As White Sox fans watch the 2021 World Series they cannot help but wonder, what if? What if it was the Southsiders playing for the crown? What if the Sox won another world championship and had another parade in Chicago? While many believe the Sox have a championship window that is just opening and should compete at the highest level for years to come, some continue to deny the White Sox a proverbial, “seat at the table”. While some view this as factual and truthful, those who watch the Sox day in and day out know, there is something special brewing on the city’s southside. While players like Luis Robert and Eloy Jimenez are just getting started, some have been with the team since the start of the rebuild and even before.
How it started
Tim Anderson debuted for the Sox in June of 2016 and has been a mainstay in their lineup since. Tim played in 99 games in 2016 and never looked back. While 2016 saw Anderson put up a .283 / .306 / .432 slash line, Tim has gotten progressively better since. While his numbers in 2017 and 2018 did slip, those who were watching, saw Tim growing. Defensive growth saw its biggest jump from 2019 to 2020 going from -12 defensive runs saved to three defensive runs saved in 2020. For years with Javier Baez on the northside, people would consistently claim Anderson was the second-best shortstop in Chicago.
While the first three years of Anderson’s tenure on the Southside may have supported that claim, since the 2019 season, it was decidedly false. Given Baez made his debut in 2014, and was allowed three years to develop prior to Tim showing up on the Southside, I would venture to begin the comparison in 2019. Using this theory, Tim has been the better player and it’s really not close. Enough about Baez, this is Tim Anderson‘s city. Especially with Baez being traded to the New York Mets.
How its Going
Tim Anderson led the White Sox in 2021 and I am not speaking statistically. While many would say Jose Abreu is the leader of this squad and I would not make a fuss about such a claim, this team follows him. You can have more than one leader on a team and this team undoubtedly has at least two. If you watched Chicago play down the stretch of the regular season without Anderson for some time dealing with tired and sore legs, you saw what I am talking about. Chicago looked flat and at times, disinterested. Anderson being their leadoff hitter, got them started all year long, and when he swung early in the counts, he was a really tough out. TA7 hit .383 when swinging at the first pitch of an at-bat while hitting a whopping .529 in 1-0 counts. While all of the numbers look good what Anderson means to the White Sox is much more. It is everything.
As Anderson goes, the White Sox go. The mantra #Changethegame was created by Anderson and the Sox hope to do just that in 2022. It is time major league baseball gives the White Sox and Tim Anderson the credit they are due. Changing the game means making the game fun and thus more appealing to younger fans who want to love baseball but the old hats that are still in the game including White Sox manager Tony La Russa are making it difficult. Tim has this team on the verge of big things including a World Series Championship and seems to be truly enjoying the journey. From bat flips to handshakes, the Sox are a fun watch. While they need to do more to get themselves into late postseason play, baseball should embrace the young guns and the initiative they are taking to make the game fun. Tim is the leader of this movement and could and should be what Joe Buck says he should be ” The face of Major League Baseball”.
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