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hold2dibber
08-19-2002, 10:53 AM
The following story, by Paul Sullivan, about the impact a strike would have on the Sox appeared in today's Chicago Tribune. It is yet further evidence of the need for Reinsdorf to relinquish ownership of the team. There is no doubt in my mind that with smart, resourceful ownership, this team and this franchise could become a behemoth - but instead, we are now, apparently, a small market team because of the remarkably horrible string of decsions made by those in charge since the early 90s, starting with the design of the ball park. What a joke.


OAKLAND -- Few teams have as much at stake in baseball's labor negotiations as the White Sox, whose future may rest on whether the players go on strike.

Many consider Sox Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf, a former Internal Revenue Service attorney, one of the game's more astute businessmen. He knows his team has yet to recover at the box office after the 1994 strike and that another strike is almost certain to put another dent in the Sox's attendance.

Though the Sox play in the third-largest market in the country, they are considered a small-market team because of their relatively low revenues.

"We're definitely right in the middle," Sox player representative Jeff Liefer said. "We're in a large city, but our team, we're not a large market. You can tell by our attendance and payroll. The Cubs obviously are a large-market [team]."

As recently as 1997, the Sox had the third-highest payroll in the American League, thanks to Albert Belle's five-year, $55 million deal. Many owners fumed over the Belle signing because Reinsdorf was one of the more outspoken hawks during the labor dispute in '94. After Belle took an escape clause in his contract, the Sox went into a rebuilding mode in 1999. This season the Sox began with the 18th-highest payroll at $57 million and figure to drop to the lower one-third when payroll is reduced in 2003.

Reinsdorf reportedly is one of a group of small-revenue-team owners operating as a separate unit outside the other owners and trying to keep fellow owners from making major concessions on the luxury tax. Reinsdorf denied the report to the Los Angeles Times and declined to comment further. His chief adviser, Dennis Gilbert, told the Times that Reinsdorf was not involved in any such effort.

"Jerry was so vilified in '94 that he has made a conscious effort to stay out of it this time," Gilbert said. "He has no desire for any kind of work stoppage."

Reinsdorf rarely speaks on the record, a decision he made three years ago when he believed his comments had been "twisted." The last time Reinsdorf addressed his team's problems in depth was during the summer of 2001, when he agreed to a television interview with broadcaster Ken Harrelson, an employee of the White Sox. The Sox trailed the Indians by 121/2 games at the time, and reports of a fire sale were rampant.

"Right now I think we are going to be in the postseason," Reinsdorf told Harrelson. "We had a terrible start. As we sit here right now, we're on a pretty good roll. The downsizing is dictated by the players. If at some point you realize you can't win, then you downsize."

The Sox finished eight games behind the Indians last year but made only two major off-season acquisitions in starter Todd Ritchie and center fielder Kenny Lofton. When the Sox fell out of the race shortly after the All-Star break, general manager Ken Williams started the downsizing. Lofton, Ray Durham, Sandy Alomar Jr. and Bob Howry were traded for pitching prospects, while no takers were found for Ritchie, Frank Thomas or Royce Clayton.

The Sox's season-ticket base is reportedly just under 10,000 this year—a number that might not be able to withstand the forces of a strike, a shaky national economy and a bad season. That could mean an even bigger payroll reduction and focus attention on Thomas' future with the team. Reinsdorf will have the option of invoking the "diminished skills" clause in Thomas' contract after the season, which likely would force Thomas into free agency.

Thomas has said repeatedly he doesn't believe Reinsdorf will invoke the clause. Thomas' $10 million annual salary includes $4 million per year in deferred payments, and $6 million for a designated hitter is not an inordinately high expense.

But Thomas turns 35 next year, and Reinsdorf has to predict whether Thomas' poor 2002 numbers are an aberration or a trend.

The Sox will also have to make decisions on whether to offer salary arbitration to Ritchie and Jim Parque, who have combined for six major-league wins this year at a cost of $5.5 million. With a flood of free-agent pitchers expected to be on the market next winter, both may be deemed expendable.

