The 2012 Chicago White Sox were found unresponsive outside U.S. Cellular Field Thursday morning. An immediate cause for failing to reach the MLB postseason was unknown and an investigation is underway.
Initial reports suggest that the wounds the White Sox suffered were self-inflicted.
Topics to study include the disappearance of clutch hitting (.217 September average with RISP), the way rookie manager Robin Ventura used his bullpen and an offense that relies on the home run far too much.
Now, while the passing of the White Sox is largely their own fault, witnesses are being brought in for interrogation and there are as many clues as there are suspects.
Blue fingerprints belonging to the Kansas City Royals were found at the scene, suggesting that the White Sox were manhandled by an acquaintance they were familiar with.
Tracks from the Detroit Tigers and the cigarette butts of manager Jim Leyland surrounded the crime scene, indicating that the Sox had been hunted down and unceremoniously disposed of by a predator that had been lying in wait all season.
Baltimore Orioles circled above, looking to finish off the carcass they began feeding off back in April and the L.A. Angels happily placed their halos over the White Sox in tribute to a failed campaign.
Who is at fault for the collapse?
Respects have already been paid by the New York Yankees and Texas Rangers, grateful that they will not have to face the White Sox in the postseason, while the North Side of Chicago is aglow at the fate of the South Side franchise.
The end came suddenly for the Sox.
After their victory over the Tigers on September 17, the White Sox sat three games up in the AL Central standings and seemed on the verge of making the postseason for the first time since 2008.
All the White Sox had to do was win nine of their final 16 games to make the playoffs. They did not and their season is now over.
It was a painful spiral into second place. The White Sox could not drive home the runs when they mattered most.
The franchise at 35th and Shields is survived by this correspondent and thousands like him.
Services will be held during Sox Fest, January 25-27, at the Palmer House Hilton in Chicago.