If you weren't already aware, the Summer Olympics officially begin today with the opening ceremonies in London. In fact, the opening ceremonies are going on as I type this, even if they won't be televised in the United States until tonight.
And when they are televised, I won't be able to watch them. I'm never able to watch them.
While I've always preferred the Winter Olympics to the summer variety, I do enjoy the games. It's always nice to root for the United States in a sporting event rather than in general because, well, lately we're much better at sports than we are just about anything else.
The problem is the White Sox generally don't give me the chance to enjoy the games like I want to.
You see, the White Sox have this somewhat annoying trend of being good every four years.
Let's look back.
- 2008 Olympics in Beijing - The White Sox finished the season 89-74, a game ahead of the Minnesota Twins thanks to a 1-0 victory in a tiebreaker at US Cellular. The infamous "Blackout Game" in which John Danks became a hero and Jim Thome hit a ball roughly a billion feet to provide the only run of the game. Of course, that didn't happen before the fall, but during the summer when the Olympics took place, the Sox were still very much involved in the pennant race with the Twins. I couldn't peel my eyes away from the Sox long enough to really enjoy them. I mean, Ken Griffey Jr was wearing a White Sox jersey for goodness sake.
- 2004 Olympics in Athens - The White Sox would finish Ozzie Guillen's first season at 83-79, 8.5 games behind the Twins, but when the Athens games began on August 13th, the Sox were only 4 games out of first place. By the time the Olympics ended on August 29 the Sox were 8 games out after going 5-10 over those two weeks. So I was free to stop paying such close attention, but of course the Olympics were over.
- 2000 Olympics in Sydney - The Sydney games took place during the heat of the 2000 pennant race. The Sox finished the season 95-67, 5 games ahead of Cleveland, and Frank Thomas was robbed of another MVP award. When the games began on September 15th the Sox had an 7.5 game lead but I sure as well wasn't going to turn away until things were clinched. That didn't happen until September 26th. A mere four days before the end of the Olympics, which was better than nothing, but not by much.
- 1996 Olympics in Atlanta - This one was on American soil in a city where I had family and I still wasn't able to follow all that closely. Nope, when the games started on July 19th the Sox trailed Cleveland by 3 games in the division. When they ended on August 6th the Sox were only 6 games back, but would never get much closer as they faded down the stretch and finished 14.5 games back ahead of Milwaukee -- remember when Milwaukee was in our division? The next year would bring the White Flag Trade, but no Olympics for me to watch after the Sox had given up.
- 1992 Olympics in Barcelona - The last Olympics I was able to give full attention to. Not because the White Sox were bad -- they'd finish the season in third place of the AL West -- but because I was 11 years old and didn't have cable television in my bedroom. I did have NBC, however, and that meant I had the Olympics. And without the internet to spoil everything for me, I was actually able to watch without knowing who won! What simple times those were.
So looking back, it's obvious that we all should have known before the season started that the White Sox would be in the thick of things this summer. They always are during an Olympiad.
Let's try and remember that in 2016 when Kenny Williams or Rick Hahn or whoever is telling us that the Sox have to shed payroll and will be rebuilding that season.