The clock has begun ticking down toward the Aug. 30 strike deadline, and the future of a franchise may hang in the balance.
Copyright © 2002, The Chicago Tribune

WillieHarris12
08-19-2002, 01:34 PM
Man I am hoping we buy at least two winning starters off of the free agent market.

doublem23
08-19-2002, 02:01 PM
Originally posted by WillieHarris12
Man I am hoping we buy at least two winning starters off of the free agent market.

You haven't been a Sox fan for very long, have you? :smile:

:jaime :ritchie
What more could you ask for?

:reinsy
This guy's asking for MILLIONS of dollars? It didn't used to be this way. It didn't used to be this way at all.

34 Inch Stick
08-19-2002, 04:47 PM
I think Glavine will want to come here for less money because he loves the grilled polish sausage with onions.

RedPinStripes
08-19-2002, 04:57 PM
Originally posted by 34 Inch Stick
I think Glavine will want to come here for less money because he loves the grilled polish sausage with onions.

I think he'd rather go to NY for any amount he wants and win another WS then come here. I don't give that mch credit to a guy who is the main spokesman for the players in the media and publicly saying the deal they are getting is basically garbage.

Daver
08-19-2002, 05:03 PM
Originally posted by RedPinStripes


I think he'd rather go to NY for any amount he wants and win another WS then come here. I don't give that mch credit to a guy who is the main spokesman for the players in the media and publicly saying the deal they are getting is basically garbage.

Why do you have a problem with him telling the truth?

RedPinStripes
08-19-2002, 05:21 PM
Originally posted by daver


Why do you have a problem with him telling the truth?

I just don't see him taking a paycut to come here if he's speaking up about this and you can hear the dislike for the owners in his voice.

WillieHarris12
08-19-2002, 06:08 PM
Originally posted by doublem23


You haven't been a Sox fan for very long, have you? :smile:

:jaime :ritchie
What more could you ask for?

:reinsy
This guy's asking for MILLIONS of dollars? It didn't used to be this way. It didn't used to be this way at all.

I have been a White Sox fan my whole 14 years on this earth, I am just hoping for the White Sox to make a good move. Navarro was possibly the worst move in Sox history, Ritchie and Belle are a close second. The only good move Williams made was for this guy :kmarte

Soxheads
08-19-2002, 06:25 PM
Originally posted by WillieHarris12


I have been a White Sox fan my whole 14 years on this earth, I am just hoping for the White Sox to make a good move. Navarro was possibly the worst move in Sox history, Ritchie and Belle are a close second. The only good move Williams made was for this guy :kmarte


Woohoo! I'm older than someone! :gulp:

hold2dibber
08-19-2002, 06:26 PM
Originally posted by WillieHarris12


I have been a White Sox fan my whole 14 years on this earth, I am just hoping for the White Sox to make a good move. Navarro was possibly the worst move in Sox history, Ritchie and Belle are a close second. The only good move Williams made was for this guy :kmarte

To this day, I don't understand what Sox fans have against Albert "Don't Call Me Joey" Belle. Unless, I'm misremembering, he spent two extremely productive years here (well, actually, only 1 1/2 of the years were productive) and put up some HUGE numbers. JR, to his credit, included an escape clause in the contract, and Belle left town just before his health deteriorated. The Sox underachieved during his time here, but that was, IMHO, not Belle's fault. He hit the livin' crap out of the ball. So why do Sox fans view his time here as a failure?

Paulwny
08-19-2002, 07:28 PM
Originally posted by hold2dibber


The Sox underachieved during his time here, but that was, IMHO, not Belle's fault. He hit the livin' crap out of the ball. So why do Sox fans view his time here as a failure?


Agree, even though he wore the sox uniform , deep down most sox fans hated him and his attitude. He became the easiest one to blame.

