I went to the Chicago White Sox game last night, and it was not a good night for the Southsiders.
Tim Anderson made two crucial errors and the Minnesota Twins pounced on them and went 5 runs up early and never looked back, eventually winning 8-2.
I had fun though. It was a good time at the old ballpark. But why bring this up in an article about the Chicago Fire?
There’s a lot of similarities where the White Sox and the Fire are concerned. They both have a lot of talent on their respective rosters. Tim Anderson and Yoan Moncada are just as fun to watch as Aleksander Katai and Nico Gaitán. They both have exciting dynamic moments and
The teams both play well and are extremely inconsistent in terms of results. Comparing the winning percentage isn’t exactly apples to apples, as soccer has ties which generally lowers it, however, they’re both floating around slightly below average. The Sox are hovering around 45%, where the Fire are at 30% with ties, and ignoring the ties, they’re around 40%. The two teams are in the same area.
However, going to and watching the White Sox feels better than going to and watching the Fire. That’s because, I think, the White Sox have a plan, and the Fire do not.
The Sox are now coming off a long period of poor performance on purpose. They spent the last couple of years in the basement, stockpiling draft picks and young talent in the minor leagues. This is the first year where they’re starting to bear fruit. They find themselves in third place in the AL Central, and as I said above, chasing .500 for the first time in years. All of this because of a carefully laid out play by General Manager Rick Hahn and the rest of the front office.
Whether it eventually works or not, they’ve been clear and upfront about what they’re doing. They’ve been transparent throughout this process, and you know exactly what you’re watching, and you know what to watch for.
The Fire, meanwhile, have done the complete opposite. Ever since Nelson Rodriguez has been in charge, and even before then, the Fire have had massive roster changes for seemingly no reason. NRod and co. are always tinkering; always looking to solve the problems of right now. They’re looking to spike a season instead of trying to find sustained success. It’s as if they think that it’s okay to have a year like 2017, and then fall back down to mediocrity.
Not only have the front office not been transparent with their fanbase, they’ve ether not been good at keeping their promises, the nice way at reading the situation. Or downright lied to their fans, the cynical way of reading it. They say that they care about winning and putting out the best team they can, but they go into the season with no fullbacks and no indication that they even think that it’s a problem.
They make strange roster moves that make hardly any sense. And then after they figure out they did a dumb thing, paint over the mistake by bringing in a similar player. I am of course talking about the trade of Mo Adams and the acquisition of Michael Azira. Trading away a young promising D-mid only to acquire a player of the same position toward the end of his career is a baffling move that makes little to no sense for the future of the club, and stinks of only thinking about the next five minutes and not the next five years.
The Fire front office are chasing the quick engagement for short term gain; get the fans in the building today and everything else is future Chicago Fire’s problem. The White Sox, on the other hand, have given their fanbase a roadmap, and have guided them step by step through the process, keeping their fans engaged even with the understanding the team is going to be bad.
I know which I prefer.