If there's one thing White Sox closer Liam Hendriks isn't, it's stoic.
So when a reporter asked him if he thinks the White Sox are getting the national attention they deserve for their on-field success, Hendriks gave a candid, and, quite frankly, a bit of a shady response.
“Yes and no,” Hendriks said. I feel like we have to take four steps to get any sort of national recognition, while our crosstown rivals just have to put together one game and they’ll get on it.”
Though it sounds a little sharp, Hendriks made it clear that he actually enjoys having that chip on the team’s shoulder.
“I like being able to have to work harder to get any recognition because that just means you have to put in the work,” Hendriks said. "You really have to show that you’re doing it."
You’d never know it from the standings, but through the first two months of the season, you’d be hard-pressed to find a team with a bigger chip on its shoulder than the White Sox. Catastrophic injuries and awkward controversies plagued the club throughout March, April and May, and if the only things you knew about this team were what made the front page of a national sports blog, you’d assume they were a discrepantly whimsical bunch headed for, at best, second-rate success. And to be honest, that seemed like a plausible fate in the very early part of the season. But that’s not what the White Sox are, nor what they’ve been since the third week of April.
So it would be frustrating for players to be steadily reminded that the White Sox are Chicago’s “second” team and a national punchline for trials completely out of their control. It has to be doubly frustrating to overcome more adversity than any other team will likely face this year to become one of the best teams in baseball, and not get the clout you’ve earned.
But as they’ve shown for most of the season, Hendriks vowed that the White Sox won’t allow anything but their performance on the field to define them.
“… Like, you guys continue to talk about who is the number one team in the city, the number one fanbase in the city, whatever it is. But we’re gonna go out there, we’re gonna do our business, and we’re gonna let everybody know how good we are.”
So far, they’re walking the walk. And the extra steps they have to take to earn the talk? Well, that’s just bounty.