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WHITESOXINTERACTIVE.COM. Totally Biased Coverage of the Chicago White Sox!

Sox & the Media, Part Two
What a long strange trip it's been...

By Mark Liptak 

Bad neighorhood filled with violent Sox fans? 

There's so much to refute this media assertion we needed a whole Part Two to make it fit!

Here's Part Two of Sox and the Media...


Over time what seemed to be a bone with many Sox fans was the fact that any time anything happened or might have happened in sports concerning fan violence those two incidents were being continually brought up, particularly by the Chicago Tribune, at that time the owner of the Cubs. White Sox fans wondered (and perhaps some in the organization did too) why it appeared the Tribune (and others) were ‘soft peddling’ some of the bizarre and ugly incidents that had happened at Wrigley Field during roughly the same time frame.

To wit:

September 28, 1995 – Cub relief pitcher Randy Myers was attacked on the mound by 27 year old John Murray after giving up a home run to a member of the Astros. Myers used his kung fu training to handle the attacker.

May 16, 2000 – Dodger catcher Chad Kreuter, sitting in the bullpen in right field, had his head slapped and his hat stolen by a fan that ran up into the stands. Kreuter and some of his teammates charged into the stands and an ugly fight ensued. Arrests and suspensions followed. 

June 26, 2007 – After giving up a three run home run to the Rockies, Cub relief pitcher Bob Howry saw a fan run out of the stands and charge towards him. The fan, Brent Kowalkoski, was tackled right before he stepped on the mound area.

Former Cub players LaTroy Hawkins, Milton Bradley and Jacques Jones accused Wrigley fans of racial insults and throwing items at them.

On at least two occasions Cub games had to be stopped and security and cleanup crews had to go on to the field to pick up numerous amounts of garbage thrown from out of the bleachers.

And there was the terrible situation where a fan was murdered near Wrigley Field soon after a Cub game but newspaper accounts afterwards never mentioned ‘Wrigleyville’ the term used by all for the area.  Instead a more obscure name was used to describe the neighborhood where the incident took place. By contrast when the Sox had the two incidents take place the name of their stadium and the neighborhood, Bridgeport, was prominently mentioned and mentioned for days afterwards including when the Ligue’s and Dybas had their legal day in court.

Mentioning Dybas also brought up another point which left many, even non-conspiratorial individuals wondering what may have been going on. The following day after the incident both Dybas’ girlfriend, Kelly Sherwood and his roommate, said on various Chicago radio stations that they were shocked that Dybas was even at a Sox game. Both said he was a dedicated Cub fan who had been drinking heavily at the afternoon Cub game before deciding to go to the Sox game that night. These facts on the individual never seemed to make it into print leaving the impression to many that Dybas was just another ‘white trash, stupid Sox fan.’

This is not to accuse the media of wrong doing, they reported the incidents as they saw fit but certainly the way it was reported didn’t appear to tell the entire story and the way they reported the incidents that happened at Wrigley Field appeared to be of a very different nature then the tone that was used in the White Sox situations.  It aroused suspicions on the part of many Sox fans.

One final point about the entire ‘bad neighborhood,’ ‘bad fans’ mantra that seems to have followed the White Sox franchise around since the race riots of the mid 1960’s. According to official Chicago Police Department reports, the area around U.S. Cellular Field has had less crime and incidents than the area around Wrigley Field. Yet Sox fans point out, that never seems to make its way into media stories. 

Over the years there have been many varied and different individuals who have covered the White Sox. There were the quiet, professional types like Bob Elson, Jerry Holtzman, Ed Prell, John Carmichael and Wendell Smith. There have been some who weren’t afraid to kick up a little dust from time to time like Milo Hamilton, Brent Musberger (yes, that Brent Musberger who started his career covering the Sox and Bears for the Chicago American)and Bob Waller. There were some who spoke their mind repeatedly but always tried to back it up with facts and never got personal, I think of the late Bill Gleason, Dave Nightingale, Harry Caray and Jimmy Piersall. There were some a little more flamboyant than others, my friend Chet Coppock comes to mind immediately.

