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Rick Hahn Steps in It ... Again

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Snippiness over spending rears its ugly head in an Athletic chat

Cleveland Indians v Chicago White Sox Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Believe me, we’re trying to focus on the positivity of the 2021 White Sox season.

But hardly a week after it was revealed that owner Jerry Reinsdorf froze his front office from the knowledge that Tony La Russa was arrested for DUI, there’s been another unforced error. This time, it’s from GM Rick Hahn, speaking far too frankly with James Fegan of The Athletic.

White Sox Twitter is in an uproar. White Sox blogs, any worth their salt, are howling.

But for whatever “bucks” that caterwauling negative about the club might draw for bloggers and twitterers and writers, as White Sox fans this ain’t good news. We’re not celebrating the sight of our GM donning the dunce hat once more.

In an hour-long chat (one winces to imagine what was left on the cutting-room floor), Hahn essentially pulled a Reggie’s, defensively calling out White Sox fans (and their Twitter “hot takes”) for criticizing the terrible offseason the team has had. Hahn spoke specifically of attacks on the team’s (lack of) spending, listing several extremely inappropriate, and frankly tedious, future memes the GM will one day regret:

  • The Tampa example (the Rays being two wins from a title as the tiniest of small-market teams means exactly ... what to the White Sox, who are richer, bigger-market — and more terrible at scouting, signing and trading — than Tampa?)
  • “We’ve made a number of high-dollar commitments” (true, on the scale of, yes, the White Sox spent more than I did ... and you, too)
  • If the White Sox had signed, say, Manny Machado, the money might not have been there to extend Luis Robert or Eloy Jiménez. (Seriously? The premise of this teardown on the cheap was locking up All-Star talent for pennies on the dollar, but, OK.)
  • Yasmani Grandal — YASMANI GRANDAL, and his team record-setting four-year, $73 million deal, is cited as more proof of spending. The CHICAGO White Sox have never laid out more than $73 million in a single deal, and it’s being cited as reasons for critics to shut up. (You may recall our coverage of the Grandal signing was otherworldly-positive ... now just another thing Rick crapped on with this Athletic sitdown.)
  • and, OF COURSE, the pandemic

What really bothers me as a fan, and as writer, is Hahn’s assertion that “criticisms not based in reality bother me.” This is gaslighting, pure and simple.

I like Rick Hahn. I would not expect this of him. He’s not our daddy. He doesn’t get away with just conjuring reality that suits him and the rest of his suite class.

And it’s not the first time he’s played this game. Not even two years ago, during that odd circle-jerk with the NBC head-bobbers that was his Reggie’s debacle, Hahn inferred that a certain (presumably large) segment of White Sox fans wanted the rebuild to fail.

In related fashion this time around, as Jim distilled over at SM, Hahn was seemingly angry that White Sox fans were paying attention (and stay for the apt “Scott’s Tots” The Office comp).

My criticism of Hahn’s poor offseason has come more in the form of how money was spent — but that criticism comes fueled by the knowledge that sooner than later, the White Sox will cry poor, or crow about money spent in order to silence an uppity fan base.

Guess what? It didn’t even take a month for that to become true! Who knew that locking up major talent (self-validating Hahn’s own general managing expertise, by the way) under market would be so, so, so, so, so, so painful?

Well, Rick, it doesn’t work that way. And you are very, very smart, so you know this.

As I said in 2019, please, just cut it out.

Media silence is better than this gruel sandwich.