Supposing the Chicago White Sox finish the 2012 season as American League Central Division champs, the team will likely be entering the postseason with the "underrated" tag.
So be it. Let the White Sox wear the tag proudly for as far as they get this season.
The White Sox were forecast as cellar dwellers before the season. They've had questions at both ends of the rotation. They were crushed head to head by their closest pursuers.
Chicago is the best of one of baseball's weakest divisions. To top it all off, it's led by a rookie manager who was thought to be in way over his head.
It's a good thing we all hung in there and watched the actual season unfold.
Phil Rogers of the Chicago Tribune went on the Mully and Hanley Show of WSCR-670 and proclaimed the White Sox a playoff team Wednesday morning. Check out hour two of the broadcast at about the 20-minute mark for the full interview.
I would warn Rogers that there are 15 games remaining in the regular season, and the White Sox still need to play those games. However, should the White Sox come away with the AL Central flag, it still may not garner a lot of respect league-wide.
Pundits will point to the weak-sister status of the division. They will cite manager Robin Ventura's inexperience at the helm of a playoff team despite his October service time as an active player. They will claim that Chicago lacks an ace despite Chris Sale's outstanding season. They may point out attendance deficiencies.
They may just elect to ignore the White Sox as an also-ran once the playoffs start. Let them.
I don't remember a lot of accolades back in 2005. Despite leading the Central for the bulk of the season, that squad was the choice of few experts for a World Series celebration. Of course, that is just what Chicago fans got.
Underrated? If the White Sox make the postseason, it doesn't bother me a bit.