And then there was Jay Mariotti.

Mariotti came to the Chicago Sun-Times in 1991 and until he quit in a huff in 2008, he lived in controversy much as a pig in slop. He seemed to relish it as much too. Unlike others who had the professionalism to show themselves on the field or in the clubhouse the next day after saying or writing something, Mariotti avoided it like the plague, only rarely, very rarely venturing into those areas.

The other thing about him was, he’d often cross the line and make his comments more of a personal attack violating every standard of journalism and broadcasting.

Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf was torched repeatedly as was mild mannered Sox Vice President for Communications Scott Reifert. Ozzie Guillen was a frequent target especially after he called Mariotti a “fag” in June 2006 and lambasted him for never showing his face on the field or in the clubhouse. Mariotti also personally attacked his own colleagues ranging from Joe Cowley, to Rick Telander to film critic Roger Ebert. He called security while making a rare visit to U.S. Cellular Field on Telander when Rick came over to talk to him to see if they could patch up their differences shortly before Mariotti quit. Afterwards Mariotti said he was being threatened by Telander.

Why he did this and if it was all contrived to make a name for himself is unknown. What is known is that he came across as a miserable human being with little to no regard for common decency. That’s not to say everything he wrote or said about the White Sox was wrong, but the way he did what he did took away from the points he was trying to get across.

Some of his more famous incidents included, as previously noted, trying to goad Reinsdorf personally during the Albert Belle press conference, getting into a physical altercation with Sox announcer “Hawk” Harrelson in Minnesota in 2004 which left him with a broken nose (Harrelson called him “the biggest sports fraud” at Sox Fest that January), his all over the map ramblings during the 2005 World Championship season which went from basically calling the Sox one of the best teams ever, to by late September, saying they were about to become the biggest chokers in baseball history to then heaping lavish praise on them after winning the World Series.  

His last incident, quitting the Sun-Times, after not being allowed to write a particular column of his choosing because it was Telander’s turn, brought relief and scorn, not only from those in other media outlets but from those he worked with which is practically unheard of in the business.  Telander wrote a column ripping Mariotti and his reasons for leaving the Sun-Times apart, Sox beat writer Joe Cowley (whom Mariotti said “had issues…”) told me in his interview for White Sox Interactive that “this whole business of the media vs. Jerry Reinsdorf was probably fueled by one person and one person only, Jay Mariotti. He had a personal vendetta against Jerry and did everything he could to make the Sox look bad.” (Author’s Note: According to some sources, the ‘feud’ started when Reinsdorf called up the Chicago Sun-Times and apparently suggested that the owners fire Mariotti for his comments regarding the Sox over the years. Mariotti got wind of the call and then escalated his rhetoric.) Cowley also said that he told Mariotti that when he died the only people who’d be at his funeral was his family. 

Finally Roger Ebert, the long time and well respected film critic of the Sun-Times who has undergone personal anguish and physical tragedy the last few years wrote a column hammering Jay and ending it with the line, “on your way out, don’t let the door bang you on the ass.” (Author’s Note: Here is the link to the complete column.  Mariotti responded via that “Ebert can kiss my ass…”

The Chicago sports scene and the way the White Sox are covered appear to be in much better hands now that Mariotti has left the area.

Finally in the interest of full disclosure, while Mariotti was working for the Sun-Times, I e-mailed him more than once asking for an interview for White Sox Interactive. I assured him the interview would be fair with no loaded questions. I never got a response.

The new century started with some of the same old problems dogging the Sox via the media, namely, attendance. A young White Sox team surprised everybody by winning 95 games on their way to a divisional title yet many were fixated on the fact the Sox weren’t drawing the way a top team should. Mark Giangreco, the sports anchor at WLS-TV became the target of a lot of Sox fans who ripped him for showing practically every time he had home highlights, a shot of empty blue seats. It’s strange that every five years or so the Chicago media needed to be reminded of certain truths about Sox fans. Namely they won’t support mediocrity, they don’t think losing is cute and they reserve judgment on a team until it has proven themselves to them. How do these truths apply to the 2000 White Sox and attendance?  The Sox had four losing seasons out of the previous five years. The 2000 club was a shock and many fans were sure ultimately they wouldn’t succeed (and they were right.) The infamous ‘White Flag Trade’ was three seasons removed and the labor impasse of which Jerry Reinsdorf played such a large part was only six years removed.

