The White Sox are entering 2012 with an entirely new look. Some of the veterans like Paul Konerko and A.J. Pierzynski remain but others like Mark Buehrle and — most importantly — Ozzie Guillen have moved on. Chicago fans are hoping new manager Robin Ventura can be effective and a lot of young players can step up. What they probably don’t want to hear is Konerko telling them 2012 can be a successful year without reaching the postseason.
“There’s a lot of ‘ifs,’” Konerko said according to the Chicago Tribune. “But again I don’t think you have to sit there and say, ‘We’re trying to win, we’re trying to rebuild.’ Who knows. Cleveland last year, not that they won the division, but all in all I think it was a very successful year. Cleveland just came in looking to see what they had. But I think this year, this team is different than a lot of teams we’ve had recently.
“I hope I don’t throw anybody off with this, but this can be a very successful year without making the playoffs.”
I understand what Konerko means, but that’s not what people want to hear. Realistically, the White Sox playoff chances aren’t very high. There are a lot of new pieces in place and everything would have to click perfectly. It’s possible, but unlikely. Fans do not want to hear that. A team that is rebuilding might consider an 81-81 season a success, but fans in a city like Chicago expect World Series contention every season — regardless of the way the roster has changed. Fans aren’t going to be pleased with Konerko’s comments, but managing expectations may not be a bad idea with the number of question marks the Sox have this season.