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Welcome to our new home for White Sox coverage!

Hello, and welcome to a new era of Chicago White Sox coverage on the Fans First Sports Network!

We are the Writing Staff Formerly Known As South Side Sox, moving over as a collective from SB Nation and bringing virtually all of our regular coverage and features with us.

In an effort to keep our introduction brief, at least initially, let me introduce ourselves and our appointment coverage.

Our Core Staff
I am Brett Ballantini, and I’ve been a sportswriter for 25 years, as a freelancer (HOOP, SLAM, NBA, NHL, MLB), magazine editor (Basketball Digest) and beat writer (Chicago Blackhawks and White Sox). I started daily online writing/editing off of the beat at South Side Sox in 2018.

Chrystal O’Keefe has been with our core group since 2020, when we were South Side Hit Pen at Sports Illustrated. Although she is an everywoman for us and works tirelessly for other sites as well, her core work this season has been game recaps and hosting our series preview podcast, Visiting Dugout. She also deserves citation as our writing group’s conscience.

Melissa Sage-Bollenbach has been with us since 2022 and in some ways has followed directly in Chrystal’s footsteps, doing a little bit of everything. This season, she’s recapped both majors and minors action, written a biweekly column and kick-started a brand-new podcast, Ladies’ Night.

Joe Resis is our longest-tenured regular writer, joining our group in 2019 and, like others, touching every aspect of White Sox writing, from majors recaps to Minor League Updates; this year, he has taken on the daunting task of writing up our Minors Player of the Week and Player of the Month features, as well as joining me for several Sox Pop on the Farm minor league podcasts.

Kristina Airdo is yet another of our tireless crew, shifting most of her focus this season to our Minor League Updates, and also contributes a weekly roundup of the bests and worsts of MLB at large.

Leigh Allan has been a core contributor for us over several years and touches nearly everything having to do with the major league club, including weekly game recaps and columns. He also co-hosts our second longest-running podcast, Sharing Sox, with his son, Will.

Salina Rae Silver came to us in 2023 and immediately set the site on fire with terrific majors and minors analysis. This year, she has settled in with Minor League Updates and stellar photography of all the players in our system. Outside of the White Sox, she is the team photographer for the Tampa Bay Rays affiliate Bowling Green Hot Rods.

Ryiin brings a bit of social media awareness to their White Sox recap writing and has spelled Kristina with some of the MLB weekly updates.

Di Billick came to us in 2021, and the White Sox have rapidly tanked since. She’s been our most offbeat game recapper and will also contribute odd and insightful columns, when the fury strikes.

Hannah LaMotta has been a weekly White Sox recapper for her entire tenure with us, and in the past has also contributed columns and AL Central spotlights.

We have several other contributors to the site, all of whom you will be reading, soon. But for the sake of brevity, this covers our regular MLB and minors writers.

Our Regular Features
While some of the form of what we’ve traditionally done at South Side Sox may take a slightly different form at FFSN, we will provide a wide variety of regular writing for you in-season, and out. Focusing just on the second half of this season, here’s what to expect from us:

White Sox Recaps of every game, of course.

White Sox Minor League Update, running Tuesday-Sunday and covering every affiliate but the DSL. We provide basic recapping, bullet-point linescores and pertinent snippets from social media.

White Sox Player of the Week, a short essay plus the MVP vote standings based on the postgame player polls that will continue to run at South Side Sox. The cornerstone of this feature is Mitch Ransdell’s amazing sharpie art.

Joe Resis’ Minor League Player of the Week and Month, which picks a top star across all the affiliates but also provides detailed weekly/monthly linescores and short essays on the runners-up.

Kristina Airdo, with support from Ryiin, pens the MLB Update, which is both a serious and lighthearted take on the ups and downs of the prior week in baseball.

A number of podcasts, led by the Sox Populi mothership podcast that serves as our house podcast. Sharing Sox is the White Sox-centric father-son podcast, with Leigh and Will Allan. Chrystal O’Keefe previews most every White Sox series with an opponent expert on Visiting Dugout. Sox Pop on the Farm addresses one affiliate per week and sits down with writer Jonathan Lee in Charlotte, Barons president/GM Jonathan Nelson, Joe Resis on the Dash and Kannapolis broadcaster Dan Helotie. Ladies’ Night is hosted by Melissa Sage-Bollenbach and features a rotating cast of our women writers. Soxy Chicks brings together White Sox writer Chrystal O’Keefe and Red Sox writer Bayleigh Von Schneider.

We also run regular columns, although they have not been quite as regular as planned in 2024. Special citation for Leigh Allan, who rarely misses a week and carries that practice all through the offseason as well.

There is enough we cover (and enough for me to cover in this overview) that surely this introduction will be updated in the days to come. But we wanted to lead off with an excited HELLO to all of our new readers at Fans First Sports Network. You can keep up with all of our site postings @SoxPopuli on Twitter and @SouthSideSox on Facebook.

You can also provide additional support to our writers by supporting us at Patreon, which can also provide you an exclusive option to join our editorial board, giving you a peek behind the scenes and access to our top editors. Support us with this link:

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