Disappointing end ruined a good Sox season
White Sox reliever Nate Jones was one of the pleasant surprises during the season, along with the comeback performances of Alex Rio, Jake Peavy and others..
Q. Now that it's all over for the White Sox, how do you assess 2012?
A. I know I touched on it a bit during last week's column, but I think the season can be best described as a solid disappointment, which I know is not a groundbreaking thought.
That is to say I don't believe every season is truly disappointing.
Some years it's expected you shouldn't expect much from your team. Had I been told in March (and I was) that the Sox would fall short of the playoffs, I, like most others, wouldn't have been surprised. So, had the year played out from start to finish in an uncompetitive manner, the disappointment would've been minimal, if existent at all.
However, 2012 did not evolve like that. For well over 100 days of the season, the Sox were at the top of the division. And when a team makes you a believer (being in first place for two-thirds of the summer should make you one, by the way), you get used to the idea that there will be playoff baseball.
When that doesn't happen, the disappointment sets in.
In that regard, this year was as disappointing of a Sox season as there has been in some time. Even the 90-win season of 2006 didn't reach the same level of frustration for me for two reasons, really:
1) That team was never in first place beyond May 20th.
2) The Twins and Tigers won 96 and 95 games, respectively. Tip your cap to them.
But this year, the AL Central was theirs for the taking. The Sox were in first until Sept. 26 and they were 3 games up on Sept. 18. That's a good position.
Yet, they let it get away from them when they really didn't need to do anything extraordinary to hang on. Hence, the disappointment.
That's not to say, though, there was nothing to enjoy this summer. The White Sox played exciting baseball for most of the year and were resilient when faced with a single devastating loss or rough stretch of games.
And there were some individuals that were a pleasure to watch: Alex Rios, Chris Sale, Jake Peavy, and Nate Jones being at the top of that group.
It's possible to enjoy most of an experience, yet be unhappy with the ending knowing there could've been so much more.
That's the 2012 White Sox.
Q. What happens next season? Who comes back and who doesn't?
A. At this point, it's difficult to know for sure who will be back in 2013.
Any decisions will begin with next year's budget and what they project they'll be able to spend. That, of course, will be directly affected by the number of folks they project they'll have in the seats. That I do not know.
The two things I'm almost certain about: Peavy and Kevin Youkilis will not have their options picked up, though I don't believe that means they're definitely headed elsewhere. I think both would want to return as long as the Sox were willing to work out longer term deals.
Q. What's your offseason going to be like?
A. I'll continue to host "White Sox Weekly" every Saturday, and I'll watch all of the postseason. I'll also be trying to figure out the absurdity of having the team with the best record play its first two games on the road in a 5-game playoff series. Genius.
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