It is a tumultuous time to be a fan of a major league baseball team.
Several franchises are engaged in protracted talks with city officials and ownership boards concerning public stadium funding and potential relocations to more promising markets.
The Athletics (famously) and the Brewers (quietly) have been discussing relocation as a remedy to the so-called financial burdens associated with stadium maintenance and construction. Now, we can add our very own Chicago White Sox to the list.
According to Crain’s Chicago Business writer Greg Hinz, "Knowledgeable sources say Jerry Reinsdorf, the team’s majority owner and chairman, is considering moving the organization from Guaranteed Rate Field in Bridgeport when the team’s lease expires just six years from now.”
Indeed, with six years remaining on the White Sox’s current lease on Guaranteed Rate Field, Sox spokesperson Scott Reifert is quoted as saying, “We have not had any conversations about our lease situation, but with six years remaining, it is naturally nearing a time where discussions should begin to take place,” in the Hinz's piece, which was posted Monday evening.
While Reifert’s comments read, in part, like conflict-defusing legalese, Hinz goes on to report that, “There also is some chatter among team insiders that, at age 87, Reinsdorf may seek to sell the Sox, while keeping ownership of the Chicago Bulls.” Depending on your opinion of the Sox billionaire owner, that statement can be interpreted as either good or bad news. It’s unambiguous, however, that the prospect of a dramatic change in Chicago is now very much in the air.
As for the prospective new venue? The door is certainly open to developing a new stadium in the Chicagoland area. The Milwaukee Brewers situation at American Family Field is a sparkling reflection of the political chaos involved in those types of discussions, so our readers can likely expect to hear a great deal more chatter on the potential of a new Chicago stadium in the coming months. Whether the team, valued at over $2 billion, seeks to try to extort money from municipal coffers to fund their shiny new stadium on Chicago’s South Side by adhering to established major league baseball precedent in such negotiations remains to be seen. It shouldn’t surprise a single Chicago sports fan if such a tactic is employed in talks that involve keeping the team in the Windy City.
However, a move out-of-state is undoubtedly in the discussion, too. Writes Hinz, “... among the possibilities are moving to a new stadium in the city or suburbs, or even relocating to Nashville, a subject of recurring gossip on and off for years.” He goes on to set the expectation that no such deal is imminent, but the idea that the White Sox could leave Chicago has the team’s remaining faithful fans in a frenzy.
If reinsdorf moves the team to Nashville, he will go down as one of the biggest a-holes in Chicago history. Oh, wait a sec…— Solbrok (@solbrok1) August 22, 2023
Others, not so much.
And now a "rumor" that the Sox might consider moving out of Chicago. If Reinsdorf is that thin skined, not sorry you have been a disappointment as an owner of this team overall. The fans, the city and the market deserve better. Goodbye— hanzik5 (@blkranger12) August 22, 2023
Either way, one thing’s certain; we live in interesting times, and the evolution of Chicago sports could be upon us much sooner than we’d envisioned.
Would you still consider yourself a White Sox fan if the team moved out of Chicago?
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