Well this is a bigger deal. Bringing in Todd Frazier is the type of move that gets the media buzzing a little more, talking a little more about the White Sox. It is also the type of move that hasn't really panned out for the White Sox in recent years, see Dunn, Adam; LaRoche, Adam; Samardjzia, Jeff; Cabrera, Melky (at least through the first half of 2015.) So my enthusiasm is tempered at best. I'm not very reassured looking at Frazier's numbers from last year either, especially his second half, where he pretty much cratered. Not Dunn-type cratering, but a significant decline nonetheless, 10 HR .220/.274/.390.
I'm trying not to build a mental case for hope, but I can't seem to help myself. Not only does Frazier fill a hole at third, but Lawrie over to second helps out with the hole at second base. There is still that strong starting rotation to take into consideration and statistically speaking can Adam LaRoche be THAT bad two years in a row? And keep in mind, this isn't the National League where 90+ wins are needed to break into that wild card. No, last year's AL wild card winners got in with 87 and 86 wins respectively. It still means the White Sox are ten games shy, but things look a little closer now than they did in October. Maybe if I squint...
NO! No! I'm not falling for this type of thing again. We've seen this movie before and it doesn't end well. What's more I heard, again, that the White Sox will never consider a total rebuild. According to the source of Dan Bernstein, they feel if they commit to a total rebuild, the fans will stay away, perhaps for good. The main question I have is: What fans? 2105 was the first year since 2006 that attendance didn't drop from the previous year. While that seems good, for the second year in a row the White Sox were 13 of 15 in the American League and 27 out 30 in all of MLB attendance. There may be a belief that the ceiling is high for the White Sox and fans, but the floor is very much in sight. So a rebuild isn't going to hurt at the gate THAT much more than the poor performances of the last few years has.
If that isn't enough to prove that the White Sox fan base is tuned out, we can look and see how many are tuning in. And that number isn't very good either. According to this piece from ESPN the White Sox had the lowest tv ratings in baseball in 2015, a 29% decrease from 2014. They haven't broken a 2.0 rating since 2012. for some perspective, the Cubs averaged a 3.0 for 2015, or 104,000 homes tuned into cubs games. So if 3.0 is 104,000 what could possibly be the number for an .82 rating? I'm not sure if the math is precise, as in 104 divided by 3 gives us the number for 1 ratings point, which is 34,666. Even so, an .82 rating is going to below that number. In a city and metro area of around 9.7 million that's just kind of sad. Again, what fans is the team afraid of losing at this point?
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I finally got my podcast working the way I'd like, so if you'd like to hear some US History presented in a lively, fun way, check it out! (warning! the first two episodes audio is not good, but by episode three, I got it!) Episode 22 is up! Get Your History On! Oh and you can get it on iTunes too!