The closing section of the South Side Hit Pen Podcast 3, dealing with possible White Sox slogans for 2020, indicated it’s time to grab the bull by the horns, or patties, and get that job done. No matter how good or bad a team is, no matter how big its offseason failures or successes, it needs some words to fill up its promo time, and promo time is just about here.
I looked up ideas on the web and found long lists of past baseball team slogans on sites from mlb.com to ESPN, and I have to say: They were all pretty dumb. We need to come up with something truly new. It won’t do just to save money by cutting the final word off last year’s slogan and going with “Ricky’s boys don’t,” especially that now, with the signing of Yasmani Grandal and Dallas Keuchel, it should probably be “Ricky’s boys might.”
Of course, the most common catchphrase for baseball teams, though an unintended one, is “wait ’til next year!” This could be the basis for the White Sox slogan of the decade:
In five years, we’re gonna be great.
This had the advantage that, under current ownership and management, it could be used year after year. However, with at least an attempt at improvement for next season that may no longer be applicable, so there are a few more suggestions for them to to consider.
It being the holidays, given that the Sox have an owner who, on Opening Day Eve, is visited by the ghosts of seasons past, present and future, it might be appropriate to begin with:
Scrooge wasn’t the only miser to have an epiphany.
That has a broad pop culture impact, but for a more esoteric take, there’s:
Thank goodness for Article 3, Section 1.
Most of you immediately recognized this as a reference to the part of the U.S. Constitution which, among other things, gives lifetime tenure to federal judges and White Sox owners, executives and pitching coaches. It was an act of tremendous foresight on the part of the Founding Fathers, since not only hadn’t the White Sox been invented yet, baseball hadn’t, either. This catchphrase would be particularly good as a sales pitch to Constitutional originalists.
If a tie to the team’s home is desired, there’s the proud:
Our whiffs give the Windy City its name.
This slogan not only connects to Chicago, it gives a very good description of the Sox offense. And it could be teamed with a balancing slogan:
Why walk all the way to first when you can just stroll back to the dugout?
This is especially appropriate because the White Sox made the recent trade for Nomar Mazara, who, with 28 walks and 108 Ks last year, falls just short of a 4-to-1 K/BB ratio, which is darn near his new team’s major-league-leading-by-far ratio of worse than 4-to-1. Thus, the tradition is sure to continue.
Still, while reaction to the Keuchel acquisition may be a case of irrational exuberance, it does bode well, so we may need a more hopeful saying, even for the offense, which wasn’t all that bad last year, except for that pesky K/BB thing:
When we’ve guaranteed an extra year of control over the new guys, we’ll score more runs.
Of course, you can’t just have slogans for the offense. The defense deserves its publicity as well. Since the Sox only had three regulars with positive defensive ratings last season (UZR, RDRS, dWAR, you name it) and they dumped Golden Glover Yolmer Sánchez and will be relegating Adam Engel and James McCann to part time, if that, while bringing in the stone-handed Mazara, there’s:
We may not be able to catch the ball, but we can’t throw it, either.
Of course, Luis Robert and Mick Madrigal are supposed to be defensively adept, so there’s the hopeful:
Eventually we’ll have two guys who can catch the ball. Honest.
Of course, the hideousness of the Sox defense could be cleverly turned into a sales advantage with:
We’re unwatchable in the field, so you have plenty of time to hit the concession stands.
Speaking of the concessions, how about a tribute:
We can’t play very well, but we really know how to cook.
Not that all is worse on the defensive side, given Robert and Madrigal and the fact newcomer Grandal has an excellent record at framing, the art which has become the be-all-and-end-all of the catching trade ever since being discovered at the end of the dinosaur age of maybe five years ago, up until which “framing” was what you considered doing to your youngster’s pre-school fingerpainting. That gives us:
Just peer real hard at the framing if you can, and you won’t notice the other guys.
Let us not forget to honor the starting pitching, the most improved area so far this offseason. It looked for a while as if, with only one starter who could be considered a proven major leaguer, the Sox couldn’t emulate the old Milwaukee Braves saying of “Spahn and Sain and a day of rain,” but they could come close:
Giolito to throw, then four days of snow.
Now, though, with the addition of Keuchel and Gio González, it shouldn’t be so miserable as we wait to see if Reynaldo López, Dylan Cease and Michael Kopech can ever become viable starters, so there’s the lengthy, but catchy:
Now, with a Dallas and two guys named Gio,
we’ve got a well-established trio,
and hope opponents won’t all hit for the cycle
against Reylo, Dylan and Michael.
All told, though, there’s an excellent chance the White Sox will at least achieve mediocrity, maybe even be good compared to the rest of the pathetic AL Central. That pathetic-ness, and its importance, is evident when you consider that in 2019 the Sox went 38-37 in the division, but 34-52 outside it (a 98-loss pace).
Thanks to the division, though, some success is quite possible. The last Sox ad campaign to lead to success on the field was “Win or Die Trying” in 2005, which, might be realistically adjusted to reduce the punishment for failure:
Win or risk injury trying.
Given recent history, there’s:
OK, so we broke a mirror in 2012.
That’s a very optimistic slogan, since breaking a mirror is only supposed to cause seven years of bad luck, and the curse should be over.
It was just the old seven-year (gl)itch.
That one has the benefit of conjuring up images of Marilyn Monroe, but it does create some pressure to have a winning season in 2020.
Anyhow, there are no doubt many more options you can come up with to pass along to marketing veep Brooks Boyer and his staff. As a more successful operation puts it: “Just do it.”
Going back over this piece, I notice that some of the suggestions could possibly be construed as negative. Since it’s the job of flacks to put a positive spin on everything, let’s create a verbal Sandy Koufax curveball and provide one final promo line, a slogan that puts positive spin on the 2020 Sox that they can assuredly deliver:
White Sox! We’re way better than the Tigers!