White Sox fans have long memories.  

One other factor often overlooked by the media when they discuss attendance, that badly hurts the Sox is this. Of all the original 16 pre expansion major league clubs, the White Sox are the only one to have never made the postseason in consecutive seasons.

Many times they come literally out of nowhere to have a good season and when they are expected to win in the future, in order to build trust with the fan base and keep the momentum going, they fail.

Many times badly.

Think of 1968, 1973, 1984, 1995, 2001 and 2006. Of those six years for example, only twice did they even have a winning season.  Many Sox fans to this day can’t figure out (and neither can the media) how the White Sox with their market-size, payroll advantages, higher valued radio / TV / internet deals and advertising opportunities have never been able to dominate the division much like the Yankees and Red Sox do in the A.L. East. Cleveland did it in the 1990’s in the Central, Minnesota did it in the 2000’s in the Central but that goal has eluded management’s best efforts. Sox fans are a skeptical bunch and only making the postseason every so often isn’t helping matters to say nothing of only two World Series appearances since 1919.

Perhaps that was part of the reason Ozzie Guillen was hired as manager after the 2003 season. Guillen brought energy and passion to the position and a real desire to win and bring consistency to the field but he also brought something else, ‘must see TV’. Ozzie shoots from the heart via his mouth…he will say anything at anytime. Reporters have been quoted as saying they dare not miss an Ozzie press conference because you never know what he might say. Howard Cosell once said, “I don’t care if you love me or hate me as long as you watch me.” With Ozzie and G.M. Kenny Williams on board the media at least knew who the White Sox were. Unlike the 1980’s the Sox couldn’t be ignored.

The White Sox certainly weren’t ignored in 2005. The championship season was covered with professionalism, thoroughness and even with humor by the Chicago media. By the time the playoffs rolled around and especially when the Sox got to the World Series, all the outlets were on ‘all White Sox, all the time’ mode as well they should have been. Chicago teams getting to the World Series happens as rarely as Republicans getting elected mayor. But there were some things that made Sox fans do a double take. Jay Mariotti was still around of course as was his personal brand of lunacy but there were also three issues, all connected with the Chicago Tribune in their playoff coverage, which elicited strong emotions from the fan base and caused questions to be raised, since at that time, Tribune Company still owned the Cubs. We’ll present these in the style that John McLaughlin does on his PBS show, “The McLaughlin Group” 

Issue One, ‘It’s a bad neighborhood…’ The day the White Sox hosted the opening game of the playoffs against Boston, the Tribune ran a front page story on the Bridgeport neighborhood that surrounds U.S. Cellular Field. Among the story were comments that the Sox haven't really helped the neighborhood and talked about the drug use and unemployment in the area. That certainly sounds like a legitimate story but fans asked why did it 'happen' to run on the day the Sox opened up the post season? The neighborhood issues were there in April and July and September. Fans asked about the timing of that story on the day the Sox were the biggest entity making news in Chicago. Ed Sherman was a columnist for the Tribune at that time. He’s a die-hard Sox fan who now writes for Crain’s Chicago Business Daily. In his interview with White Sox Interactive in 2007, I asked him about this story. 

“As for the Bridgeport story, again, that had nothing to do with an anti-Sox bias. It had more to do with doing a good story. That's how the metro section works. Also, understand when the Sox, or any team, reach the spotlight, more sections in the paper get involved in the coverage. Thus, you get a story about Bridgeport that probably won't be written in April or May when their writers are working on other things. Yet having said that, I thought the timing was terrible. Again, it comes down to perception. Yet another reason why we should get rid of the Cubs.” 

