It’s been a week since Manny Machado denied his destiny to become the superstar White Sox fans have needed for so very long. The spectrum of emotions for fans and Chicago sports personalities alike have ranged from utter disgust to downright confusion. Luckily, those of us used to White Sox shortcomings are prepared for these times. Here’s what you can expect to feel in the next couple weeks, or perhaps even months…hell, if the Padres win the World Series before the White Sox, maybe even years…
STAGE 1: DENIAL
I just can’t believe it. The reports must be incorrect. There’s no way the White Sox, who play their home games in the third largest sports market, got outbid by the Padres, who call San Diego their home and have claim to the 30th-ish largest sports market, surrounded by powerhouses like Indianapolis and Salt Lake City. After all, Kenny said he was confident Machado could’ve made more money with the White Sox deal than the Padres deal. Which is weird, considering, when talking about the Padres offer, Kenny said “we couldn’t go to that level.”
There’s no way an experienced front office could be blindsided by a better offer, right? Isn’t that how the game is played? We offer “x”, San Diego offers “y”, and ’round and ’round we go. That’s why these deals take a million years to make, because teams are just constantly bidding on these superstars left and right like junior stock market traders on the NYSE floor throwing paper around like it’s 1985. Right, Kenny? “I’m wearing my shades so that you guys don’t see the shock in my eyes.” ….Oh.
Well now I’m very confused. If the Sox were willing to go higher in bonuses and incentives, why not at least meet the Padres’ offer of $300 million guaranteed? Especially considering Uncle Kenny was so confident that Machado would’ve reached that performance plateau.
STAGE 2: ANGER
I’ve had it with this group. We have an owner that won’t sign off on guaranteed money, we have a team president that only shows up when it’s time to belittle the GM, and we have a GM that can’t do his job either because he’s not allowed to or because he’s not really the GM.
First, you give the Padres Tatis Jr. before he even plays a game in the Sox organization to get Big Game James in black pinstripes so Kenny can have another old toy to watch on the field his 2005 White Sox built (yeah, Rick, you are a jackass for that one). Now you lose out on Manny Machado to the same organization. An organization that plays in a city that doesn’t know what sports are. This is like losing to your kid in H-O-R-S-E then challenging him or her to an actual pickup game and losing that contest as well.
STAGE 3: BARGAINING
Alright, well…maybe we can get Bryce. Or maybe Arenado will test free agency and give the Sox another shot. Mike Trout is a free agent sometime soon, right? As long as we get someone, I promise not to become a Padres fan.
I guess there’s no point in investing in season tickets yet. What is this rebuild even worth if we’re not going to get top free agents? Maybe we can start a support group with Bulls fans considering both franchises have a dark cloud over their organization when it comes to free agency. Maybe Uncle Jerry could foot the bill for that collection of sad fans, but that might be asking too much.
STAGE 4: DEPRESSION
I can’t read the news anymore. Look how happy Machado is, standing there next to John Smoltz talking about how he’s looking forward to helping Tatis. The question was asked with sincerity but I can’t help feeling like it was another twist of the knife. Plus, navy blue doesn’t even look that great on him. He would look so much better in black and white.
I guess that settles it. The White Sox will never sign a big name free agent. Signing Albert Belle has left a bad taste in Jerry’s mouth and he’ll never do that again. As a fan, I feel like a helpless little doe who is led to the stream only to be swallowed whole by an anaconda. I don’t know if anacondas and deer live in the same place, but it doesn’t matter. Baseball is cancelled.
STAGE 5: ACCEPTANCE
I’m not here yet. You can’t make me.