Hey now, are there really no White Sox worthy of being an all-star?

Early returns confirm that the White Sox do not exist, as we have suspected for some time now.

Among the 80 American League players included on the first listing for the Major League Baseball All-Star Game, none, as in not one, is a South Sider. This is just Phase One, and five votes a day are allowed, so anything is improbable.

By the time the game is played in Texas next month, a swell of support for Luis Robert Jr. or Andrew Vaughn may yet emerge, thrusting each into visibility, provided one scrolls down and squints.

A Phase Two will follow a Phase One, this to determine the starting lineups, and only one vote a day will be allowed, but that is a bridge neither the Sox nor the Cubs are likely to cross.

Five Cubs get mentioned on the National League list but none higher than Cody Bellinger, a comfortable eighth among outfielders, just ahead of Heliot Ramos of the Giants, who, let’s be fair, is having a pretty good year.

I notice for reasons I am only bothering to guess at the All-Star Game has some connection to submarines. That’s right, real submarines, not the quirky pitch some pitchers throw but actual underwater boats, the kind in the Navy.

It seems the Navy needs welders or other assorted submarine skills, and where better to find them than in a baseball audience? Makes as much sense as the designated hitter.

Clearly the all-star honor is not what it once was, nor is baseball itself for that matter, and the passing of a legend like Willie Mays dredges up memories among a generation that is not what it once was either.

In my own case, as a Little League newbie with an attachment to the Cleveland Indians (rest happily Chief Wahoo) and as part of a select audience allowed to gather in the school lunchroom to watch the World Series on a 16-inch black-and-white Philco, pain is refreshed remembering Mays’ catch of Vic Wertz’ long fly. So, Mays, yeah, you old heart breaker, I remember you.

But back to all-star validation. Whether it is baseball or any other sport, it still matters to those picked and to those ignored, to the fans, too, I suppose, although Sox fans are doing a pretty good job of ignoring their team without a ballot.

I notice the websites of both the Sox and Cubs feature prominently clickable all-star voting, with easy access to the online ballot. Featured is the advice to vote now and vote often. Vote often?

Yes. It is possible to vote five times a day. You are encouraged to stuff the ballot box. And that is if you know nothing about computers. This is quite an improvement over the old stuffing methods when you had to actually go to the park and meticulously punch out those chads.

Chicago White Sox' Andrew Vaughn watches his single against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the third inning of a baseball game Saturday, June 15, 2024, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) AP

How does a team get too dull to be noticed? Start by blowing late-inning leads, as predictable as hanging heads in the dugout, less energy required than looking in the mirror. By being lethargic, meaning not caring more than simple laziness.

What all this has to do with the Sox relates back to Jerry Reinsdorf, as most things do. He still cares, I am convinced, but not enough, his energy echoed in every Sox outfielder who can’t be bothered to come in on a flyball.

Nothing will be done because nothing can be done. It is simply not fixable. The manager is immaterial, the general manager is building his resume out of used tissue, the team … well, I guess the team is in Birmingham or some lower league.

Tomorrow for the Sox may be somewhere else, even just up the way, in which case the new team shirts would say South Loopers, I suppose.

Not one player out of the 80 revealed? Excluding pitchers, always wise when considering the White Sox, that is 10 whole baseball teams, two divisions.

If public opinion were all that counted, the Sox would not be entitled to belong to the American League Central, which needs them. Without the Sox, the division would not have anything to stand on.

Losing is easy; being ignored takes effort.

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