It’s Opening Day! For a real season! And the South Siders are good!
Nope, this is not an April Fools’ gag. I’m really writing a recap on South Side Sox.
As tradition dictates, I am handling the Opening Day coverage, as I will a week from today with the home opener. Thursday coverage is normally going to be Sam Sherman’s, who has yet to publish at SSS but shouldered the main load of games as our beat writer covering the White Sox for Sports Illustrated last summer. You’ll dig him.
Kicking off the season with the exquisite writing only your humble scribe can provide not only throws down the gauntlet for the rest of the staff that follows, but it also allows me to use this gamethread to preview our season of coverage.
We have returning writers, and some new voices. More than ever before. Some, you’ve gotten to know over the course of this offseason and spring training; others, like Sam, have yet to debut here. On regular gamethread and recap coverage this season we’ll have Hannah LaMotta on Sundays, Joe Resis on Mondays, Bill Meincke on Wednesdays, Sam on Thursdays and Colleen Sullivan on Fridays. Other regulars in the rotation will include Leigh Allan, Ashley Sanders, Jeremy Karll and Tommy Barbee. There will be others; surely I’ll pick up a dropped game here and there, as will Year of the Hamster. It’s likely we’ll have to fire up Robby the Recapper again for a few this season.
We’ll also have the accompanying “sidebar” coverage, the Six Pack of Stats, this season. You’ll recall that as the main recap format we continued to run at SSS even as our recap writing moved to Sports Illustrated last year. So the run here continues, with Resis, Sanders, Karll, me and Hamster shouldering much of that load. Surely, there will be others. We’re revamping the Six Pack slightly, to give you even more delicious stats goodness packed into the same Six.
With the minor leagues (fingers crossed) back for 2021, that means our outrageously detailed Minor League Updates will show up every night, beginning in May. Firebrand Darren Black (nee Jackson) is on for Sunday and Tuesday, Super Joseph Resis takes Wednesday, and the incomparable Julie Brady is on for Thursday and Friday. Others will join in the fun. Mondays are off for the minors this year, so that’s when we’ll run Darren’s players of the week and month.
Know Your Enemy is back, with the garrulous Colleen as master of ceremonies. Given roughly 65 series against the AL Central, it’s likely she’ll need a break here and there.
Of course, we’ll keep running our five different podcasts in addition to the flagship SSS program, all of which are sure to pack some coming surprises.
We’ll continue running Mitch Ransdell’s incredible White Sox sketches, plus essay, every Monday as White Sox Player of the Week. Mark Liptak will present Today in White Sox History every day in-season, and should have some other historical features up his sleeve as well.
And there’s tons of less-routine stuff you’ll get as well. One-off features from the minors, and major league analysis, should continue to come from the likes of Darren Black, James Fox, Luke Smailes, Dan Victor, Trevor Lines and others. Offbeat takes from Janice Scurio, Will Allan, Leigh Allan and Keelin Billue should surface. Our draft week coverage is usually exhaustive, so expect that to continue, including any coverage of the alternate Schaumburg site the White Sox allow.
After driving home 100 prospect profiles before Opening Day this year, our theme this month will shift to Meet the Players, so you can better know everyone writing on the site. Come May, the plan is to reboot the Miñoso League in Armour Park. It’s going to be our pickup sim league action, where everyone on staff, and any readers who support South Side Hit Pen, compete. Seriously, like, as yourselves. Read one of the linked recaps if you don’t believe me.
There’s probably a lot of other crap I’m planning, but I’m tired and running out of time. That’s enough for now.
So, hey, White Sox Baseball 2021!
I was going to make this a “live gamethread” with updates all night, but that never seems to resonate with anyone, because we’re all just watching the game and responding to comments. So nix on that, and if everyone howls, I’ll do one for the home opener. Not like I need to live-tweet the game from Anchorage or something, anyway.
(In my eyes and others) Cy Young favorite Lucas Giolito takes on Dylan Bundy in a late, late, late Opening Day in Anaheim. (Is it really already so hot in at the ballpark in Outer Los Angeles Semi-Anaheim Outskirt Orange County that OPENING DAY has to be at night?)
Here’s who the White Sox will trot out:
Andrew Vaughn sits the bench tonight, starting on Friday in either left field or at DH. Yoán Moncada continues at cleanup. No comment. Eaton batting second ... well OK, seems there are a lot of social media scolds out there telling us not to micromanage the lineup this early, which sort of seems like telling me how to fan, but OK, whatever, bat the afterthought second.
The Angels, wherever they are from, line up this way:
Quite a few future Hall-of-Famers for a .500 team, huh?
It’s the 60th anniversary of Angels baseball, so let’s get their anniversary season off to a lousy start.
Meanwhile, so speaks my President:
On the off-chance excitement over the White Sox even for this late game generates a lot of comments, there’s a chance we might need to break into a second gamethread. If the community goes tilt tonight, I’ll put together a second gamethread to bring it all home.
FINALLY, we will have a postgame podcast tonight. Unless you’re in Honolulu, you probably won’t be waiting up to listen to it fresh, but it will be here for you when you wake up, if you want to relive the sheer glory of this wonderful season opener.