“You gotta keep it loose. We’re out there grinding every day,” Holland said. “We’re not trying to tank or play badly or anything like that — we’re giving it everything we’ve got. The main thing is to keep the right mindset.”
HollandWWEbelt-CWS-071917.jpgThe WWE championship belt Derek Holland bestows to the Player of the Game after each White Sox win. (Photo courtesy of the White Sox)
That mindset is supported through practices like the sharing of the belt along with the seemingly trivial silliness of something like a Batman mask — the mask was passed on to Todd Frazier’s son in the locker room after the game — and these practices are thanks in great part to Holland’s passion for WWE.
The first in-person experience for Holland at a WWE event came in Dallas, at “Hell in the Cell,” a yearly showdown that started in 2009. Holland was hooked. He’s attended more than half a dozen live events in the years since, most recently sitting ringside at “Monday Night RAW” and “Elimination Chamber” held in Phoenix just before spring training this year.
Given his years with the Rangers, Holland offers valuable insight and experience to share with teammates, but probably none more so than the value of appreciating the pure joy of fandom and the levity it brings to one’s own profession.
There won’t be much hardware coming to the White Sox this season, but they’ll take those belts of honor — both large and small.
The White Sox have not had as many opportunities to vote on who gets the belt, but on that particular night, a walk-off single from Jose Abreu secured a win over the Yankees, and the belt moved from Kahnle’s locker to Abreu’s.