White Sox’ rebuilding year off to appropriately dreary start

SHARE White Sox’ rebuilding year off to appropriately dreary start

The Sox stand along the third-base line during the national anthem before their opener, which would be postponed. | Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

This is why God invented springtime Tuesdays: so they can be used to play Opening Day games that were rained out on Mondays.

But you could tell White Sox fans that, and it might not be much consolation.

The rain came down basically all day, but Sox management didn’t call the season opener against the Tigers until 4:51 p.m., nearly two hours after the scheduled start.

That was long enough for eager folks to partly fill the stadium now known as, dear God, Guaranteed Rate Field — more on that later — and buy enough hot dogs that the club probably made a few bucks before sending everyone home.

“I think everybody is disappointed,’’ manager Rick Renteria said in the soggy tunnel afterward. “But, obviously, it’s something out of our control.’’

You know what would make it in your control?

A dome. That’s what.

But there’s a story for another day.

At any rate (guaranteed or not), the game will attempt to start again Tuesday at 1:10 p.m., same place, hopefully without rain.

Everybody who hangs on to his Monday ticket gets in, and parking will be free. But the game won’t be the same.

And here’s why. If most ticketed people don’t come back because they can’t, it sure doesn’t look like an Opening Day crowd. And the poor, Cubs-exhaust-eating Sox need every fanny in every seat they can in what is likely to be a very long and boring season.

Tigers ace Justin Verlander was scheduled to go against Jose Quintana, a 2016 All-Star who had career bests last season in wins (13), ERA (3.20), innings (208), WHIP (1.16), opponents’ batting average (.246) and opponents’ on-base percentage (.295).

And those two will go at it Tuesday.

But this is officially a rebuilding year for the Sox, something that can excite only those who like to watch minnows grow into adult fish or those who would rather watch a smelter make pig iron than own a functioning razor blade.

A lot of veterans from this team are likely to be gone by the trade deadline, and the young players will either look good or bad or — worst of all — average.

Because average will kill your rebuild faster than anything. Go to the bottom (by tanking, dumping, “experimenting’’) or go to the top (through great trades, drafts and youth development), but don’t be in the dreaded middling terrain where nothing seems to work.

Shortstop Tim Anderson, 23, who has played all of 99 games for the Sox, appears to be a star in the making. At least he’s getting paid as such, with a new six-year, $25 million extension of his rookie contract.

So he will be closely watched, as will second baseman Tyler Saladino and rookie center fielder Jacob May.

Old guys such as right-hander James Shields (35), closer David Robertson (31) and slugger Todd Frazier (31) could be dealt anytime. First baseman Jose Abreu, 30, is on the clock. Because, remember, rebuilding means starting anew.

The Sox did a rebuild back around 1986, one that lasted four years and had the Sox finishing with an average 72-89 record over that period. Fun? Maybe for those who like watching ponds getting drained through a pinhole. Attendance was terrible — 1.2 million per year.

But it led to over a decade of pretty solid ball, with four first- place finishes and nine second-place finishes all the way up to that World Series crown in 2005. Plus, a record attendance of nearly 3  million in 2006.

The question is whether you have time to wait for general manager Rick Hahn’s rebuild or you’ll kindly take a pass until such time as the team is ready to compete for championships again.

This is something the Cubs pulled off, you’ll recall. But Cubs fans wouldn’t desert their team even if it put the Joffrey Ballet on the field for a year and played the theme from “Swan Lake’’ instead of “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.’’

Now, as for that new stadium name — listen, naming rights mean money. And money is good. Ask Donald Trump.

So who are we to complain, even if the logo arrow points to the bottom?

You want to call old Comiskey Park “The Rate,’’ “The G-Rate,’’ “The Guar-rate,’’ “The Groucho Marx Theater of Laughs’’ — go ahead. A suitable nickname will develop, and we’ll all survive.

Of course, how pleasantly we’ll view the White Sox while surviving — that’s a tough call.

Follow me on Twitter @ricktelander.

Email: rtelander@suntimes.com


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