Chicago White Sox fans simply do not matter.
That, above all else, is the message the team's owner (Jerry Reinsdorf), executive vice president (Kenny Williams) and general manager (Rick Hahn) keep telling their frustrated, exhausted, angry, and, yes, ignored fan base.
If White Sox fans truly mattered, Reinsdorf would have fired Hahn after the team's stunning 7-21 start this season. Hahn, though, is still employed, in charge of yet another White Sox rebuild, and is about to close out his eighth losing season in eleven years as general manager.
That's the way Reinsdorf shows he cares about White Sox fans and the city of Chicago.
Reinsdorf first showed how much Sox fans mattered to him when he allowed beloved announcer Harry Caray to leave the South Side after the 1981 season.
A few years later he was prepared to take the White Sox to St. Petersburg, Florida in the late 1980s unless Illinois taxpayers built him a new stadium.
That's how much he loves White Sox fans.
The Chicago White Sox have a ton of problems with the organization.
Reinsdorf has now morphed into the crazy man down the street, sitting behind the curtains in his unlit house unwilling to open the door for trick-or-treaters on Halloween night while he clutches $100 bills in his hands.
Williams and Hahn are simply Reinsdorf's loyal foot soldiers, always willing to do his dirty work.
Their latest dirty deed done dirt cheap, according to Sox fans, was performed in a cold-blooded way less than two weeks ago at the trade deadline. They sent fan-favorite third baseman Jake Burger, the only player on the roster Sox fans could seemingly relate to this year, for a minor league pitcher.
That's how much Reinsdorf cares about you, Sox fans. Go root for the Miami Marlins if you don't like it.
Sticking it to his fan base and not winning another World Series has become Reinsdorf's passion. If he truly wanted to win another World Series, why would he step in and force Hahn to hire Tony La Russa as manager two years ago?
It is because the White Sox belong to Jerry Reinsdorf and they do not belong to the city of Chicago or White Sox fans.
This past January, the Sox even had the nerve to cancel the one event all year dedicated to the fans (SoxFest) for the third year in a row. The first two cancellations were because of COVID-19. The third one was a complete disrespect to Sox fans.
The only thing Reinsdorf wants from Sox fans is their money. Just cheer for the team and, above all else, buy tickets, hats, and jerseys and allow us to gouge you for parking, hotdogs, beer, and nachos when you come to our shopping mall we call a stadium.
So be quiet and stop moaning and whining. You say you want a legitimate second baseman and right fielder to complete your rebuild? You want more than Cesar Hernandez and Jake Diekman at the trade deadline? Geoff Blum was good enough for you in 2005, wasn't he?
You want high-priced players? Well, buy more tickets, hot dogs and beer and we might listen to you.
Someday. Maybe. Make that never.
What you want means nothing to Reinsdorf. How many times does he have to show you?
He doesn't love White Sox fans or the players White Sox fans love. Burger was just the latest fan favorite Reinsdorf's Sox let leave town.
See Frank Thomas, Magglio Ordonez, Ray Durham, Mark Buehrle, Joe Crede, A.J. Pierzynski, Aaron Rowand, Bobby Jenks, Albert Belle, Chris Sale, Ozzie Guillen, Harold Baines, and countless others.
Reinsdorf, never forget, is a New Yorker and grew up as a Brooklyn Dodgers fan.
Come to think of it, his so-called Brooklyn Dodger love affair now sounds a bit contrived, like a 1930s Hollywood press release, right down to the warm and fuzzy tale about how he was in the stands at Ebbets Field the day Jackie Robinson debuted for the Dodgers.
What about Reinsdorf's behavior over the last three or four decades suggests he truly loves baseball, the White Sox, White Sox fans, or the city of Chicago?
Bill Veeck used to go sit in the center field bleachers, walk the aisles in the stadium, host a weekly radio show with his wife, and watch the game from the press box.
Reinsdorf is the anti-fan, the crusty old man in the haunted house down the block clutching his money in the dark. The only thing Reinsdorf truly loves about baseball, Chicago, or the White Sox is that the White Sox he bought four decades ago for $19 million is now worth $2 billion.
Reinsdorf is just a lawyer and a businessman. Hahn is just a lawyer, a former agent, and a kid who grew up watching Chicago Cubs games on WGN. Williams is just a failed pampered athlete.
They are all incredibly intelligent men, to be sure with George Washington University, Northwestern Law Schoo, Harvard, and Stanford on their combined resumes. But they are also all arrogant, defensive, and condescending.
