I Hope This Column Finds You Well

Janice Scurio

I've made it a point to never write the phrase "I hope this email finds you well" in correspondence, as I find it to be a tired attempt at cordiality. Historically, I've always been a get-to-the-point kind of person, I appreciate directness in most cases, as the sooner I can get something done, the better! 

And while a lot of people have been conditioned to equate productivity with worth, the push towards productivity in the pandemic world often means feeling like a hamster in a wheel, working hard yet going nowhere, so we cope with saying things like "please ask any follow-up questions," or my favorite, signing off with something like "warm regards."

But I get it. It's a strange and confusing world out there, and if a little seven-word phrase is how most people express that they care about the well-being of others, who am I to judge that?  

That being said, I hope this column finds you well. 

I hope this isn't the case, but this may very well be my last pregame column of the year, as the Oakland A's forced the White Sox to a Game 3 to be played this afternoon, and much to my dismay, during the workday. 

When I saw the postseason schedule last week, my lizard-brain reaction was to complain about how the 2 p.m. start time was an inconvenience to me, and this just is a mere 60-ish days after I was at peace with the idea of there being no baseball season at all. How rude of MLB executives to not check in with me, the important everyday baseball watcher!

What's the real inconvenience here, though? 

Being a remote worker, I now stare at screens for maybe 90% of my day, and while that's just the dystopian reality of the world we live in, it's also a position of privilege. It's privileged to be able to be distracted by baseball, and the fact that we're seeing this White Sox team in the postseason, playing with house money when preseason predictions expected them to fall at a flat .500, is a privilege in itself. 

And maybe in different times, we'd celebrate together, but that just can't happen right now. And there's no other community I'd want to celebrate with more.

We still don't know who's pitching: wait, yes, we do!

It could be you! It could be me. Actually, wait, it shouldn't be me, as I'm a finesse lefty with barely any velocity, who relies on location and late movement. Given Dallas Keuchel's performance yesterday, Oakland hitters would jump on my sorry excuse for a fastball and launch it to the Oakland Coliseum BART station.

In his pregame media session today, Ricky Renteria said that after careful consideration by his staff, Dane Dunning gets the call, mitigating the rookie's responsibility by continually pointing out that it's an "all hands on deck" elimination game. 

Dunning's first few outings this year have been generally solid. Considering he had never pitched above Double-A before making his major league debut this year, he was especially effective in August, making minimal mistakes but still keeping the White Sox in the game. 

He's eaten innings in this short season, including a seven-inning effort on September 15, where he limited the Minnesota Twins to just one earned run. The other side of the coin comes when he loses his ability to throw strikes. His last start vs. the Cubs was rather lackluster, where he gave up four earned runs in three innings, also walking three. 

Dunning may have hit a brick wall in this short season, but the stuff is still there. If he's able to hold down one strong inning, try stretching him to two. 

Renteria said in yesterday's postgame conference that Codi Heuer will be available today—pretty much everyone is available, from what we gather. Without knowing anything about Oakland's lineup yet, I would go with Dunning-Matt Foster-Garrett Crochet-Heuer, and Alex Colomé, if needed.

Some last words

Regardless of what happens today, I am forever thankful for the White Sox community for reading and listening to me pontificate upon this team. It's also been the utmost honor to work with a diverse, talented team of writers and analysts, as like the White Sox, we're trying to change the game as well. 

And thanks to Sports Illustrated for giving us a platform and allowing a larger audience to hear all of our voices, and hear them loudly. I'll remember this year for the rest of my life, having witnessed live baseball, namely Lucas Giolito's no-hitter, and four back-to-back-to-back home runs, three by Cuban-born players.

This is my first year covering the team, and this is after years and years of telling myself that I wasn't good enough to write, that I'd be writing for an echo chamber, and finally the biggest lie I told myself, that I had nothing unique or special to add to the conversation. 

It took this community of fine writers (and shout out to not just the White Sox community, but the greater baseball community) to show me that isn't true at all.

And if you're reading this, and have had the same doubts I once had, let me be the first to say that we need your voice. And if not you, then who?

Let's go White Sox.

THANKS FOR READING SOUTH SIDE HIT PEN
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