A couple weeks ago when Chicago Blackhawks Chairman Rocky Wirtz passed away my fellow writer Steve Leblang wrote this great article. His article following Wirtz’s death got me thinking about the five teams in the city of Chicago, specifically the management and ownership of the teams. Then last Saturday, White Sox Shortstop Tim Anderson started a fight while on defense in the Sox game against the Cleveland Guardians.
As a victim to bullies growing up this fight caused my thoughts to really escalate. Especially because I am avid basketball and baseball fan who has heard many stories from many fans who have been around longer than me about how players know the “house rules” so to speak when going to play for other teams such as the Yankees and Lakers. So, it was not until this article by Jesse Rogers on ESPN.com that the news of this fight got me thinking more seriously about how the teams are run in my home town.
His article was about the fight that happened and the overall dysfunction on the South Side. He interviewed now Yankee Keynan Middlton who was just traded to New York at the deadline. Specifically, this quote about the lack of rules at Comiskey Park:
“We came in with no rules,” Middleton said. “I don’t know how you police the culture if there are no rules or guidelines to follow because everyone is doing their own thing. Like, how do you say anything about it because there are no rules?
You have rookies sleeping in the bullpen during the game. You have guys missing meetings. You have guys missing PFPs (pitcher fielding practices), and there are no consequences for any of this stuff.”
In essence Middleton is blaming the lack of rules for Anderson not receiving support from his teammates even though he was the one who started the fight. Come on! If I was on that team there is no way at all I am not supporting a teammate in the moment whether or not they started the fight.
This makes it very clear “no rules” culture that is overseen by Reinsdorf from the very top is the reason why the Sox and Bulls have struggled to bring championships to this town. This culture is the also the reason Pedro Grifol not putting his foot down as the boss of the clubhouse. When you have a rookie who was traded within a week of the fight saying he heard that some of this was going on last year with players falling asleep an not living up to the definition of being a “teammate” this is a big problem. It is very important to have a manager in the room who will put their foot down and actually discipline the players.
The White Sox are 4-1 including the game the fight occurred in. However, Pedro has clearly failed at this based on comments Jesse Rogers and other local sports reporters who talk to the players on the field have said. As a result, the fight absolutely puts Pedro on the hot seat, if he was not already on it. Short of him potentially being fired at the end of the season no other changes will be made to bring a championship to the South.
Big changes need to be made on both the South and West Sides of town if Jerry wants to see his teams win another championship before he dies in the coming years.
With that… they will be welcoming the Brewers to town this weekend!
If you cannot play with them, root for them!