Issue Two, ‘Taking over…’ The White Sox victory parade was on Friday through a number of neighborhoods on the South Side, ending up downtown. That Sunday the Tribune again had a front page story asking the question that now that the Sox had won a World Series could they take back control of Chicago. Again a legitimate story but again many fans questioned the timing of it. The story quoted a number of advertising and marketing individuals, fans and people connected with the Chicago scene as saying that the Sox had too many things going against them to change anything. Chicago would continue to be ‘Cub orientated.’ True enough as history showed, but how much was history possibly influenced by stories like these and was there an ulterior motive for running it, almost literally, before the confetti was all swept up downtown.

Issue Three, ‘Cub fans love a parade…’ Rick Morrissey then with the Tribune as a columnist wrote in a story right after the parade that he didn’t believe the figures reported by the city and Chicago Police Department that approximately 1.75 million fans turned out to see the Sox. Morrissey felt that a large number of those who turned out were actually Cub fans and that if the Cubs won a World Series it would make the Sox parade look like “something they hold in Oak Lawn…”

The implication from Morrissey was that the Sox couldn’t possibly have 1.75 million fans that cared enough about the team to show up to celebrate (only the Cubs can do that.) Besides coming across as mean spirited and a sore loser (although I don’t know if Rick roots for any baseball team), the comment showed his ignorance about baseball fans in Chicago.

No question some of those at the parade may have been Cub fans just out for another reason to celebrate anything with a beverage but to think that the majority of them would be, when the on- going principle in Chicago is, you root for one team or the other… not both, is insane.

Cub fans by and large were in agony over the Sox winning the World Series much like Sox fans were distraught over the possibility of the Cubs getting to the World Series in 2003. Cub fans were not going to celebrate with the Sox despite what Rick thought. They were not going to show up at a parade honoring their rivals while they were still in the midst of a futility streak that was about to reach a century.

If nothing else and Rick wanted to write that story he could have waited a few days to let Sox fans have their moment in the sun. He chose not to and came across looking less then professional. He could have handled the situation much as admitted Cub fan Josh Mora, then with Comcast Sports Chicago did, when he hosted Chicago Tribune Live! the day after the Sox closed out Houston. I have the tape of this show in my library by the way.

That afternoon Mora had among his guests, Sox fan Ed Sherman and Cub fan and longtime Chicago sports radio personality Les Grobstein. Naturally the show was devoted to the Sox championship but during it, Grobstein started to go off on Cub management and how much Cub fans have suffered over the incompetent ownership groups that franchise has had over time. Mora listened but then responded (and I’m paraphrasing) that ‘the White Sox have won the World Series, this is their time and any talk about the Cubs and their fans or their problems needs to be said at another time and another place.’ Mora handled the situation with professionalism, dignity and class. Morrissey did little to show the same characteristics. It was almost as if he had an agenda to strike just when Sox fans and the city as a whole was celebrating a very rare accomplishment. (Author’s Note: Just to be clear I am not taking a shot at Les, a personal friend and good friend to White Sox Interactive. Sox fans all respect his fairness to the club over the decades in his reporting.) 

Now let’s take a moment to talk about “the worldwide leader in sports”, ESPN, and their relationship with the Sox. Of all the networks that have televised Sox games over the decades and that includes ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC, none of those entities has rankled Sox fans (and I suspect the White Sox organization) like the ‘Eastern Sports Programming Network’ (all Yankees, all Red Sox, all the time regardless of whether you want it or not.)

The list of things that ESPN has done to alienate the Sox fan base is almost comical until you take into account that this is supposed to be a national sports network that is paying individuals to be professional, knowledgeable and unbiased.  Obviously good help is hard to find in Bristol, Connecticut. 

