The White Sox just swept the Cubs at Wrigley Field for the first time in 13 years. Theyre back to .500 for the season. Despite the dire predictions of just about everyone with a baseball column, radio show or Twitter account, theyre actually in the A.L. Central race (2.5 games behind Cleveland, a half game ahead of Detroit).
Adam Dunn is back. So is Jake Peavy and Alex Rios. A.J. Pierzynski is having a career-season. Gordon Beckham has started to hit. Dayan Viciedo is crushing the ball, and did so in the pressure-packed clean-up spot over the weekend. Alejandro De Aza has been the perfect lead-off hitter to open a game. Addison Reed looks like the right guy to close them.
And Tuesday night when the White Sox return to the South Side, Paul Konerko is expected back in the lineup after taking a baseball to the face. The Captain can see, but when he takes the field, the next question is this:
Will he see you?
Something has been missing from home White Sox games this season.
Where have you been?
Definitely not at U.S. Cellular Field. It's been a ghost town for the first quarter of the season, with an average attendance of just 20,295, fourth lowest in the majors; ahead of only Seattle, Oakland, and Cleveland.
The White Sox have had a show-me fan base for years, and theres nothing wrong with that. If youre willing to pay the money to watch the team play, you deserve a good product on the field. The failure of 2011 created a ton of wounds to the moral of White Sox fans, and it hit the front office right between the eyes to the tune of 32 million being slashed from the payroll.
Throw in the putrid weather this spring, and the Sox 7-12 record at home (worst in the American League), and you probably made the right decision to stay away.
This summer might be a different story.
Things are happening with this White Sox team. Little things like stealing bases, throwing out runners, hitting cut-off men. And big things too -- Philip Humber throwing a perfect game, Peavy pitching like a Cy Young candidate, Dunn hitting baseballs to Mars.
And the best part: they havent even gotten hot yet. This could be the start.
We havent really clicked on all cylinders by any means, said Peavy, whos now 5-1 with a 2.39 ERA. We are starting to pitch well, watching Johnny (Danks) get back to doing what hes doing, Phil (Humber) bouncing back and having some good starts here. If they can keep going on the right track with the guys swinging the bats the way they have the last few days, we should be able to play a little more consistently.
Playing inside a noisy ballpark like Wrigley Field seemed to help. The White Sox fed off that energy and put on a show.
Its always fun to beat the Cubs, Peavy said. It was a great atmosphere. We had a good showing over here at Wrigley with the Sox fans wearing black. It was a lot of fun.
Tuesday the last-place Twins come to town. Why not kick them when theyre down? Then its the first-place Indians for a three-game series this weekend. Ive checked the weather forecast. High are expected in the 70s and 80s all week with little or no rain.
The White Sox seem poised to make a move.