Column: As the Chicago White Sox go through a season full of angst, Dr. Ozzie brings the necessary levity

The most interesting new TV character of the 2022 season is Dr. Ozzie, the pseudo-psychologist whose job it is to convince a die-hard Chicago White Sox fan during this anxiety-ridden season.

Ozzie Guillen plays the designated psychiatrist, while Chuck Garfien, his co-host on the Sox pre-game and post-game shows on NBC Sports Chicago, lies on a couch and poses as himself.

I’m not sure how the players or manager Tony La Russa feel about NBC Sports Chicago’s decision to have a little fun at their expense. But if the Red Sox were playing up to their skills, there would be no reason for a little comedy about the matches that have turned their fans upside down.

Baseball is entertainment after all. We all deserve a laugh. If the Sox had any sense of humor, they’d have La Russa lay on the couch for an upcoming episode while Dr. Ozzie asks him about the stress you have been subjected to in the office.

I can already imagine Dr. Ozzie looking down from his reading glasses and saying, “Are you getting enough sleep, Tony?”

How long the character will last is unknown, but Guillen deserves an Emmy for his performance. No one has played a Chicago psychologist better on television since Bob Newhart.

Maybe the Sox will have a long run, take the lead in the AL Central and have the last laugh with everyone, including Dr. Ozzie.

As crazy as it sounds, it is possible. They enter Tuesday’s doubleheader in Kansas City trailing the division-leading Minnesota Twins by just two games, and the race no one wants to win could come down to the final days of the season. Six of the Red Sox’s last nine games are against the Twins, including a three-game series at the end of the season at home from Oct. 3-5.

But the Red Sox haven’t trended in the right direction for quite some time. The current section of 19 games against sub-.500 teams It hasn’t gone as expected. They are 7-5 so far against the Colorado Rockies, Oakland A’s, Royals and Texas Rangers, and haven’t been more than two games over .500 since going 6-3 on 17 of April. His highest point was four games. plus, a 6-2 record, on April 16.

Fortunately, they’ve also avoided long losing streaks since an eight-game skid in late April. You can thank Dylan Cesar and Johnny Cueto for that.

It has been a long job, full of anguish due to batting orders, injuries, baserunning, defense and, of course, La Russa, who has taken the brunt of the criticism for the team’s poor play. Some of the criticism is exaggerated, but it’s nothing he hasn’t experienced in his first stint as Red Sox manager.

To make matters worse, the media keeps reminding the Red Sox that they’re in an important stretch of games and most of their players are healthy again. Suggesting that this is the tipping point has become a running joke in the last two months.

“Look, we’re all tired of saying, ‘This is the stretch’ or ‘The schedule has changed to this’ or ‘Health is at this level’ or ‘They had this dramatic win so maybe that’s the point. turning point,’” general manager Rick Hahn said last week after failing to achieve a trade deadline agreement. “So I’m done believing any forecast about this or that being the tipping point.”

When it happens, we will know. Until then, they’re just another underperforming team that no longer deserves the benefit of the doubt.

One thing the Sox don’t need, contrary to Hahn’s suggestion, is to return premature hubris to the bench. The players who are normally the biggest braggarts (Tim Anderson, Lance Lynn and Liam Hendricks) haven’t performed well enough to strut their stuff. If they can’t act without arrogance, the Red Sox are in more trouble than we think.

Anderson may be the key to the Sox’s chances of playing in October. He’s been down since he returned from a groin injury on June 20, hitting .245 with one home run and a .287 on-base percentage in his last 39 games.

He went 0-for-13 with six strikeouts in his last three games against the Rangers before starting his two-game suspension on Sunday for contacting an arbitrator on July 29. He also doesn’t look like he’s having fun, which is not what you need from someone whose name is synonymous with celebration.

Anderson is expected to return Tuesday in Game 2 of the doubleheader at Kauffman Stadium, and perhaps the offseason will be a chance for him to clear his mind and be the final straw again. The Sox can’t win without their leader and leadoff hitter doing his thing.

As we await the start of another important stretch, we can only hope that Dr. Ozzie provides some comfort and laughter in these trying times.

It’s the only thing that keeps us from crying.

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