Winning is Overrated

The obsession with winning infects all who experience its quasi-greatness. This unhealthy obsession quickly evolves into addiction as teams and athletes strive to be successful — one of the many synonyms for winning. However, there are instances throughout a season that manifest into true greatness. As winning in itself is not great. It is the culmination of individual plays, stand-out performances, and the overall journey throughout the season that determines success.

The 2020 Chicago White Sox exemplifies a successful team that was not overly successful in terms of winning. On August 25, 2020, the White Sox matched up with the Pittsburgh Pirates for game one of a short, seemingly uninteresting two-game series. Yet, the thrilling, home run hitting White Sox enthralled fans, who were forced to enjoy games from their sofas. That beautiful Tuesday in Chicago proved to be a special night during a, particularly peculiar year. The White Sox jumped out to a quick 3–0 lead in the second inning, with RBI’s from Adam Engel, Tim Anderson, and Eloy Jimenez. The Sox continued to apply offensive pressure in the third with a sacrifice fly from catcher James McCann for the game’s fourth and final run. Despite a leadoff walk in the fourth Giolito’s confidence never wavered; behind James McCann’s pitch calling, Giolito commandeered control of the game. Tensions increased as the Pirates hit column remained at zero with each passing inning. The spectator-less Guaranteed Rate Field grew louder with simulated fans, as the no-hitter was in sight. White Sox fans held their breath with every crack of the bat, waiting for the camera to show where the ball had been hit. Each ball in play rundown with reckless abandon to maintain Giolito’s historic performance. The nerves continued to rise until the game’s final at-bat. Giolito threw two quick strikes against Erik Gonzalez, the only Pirate to reach base that night. James McCann then calls for a fastball, high and out of the zone. Giolito misses his spot and allows Gonzalez to hit a hard, sinking line drive to right field. The seconds it took for the ball to travel from Gonzalez’s bat to Adam Engel’s glove felt like minutes. Finally, the 27th out was called, to conclude a masterful performance by Lucas Giolito.

Giolito only needed to face twenty-eight batters out of a minimum of twenty-seven. He finished with an incredible 13 strikeouts, relying on his devastating changeup that disappeared from Pirate hitters. The record day also included nine White Sox hits, three of which came from rookie phenom, Luis Robert. As well as spectacular defensive plays from Tim Anderson and Jose Abreu.

That night White Sox fans were able to escape from the nonsensical problems of the United States in 2020. Giolito’s no-hitter is one of the many momentary moments of greatness throughout the season. The White Sox put on a show every night demanding the league’s attention. Whether it was dominant pitching, or thunderous, record-setting home runs, Chicago Southsiders had something to brag about. That night granted baseball fans a distraction from the dreaded COVID-19 pandemic.

The 2020 Chicago White Sox were one of the most entertaining/distracting teams to field the diamond. They finished 35–25, granting them second place in the AL Central. Despite their loss in the wildcard round of the playoffs, White Sox fans held their head high. The season included the jaw-dropping sequence of back-to-back-to-back-to-back home runs, an MVP season from Jose Abreu, the rise of rookie Luis Robert, and an unforgettable no-hitter from all-star Lucas Giolito. The World Series is always the goal for MLB teams, yet the White Sox proved the potential greatness of each game. The culmination of great games ultimately constitutes a great and successful season. The same concept applies to life. As, the amount of money one has, class rank or hierarchical position do not make someone great. It is the culmination of life experiences that generate success.

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