The Rangers open a three-game series against the White Sox today in Chicago.
The White Sox were the pre-season favorites to win the Central, having won it in 2021 and finishing in second in 2020.
In fact, Chicago was coming off its first back-to-back postseason appearances ever in team history. Think about that. This team has been around since 1901. In 121 years, it had never gone to the postseason two times in a row. The White Sox have been mostly irrelevant throughout their history.
They’ve always been the other Chicago team. Even though the Cubs went 116 seasons between World Series wins, the White Sox weren’t much better. While the Cubs won the World Series in 1908, the White Sox won in 1917. Then not a single post season appearance in the 1920s, 1930s, or 1940s. It wasn’t until 1959 that the White Sox made it to a World Series again. They lost. It wasn’t until 1983 that they made it to the playoffs (which started in 1969). They had occasional success squeezed in between mostly failure and forgettability. But, out of the blue, in 2005, they won the World Series.
Like the White Sox, the Rangers have been mostly irrelevant to baseball history. But here they are, both teams in third place in their divisions. One team, the White Sox, underachieving. One team, the Rangers, overachieving.
So, who is this series more important to? Chicago is only five game out of first. Texas is a half-game out of second but also a half-game out of fourth. They are a distant nine-and-a-half games out of first.
The White Sox have legitimate playoff potential. With the Rangers, the playoffs are more like a pipe dream.
Chicago is playing for hope. Texas is playing for legitimacy.