It’s clear that Tim Anderson doesn’t understand White Sox fans. At all.

He wants more positivity out of a group that rightly spoke its mind during an extremely disappointing 2022.

SHARE It’s clear that Tim Anderson doesn’t understand White Sox fans. At all.
White Sox star Tim Anderson looking on during a game last season.

White Sox star Tim Anderson wants to see more support from fans and media in 2023.

Michael Reaves/Getty Images

If there’s a better example of an athlete misreading a fan base more than Tim Anderson has misread White Sox fans, I’m not aware of it.

Sox fans are a lot of things, and I’ll get into specifics in a moment, but if I had to come up with one phrase to describe them, it would be “brutally blunt.’’ And I’d choose “brutally’’ as an adjective only because this is a family publication. They’ll support their team through thick and thin, but they won’t be shy about assigning blame for the thin.

The Sox finished a very skinny 81-81 last season after starting the season as one of the favorites to make it to the World Series. It was a massive disappointment in real time and in hindsight, and fans let the players, manager, front office and owner know it during, after and likely in perpetuity.

It would never occur to Sox fans to not speak their minds, just as it would never occur to them to hold their breath until they fainted.

But that’s what Anderson, the team’s star shortstop, thinks they should have done last year. He told NBC Sports Chicago’s Chuck Garfien on a recent podcast that he wants to see more positivity from fans and media members this season.

“If you’re a part of this, and you’re like, one of our supporters, and you see somebody struggling, you know, if you see your wife struggling, you’re going to pat her on the back, right?” Anderson said. “So that’s kind of one of those things. If we’re under the same umbrella, we should all be pulling from the same screen, and not tearing each other down. And not tearing players down. We don’t tear you down.

“So I just think it’s one of those things. We gotta support each other. We support you. We make ourselves (accessible) to you, you know, when you talk to us. So it’s just kind of one of those things where we all gotta be on a positive screen. ... I think we can be better as a whole.”

The disconnect is almost mind-boggling, like an “L” operator being unaware of the third rail’s dangerous side. If you didn’t know better, you’d ask Anderson who the Sox’ team mom is and whose turn it is to bring the healthy snacks for the players to eat after the game. This is professional baseball, and it’s big business. It’s being played during an era when anyone with an opinion can shove it down the throat of whoever is willing to swallow it on social media. For Anderson to think that fans should raise up players, not tear them down, isn’t just unrealistic. It’s dotty.

These people had to put up with two years of Tony La Russa as manager, thanks to team chairman Jerry Reinsdorf. And Anderson can’t understand their need to vent?

He tried to backtrack a day after the podcast, but the effort was like a dribbler to the pitcher.

“If you pay attention to it, I was speaking of being more positive, saying we’re all pulling from the same string,” he told the Sun-Times. “Like we’re on the same team. Everybody. We have to be on the same page.”

There’s no rule book on how a fan base is supposed to act toward a team, but if there were, you wouldn’t find a page about the importance of being on the same page. Sports are about highs and lows, and with those elements as the main ingredients, fans naturally react. And not always kindly. White Sox fans want the best for their players, but when things don’t go well, they sometimes think the worst of them. That’s not unique to the team’s fans, but I do wonder if they were gifted some extra bile at birth.

If you’re a Sox supporter or you’ve been around some, you know they can, on occasion — on occasion! — have some rough edges to them. They’ve been through a lot with the franchise, and they’ve spent much of their lives trying to stare down a much bigger group of Cubs fans. It has produced a fair amount of orneriness. I know I’m generalizing, but think of this as a sociology study. Sox fans see things in black and white, just like the team colors, and when they see a player doing something wrong, they let him have it.

They most definitely do not say, “I want to lift you up right now by reaffirming your worthiness.’’

Surely Anderson knows this. Surely he’s witnessed it.

This is pretty simple. The best way to make Sox fans more supportive is for Sox players to be better at baseball.

Anderson also implied that media members need to be more positive toward the team and players, but if you were to look up the definition of “lost cause,’’ it would include a photo of a sportswriter. We’re not paid to support players and teams. Beat writers write what they see, and columnists write what they think.

Most of us have been very good to Anderson because he has been very good at hitting. If he wasn’t, we wouldn’t be.

That’s how it works.

I’m positive.

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