CHICAGO—I debated what to write about for my final game day column of 2020, in my first-ever season covering the White Sox, a team I grew up adoring more than most everything else in my life.
I looked back at old columns to see where I could continue my bit of calling out my own bad takes, like when I wrote about how José Abreu's on-field value had diminished (lmao).
I thought about some end-of-the-season storylines, like the bats going cold over the last week-and-a-half, or who should be the Game 3 starter, or if Ricky Renteria is the right manager for the job, OR my personal favorite, the emergence of Garrett Crochet.
I could write an entire column about my working theory that Garrett Crochet isn't human, but a perfectly designed robot ... or alien ... who was dropped on Earth to eviscerate opposing hitters with a fastball that sits at 100 mph, with a 92 mph changeup. It's gotten to the point where I'm slightly disappointed when Crochet's fastball doesn't speed to the plate FASTER THAN 100 mph, as he's shown he can repeatedly do. Very few were expecting Crochet to have an impact in 2020, but oh boy he might just end up being the most important piece of a sustained playoff run.
I could keep going about Crochet, but what I really want to say is thank you.
Thank you to Brett Ballantini, our fearless leader at South Side Hit Pen, who I emailed about six months ago, asking if he'd give me a shot writing for the site. I told him I hadn't had a writing platform since my college newspaper days, and just wanted a place to opine about my favorite team. He gave me that shot. I developed a "Conversation with" piece where I got the chance to interview everyone from 670 the Score producer Herb Lawrence, to Birmingham Barons GM Jonathan Nelson, to La Pantera himself.
I had no idea what the opportunity would bring, but I came in wide-eyed, and excited to have a place where I could write and share with a community of people that care about the thing that I care about. After our site's unexpected partnership with Sports Illustrated became a reality, we found out we'd have the opportunity to cover Sox games, like cover-cover them, as in, in person. Brett asked the SSHP team who would be interested, and I immediately volunteered for something like 75% of the games, because, uh, why not?
Had I covered a team since my college days? No. Did I know how to "beat report?" Hell no. Do I know what I'm doing now? NO! Was I going to give it the best damn try I could? Oh, hell yeah.
Am I going to just keep asking myself questions for the rest of this column? No, no this is the last one.
The whole concept of being able to cover White Sox games in any context, let alone in a season like THIS one, is, and will forever be, extremely surreal to me. I've always loved writing, and the White Sox, but if you told me those two things would ever have anything to do with each other, I would have woken up from a dream, and quickly tried to fall back asleep to make it a reality again.
I want to thank Sports Illustrated for giving the site an elevated platform to share our thoughts on a daily basis, and the freedom to present an extraordinarily unique collective voice covering this team.
I want to send a massive thank you to anyone who is reading this now, and has read anything I've written all season long. On the site, on Twitter, or just heard my screams from outside my window about any given topic. I've always said that if even one person takes in something that I create, whether it be a song, a column or a delicious carrot cake (yes, there was a whole summer where I learned how to bake and made what was for my money the best carrot cake ever) than it's all worth it. I know that nowadays there are so many places to read about your favorite thing, or hell, not even read at all, but just turn on your favorite show or movie or whatever ... the fact is you have options. If you ever decided to spend your time reading what I had to say; I appreciate you and I thank you. Sincerely.
Last, and so very much not least, I want to thank my South Side Hit Pen family. You are the "extraordinary unique collective voice" that have made this site into the force that it is today, and will continue to be in the future. I have said it since my first day writing for SSHP, but this is the most diverse, outside the box and innovative group of people covering the White Sox in the entire city and beyond. I look forward to reading all of your pieces every day, and the fact that I can consider many of you friends, even those of you who I haven't had the chance to meet in person (thanks 2020) is truly a spectacular thing.
The White Sox made the playoffs for the first time in 12 years. They might be a quick out, or they might win the whole damn thing.
No matter the result, this has been one of the greatest experiences of my life. And here at SSHP, we're only just getting started.