CLEVELAND -- White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf wants to correct a myth concerning the inception of the club's rebuild, beginning with the Chris Sale trade to Boston at the 2016 Winter Meetings and leading to Chicago's American League Central-clinching win on Thursday afternoon at Progressive Field.
Reinsdorf did not have to be convinced by executive vice president Ken Williams and general manager Rick Hahn to undertake this endeavor.
“I wanted to do it just as much as they wanted to do it,” Reinsdorf said after celebrating the sixth division title and seventh playoff appearance under his White Sox ownership. “It was an easy decision because if we didn’t make that decision, we were going to be caught in mediocrity and that’s no fun.
“Going through it, it was painful watching the team lose individual games, but I always knew we had a plan, and we were working our plan, and ultimately the plan was going to work. Kenny and Rick, I know they were going to produce what we needed.”
Reinsdorf’s comments on Thursday were told to a pool reporter, with other White Sox reporters submitting questions. He touched on a wide array of topics from the second hiring of manager Tony La Russa to the growth and leadership shown by first baseman José Abreu and shortstop Tim Anderson, organization staples who have formed a personal bond with Reinsdorf.
The crux of the discussion, though, centered on the team’s first division crown since 2008 and whether Reinsdorf thought this same squad could bring home the first World Series title since ’05.
“Any team that’s in the playoffs has a chance to win the World Series,” Reinsdorf said. “In a three out of five or a four out of seven, any team can beat any other team. Any team can look bad, and any team can look great.
“In a short series anything can happen. I don’t see why we can’t go all the way, but if we don’t, I wouldn’t be stunned either.”
When asked what he liked about the 2021 White Sox, Reinsdorf pointed out how the team doesn’t give up. When asked what this latest title meant to him, Reinsdorf pointed to the organization as a whole and the fans first.
“Our fans are probably the most knowledgeable fans in baseball. Much more knowledgeable than the fans of some other teams in the other league,” Reinsdorf said. “Not everybody stood by us [during the rebuild].
“Obviously, you can tell by our attendance drop that a lot of people stayed home, but they still rooted for us, and the people who came out, 10,000, 15,000 per game, they were still loyal. Those are the people I really feel happiest for. First and foremost it’s about the fans and the fact we could win this championship, it means a lot. But now there’s a bigger prize and we hope we can bring that home to them.”
Hahn has talked numerous times about winning multiple titles, with Williams making that point as far back as 2005, when the White Sox won for the first time. But as satisfied as Reinsdorf is with the process to date, he knows the difficulty in claiming the ultimate prize.
“I was disappointed last year that we didn’t win the division. But this is about where we thought we were going to be,” Reinsdorf said. “The plan, we always say we want to win multiple titles. The real plan is we want to be competitive year after year.
“It’s very hard to win one title, let alone multiple titles. I just want us to be playing meaningful games every October … . It’s always a great feeling when you win something. But this is only a step on our way to what we hope is a bigger prize.”