BALTIMORE -- When the White Sox return to U.S. Cellular Field for Friday evening's series opener against the Royals, they begin a closing stretch where 25 of their final 45 games will take place on the South Side of Chicago.
And sadly for the White Sox, that home-field stretch is not really an advantage. Ozzie Guillen's crew enters this nine-game homestand with a 24-32 record at U.S. Cellular, which is worst in the American League and fourth from the bottom in all of Major League Baseball.
Adam Dunn serves as a good example of the home woes, going 24-for-169 with eight homers, 23 RBIs and 81 strikeouts in these hitter-friendly confines. The White Sox designated hitter has heard fans' jeers with each swing and a miss, with each groundout or with each popup, as have the rest of the White Sox on a less frequent basis.
Players understand fans have a right to express their displeasure once they buy a ticket to enter the stadium. But closer Sergio Santos hopes for a little more support from the White Sox faithful as the team tries to catch the Tigers and Indians in the American League Central.
"It would be nice if the fans could kind of not boo as much and kind of rally around us," a smiling Santos told MLB.com on Thursday. "I know Chicago fans are tough, obviously. They are passionate and they just want their team to win. Hopefully that's what we give them.
"It's part of the business, absolutely," added Santos of the booing. "By them paying their ticket to watch a game, they bought their right to boo or do whatever they want. But the true fans usually do come out and will cheer for you whether you are struggling or doing well. There are plenty of those in Chicago as well."
Santos understands the disappointment of White Sox fans in this "all-in" group underachieving, quickly adding that nobody is more disappointed than the players themselves.
Growing up near Los Angeles, Santos rooted for teams such as the Dodgers, Lakers and Raiders. He stuck with them through the good times and the lean years.
"You root for them whether they are doing well or doing badly just because that's your team," said Santos, before moving into a more general fan analysis. "It's tough because you have so many fans jumping off bandwagons and you know, the team is doing well and then it's, 'Hey, I'm a fan again.'
"Then they are doing terrible and it's, 'These guys are terrible, why are we giving them all this money?' It's tough, but that's the joy of being a fan."