I and many other Chicagoans used to sit in our simple Midwestern homes, huddled by the coal stove or whatever people picture us doing in the winter (it’s not that far off, it’s just huddled at the bar), and have a good chuckle at how New Yorkers were sentenced to a life with James Dolan. Here was a guy driving two proud teams into the ground, though at least he had the convenience to do it out of one building. It was easy to highlight Madison Square Garden as a den of imbecility and disorientation. Did a huge swath of this City By The Lake ever think it would get to a point where they’d swap out for Dolan if it meant punting Jerry Reindsdorf to the nearest Russian space station’s utility closet?
You may have thought that the baseball season being over would have meant that the White Sox couldn’t hurt or let anyone down for a few months. Silly rabbit. In between meetings where they have to keep waking up Tony La Russa (he’s still a consultant) merely to keep him from concussing himself by thwacking his forehead on the table while Reinsdorf complains that his Zoom doesn’t work for the 36th straight time only so they can figure out which Royal they want to sign for 3.5 times more than he should cost, Reinsdorf found time to let go of immensely popular play-by-play man Jason Benetti.
Perhaps no member of an organization has more of a connection with fans than the announcers, especially in baseball, because those are the voices they hear every day. And not only is Benetti excellent at his job, and not only is he wickedly funny, but being the Sox PBP was his dream job. He grew up here as a Sox fan. It’s all he ever wanted. And even he decided he’d be better off in Detroit watching Spencer Torkleson trying to find reverse on a Russian tank. It became clear that Reinsdorf let Benetti walk to Detroit because he was salty that Benetti had the gall to criticize La Russa when he was wandering around the Sox dugout asking Eloy Jimenez if this is where he gets on I-80 while labeled the manager. Funny thing, fans tend to notice when broadcasters don’t rightly pillory a guy who calls for an intentional walk with two strikes. Twice. Benetti’s honesty only endeared him to fans more.
Which Reinsdorf doesn’t have time for, because he actively hates White Sox fans and they hate him. So he’ll continue to serve them up a middling team that doesn’t cost much and certainly has no direction in the hopes that they’ll somehow magically recreate 1983, all being broadcast by some faceless douchebag trying to audition to be the voice of Madden under an unconscionable head of hair. They’ll tell you they were so close to a big trade or signing, but never actually complete it, while they continue to dive deeper into the pointless muck of irrelevance Reinsdorf has somehow confused with an exfoliating mud bath.
Ah, that would be bad enough, but Good Ol’ Dorf isn’t done there. Can you name another team, in any sport, that was once a dynasty in the past 30 years that has become such an afterthought as the Bulls? Since Michael Jordan called it quits (the second time, though the first retirement if you believe conspiracy theories), the Bulls have won exactly one game in the Eastern Conference finals. Then Miami figured out they could just have LeBron guard Derrick Rose and that was it…for eternity.
The Bulls hierarchy is apparently fine with this. They’ve been a mess for two seasons now, with Zach LaVine, DeMar DeRozan, and Nikola Vucevic never really being able to coexist as losses are collected under a pile of mid-range jumpers, annoying possessions that don’t go anywhere like an onion on a belt, half-hearted defense at best, made all the worse by the occasional flashes of competence when they move the ball well but then LaVine and DeRozan decide it’s their turn to bring it all to a halt.
Reinsdorf has never allowed the Bulls to go into the luxury tax, which means they’ve always lacked the amount of talent needed to make some serious noise. He’s also been happy to let completely overmatched regimes stay in charge to keep acquiring players who are better suited for the NBA of 10 years previous, because Reindsorf doesn’t really like basketball anyway. The Bulls just sit in the corner of the NBA, not bothering anyone, not letting anyone know they’re there, and doing their best to not piss themselves. Or at least not piss themselves in a fashion that anyone would notice.
How’s that look now?
Recently reports leaked out that both the team and LaVine would be pretty content to separate via trade, and when asked about it by the media, LaVine’s responses were basically, “My bags are already packed, fam.” This only a year into his max extension.
But that’s the Bulls, the rest stop of the league, where teams come to stretch their legs and catch their breath before moving on to stuff that matters. It’s been this way for nearly 30 years now.
And it’s this way for 40 percent of our teams because Reinsdorf can’t find anything else to do in Arizona. Fans in Chicago have a few suggestions.
Premier League shenanigans
As if the Premier League wasn’t busy enough taking far too long to figure out if Manchester City cheated the league’s Financial Fair Play rules, they only have 115 counts against them, and whether or not Everton were just too stupid to have violated them or not, they might have to add Chelsea to the list.
Thanks to a massive unearthing of documents known as “Cyprus Confidential” and distributed to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, some pretty shady payments from shell companies owned by former owner Roman Abramovich to various other offshore and dummy companies owned by agents or other clubs are now out in the open. Chelsea may escape because Abramovich isn’t in charge anymore, but they’ve also had a hard-on to throw the book at someone, anyone. Stay tuned.
Powerhouse Hobbs slams Paul Wight on the hood of a car
And now, for no reason:
Sting really needs to retire because thanks to him far too many old wrestlers think they’re perfectly fine to take the biggest spots. Ric Flair is going to jump out a third-story window through five flaming tables at this rate.
Follow Sam on Twitter @Felsgate and on Bluesky @felsgate.bsky.social