Sox fans remember the comments from “experts” like Jeff Brantley and Steve Phillips which many felt went beyond the lines of simply reporting and which ultimately prompted both of those individuals to apologize to Sox manager Ozzie Guillen. Guillen accepted Phillips’ apology but refused to shake hands with Brantley who now does Reds baseball. They remember the comments from Chicago Tribune columnist Teddy Greenstein about Brantley’s butchering of White Sox player names on ‘Baseball Tonight’ (i.e. Chad Hermanson instead of Dustin Hermanson and Freddy Guzman instead of Freddy Garcia) They remember the ‘Baseball Tonight ‘preview show the day before the 2005 season opened where in the five minute or so segment devoted to the A.L. Central the word ‘White Sox’ wasn’t uttered one time. Nor were any of the Sox players mentioned under any circumstances by people like Peter Gammons, Harold Reynolds or John Kruk during the entire broadcast. The do remember  the ‘Baseball Tonight’ crew talking about things like attendance issues while the club got off to its best start in franchise history as well as Brantley’s forceful comment that ‘Sox fans would be crying in their beer’ since the A.L. Central ‘belonged to the Twins.’

But the individual who draws the greatest wrath and scorn from Sox fans, among all the ESPN ‘personalities’ is Chris Berman.  They remember Berman butchering ‘Hawk’ Harrelson’s signature home run call during the 2003 All Star Home Run Hitting Contest at Comiskey Park and then getting upset when he was called out on it by fans from the stands. They remember his comment following the All Star Game on SportsCenter where he said that Sox fans ‘were the worst fans in baseball,’ after booing Manager Jerry Manuel, Cub representatives, Twins players, and Indian selections. (Yet in 2004 when Houston fans booed their manager, Jimy Williams, nothing was said by him...). And they remember his comments during the 9th inning of Game #2 of the 2000 ALDS when, with the Sox playing lousy and trailing badly, fans started leaving in droves. Berman castigated them for it.

But the topper to most Sox fans was Berman being in the broadcasting booth for the 2005 ALDS as the White Sox hosted Boston. Remember Berman is from Connecticut, went to Brown University and is an unabashed Red Sox fan. So much for being unbiased.

His anguished comment of “oh no!.....” as Tony Graffanino booted a potential double play ball in the 2nd game which led directly to Tadahito Iguchi’s three run home run made Sox fans want to throw things at their television much as back in the day when Howard Cosell brought out the same emotions in fans everywhere. The capper by Berman was immediately after the White Sox eliminated Boston in game three. The first words out of his mouth were lamenting the fact that the “dream” of the Red Sox repeating as champions was over. Only afterwards did he mention that the White Sox had swept them and moved on.

The best way to sum up the relationship between the White Sox and ESPN came in 2006. ESPN was doing a daily poll on which teams were the most popular in cities with pro franchises. The results were broadcast nightly on SportsCenter along with discussion about it.  

When it came to Chicago, four choices were listed by them. The Bears, Blackhawks (who were terrible at that time), Bulls and…Cubs.  That’s right, less than one year removed from winning their first World Series since 1917, ESPN deemed the Sox not worthy enough of even getting on their Chicago ballot. Scott Reifert, the Vice President of Communications for the White Sox said it best when he intoned that “ESPN is still probably mad that the White Sox eliminated their Red Sox in 2005…” (Author’s Note: For a more complete look at ESPN and the issues that network has with their reporting, coverage and philosophy please read, “Unasked Questions At ESPN.” written in 2005 which can be found by clicking here.

So we’ve come from the 1950’s to today. What is the relationship right now between the Sox and particularly the Chicago media? It seems to be one that has all sides satisfied a proper professional job is being done.

Chris Rongey is the pre and post game host for all White Sox games on WSCR radio, he’s been around the area long enough to see things as they are and to pick up on the vibe coming from Sox fans if they think something is going on in coverage of the team. “I think things are fair right now,” he said. “The Sox are getting the proper amount of coverage and I don’t think anyone is ignoring them.”

