WATCH: Chicago White Sox fans pessimistic about upcoming season, divided on potential move to South Loop

By Kaycee Clark-Mellott
Medill Reports

For the Chicago White Sox, rumors of moving from the team’s longtime residence in Bridgeport and pessimism about their performance plague the dialogue of the season. Before the White Sox home opener, several key community members’ expectations were low.


David Williams: I’m sick of losing, and all I want is a winner. If we can just gut out these next two years, there’s a new stadium, we can just like, do the “Men in Black” pen thing, where it just wipes our memories clear of whatever 2010-25 was.

Kaycee Clark-Mellott: The Chicago White Sox won the World Series back in 2005, which was the last time they won a playoff series. With the season just around the corner, fans aren’t expecting much more.

Allie Wesel: I don’t have expectations of this season being great, and I think that’s totally fine. Because I won’t be disappointed if I don’t have any expectations.

Williams: There is zero excuse to not hustle and at least give me something, at least tell me you care about winning as much as the fans care about you winning. That’s my expectation.

Clark-Mellott: The doom and gloom seems to continue for some Sox fans as ownership has proposed a new stadium in Chicago’s South Loop.

Jacob Swartley: We think that the Sox are kind of looking to attract a different type of fan: a more of a youthful fan, a work-in-the-Loop fan, a work downtown fan, with this new building (or) new site. Because you’re supposedly going to be able to walk from Roosevelt. It’s still a 15- minute walk, but I think they’re going to get a lot more people coming from there.

Clark-Mellott: Swartley is a member of Section 108, a White Sox blog and podcast. Since created in 2015, it has gained 18.5 thousand followers on X, formerly known as Twitter.

As a lead-up to the season and in the festivities of March Madness, Section 108 hosts a tournament for its readers and listeners.

Swartley: We started this tournament where we take White Sox fans and put them up against other White Sox fans to see who is the best White Sox fan and who can carry more votes. And it just exploded into something that we weren’t ready for. We didn’t know that it was going to be as big as it was.

Clark-Mellott: As Opening Day inches closer, Sox fans may not be expecting much for the team’s success. However, Williams believes the fans play a big role in the team’s community.

Williams: We know we’re the second team in Chicago, the smaller fan base, but it’s really a tight-knit community, obviously. We talked about it with guys I work with that are Cubs fans. They’re like, “It’s weird how tight-knit and how it came into its own over the last decade or so.”

Wesel: No one that I’ve particularly interacted with has been super mean. They’re all very welcoming and make you feel involved within the community. As I’ve mentioned, things have been kind of really up and really down over the last few years. So, it’s nice to have a community that we can all kind of yell into the void together about our frustrations.

Clark-Mellott: Fans are trying to make the best of their time in Bridgeport, the White Sox home since 1900. The proposed relocation two and a half miles north is leaving a bitter taste in some mouths.

Swartley: People here are diehards, and they’re the people that have supported the team through all the years. And so, for that to leave, I don’t see Bridgeport is going to get … you’re not going to see a lot of tears in the beer. It’ll be like, “All right, see ya.” But also, it’s going to be a big hole left for a lot of people. … Part of the reason people are here is because of the Sox.

Wesel: The White Sox have been in Bridgeport for over 120 years. It feels kind of gross to make a decision to move a historic organization out of the neighborhood that it’s always been in. I get it, but also, I don’t have to like it.

Swartley: Bridgeport, you don’t go too far without seeing someone with Sox gear. I mean, it’s in the blood here. And people love that team, love the stadium, love walking to the park. If (the) family (says), “Ah, we’re going to Sox game tonight,” you know, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Mondays, when people aren’t around, I mean, that’s when you’ll catch everybody from the neighborhood down at the park.

Clark-Mellott: However, some lifelong fans see it differently.

Williams: I’m all for the South Loop move. I’ve said this on various podcasts in different forms. I don’t care about my taxes, if it’s going to increase my taxes $100 or whatever it will do, get the better stadium because I want the better baseball team. That’s how I look at it.

That said, I do think it’s ridiculous to play both sides of the fence. I do understand why it would sicken people to see a bunch of us pay for a billionaire stadium, 30 years after we got a stadium. But, Jerry Reinsdorf, that’s what he does, and if it is a precursor to a sale, then I am all for it because I can’t do losing anymore.

Clark-Mellott: Owner Jerry Reinsdorf and the White Sox are still locked in here at Guaranteed Rate Field through 2028, with an additional $50 million still owed on the current stadium. It’s unknown whether or not the South Loop stadium will come to fruition.

Opening Day for the White Sox comes March 28, when they host the Detroit Tigers, with first pitch scheduled for 3:10 p.m.

Reporting from Bridgeport, in Chicago, I’m Kaycee Clark-Mellott.

Kaycee Clark-Mellott is in the sports media specialization at Medill. You can follow him on X @kcclark_6 and check out his website.