OAKLAND – One theme around the White Sox this season is the fact that the club wouldn’t accept their current era a success if they didn’t bring a trophy back to the south side.
It’s been echoed by general manager Rick Hahn, manager Rick Renteria, and a number of players since the team’s fan convention back in the winter. Many have continued to say it through a most unusual 2020 season.
Yet sometimes the sall steps on the journey to the ultimate goal can be quite special. Clinching the playoffs earlier in September was a celebrated moment for the team since it hadn’t happened in 12 years. You could put Tuesday into that category as well.
With a mix of strong pitching and power hitting, the White Sox beat the Athletics 4-1 in Oakland in Game 1 of their AL Wild Card series. It was their first postseason win since October 5, 2008, when they defeated the Tampa Bay Rays in Game 3 of the ALDS at then US Cellular Field.
“Lots of excitement, lost of energy, on the field and the dugout as well,” said shortstop Tim Anderson of the enthusiasm around the win. “Every pitch matters, like I said, and every guys was into it today.”
For guys like Anderson, it’s significant, since they’ve seen the days where a playoff win was as far away from people’s minds as possible. He showed up in 2016 just before the rebuild began, and played through four losing seasons before finally getting that first postseason win.
That’s the same for Adam Engel, who played in the minors and the majors with the team since he was drafted by the White Sox in 2013. The significance of hitting a home run in a playoff win for the club isn’t lost on him.
“This is something that we’ve been waiting for a while now, especially at the big league level,” said Engle. “We have a lot of guys who lost 100 games a few years ago and we talk about that. Obviously, the new guys didn’t really experience that, but we know what that feels like and I think it’s fueled us big time.
“It’s really fun to be here with these guys.”
They showed that in their first playoff game, where the team shook off 12 years of playoff frustration, some rough rebuilding days, and even seven losses in their last eight games of this regular season.
But the group didn’t waiver in their first playoff moment, showing the best of what they have now and what might be to come.
“What it requires of players is confidence and trust in themselves and truly believing that they can put it behind them,” said Renteria. “It was nice to see that ballgame today. It was a good ballgame for the Chicago White Sox.”
A long awaited one, too.