By now I’m sure you’ve read Joe Cowley’s story on the Chicago Bulls and the growing likelihood that, according to his sources, Head Coach Jim Boylen will keep his job due to financial concerns from the top of the organization. If you haven’t, here’s a snippet from Cowley’s story today.
“According to several sources, there is strong growing momentum that financial concerns the Reinsdorf’s have about the 2020-21 NBA season will keep Boylen in his current seat, as well as most of the coaching staff.”
At the top of that organization, is Jerry Reinsdorf, who also owns the Chicago White Sox.
The White Sox, who enter play tonight in second place in the American League Central, are poised to compete for a World Series Championship over the next few years. At least, that’s the plan. As constructed now, the team isn’t quite there yet and will need at least a right fielder and some starting pitching this winter to be considered a favorite to win it all when the 2021 season opens.
After the White Sox went on a spending spree — by their standards — this past winter, there was optimism that the franchise would again be players in the free-agent market this winter. But according to Cowley’s sources, and a July interview that Reinsdorf himself did with USA TODAY, that’s probably not going to happen.
Reinsdorf told Bob Nightengale on July 15, that his losses overall were in the ballpark of, “nine figures.” He also laid much of the financial losses and concern on the baseball side.
“The two teams and the stadium all have expenses,’’ Reinsdorf said. “None have income. That’s a bad business model. The Bulls got to play 75% of the season, so the losses aren’t bad. We had a lousy season [22-43], so we weren’t going to be in the playoffs, anyway. But the baseball losses are tremendous.
“I’m very worried about next year,’’ says Reinsdorf. “I don’t know how much money we are going to lose. There are just so many unknowns. When we had the long layoffs in ’81 and ’94 [with baseball’s work stoppages], we had some idea it was going to end. And once it ended, we would be back to normal. We not only don’t when this will end, but when will normal come back?”
That’s right folks, during a global pandemic that has caused the nation’s unemployment rate to spike to an all-time high of 14.70 percent as recently as April, a man worth 1.5 billion wants you to know that he’s not opening the checkbook for two of your favorite teams. Teams that you — and I — invest what hard-earned money that we do have these days into without hesitation.
This past winter, I became a season ticket holder because the team was finally making good on their years-old promise that when the rebuilding efforts on the Southside warranted it, the money will be spent.
Spend it they did. They inked Yasmani Grandal, Dallas Keuchel, Steve Cishek, and extended Jose Abreu and Luis Robert in a matter of months. So I made good on my promise to invest in the team on a greater level than I ever have when they met me in the middle as a consumer.
Now, I have to hear about “things being tight,” for Jerry Reinsdorf, who owns the Chicago Bulls (valued at $3.2 billion), the White Sox (valued at $1.65 billion), 50 percent of the United Center (United Center Joint Venture – UCJV), a majority 50 percent stake in NBC Sports Net Chicago, and a third of Global Security and Innovative Strategies (a security consulting and business advisory firm headquartered in Washington, DC) which reported $3 million in revenue recently.
Are you kidding me?
Jerry Reinsdorf has always been seen as two things in the sports world: One of the most loyal bosses you could ever work for, which we’ve seen countless times and recently with the Jose Abreu three-year extension. The other thing he’s known for is being incredibly cheap, which we’ve also seen countless times. From dismantling the greatest team in NBA history to years and years of dumpster-diving signings with his baseball franchise.
So, now that Reinsdorf is feeling the impacts of this pandemic, just like the rest of us average Joe’s, he wants to get even greedier and renege on his promise to spend on this White Sox roster while their competitive window is open.
Well, as they say, all is fair in love and war. If Reinsdorf reneges on his end of the deal this winter, I’ll be doing the same and saving my money in 2021. Let’s hope that doesn’t happen. But can we trust a man so tone-deaf that he mentioned the 1994 strike — that he played a role in forcing — as a financial loss during his time as the owner, to make the right decision here?
Good grief, can’t we have anything nice in Chicago sports?