In a battle between two baseball franchises, one of which is pretty irrelevant (Rangers), and the other one is wholly irrelevant (Giants) to the White Sox, selecting a favorite comes down to a bunch of spotty, tangential arguments.
Somehow, a clear winner emerges.
The strongest spotty tangential argument could be made for the Giants
over the Rangers in the former player category. The Giants boast former
White Sox ’05ers Juan Uribe and Aaron Rowand, and former farmhand
Javier Lopez….the guy we wound up trading for David Riske in
’06….uh….perhaps just forget about Lopez for now. The Texas Rangers
have absolutely no one to direct our fondness toward, unless you just want to
assume that Darren Oliver is so old that he probably played for the
White Sox before anyone (including baseballreference.com) remembers.
The best part about Rowand and Uribe is that there’s pretty much no ill
will whatsoever….it’s not exactly like watching some team based around
Jose Canseco, Albert Belle, and Wil Codero drag its way to the promised
land. They were good guys who left semi-amicably.
Uribe was allowed to walk after ’08 saw his 3rd-consecutive
extremely poor offensive season, and went through a blissful career
turnaround in San Fran that may not have occurred otherwise, while
Rowand was dealt for 3 1/2 pretty productive Jim Thome seasons, and is
now part of the Giants’ mission to win the World Series with 4 out of
their 5 highest-paid players being fringe contributors, if not
Generally, I think arguing that one professional baseball franchise’s
fanbase is better or worse than another is asinine, but that friggin
Texas Rangers fan who sat in front of me in the bleachers on June 3rd
dressed in a cap, personalized jersey, and a team wristband giving
rousing standing ovations to every White Sox groundout while his own
family shot him “what the hell has gotten into you?” glances, well, he
stood out to me. Some people go to road games to zealously cheer on
their favorite team, some people go to road games of their chief rival
and shamelessly root for the home team to lose, and some people try to
provoke violent outbursts as a way of synthesizing something resembling
human interaction. I don’t really know what category this guy fell in,
but he was a tool.
Finally, the Rangers are owned by a group headlined by Nolan Ryan. Nolan Ryan.
Nolan is one of the best pitchers ever, a legend, an ambassador for the game.
And he beat up my favorite baseball player of all-time.
Robin Ventura was possibly the greatest defenders the White Sox have had in decades, a clutch power hitter, and one of the most likable and dedicated to winning players the franchise ever had.
But the enduring image of his career? Getting noogied by the Texas Express. Not one of his 18 grand slams, not his walk-off grand slam single in the 1999 NLCS, not his hilariously slow-moving inside-the-park home run near the end of his career with the Dodgers.
No. Robin got brushed back by and old and krinkly Ryan, rightly took umbrage and rushed the mound, had a “Oh crap, I’m about to punch a really old baseball legend” moment of pause, only to be man-handled in his moment of hesitation, and immortalized as a loser. Sure, it was friggin hilarious, but it was Robin. ROBIN!
Do you know what it’s like to see your childhood idol stuck in the headlock of a 46-year old man…..it’s not good, I tell ya!
Have I recovered?