PaleHoseGeorge
08-19-2002, 08:22 PM
Originally posted by hold2dibber
To this day, I don't understand what Sox fans have against Albert "Don't Call Me Joey" Belle. Unless, I'm misremembering, he spent two extremely productive years here (well, actually, only 1 1/2 of the years were productive) and put up some HUGE numbers. JR, to his credit, included an escape clause in the contract, and Belle left town just before his health deteriorated. The Sox underachieved during his time here, but that was, IMHO, not Belle's fault. He hit the livin' crap out of the ball. So why do Sox fans view his time here as a failure?

Belle didn't do jack in '97, and Frank ended up carrying the offense. Belle started the '98 season in a fashion only Royce Clayton could make an excuse for. After the all-star break (and the Sox hopelessly out of it), Belle went on a tear like nothing I've ever seen. He basically carried the entire team the second-half of the season. It was quite a sight.

So naturally he invokes his free agency clause (granted by JR if Albert's wasn't one of the top-3 salaries in baseball), and the clueless Orioles coughed up the scratch--and paid the price for their folly.

Which leads me to an interesting question. Unlike his GM's (like Schueler signing Navarro, or Williams signing Osuna), has Reinsdorf personally negotiated a deal that was EVER bad for his bottom line? I can't think of any myself.

:reinsy
"Let me tell you about the handshake deal I had with Horace Grant..."

RKMeibalane
08-19-2002, 08:45 PM
The Chicago White Sox would not be in this situation if Jerry Reinsdorf would actually do his job, for once. As the chairman of this ballclub, it is his responsibility to act in the best interests of the White Sox organization. But he refuses to do this.

Instead, he sits around planning for the next Bulls' championship parade. Meanwhile, the Sox continue to rot in the middle of the American League standings. It won't be long before they rot at the bottom. Why? Because Reinsdorf is obsessed with getting back at the fans who deserted him after the 1994 strike, a work stoppage many believe he orchestrated.

Now, the loyal Sox fans are all that he has left of a once fairly large fan base. But he doesn't care. He sits in his box, peers out into the bleachers, and notices several blue seats. Then he decides to do nothing for the next three years while his baseball team implodes, thanks in no small part to a knucklehead general manager and his brainless cronies (Ward, Pettis, Boston).

FanOf14
08-19-2002, 09:27 PM
RK - great post!!!!!!

hold2dibber
08-20-2002, 08:46 AM
Originally posted by RKMeibalane
The Chicago White Sox would not be in this situation if Jerry Reinsdorf would actually do his job, for once. As the chairman of this ballclub, it is his responsibility to act in the best interests of the White Sox organization. But he refuses to do this.

Instead, he sits around planning for the next Bulls' championship parade. Meanwhile, the Sox continue to rot in the middle of the American League standings. It won't be long before they rot at the bottom. Why? Because Reinsdorf is obsessed with getting back at the fans who deserted him after the 1994 strike, a work stoppage many believe he orchestrated.

Now, the loyal Sox fans are all that he has left of a once fairly large fan base. But he doesn't care. He sits in his box, peers out into the bleachers, and notices several blue seats. Then he decides to do nothing for the next three years while his baseball team implodes, thanks in no small part to a knucklehead general manager and his brainless cronies (Ward, Pettis, Boston).

First of all, let me say that I think that JR is ruining this franchise and the best way to right the ship would be for him to sell. Nonetheless, I disagree with just about everything in this post. I don't think JR "refuses" to act in the best interests of the White Sox - he thinks he is acting in the best interests of the White Sox, but he simply is unable to do so. And I think your accusation that he is obsessed with "getting back" at the fans who deserted the team after the '94 strike is crazy - the guy is a businessman at heart; why would he want to further alienate fans he has already alienated? The truth, more likely, is that he wants to get those fans back, but he doesn't have the know how to do it.

I guess, in short, you think JR is a mean-spirited jerk, who couldn't care less about the fate of the White Sox. I disagree. However, I think he's grossly incompetent when it comes to running a baseball franchise. Of course, in the end it doesn't really matter because why he's is running the franchise into the ground. What really matters is that he is doing so.