The two biggest mysteries of the strangest week in Chicago White Sox history might have been answered.
How did two women get shot in the left-field bleachers at Guaranteed Rate Field? And who will replace fired executives Ken Williams and Rick Hahn?
The two mysteries are unrelated, though they share some of the usual attributes of a Sox news story, which typically are more ridiculous than what meets the eye.
We’ll start with the shooting, a serious issue that became comical thanks to a wild theory emanating from the Sox front office that the bullet that hit the two women might have come from outside the ballpark. Chicago police interim Supt. Fred Waller basically dismissed that theory Monday, saying investigators had “almost completely dispelled” the idea that a bullet from outside somehow hit the two women.
That meant someone inside the park apparently smuggled in a gun past security, resulting in the shot that grazed one woman in the abdomen and went into the right thigh of the other.
On Tuesday, WMVP-AM 1000 host Peggy Kusinski, without citing sources, posted on social media that one of the victims “reportedly snuck the gun in past metal detectors hiding it in the folds of her belly fat.” Kusinski added the gun accidentally discharged, leading to the grazing of one and the penetration of the other’s thigh.
This naturally led to many internet jokes, turning an unsolved mystery into a punchline.
The report was not confirmed by CPD, which thus far has remained mum on the incident while the investigation continues. If the accidental shooting angle turns out to be accurate, it suggests the Sox dropped the ball on both the security aspect and the original story.
Addressing the media Saturday, Sox vice president of communications Scott Reifert said the game was not delayed after the shooting because no one knew what happened immediately after the incident and there was no “active threat” to fans.
“It was a wound,” he said. “No one understood it was a bullet or gunshot. So there was this time delay as that person got treatment.”
Obviously if one of the women knew she had a gun in her possession, she also knew the reason for the gunshot wound. When Reifert was asked how the woman who was shot in the thigh described what had happened, he said: “That wasn’t something directed to the White Sox. That’s probably CPD.”
CPD has not answered questions about the shooting.
According to the police report, the wound began in the upper right thigh “with an exit wound to the lower thigh area and a gunshot wound to the upper right calf where the bullet traveled down to the shin area with the bullet remaining lodged in the victim’s lower leg.”
It added the victim “heard a loud popping noise (and) when she stood up she observed blood coming out of her right leg.” It also said “upon further investigation” it was revealed the victim had a valid firearm owner’s identification card. There was no mention of a gun being discovered.
How could someone smuggle in a gun past a metal detector?
Reifert told reporters Saturday that “all bags are searched and everyone who enters goes through a (metal detector), like I assume everyone in this group did as well. So you experienced it today when you walked in. All bags. And throughout the ballpark we have (guest service representatives). We have lots of eyes and ears around the ballpark.”
Perhaps, but someone should be held accountable for an apparent security breach that could’ve turned deadly.
The other Sox mystery was baseball-related, involving the successor to the two longtime Sox executives dismissed last week by Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf for the disastrous results of the last two seasons. MLB Network reporter Jon Morosi on Tuesday confirmed a previous report by USA Today’s Bob Nightengale that Chris Getz likely will be hired as the man in charge of baseball operations.
In February 2017, Hahn said Getz, then the newly hired director of player development, could be off “running his own club” in a few years. “That’s how high I think his ceiling is,” Hahn said.
Hahn apparently was right on the money, and it looks like Getz will succeed the former general manager.
A former Sox draft pick, Getz’s first brush with fame on the South Side came in July 2011 when he played for the Kansas City Royals. His close friend, Sox second baseman Gordon Beckham, scrawled a message in the dirt at second base that read: “Getz is gay! G.B.”
Sox fans were able to read the message from the upper deck. When Beckham was confronted later that week, he apologized. Getz said his friend was only “joking.”
“That was his intention, but obviously nowadays you’ve got to be careful,” Getz said. “People will get offended. I have no right to judge whether people should be offended or not. What it comes down to is it’s a mistake. You kind of learn from it. Heck, I’ve written stuff in the dirt before. You’ve just got to be careful. There are eyes and ears everywhere.”
Exactly what Reifert told us about the Sox’s foolproof security measures.
Getz, who turns 40 on Wednesday, currently is running the front office with assistant GM Jeremy Haber. He has avoided the media since the firings of Williams and Hahn, even as he has been put in charge. Haber, currently with the team in Baltimore, also has not made himself available to the media.
Getz gets credit and blame for the Sox farm system, which was once heralded as a vital cog in the rebuild but has since been downgraded after producing few contributing players on the major league roster. He also bears the burden for the poor handling of the Omar Vizquel saga, a disturbing story involving the former star turned minor-league manager.
In 2019, when the Sox let go of Vizquel at Double-A Birmingham, Getz told MLB.com that Vizquel was an “ultra-talented player, very good instructor, created a good environment for our players. We just felt with where things are at, our player development system, that it was time to go separate ways.”
Vizquel was sued in 2021 by a former Birmingham disabled adult bat boy who alleged Vizquel sexually harassed him. Vizquel allegedly “repeatedly exposed” himself and made sexual overtures, according to the victim, who has autism.
The Sox released a statement afterward saying “after first learning of an alleged incident in late August 2019, the Chicago White Sox conducted an internal investigation that resulted in the termination of the organization’s relationship with Omar Vizquel.”
Getz’s description of Vizquel creating a “good environment” while knowing the facts behind the firing was incomprehensible, but apparently it didn’t affect his upward trajectory.
Reinsdorf, now being consulted by former manager Tony La Russa, has seemingly left the team’s future in Getz’s hands, asking fans to give him their unconditional support at a critical juncture in Sox history.
At age 87, maybe Reinsdorf’s eyes and ears aren’t what they used to be.
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