The 2021 American League Division Series, in which the Houston Astros defeated the Chicago White Sox three games to one wasn’t, in actuality, all that long ago.
But with the two clubs meeting again this weekend, in a regular season series that included the FOX national Saturday game, the results made us feel like that ’21 ALDS was a hell of a long time ago.
Once again, the Astros won the series, with the White Sox winning just one game. The Sox gave away a rally towel to fans, for both games, and they are pictured above. From looking at the photos, try to guess which game the Southsiders won, and which one they lost. You’d be right.
The Astros dominated that series, in October of 2021, but there was still long-term hope for the White Sox as a franchise. Yes, even with Tony La Russa at the helm.
Then the next season happened, where the inexplicably bone-headed decision to hire La Russa in the first place finally imploded the team, just like we all knew it would.
Meanwhile the Astros were winning their second World Series. Then came this weekend’s series, where there was, at least on some minimum level, a modicum of hope about turning the season around.
After all, the Astros have been only mediocre thus far this season, hovering above and below the .500 line up to this point. But they have much more talent than the White Sox, and that showed this weekend.
They have better leadership too, and that made all the difference at critical junctures of this weekend’s series.
Not to mention Jose Abreu is on the other side now.
When these two franchises met in the 2005 World Series, they were both trying to establish some history and consistency. The Astros never really had any special history, and while the White Sox actually did, those golden days were ancient, in the grand scheme of things.
But when the Astros finally broke through to win their first ever World Series, in their 57th year of existence as a franchise, they were able to follow up on that success.
They’ve been back to the playoffs every year since ’17, and returned to the Fall Classic three more times, winning it all last autumn.
As for the White Sox, they haven’t even won a playoff series since ’05 and only have two postseason wins during that span. While they met the ‘Stros on relatively equal footing in ’21, they are miles apart now.
Jerry Reinsdorf has run this franchise into the ground and they’re currently on pace to finish 51-111.
And that’s really sad because they could have established themselves to the point where they would have been on par with Houston. It was a realistic possibility at one point.
Instead the opposite happened.
Paul M. Banks is the owner/manager of The Sports Bank. He’s also the author of “Transatlantic Passage: How the English Premier League Redefined Soccer in America,” and “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry.”
He’s written for numerous publications, including the New York Daily News, Sports Illustrated and the Chicago Tribune. He regularly appears on NTD News and WGN News Now. Follow the website on Twitter and Instagram.
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