SoxFest begins tomorrow night and I saw the schedule of events. Missing is a marketing panel which has really turned into a Sox fan festivus. During that session, fans got the opportunity to air grievances with the occasional suggestion for making things better as an experience at the ballpark. One of the questions that was asked last year by a fan got me thinking about rooting for the team versus rooting for the players.
The fan asked Brooks Boyer why he should root for Alex Rios when Alex couldn’t even be bothered to show up for SoxFest. If you recall, Rios had an absolutely horrible 2011 and fans were rightly upset with his play. Brooks had the perfect response to the fan: you should root for Rios because he wears the White Sox uniform! And that exchange leads me to thinking about what exactly as fans are we rooting for?
A lot of times when we become fans of a team, it might be due to a particular player. Jen, who writes on this site is an example of someone who became a Sox fan because she was following a player. A friend’s brother became a fan because he liked the team colors and I became a fan because I just started watching the team and enjoyed their play compared to other teams I saw. All of us are White Sox fans rooting for that team. Hopefully, the players on the team follow, but sometimes it gets really hard to do.
Back to last year’s question at Festivus. That question made me wonder what is the proper answer to who you root for. Is it the player? Is it the team as a whole. Is a player name on the back of the jersey more important than the team name all over the jersey? Not an easy question when you consider that baseball is an individual game that is very well masked as a team sport? Sure, some will say that is an easy question to answer. Of course the team name is most important, but if you say that, aren’t you telling people who they should root for? Is that really proper?
We can do both (at least I would hope we do both) but when you have to do it for those players who are automatic outs every time they come to bat *coughBaconcoughMissilecoughFlowerscough* it can get really hard to do. If you have watched the Sox the past few years, you know there are some players that just make it hard to not boo and hate them for the lack of production. While last season’s production of a few key guys was amazing, there is no assurance it will happen again this season. Though in reality, it is too early to really try and figure out what might happen this coming season.
There will be plenty of time for that, but for now we can and should all agree at this point, White Sox is the most important thing on the jerseys and not individual player names. Even if there is a guy we despise at the moment, he should still get some applause from us since he is wearing the Sox logo. If you will be at SoxFest this weekend, come say hello and if not, be sure to follow me on Twitter for all the happenings there.