Rozner: Many White Sox fans disgusted by players handling of LaRoche saga

  • By most indications, Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Chris Sale didn't win much fan support in his angry reaction to Adam LaRoche's retirement last week.

    By most indications, Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Chris Sale didn't win much fan support in his angry reaction to Adam LaRoche's retirement last week.

 
 
Updated 3/22/2016 6:02 AM

And now, the fallout.

The result of Adam LaRoche dragging his teammates into a situation that was considerably above their pay grade is Chicago White Sox fans are, for the most part, disgusted by the actions of a few naive players.

 

Based on the reaction I've received from columns, not to mention TV and radio shows, it's running about 98 percent against the actions of LaRoche, Adam Eaton and Chris Sale.

South Sider Michael summed up the thoughts of many when he offered this email Monday that sang a familiar tune.

"As a lifelong Sox fan, I am angry and humiliated by this whole idiotic story," Michael wrote. "I don't know why this story has upset me like it has, but watching and trying to support such horrific baseball over the last several years has been difficult. Maybe that is why.

"Learning that my team cares more about sideshow nonsense instead of winning baseball games incenses me. Knowing that I am not alone is helpful."

Michael is far from alone.

But the shame of it is GM Rick Hahn had a productive winter.

After a dreadful season in which very little went right, Hahn -- as always -- had to be creative on a limited budget, and he went about adding to a team that underachieved after being a popular pick to at least compete for a playoff spot in 2015.

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Hahn rebuilt a terrible infield, adding Todd Frazier at third, Jimmy Rollins at short and Brett Lawrie at second, while keeping Tyler Saladino available should Rollins struggle, and Saladino is crushing the ball in Arizona.

The Sox added Austin Jackson to the outfield to get Eaton out of center as often as possible, and as insurance against another bad season from Eaton, Melky Cabrera or Avy Garcia.

Hahn brought in two new catchers in Alex Avila and Dioner Navarro, and signed starter Mat Latos, who will help the rotation if he can stay healthy.

White Sox Nation was feeling relatively good about the winter and the spring, taking note of the rest of the division as well.

It's been 16 years since a team won back-to-back World Series, after the Yankees' three-peat in 2000 ended with the incredible Arizona comeback in 2001.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

So if you were thinking the Royals had a better chance of missing the playoffs than winning the World Series in 2016, you might be right. The Royals will be good again, but after two straight years of playing into late October/early November, you would expect some regression.

The Twins are young and fun, but their pitching is a serious question and they're probably a year away.

The Indians have terrific pitching, but the lineup does not inspire. Cleveland will be a popular pick, but it's difficult to see at the moment.

That leaves the Tigers and Sox.

Detroit also had a solid winter, bringing in starter Jordan Zimmerman, closer Francisco Rodriguez and signing outfielder Justin Upton in late January. Did the Tigers do enough? Much depends on the health of Justin Verlander, Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez.

But with the way the Sox have hit this spring, Sox fans were getting to a point where they could envision a team that might hang around this year. Maybe even better than that.

And then LaRoche happened, overshadowing a solid camp and reason for optimism.

Now the struggle for fans is whether to care about a team with a few foolish players who completely lack perspective, who don't seem to understand that the team was utterly unwatchable last year and needs to focus on how to play decent, fundamental baseball in 2016.

As bad as Eaton was in 2015, he ought to be thinking of nothing else.

Sale is among the very best in the game, but he did himself no favors with the fan base after his display last week.

Players like Sale and Eaton now have to work to do selling the product again, getting Sox fans to remember that baseball can be great and that players actually know how to play and care about the upcoming season.

That work begins immediately.

brozner@dailyherald.com

• Listen to Barry Rozner from 9 a.m. to noon Sundays on the Score's "Hit and Run" show at WSCR 670-AM.

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