Reinsdorf’s silence speaks volumes as White Sox stumble
By Chip Egan
To say the Chicago White Sox have been baseball’s most underachieving team this season would be pretty accurate. To say the team’s owner can’t be happy about it would be accurate too, right?
Maybe, but one wouldn’t know it by the silent treatment team chairman Jerry Reinsdorf has exercised while his team has hovered around the .500 mark most of the season after being considered a World Series contender to start the 2022 campaign.
Reinsdorf has remained eerily quiet throughout the season in which his team has played poorly, been managed poorly, and has been poorly equipped to keep players healthy.
Accountability seems to not be something Reinsdorf requires of his staff as fans have heard nary a peep from the owner about what is wrong with the team, who is responsible for its problems, and what will be done to try and fix the issues that have plagued them.
General manager Rick Hahn has taken heat and deservedly so for not doing enough to strengthen the team. But one has to wonder what kind of autonomy he has to do his job and whether or not he is hamstrung by leadership not willing to do what is necessary to build a winning franchise.
The Chicago White Sox are looking for answers after this awful 2022 season.
After being eliminated from the playoffs last year by the Houston Astros, there was hope on the part of White Sox fans that the team would address glaring needs (right fielder, second baseman, starting pitcher) through free agency in order to strengthen what was considered a talented enough team to make a title run.
However, when the team failed to address those needs, it was almost as if ownership took a page from the movie “Hoosiers” when Gene Hackman’s character told a referee during a game in which he had only four players, “My team is on the floor.”
Reinsdorf’s actions (or inaction) in the case may be-is a display of his believing he knows better than anyone what it takes to win. He rejects criticism of his handling of the team by his willingness to support his employees to a fault, regardless of their performance.
To see what the hierarchy of the team looks like in action go back to the hiring of Tony La Russa. Hahn did his duty to be in front of the press when Reinsdorf introduced his old pal as the new manager but it was obvious this was not a decision Hahn was allowed to make.
Since then, Reinsdorf has not made himself available to the media to answer questions about the job La Russa has done and what his future with the club is. His only response to the situation came in an email to reporter Jon Heyman which resulted in a thought that La Russa will be back on the bench next season.
The “Fire Tony” chants rang hallow with Reinsdorf as the multiple opportunities to make a managerial change to shake up the team throughout the season fell on deaf ears.
The only appearance of anyone being held accountable by ownership for the way the team has played came back in July when it was reported that team president Kenny Williams addressed the team about their inability to play to their potential and how everyone, including staff members, needs to pull together and get the job done.
La Russa tried his hand at getting things straightened out by holding a leadership meeting in which players such as Liam Hendriks and Jose Abreu talked about the state of the team and being united in their efforts to get back to playing winning baseball.
The White Sox went on to win five in a row after that meeting before the streak came to an end with a 21-5 loss to the Astros.
The performance on the field has been unacceptable and everyone wearing a uniform need to take responsibility for their inability to field, hit, pitch, and run the bases the way winning teams should.
Injuries have been an issue, but they can’t be used as a legitimate excuse since they didn’t keep the team from winning 93 games and a division title last season.
Nonetheless, ownership has failed to do its part in helping the White Sox take the next step to become a championship team.
Reinsdorf’s unwillingness to come forward and address what is wrong with the team speaks volumes of his attitude toward the White Sox fan base which has grown tired of the team’s losing ways.
This isn’t to say Reinsdorf needs to be like Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and be out in front of the pen and mic club every day.
However, it would be refreshing to see him answer questions and be more vocal about the state of the team every now and then to at least give the impression he cares about winning a championship.