White Sox fans are growing tired of Jerry Reindsdorf and the current ownership/management group…what would a new ownership group look like?
The 2019 Major League Baseball season is closely approaching and die-hard Chicago White Sox fans are already feeling dour about this upcoming season and the future in general. Trust in the ownership group, led by Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf, and management, led by Vice President of Baseball Operations Kenny Williams and General Manager Rick Hahn, is at an all-time low.
For many of the Southside faithful, this lack of trust is warranted given the state of the franchise over the past dozen years. The White Sox have not made the playoffs since the 2008 season when they were led the likes of Mark Buehrle, Jim Thome, and Manager Ozzie Guillen. In fact, since 1981 (the year Mr. Reindsdorf purchased the franchise), the White Sox have missed the playoffs a whopping 33 of 38 seasons.
That’s a failure rate of 86.8 percent for all you statisticians out there. Five playoff seasons in 38 years is downright unacceptable in most major markets…the New York Yankees by contrast, have made the playoffs 20 times in the same timeframe and have won the World Series five times to one solo Championship for the Southsiders.
For most baseball fans, this may seem like an unfair comparison, but it speaks volumes to the lack of success this franchise and its fans have had to endure in the Reinsdorf era. To be fair, the White Sox weren’t very good prior to Jerry Reinsdorf and he absolutely deserves credit (along with the rest of the organization)for the 2005 World Series Championship. He undoubtedly bought himself at least a decade’s worth of grace with that magical season.
That decade, however, is now over. Many Sox fans are starting to wonder whether or not its time for Jerry Reinsdorf to sell the franchise. He’s certainly made good on his initial investment. Per Forbes’ The Business of Baseball, The Reinsdorf led ownership group paid $20 Million for the White Sox in 1981.
Today the Sox are estimated to be valued at $1.5 billion and are ranked 14th in MLB team valuations. Not bad Reinsdorf, not bad at all. In a previous post, I highlighted a potential reason why current ownership may have little to no interest in digging into their wallets any further than they have to in order to put a competitive team on the field.
It just does not make financial sense for them to do so, especially when the MLB has guaranteed that they will not fail, financially speaking. This leads to a perception among the fanbase that ownership is placing profits above pleasing the fans, their customers. It makes one wonder…what if a true Sox fan or a group of true blue Southsiders owned the team?
What would that look like? Super fans with the capital and the hunger to bring a perennial contender to the Southside akin to what the Yankees have been to New York or the Red Sox have been to Boston? Oh, where or where could we find such a benevolent group of super fans?
Let’s look no further than the two main headliners on a short list of wealthy and famous White Sox fans. Get ready to have your minds blown. I am calling for a proposed ownership group led by former President Barack Obama and Chicago Bulls legend, Michael Jordan. Let’s start with President Obama. The 44th President of the United States of America is perhaps the World’s most famous Sox fan.
He routinely wore a black Sox cap throughout his eight years in office and professed his love for the team on numerous occasions. He even wore his Sox cap while throwing the first pitch at a Washington Nationals game during his Presidency. It wouldn’t be unprecedented for a politician to own a stake in a professional baseball team…former President George W. Bush owned a stake in the Texas Rangers, albeit before his Presidency.
If there was one White Sox fan who could muster a group of investors to purchase the team from Jerry Reinsdorf, it’s our former President. Hope and change would certainly be welcome on 35th and Shields.
Not to be outdone, what about ‘His Airness’? While MJ has his hands full with a Billion dollar enterprise, to include majority ownership of the National Basketball Association’s (NBA) Charlotte Hornets, I’m sure he’d relish an opportunity to do what Jerry Reinsdorf could not…put a consistently competitive baseball product on the field.
Jordan is an unabashed White Sox fan and followed the team throughout his legendary career with the NBA’s Chicago Bulls. He even played in the White Sox farm system during his first retirement from basketball, displaying his unmatched athleticism and love for the game. He is also no stranger to Chicago fans, leading the Chicago Bulls to six NBA Championships during his Hall of Fame career. Yes, those Bulls were Jerry Reinsdorf owned as well, however, everyone acknowledges that MJ is the main reason for all of their success.
So how about it? An Obama and Jordan led ownership group would revitalize the franchise and the fan base like no other tandem could. They’d bring instant credibility and cache to the organization and would have no shortage of investors looking to partner with them on making the White Sox relevant again.
They would no doubt be the coolest ownership group in town and would attract star free agents in a way that others could not. Couple that with the Jordan Brand adorned on all White Sox apparel and you can see the business sense this would make as well. Lastly, stealing a little bit of thunder and buzz from the team not to be named on the North side would be icing on the cake. Obama/Jordan vs The Ricketts Family? Please…a White Sox fan can dream, right?