Good morning White Sox fans! If there is a silver lining to this dumpster fire season, Kenny Williams and Rick Hahn got fired along with it.
For a man as loyal as Jerry Reinsdorf, I thought Rick and Kenny had jobs for life. And if it were any other team in baseball, those two probably would have been gone a while ago. Yet, he finally did the right thing and shook things up where they needed to be shaken up.
I grew up a die-hard Sox fan. There was a lot of pride in calling yourself a Sox fan for many years. It meant being attached to a blue-collar, hard-working South Side mentality. It meant feeling goosebumps every time you walked into the ballpark and watched the highlight reels just before the game as ACDC's "Thunderstruck" played across the scoreboard. It meant connecting to lovable players even in the worst seasons.
And then the last couple of years happened. I had never been more disappointed to call myself a Sox fan than this season. They have been a traveling clown show. I was at Progressive Field when Anderson got knocked out. As the Cleveland fans booed him, I booed along with them. I was so fed up with his on-the-field antics. I turned to my dad and said, "Just shut up and play baseball."
Then there was the Middleton report, in which former player Kenyon Middleton said there were cultural problems inside the White Sox clubhouse, which was confirmed by the resurrected Lance Lynn (and Jose Abreu's comments about not being a family if you go back to last year).
Then you have the stadium relocation talk and the possibility of relocating to Nashville. You will bring that up when you're a million games under .500 in a season you were expecting to win the division? What? Oh, and there have been no details in place yet for SoxFest—round of applause there.
And then...Kenny and Rick got fired. For now, things look like, hey, maybe all this losing could lead to something good. I hate to say that I'm going to be a Debbie Downer, but I'm hesitant that things are going to change all that much. We must remember that Jerry is a businessman. For as surprising as this move was, Jerry is the guy who voted to strike in 1994 when the Sox were poised to make the playoffs. He was the guy who threatened to move to Florida if the city did not come up with the money to build a stadium. He's the only guy who did not vote for Steve Cohen to be an owner. And he's the guy who has not forked over enough money for a single $100 million player. The only other two teams not to have a $100 million dollar player? The A's and the Royals.
Reinsdorf is 87 years old, and there were rumblings that he would sell the team to make a transition to move the Sox out of the stadium from a report this past week. There was an older report that Jerry would like to see at least the Sox play in their next all-star game at Guaranteed Rate before selling. Then there's something else: he would actually lose money if he sold because he'd have to pay a tax on his earnings. Whereas, if he just waited until he died, he could take that money to his grave.
So, for now, we are stuck with Jerry. We know Jerry is loyal, and one of the guys they are looking at is Chris Getz, the White Sox director of player development. They love to hire their own people, and my questions are, "How well have the Sox developed players?" How ready would Getz be for this huge promotion?"
Scott Podsednik said in the latest White Sox Talk Podcast that on this instinct, "As bad as this season went, they could learn a lot." They could. But will they? I won't hold my breath as long as Jerry steers the ship. They're supposed to have a GM by the end of the season, so we can only wait and hope for the best. If they bring in their first $100 million free agent soon, we might know that real change is coming. If they develop a stronger farm system, we might know that real change is coming.
But this is only the start of what the Sox must do to rebuild their connection with the fans. They need to bring back SoxFest. They need to remember that this is all about the fans. They forgot about the fans. They didn't care about the fans, and we have stopped caring about them. So, hopefully, this is the start of something good. We will just have to wait and see.
To search for Kevin Patrick Kenealy's latest thriller, peruse either Centuries & Sleuths Bookstore in Forest Park, Barbara's Bookstore in Orland Square Mall, Anderson's Bookshop in Downers Grove, or The Book Dragon in Stockton-on-Tees, England. You can also buy direct from my website here: https://www.kevinpatrickkenealy.com/author