Meanwhile on the South Side: Bad Month From Top to Bottom
April wasn’t a good month for the White Sox. In fact it was historically bad. They went 0-6-1 in April series and finished with an 8-21 record if you add in the end of March, good for fourth in the poor AL Central. It was the third-worst record in all of baseball, only ahead of the Royals and A’s. The 2023 White Sox (.275) are off to their worst start since 1968, when they only scratched out two wins in April for a .142 winning percentage.
The 1968 team finished with 95 losses, just to give some idea of where this might all be headed.
And that is just a snapshot of the situation on the field. White Sox management couldn’t let the month end without compounding the situation. First, Kenny Williams commented on how angry and frustrated he is with where the team is at. Which is all well and good, except that Williams has, in theory anyway, the means to make some changes. Along with Williams being upset, Rick Hahn told us to, “Put it on me.”
Don’t worry Rick, we will. It begs the question, though, of why more wasn’t done in the offseason to get ready for 2023. Everything Hahn said last week could be copied and pasted from reports and interviews from last season. Perhaps he and Williams thought it would ease some of the fan discontent if they let it be known that they too are unhappy, Unfortunately for them, it has had the opposite effect. Fans don’t want someone to commiserate with, they’ve got each other for that. They want a management team that will actually make some needed changes.
“It’s more about, again, getting this team right for 2023,” Hahn said in seeming self-damnation. “And what happens later in this season.”
It’s April of 2023, the season is well underway, and Hahn is talking about getting the team right for…2023? Sorry, that needed to be done by February, not now. In a fitting conclusion to the month from Hell, Jerry Reinsdorf spoke at a sports-management symposium and shared his governing philosophy for owning a team. He paid lip service to “just wanting to win,” but his true colors came from his comments concerning his fellow owners and fans.
“If you have somebody who decides he wants to spend $42 million on a second baseman who hits .202, and one comes along for you, you’re going to probably have to spend the same money,” Reinsdorf explained. “The whole thing is irrational.“
Of course, Jerry doesn’t spend the same money. The White Sox are one of three teams never to sign a player to a $100 million contract. Reisndorf is also of the belief that “you finish second or third or fourth, it doesn’t mean you had a bad year,” and “the important thing to fans is, while they want you to win championships, they want to know that when they get down to the last month of the season you still have a shot.” He couldn’t be more wrong.
Fourth place isn’t a bad year? I can only hope he didn’t mean finishing fourth in the AL Central, but that wasn’t clear. Fans don’t want try-hards like they’ve’ve been getting for years now. Hahn and Williams will talk about how they were in contract discussions with the likes of Manny Machado, but they just came up short. That isn’t enough. The fans aren’t just unhappy about the state of play, they’re unhappy with the entire organization from top to bottom.
To make it clear to Reinsdorf, it’s not acceptable just to have a shot in September at winning a lousy division. Fans want the White Sox to act like an actual major league team. Whatever they are doing now isn’t cutting it.