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WSI News - WSI Spotlight

Reinsdorf kills another team?

Ask Sox fans what they’d most like to change about the club, and the most common answer you’ll probably get is “ownership.”  Sox fans have become disillusioned with The Chairman for reasons that have been documented here on numerous occasions.

Most would probably be surprised that there are fans in another city who view The Chairman with just as much, if not more, animosity than the most anti-ownership Sox fans.  Those fans are found in Montreal, the soon-to-be-former home of the Wandering Expos.

In an article published last week in the Montreal Gazette writer Jack Todd decried baseball’s treatment of their city from the top down, starting with Commissioner Budlight and ending with the Expos own management.  What would probably surprise Sox fans is the anger directed at none other than The Chairman.

Todd grants that a bad stadium, a weak Canadian dollar, and stupid ownership drove away Expos fans, but he insists that Montreal still could be a great market but for ” the blinkered, greedy, parochial ignorance of the people who run this game....”

Todd blames baseball’s stupidity in dealing with the Montreal market first and foremost.  He further blames baseball for giving up on Montreal instead of finding some way of reaching the fans.  In Todd’s view the Commissioner and his cronies are now performing the final act in the destruction of the franchise. 

He writes, “The committee Selig put in charge of determining the future of the Expos includes some of the worst and most incompetent people in the history of the game, including the unbearable Jerry Reinsdorf and Selig's daughter, Wendy Selig-Proeb, who almost single-handedly killed the Milwaukee Brewers before her resignation last summer.”

Next he goes on to point out Reinsdorf’s role in the destruction of the franchise.  Sox fans should find his complaint familiar.

“Reinsdorf already has the blood of the Expos on his hands,” Todd writes.  “ More than any other owner, he convinced Claude Brochu to toe the hard line with the wealthy owners back in '94, even though the Expos stood to lose a crack at the World Series. Things would be different after the strike, Reinsdorf promised Brochu. Salaries would come down, huge free-agent signings would come to an end and the Expos would be able to compete.”

This should sound awfully familiar, especially the part of losing a shot at the World Series.  According to Todd, The Chairman not only screwed the Sox out of a shot at the series, but he took the Expos down because, Todd explains, “Brochu, painfully eager to be a member of the club, went along - and no sooner was the strike resolved in the spring of '95 than Reinsdorf signed Albert Belle to a bank-breaking contract, immediately undoing any gains the owners made by losing a World Series.”

The Expos never were the same team afterwards.  The fans quit coming to Olympic Stadium, and the club never could afford the new round of higher salaries that The Chairman’s signing of Belle triggered.  Ironically, neither could The Chairman after the fans stopped coming to Comiskey Park.

Todd’s final comments about The Chairman should give Sox fans pause.  He concludes, “Now Reinsdorf is one of those charged to examine a batch of bad alternatives and decide what to do with the Expos. You can be sure that finding a way to keep the team in this city will not be one of Reinsdorf's priorities.”

One could just as easily ask, “Is keeping the White Sox in Chicago one of The Chairman’s priorities?

Editor's Note: Hal Vickery has been a White Sox fan since 1955 when he was five years old. For much of that time he also had a secondary rooting interest in the Cubs, which he has shown the good sense to abandon. When not cheering for or writing about the Sox, Hal teachers chemistry and physics at North Boone High School, in Poplar Grove, IL. Hal commutes there daily from Joliet, where he lives with his wife Lee, and their dog, Buster T. Beagle. Hal's opinions are not necessarily those of North Boone High School, his wife, or Buster T. Beagle. You can write Hal at

More features from Hal Vickery here!

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