Those “Sell the team” signs seen at Guaranteed Rate Field the last two seasons haven’t persuaded Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf to take the advice of disgruntled Chicago White Sox fans.
Asked during a meeting with selected reporters Thursday why he won’t sell the team, the 87-year-old Reinsdorf had a ready answer.
“I’m going to couch this so nobody writes that I thought of selling,” Reinsdorf said. “Friends of mine have said: ‘Why don’t you sell? Why don’t you get out?’ My answer always has been: ‘I like what I’m doing, as bad as it is, and what else would I do?’
“I’m a boring guy. I don’t play golf. I don’t play bridge. And I want to make it better before I go.”
Reinsdorf is part of a group that has owned the Sox since 1981. They have won one championship in that span, in 2005, the only year they’ve won a playoff series during his regime. The clamor for Reinsdorf to sell picked up in 2022, when the rebuild began going south.
Reinsdorf also has been rumored to be looking for a new ballpark to replace Guaranteed Rate Field, the taxpayer-funded stadium where the Sox’s lease ends in 2028 — and perhaps even leaving town and moving the Sox to Nashville, Tenn. The Sox threatened to move to St. Petersburg, Fla., in the 1980s before reaching a deal with the state for the current park, originally called new Comiskey Park.
Reinsdorf blamed Crain’s Chicago Business for starting the rumors in a report about the possibility of leaving Guaranteed Rate Field.
“Somebody at Crain’s decided he wanted to write that (the Sox) were looking at the Bears (situation),” Reinsdorf said, “and the White Sox lease has six or seven years left to go and the White Sox have some options, they might move out of the city, they might move out of town, they might go to Nashville. That wasn’t us, that was a (reporter) at Crain’s.
“And ever since the article came out, I’ve been reading that I’ve been threatening to move to Nashville. That article didn’t come from me. But it’s obvious, if we have six years left … we’ve got to decide what’s the future (of where the Sox home is) going to be?
“We’ll get to it, but I never threatened to move out. We haven’t even begun to have discussions with the (Illinois) Sports Authority, which we’ll have to do soon.”
USA Today reporter Bob Nightengale wrote last week that the Sox were considering three sites for a potential move: Arlington Heights, Soldier Field and near the United Center.
According to real estate website therealdeal.com, a company with links to Reinsdorf recently purchased property on the West Side near the United Center for $17.2 million. The managers of the LLC that made the purchase are Howard Pizer, senior executive vice president of the Sox, and Terry Savarise, senior vice president of stadium operations for the Sox and executive vice president of operations for the United Center.
The Bulls and Blackhawks own and operate the United Center under a joint venture managed by Reinsdorf and, until his death in July, Hawks Chairman Rocky Wirtz.
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