right now is not the fair-weather fans are not coming out to the games. Many long-time and loyal fans have stopped coming to out. This has not occurred to the entitled-feeling Jerry Reinsdorf. Stop with the denial already.


Secondly, the White Sox front office truly needs to do some soul-searching. Whatever they have been doing hasn’t worked, so stop doing it. One thing the franchise must do is spend money, a great deal of money. Either the club will invest in developing a real farm system or it must spend lavishly for major league free agents. Signing average players and hoping they become superstars hasn’t worked. Refusing to invest on young players hasn’t worked. Refusing to deal with certain player agents hasn’t worked. Blaming fans certainly hasn’t worked. So, stop with the denial and stop doing these things.


I don’t work for the White Sox organization, and so obviously, I have little idea what goes on there on a daily basis. Every powerful person needs at least one individual to tell them they are making mistakes at times. Something tells me that Jerry Reinsdorf has no such individual. Hawk Harreslon, for all his strong opinions, is not such a person. We all need someone to save us from ourselves. We are all capable of making terrible judgements. If there are only yes-men in the White Sox organization, needed change is unlikely to happen. Continued losing probably will happen.


Finally, the franchise should come to a full realization that it is in direct competition with the Cubs. For decades, the Cubs have killed the Sox propaganda-wise. For decades, the Cubs have created a sense of history around their team, mostly with the help of massive efforts of the Tribune Company. In contrast, the White Sox have condemned their own fans and have created an aura of bitterness around their club. So, stop with the denial about this as well.


Sox fans can be green with envy all they want, but they have to face up to hard facts. Hoping the Cubs lose to the Indians or lose next year is an exercise in futility. If their team’s front office doesn’t severely change its ways, the Cubs will completely take over Chicago. Eventually they won’t be able to stay in denial about that.