From a fan’s standpoint, Jeff Paluch is 56. He was born in Baltimore and moved to Chicago when he was one. He’s rooted for the Orioles and White Sox all his life and he thinks things are good now, although he adds it wasn’t always the case. “Sure there was a time when the Sox were being ignored by the media. You’d go to work in the morning, have the radio on and never hear a thing about them, not even a score. They were being ignored. Now, I don’t think there’s a difference in the way the teams are covered anymore. You listen to the radio and one time in the sports, the station will lead with the Cub score, then 20 minutes later they’ll lead with the Sox score. The Sox helped themselves too by being on a lot of different media outlets… those stations have an interest in seeing the Sox get covered.”

Bob Grim, the White Sox Senior Director of Business Development and Broadcasting has been a part of the organization since 1990. It’s been a long hard road at times for him personally and the team to make sure the coverage was fair, but right now he’s happy with the way things are going. “It’s taken a long time but we’ve finally gotten the media to understand and to buy into the message that Jerry Reinsdorf was trying to send since he bought the team, that this is a good organization, we’re here to win and we want to make sure that all of our fans feel safe and have fun at U.S. Cellular Field. We wanted to change the image from one of ‘the world’s largest outdoor saloon’ to one where a family can come out and have a good time. We don’t forget the first responsibility we have is to win baseball games but we also think that fans that maybe aren’t as passionate about the final score can come out and enjoy themselves. Kids can play in the fundamentals area. Mom’s can relax in the sun and be entertained. We just think things are going well right now.” 

Mark Gonzales the White Sox beat writer for the Chicago Tribune and Joe Cowley his opposite number at the Chicago Sun-Times were sitting side by side in the White Sox dugout after Ozzie Guillen’s pregame media session. Both were sharing a laugh. Both men have covered major league baseball a long time and clearly love what they do, despite the seemingly endless airplane flights, cab rides, late nights and hundreds of stories. When asked how they felt coverage of the White Sox was, they both agreed that it was fair and most importantly to them, honest.

“I’m from the Bay Area and Joe is from Cleveland,” said Gonzales, who goes by the nickname ‘Gonzo.’ I think that’s important because while we like to see the Sox do well we aren’t emotionally attached to them like some others are. We think we can give readers an honest look, good or bad at what’s going on with the team.” Cowley added, “Sox fans want the truth, the worst thing you can call me or Mark is a ‘homer.”

That begged the follow up question to both, does that mean that some in the media are biased towards either the Sox or Cubs and does that effect what they do?

Cowley answered, “There are Cub fans in the media.” Gonzales explained further on that remark. “If you go up to my station in the Sox press box you’ll see a photo I have of the Wrigley Field scoreboard area. It’s a picture of the bleachers with fans around the scoreboard. On the photo I’ve pasted head shots of some of the writers in the area who are such Cub fans that they belong sitting in the bleachers with the fans.” While Gonzo was telling this, Cowley was nodding his head in the affirmative.

Gonzales also pointed out an example of an incident that would make the late Jerry Holtzman, longtime baseball writer in Chicago who wrote the book, “No Cheering In The Press Box,” roll over in his grave. ”A few years ago during a Sox-Cubs game there was a close play that went against the Cubs by the umpires. These guys stood up and got upset over the call.”

Obviously if true those writers are going to slant coverage in such a way to make the Cubs look good, which isn’t the way journalism is supposed to be. “Wrigley Field has been so glamorized, there is such a neighborhood party atmosphere,” added Cowley, “that it’s going to be hard for the Sox to ever be the dominant team in the city again.”

On this Joe is probably dead on but at least right now, unlike the late 60’s and most of the 1980’s and 1990’s the Sox appear to have found a balance with the media. The coverage for the most part is fair…considering where things were; this at least, is progress.

Bonus Material!
Stories that bear watching in the future…

 No one can predict the future but in the next three to five years there’s a very good chance at least one of these scenarios will take place. How the media covers it, in the event it comes to pass will tell a lot about the relationship between the Sox and the media at that stage in time. Here are the possibilities in no particular order.

Either Kenny or Ozzie or both leave the organization.

