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No matter what follows, White Sox stamped mark on 2016

Chris Sale talks to reporters at the baseball team's annual fan convention Friday, Jan. 29, 2016, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

From one fiasco to the next, the ongoing story of the 2016 White Sox began with the LaRoche spring training debacle and here, in late July, has picked up the pace with Chris Sale’s uniform-cutting caper, an unbelievable stunt that managed to top Drakegate in the realm of the bizarre.

Sale felt he would be uncomfortable wearing those 1976 throwback jerseys, which happened to be scheduled the day he was supposed to pitch. When he saw them hanging in the clubhouse upon his arrival Saturday he defiantly cut his up. After taking the issue to a more reasonable measure and by debating it with manager Robin Ventura, Sale cut the bottoms of the rest of the team’s uniforms, which earned him the night off, a trip home and a five-game suspension.

Sale added to the drama Monday by telling MLB.com, in his only public explanation of his actions, that the team put business – a promotion – ahead of winning. What’s more, he called out Ventura for not taking his side.

“Robin is the one who has to fight for us in that department,’’ Sale said. “If the players don’t feel comfortable 100 percent about what we are doing to win the game, and we have an easy fix — it was as easy as hanging up another jersey and everyone was fine. For them to put business first over winning, that’s when I lost it.”

Ventura declined to respond when asked about it before the Sox, who were – the goofiness surrounding Sale’s departure continued — going for their fourth straight victory overall and second in two nights against the Cubs at U.S. Cellular Field

“All that stuff, everything that goes on in there I’m going to leave it in there,’’ Ventura said. “I know he’s coming back to pitch Thursday, and really from what happened, I think from the conduct we acted appropriately.

“We had to act. It was over the line.’’

Over the line? That was the Jerry Springer show making a comeback in the Sox clubhouse.

The reaction among players, at least publicly, has been measured forgiveness. Sale’s absence did, after all, force Ventura to start reliever Matt Albers against the Tigers Saturday and empty out a bullpen that days later was still feeling the effects. The older players are scratching their heads over it, however, while the younger ones don’t know what to make of it.

Carlos Rodon, whose locker is next to Sale’s, pitched in the baggy pullover 1976 uniform during the same promotion as a rookie last season. Rodon said it didn’t mess with his mechanics, and he said this year’s top was altered to not be as long. But he stood by his teammate as teammates will.

“If they made you play in a fricking Tiger suit or something, would you want to play in that or something you are uncomfortable with?’’ Rodon said. “How would you approach it? You would want to make sure everything is in line.

“If he doesn’t want to pitch in it, he might have not gone about it in the right way but I understand. I support my teammate, totally.’’

<em>A fan has some fun with the Chris Sale uniform caper at U.S. Cellular Field Tuesday.</em>
A fan has some fun with the Chris Sale uniform caper at U.S. Cellular Field Tuesday.

A teammate, the ace of the pitching staff, who made himself unavailable to the others by getting himself suspended.

“Yeah, it’s tough to talk about,” veteran third baseman Todd Frazier said. “Maybe there was something else to it, I just don’t know. He’s your teammate, you back him to the fullest. I think he knows he made a mistake and he’ll come back more fired up than ever ready to pitch for us.’’

No matter how Sale is perceived in the clubhouse, this Sox season will – no matter what happens from here on out – will forever be marked by two of the zaniest national sports stories ever.

Ventura can only hope the Sox have met their quota.

The good news? The Sox are not rescheduling the 1976 throwback night.