White Sox feel fans' pain of tough finish

CHICAGO – Since 1996, the White Sox have nine second-place finishes, four third-place finishes, three division titles and one historic World Series crown in 2005.

According to one fan asking a question near the end of Saturday's SoxFest Town Hall Meeting at the Palmer House Hilton, those good but not-quite-good-enough finishes don't sit well with the White Sox fan base. General manager Rick Hahn, on the Town Hall hot seat for the first time as the man in charge, quickly echoed his agreement with that particular sentiment.

"There is simply no worse feeling that I have than watching another team celebrate at the end of the season," Hahn said. "In terms of everything you said, we're not trying to finish in second place. We're not trying to win 83 games and miss the playoffs."

It was 85 wins, a second-place finish and a playoff miss in 2012, with the White Sox concluding the season on a 4-11 slide and not finishing off a season in which they sat in first for 117 days. They held a two-game division lead over the Twins on Sept. 9, 2003, only to lose the AL Central by four games as another example of late-season struggles.

As manager Robin Ventura pointed out in his pointed response to the same question, making the playoffs isn't easy. And falling short just makes the White Sox want to go even harder after the prize in 2013.

"A lot of people might think it's easy but it's really not that easy. That's why it's 162 games and that's why you play," Ventura said. "I played for 16 years, and it's not that easy -- it never was. You never want to go home not making the playoffs.

"We're just as disappointed as anybody else. But again, I know there is no season that you prepare for that. Any time you're knocked down, you have to get back up and go. I'm not going to quit. I'm not quitting. I'm getting everybody ready to win this year and not worry about just falling down."