Given the volatile relationship at times, between the two men, if one or the other were to leave it would probably cause a thorough review by the media into the stated reasons and perhaps more importantly the unstated reasons for it taking place. Some things could get out that the organization and the individuals probably wouldn’t want plastered all over the front page of the sports section. Remember how ugly things started to appear when the issues of Guillen’s son came out in June that could be tame considering what could happen if either man leaves.

The Sox get to or win another World Series.

If it were to happen and assuming the Cubs hadn’t reached one in the interim, that would mean the last three times Chicago had a club in the series, the name White Sox would be on the uniform crest. Does that change perceptions in the city over the standings of the two teams? Maybe…and maybe how the media portrays it will have an influential effect.

The youth in 2005, grows up.

Brooks Boyer, the Director of Marketing for the White Sox brought up an interesting point in his interview with me for White Sox Interactive: “It is really going to be interesting to see how the next generation of fans break because of us winning the World Series. That really increased the number of Sox fans in the area and that could cause a big number of kids to become Sox fans.”  In the next three to five years some of those ‘kids’ will have turned into young adults, a few maybe will have gotten married and started raising a family. Will that translate into more fans at the game? Or more fans in the Chicago-land area? And if so, will the media pick up on it and start running with it?  

Jerry Reinsdorf leaves the White Sox picture.

This will probably be the single biggest potential story in the next three to five years. Reinsdorf in now in his mid 70’s. He’s been the day to day operations owner since 1981. What happens after he is gone? I’ve actually asked this question of a number of mainstream media members over the past few years and simply put, no one knows for sure. Will the club pass to his family? (Accounts in the past have indicated his family does not want to be involved and Reinsdorf himself said that when interviewed by Bob Sirott on ‘Chicago Tonight’ in May 2004) Does the club get bought by a local company? Does it get bought by an out of state company? Does it fall into the hands of an individual more like Bill Veeck or more like George Steinbrenner or Mark Cuban? The answer to that question will shape the destiny of the franchise for the next few decades. You can bet the mainstream media will be on the story relentlessly.


Bonus Bonus Material!
What they said about the media…

“Eddie and I never discussed how to talk to reporters. We’ve just been ourselves. I always though Jack Kennedy was the kind of person I looked up to in that regard. He always gave the media a fair shake and understood you guys have a job to do. Without responsible people willing to divulge some accurate information, it’s hard to do it right. It was a much better approach then Nixon, who figured the media, was his enemy. Doing it Kennedy’s way just makes a lot more sense to me. After all, nobody can buy the kind of advertising Chicago teams get. What other line of work finds newspapers assigning people to follow you around and write about how the business is doing every day? At Balcor, we have to hire a public relations firm to get our names in the paper. When baseball teams get that for free, it makes sense to cooperate.”
 – Jerry Reinsdorf to Bob Logan. From the book ‘Miracle On 35th Street.’ Pg. 154. Published 1983.

“Most of Chicago’s media criticism was not malicious. If you make mistakes in running a team and things don’t go right, the media and fans have to criticize. The only people I believe were unfair to us and carried personal vendettas were Harry Caray, Jimmy Piersall and Bill Gleason. I think the three of them made a personal thing of wanting us to fail. Other than that our coverage has been objective and honest.”
Jerry Reinsdorf to Bob Logan. From the book ‘Miracle On 35th Street.’ Pg. 143. Published 1983.

"We've got to battle some of the outside forces that apparently surround the club with, quite honestly, much of the negativity that comes from the media, or the perception [of negativity]. For whatever the reason, it's out there."
Kenny Williams. Reported in the Chicago Tribune by Paul Sullivan. February 22, 2002.

"I talked with Jack (Brickhouse) about it in an interview in 1996. Jack told me about the time he, Arnie Harris and Sox owner Art Allyn sat down for lunch. Jack expected the Sox to agree to another extension on WGN-TV after their agreement expired after the 1967 season. He was shocked when Allyn told him that the Sox were moving to a basically brand new UHF outlet WFLD-TV. Brickhouse, whom I consider a giant of the broadcasting industry, said he felt sure that something would happen to the industry in the future that would make it possible for WGN to be shown not only in Chicago but around the Midwest, he strongly urged Allyn to reconsider. Allyn wouldn’t but he had the best interest of the team at heart. You have to look at why the Sox wanted to move in the first place. WGN was basically showing Sox day games on Saturday and Sunday afternoons, they weren’t showing night games because they didn’t want to disrupt their evening schedule. Very few road games were shown and those were only from the East Coast… New York, Cleveland and such.”

