When the Chicago White Sox lost out on Manny Machado last week, we spent the better part of a week beating our chests and wailing to heaven over the shortsightedness of the Chicago brass.
Well, the loss of Machado ended up having a very personal impact for us here at South Side Sox. Losing a marquee name to build buzz, staring at another 90-plus loss season, we’ve lost half of our operating budget for the coming season, perhaps beyond.
I don’t have to tell you that the Vox/SBN decision has serious ramifications. Slashing an already tight budget results in everyone being underpaid — or certain writers not being paid at all. One thing I’ve prided myself on establishing at South Side Sox over this past year is getting every regular contributor paid. That hasn’t happened before — at SSS, or at any other White Sox outlet.
I also don’t have to tell you that this kind of threat to coverage is nothing new to us as White Sox fans. It’s been years since ESPN had a White Sox beat writer, or feature coverage that is in any way meaningful. A year ago, the Chicago Tribune laid off Chris Kuc and NBC Sports Chicago cut Dan Hayes loose, and neither outlet replaced the writers. (In the case of the Trib, which still employs ex-White Sox beat Mark Gonzales working the northsiders, the decision to leave the Sox seat vacant is particularly egregious.)
I’m also not going to take the easy out and dump on upper management here. The examples above prove that Vox is not alone in this sort of myopic, metric-driven, decision-making. As irritating as waiting for a page to load or a particularly in-your-face ad might be, listen, South Side Sox has been the foremost spot for White Sox content for close to 15 years, and remains so. It also offers the best and brightest fan community out there — a community, you guys, which is the backbone of the site. South Side Sox also boasts a reader-friendly format, providing virtually any photo we need to illustrate our words without having to resort to snaps taken from the grandstand at an MLB game.
Of course, I don’t agree with the shortsighted decision to cut back on coverage during lean times, only to pick things back up once Eloy Jiménez wins an MVP or the White Sox reach the play-in game. That’s a bad practice. But I wasn’t asked, but told.
And that’s why I want to fight back.
If South Side Sox cuts back coverage, it will lose its status as the White Sox coverage and community leader, period. And I’m not going to let that happen, if I can help it.
When the Trib and online outfits dumped their Sox writers, we as fans had no recourse or say in the matter. In this case, we do.
In order to fight back, I’ve created a South Side Sox Patreon page to carry us through this lull in corporate support.
Obviously, nothing about the site itself will change over the next month. (You’ll still see ads.) We’ll continue our daily coverage of spring training games and news. Minor league seasons will be previewed, and we’ll continue running through our Top 100 Prospects. Perhaps if the trolls have moved on to another SBN poll to taint, we’ll give the prospect voting one more try. You will probably see a couple of new writers and editors popping up as well.
If even 10% of our registered users offer minimal support, we should at least be able to get back to our normal budget, and carry on almost as if Machado did become a White Sox. With any sort of outpouring beyond that, we’ll pump the extra monies right back into providing even more coverage, and likely expand into areas we’ve not (or lightly) tread in the year I’ve been here: the South Side Sox Podcast, the Miñoso Baseball League, and more.
And if not ... well, we’ll cross that bridge as the season gets underway.
This post will sit prominently on our front page for the coming month, so if you don’t opt for immediate support, you should not have to search long to do so. I’ll also be adding a small endnote at the bottom of every future post, should a sweet post motivate you to help.
As you’ll see at our Patreon page, I’ve set up several tiers of support. They are hastily-assembled and subject to tweaking, perhaps based on feedback you provide. But it’s straightforward stuff, from Basic support to Sponsor level. Go on, take a look.
I’m no sales guy. None of this is meant to guilt or goad. It’s just the facts, man. The last thing I ever wanted to do here was drag out the begging bowl, no matter that a begging bowl is almost as important as a laptop in today’s sports journalism. But I’m not allowed to dog the Trib or other outlets bailing on the White Sox, and then snooze through a similar threat to South Side Sox.
So, again, I’m gonna push back. I sincerely hope you’ll join the fight with me.
Thanks for your consideration, every last one of you. South Side Sox is simply the best White Sox site and community out there, and that’s a direct tribute to all of you reading this, right now. I hope we can continue to prove worthy of your support.