How dare you question the White Sox royal family of Reinsdorf, Williams, and Hahn? Did you really expect King Jerry to fire his two sons, Prince Kenny, and Prince Rick? That's not how a royal family works.
Elvis Andrus might have the task of putting the home run hat and coat on Sox players after an occasional home run. But Kenny and Rick have to put the king coat and hat on Jerry every day.
The Sox can always find a washed-up, mediocre veteran to play second base. Finding someone to bow in front of king Jerry each and every day, well, good luck finding that on the free agent list.
What exactly does Hahn know about judging baseball talent and putting a winning team together? Yes, he's made awful trades, giving away the likes of Fernando Tatis Jr., Marcus Semien, Chris Bassitt, Tommy Kahnle, and others.
But all GMs make bad trades.
Hahn simply has proven he cannot put a winning roster together. Remember those eight losing seasons in 11 years?
Hahn is just the guy he now makes fun of. Almost each time he speaks publicly he makes light of fans on social media who have expressed anger and frustration over the White Sox's situation in recent years.
He says it, the media chuckles and everyone moves on.
But Hahn was once a young kid who wrote a letter to former Chicago Cubs' general manager Dallas Green, outlining what he thought the Cubs needed to improve. Aren't letters from fans just the 1980s version of Twitter?
Green, though, was nice and supposedly wrote Hahn an encouraging letter in return. All Hahn does is basically call fans on social media names. His next step, no doubt, will be to simply take a picture of his paycheck and post it on Twitter.
Hahn's two winning seasons include the 60-game pandemic season of 2020. That team started 32-16, lost nine of its last 12 games and likely would have finished under .500 if the season required another 102 games.
The White Sox were 47-69 through Thursday, giving Hahn's White Sox teams starting in 2013 a dismal record of 747-886 and a winning percentage of .457. One division title in 11 years. Just two playoff game victories (one in 2020, one in 2021).
How has he earned the right to orchestrate another rebuild? Why is it always the players' fault? But that's what happens when an organization thinks it is smarter than everyone else. The fans are wrong each and every time.
We now know that all of Hahn's rebuild trades merely proved that he had a subscription to Baseball America and knew the names of some top prospects. What Hahn has never learned, however, is how to build a winning roster.
Hahn's biggest mistake was turning the team over to his fancy prospects, players like Tim Anderson, Yoan Moncada, Eloy Jimenez, and Luis Robert.
None of those players should have ever been in a leadership role. Not yet. Remember the White Sox's failed public relations strategy with Anderson as the face of the "Change the Game" campaign?
The White Sox basically deemed Anderson the leader of the team at that time and told the other players to follow his lead.
It proved to be the beginning of the end of the rebuild. Anderson went from being the poster boy of the new-look White Sox to the poster boy of the failed rebuild.
But don't blame Anderson and all of the other so-called stars Hahn acquired in the early stages of the rebuild. The White Sox organization failed all of those players because they didn't teach them how to be leaders.
They just handed them full-time jobs, big-money extensions and gave them control of the team. It's no wonder a guy like Jose Abreu finally had enough after last year and wanted out.
Hahn this past week finally admitted that he built a clubhouse void of enough leadership and character. For that offense alone, of course, he should be fired.
But in true Hahn fashion, he simply came off as blaming the players. He trusted them to be leaders.
Manager Pedro Grifol said the same ridiculous thing. Hahn and Grifol's only crime, therefore, was that they believed in their players. How touching.
Hahn, unfortunately, is not going anywhere.
Yes, he should have done the honorable thing and resigned at the All-Star break. But what aspect of the White Sox rebuild has ever been done in an honorable way?
The whole rebuild was a lie. They traded for fraud prospects that were high in talent but low in character and never for a minute intended to do what was necessary to make the rebuild work.
Adding top prospects, of course, is just the first step in a rebuild. The Sox chose to ignore all the other steps, like building character, finding true leadership, and a real manager.
Sox fans, after all, saw the inevitable failure of the rebuild from the moment Reinsdorf hired La Russa. In the last two years, we all saw that Hahn, instead of building a winning organization, merely assembled a selfish, lazy, entitled team.
Wonder who they learned that from? It couldn't be Jerry, Kenny and Rick, could it?
Hahn's and Williams' loyalty to King Jerry, though, so far knows no bounds. They will continue to tell King Jerry how good he looks even when all Sox fans know their emperor has no clothes.
But it doesn't matter in the end what Sox fans think. Nobody at the Sox castle is listening to or cares about the fans.