Well, ain't that a kick in the teeth. At least Chicago White Sox fans have come to expect it.
Club owner Jerry Reinsdorf reportedly told his family that, once he dies, the White Sox are to be sold — but the Chicago Bulls, which he also owns, should go to his heirs.
But daddy, the White Sox came first!
SportsBusiness Journal (via the Chicago Sun-Times) has the scoop:
The publication interviewed Reinsdorf, 77, about his longtime sports ownerships in Chicago and noted that ‘‘the family succession plan calls for the Reinsdorfs to retain their stake in the Bulls while selling the White Sox. Michael Reinsdorf [Jerry’s son and current president of the Bulls] will take his father’s place [as chairman].’’
While that might happen, Jerry Reinsdorf was clarifying things Tuesday.
‘‘Jerry has said that while it is his recommendation that the club be put up for sale once he is no longer with us, he acknowledges that his vote won’t count at that point in the discussion,’’ said Scott Reifert, the Sox’ senior vice president of communications and a longtime friend of the elder Reinsdorf. ‘‘Jerry appreciates all the care and concern about his future but is happy to still be going strong, and he plans to be around for quite a while longer.
‘‘As he said just today, he recognizes that he may be in the fourth quarter, but he’s playing for triple overtime.’’
Note the basketball analogy. Hey, whatever happened to "extra innings"?
So, Reinsdorf is not dying (at least any faster than the rest of us). That's a good thing. Despite some heinous decisions on his part — letting Harry Caray go to the Cubs, letting GM Hawk Harrelson (oy) fire Tony La Russa, holding up the state in order to fund construction of U.S. Cellular Field, trying to bust the players union which led to canceling the 1994 World Series — he's still the best owner the White Sox have ever had. Results on the field say so.
However: White Sox fans collectively, a perception goes, feel their team has played second fiddle in the city for as long as they can remember. Second fiddle to the Chicago Cubs — even second-fiddle to Reinsdorf's other team.
Reinsdorf's dying wish just confirms it again: Daddy doesn't love Sox fans enough.
The negative feelings about the Cubs are seated deeper than Reinsdorf. No matter that the Sox won a World Series during this millennium, and also fare well against the Cubs in head-to-head play, an irrational dislike exists. Call it jealousy of the attention, or envy of Wrigley Field, or just a plain-old inferiority complex, many White Sox fans feel like an afterthought.
And that doesn't even account for the ambivalence regarding Reinsdorf's relationship with the Bulls, whom he purchased four years after he and Eddie Einhorn bought the Sox from Bill Veeck before the 1981 season. The same Bulls who won six championships in the 1990s compared to the White Sox's lone title in 2005. The same Bulls who had Michael Jordan, who already was there when Reinsdorf bought the team, and the same M.J. who only played baseball with the Sox because Reinsdorf owned them, too. Sox fans saw through the gimmick, but probably just were relieved that Jordan wasn't playing for the Cubs. That would have been too much to take.
Regardless, the next owner of the Sox might love them with all of his or her heart and wallet. But there's a strong chance they won't be owned as well as when the Sox were owned by Jerry Reinsdorf.
Here's a fun fact: The number of NBA championships won by Phil Jackson as a basketball player and coach is more than every baseball team except the New York Yankees has won World Series rings. Jackson has won 13 NBA Finals. After the Yankees' 27 titles, the next highest is the St. Louis Cardinals, who have 11.
That's a weird set-up for two weird tidbits: (1) Phil Jackson might want to be a baseball coach. (2) He's already an adviser to a couple MLB managers.
The New York Times' magazine detailed at length how NBA teams are still chasing Jackson and how he can't really leave the game. One passage reads: "Jackson will almost certainly return to basketball. One of his other great talents is coming out of retirement."
But about three-fourths into the story comes this baseball-centric nugget:
Jackson has been serving as a kind of intersports guru, giving informal advice to an Israeli soccer coach — “All soccer involves triangles,” Jackson says — as well as to a couple of baseball managers. He grew up playing baseball and still thinks he would make a good coach. He has told the owner of the Chicago White Sox — his former boss with the Bulls, Jerry Reinsdorf — that he’s available. He seems to be only half joking.
Phil Jackson, baseball coach. How crazy would be if the guy all these NBA teams are chasing made the jump — like a certain star player of his did — to baseball? Maybe Jackson could take over the Dodgers. L.A. fans could get behind that, right? I mean, they've already accepted Magic Johnson as their savior.
OK, so Phil Jackson in baseball probably isn't not going to happen, but it is interesting to learn that Jackson is giving advice to MLB managers. Who do you think they are? I dunno, but it sure would be funny if it were Jim Leyland. Let's hope it's not Don Mattingly. That wouldn't bode well for Jackson's coaching prospects.
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