“Allyn wanted ALL Sox road games shown and at least WFLD tried to do that. For the first time Sox fans saw the inside of the Oakland Alameda County Coliseum and Anaheim Stadium. The trouble was UHF technology was very new. You had to have a converter box to be able to get the channels on your old TV and it didn’t work very well. The picture was snowy, grainy and unreliable. The other problem was that WFLD decided to have Jack Drees do the games. Dress was an East Coast horse racing guy who wasn’t known in Chicago. Bottom line the experiment just didn’t work. These decisions weren’t just "minor" mistakes...both happened to coincide with resurgence by the Cubs. For years the Cubs were a dead team, then Leo Durocher came in and things started happening. It was at the same time the Sox left WGN. Then when Harry (Caray) left after 1981, Chicago started to become more aware of the Wrigley Field area, the stadium started to become a tourist attraction and Cub fortunes went up again. If you think about it, Harry going to the Cubs really showed the power of the Tribune Company. Harry heeled to their demands. He stopped taking shots at the club, at the players, he didn’t have any negativity. He had to because he had no place else to go, where was he going to wind up? Cincinnati? St. Louis?"
– Sox historian Rich Lindberg in his interview with White Sox Interactive, 2003, talking about the decision to leave WGN-TV after 1967 and letting Harry Caray leave after 1981.

 “We started all this. I wish we could've hung on with our SportsVision from years ago. In those days, this was not the city to start in. I wish I was in Boston, because Boston was able to hang onto theirs. Chicago wasn't cable. We had to come up with this thing with over-the-air, this whole technical thing that was very difficult in a market that had free television for all those years. SportsVision had to go with ON-TV instead of the regular cable route. It made it more complicated, and then we ran out of money. “
Eddie Einhorn to Phil Arvia, sports columnist, Chicago Daily Southtown, February 4, 2004.

“The idea that I must talk to the media in order to know what is going on with our fans or the public is ludicrous. I communicate with fans on an almost daily basis and often hear comments from people on the street and in the ballpark. We have committed a lot of resources to market research each year, whether it is telephone or internet polling, mall intercepts, focus groups or in-park surveys. We believe these surveys are the most impartial way to hear from our fans. I don't think a media interview gives me the same type of insight into what our fans think and feel. Believe me, our fans tell us. They care and they are passionate. I like that about sports. The fact is that I do speak publicly when there is an issue of importance to our fans and to the franchises. I owe that to our fans. But again, I don't really think people want to hear from me or go to the game to see me. I hope not.”
Jerry Reinsdorf quoted on the “official” White Sox web site,, August 16, 2004.

"Unfortunately, Chicago wasn't ready for us. There wasn't cable of any consequence, and we were on subscription pay-TV. I don't remember how many subscribers there were, but I know that more than that number went to Radio Shack and bought the parts for their own boxes."
Jerry Reinsdorf, September 20, 2004 at the luncheon promoting the start of the new Comcast Sports Network Chicago channel.


All comments and corrections (with source) are welcome. Please e-mail me at 

Editor's Note:  Mark Liptak is an experienced sports journalist, holding several awards for both his electronic and print media work.  He has held numerous sports reporting positions for various TV and newspaper organizations, including Director of Sports for KNOE-TV (Monroe, Louisiana) and KPVI-TV (Pocatello, Idaho), and sports writer for the Idaho Falls Free Press, where his column "Lip Service" has appeared for for a number of years.  "Lip", his wife, and cats presently live in Chubbuck, Idaho, where they collectively comprise 100 percent of the Pocatello River Valley's long-time Sox Fan population.  

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