By Ryan Bukowiecki (@ryanbski)
It turns out the wait was not worth it, not for the Chicago White Sox or the Sox’s increasingly disillusioned fans.
After an interminable period wondering if the Sox could compete for the (somewhat?) highly sought-after services of the top MLB free agents of this off-season, the South Siders seemed to be the last team standing in the bidding for all-star third baseman Manny Machado, who along with center fielder Bryce Harper were expected to garner the richest contracts in this dull, extended hot stove period.
As it turned out, Machado would get what could now be considered the richest contract ever for a free agent in North American sports — $300 million dollars for 10 years.
Now ask yourself, without knowing anything else, what would be the odds that the White Sox, who are still owned by Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf, would be the franchise to provide that contract?
If you said “freakin’ zero” you are very much correct.
The San Diego Padres made the offer and they got Machado, to the ultimate dismay of a Sox fan base that was expecting a franchise-changing signing, in particular this franchise-changing signing, which would have filled a defensive position of need, gave the club the kind of top-line bat they’ve yet to produce for themselves in this current rebuild and signal to the rest of baseball that the South Side of Chicago is as much of a destination point for top-flight talent and potential winners as the North Side currently is.
In the face of all that, a complete spewing of vile defined the interactions on Twitter between all members of #Soxtwitter and those who’d otherwise like to torment them, which made this a happy day for #Cubstwitter amidst the apology tour that has amounted to their first week in Spring Training.
Much of that vile can be seen below. And while it shouldn’t be forgotten that the Sox still have a to-this-point successful rebuilding process that they are undergoing, with the potential revelation of Eloy Jimenez invading the Majors to come this Summer, they still took a big “L” in this one, one that could protect Wrigley Field from a thunderstorm if it flew from that stadium’s scoreboard.
And what has to hurt — cause just taking Ls is something that Sox fans are used to — is that this one really was the Sox’s doing unto themselves. A little more aggression, or savvy or simply being less thrifty simply could have gotten this team their guy and could have been the siren call to a truly new period in the Sox’s long, mostly overlooked history.
Once again, the Sox are not making the history but are simply observers of it. That’s worth a few mean tweets.
Ryan Bukowiecki covers the Chicago Bears and professional football for WARR