Spare Parts: White Sox involved in other kind of Stadium deal

White Sox broadcast camera
(Photo by Raj Mehta/USA TODAY Sports)

It’s been a week since word leaked that Jerry Reinsdorf’s sports media entity Silver Chalice Sports had taken majority control of Stadium, and yet plenty of dots still remain unconnected.

Stadium is described as a “multiplatform sports network,” differentiated by its distribution on over-the-air platforms (I first came across it when I ditched cable for a digital antenna). While it offers major sports programming, its live events are mostly limited to college sports. Sinclair Broadcast Group previously held the controlling stake, but it’s having all sorts of problems with the live sports field, if you haven’t heard.

Stadium isn’t much now, but it could be something else with the White Sox, Bulls and Blackhawks, all of whom are planning to stick together for the foreseeable broadcasting future. Maybe it takes the shape of a new regional sports network, or maybe it frees up the teams to sell their games to fans on a direct-to-consumer level, without Comcast running interference.

Perhaps those dots won’t be connected for quite some time, because those three Chicago teams are under agreement with NBC Sports Chicago until October 2024, and there’s no need to rock one of baseball’s more stable boats in the most turbulent of environments.

Over in San Diego, for instance, Major League Baseball assumed control of the distribution of Padres games after the Sinclair-owned Diamond Sports Group stopped making payments on its $52 million agreement to broadcast games on Bally Sports San Diego. It’s offering fans a separate in-network subscription to, as well as a replacement channel on some platforms called “MLB San Diego Padres.”

Thirteen other clubs have relationship with Bally Sports networks, including all the other AL Central teams. Payments might’ve stopped with the Padres first because they have an enormous, peak-RSN deal that helped support their spending spree, but other teams should be nervous as well, and the turnover should give the White Sox plenty of examples to learn from.

It’d be ironic if Reinsdorf’s strategy involved over-the-air distribution considering he steered the Sox away from it, but I’m guessing the studio and infrastructure are the most valuable parts of this deal at this time, because it gives the three Chicago teams a head start in going their own way if that is indeed the best route.

Spare Parts

Misericordia University in Pennsylvania has designed a team to exploit the inherent flaws of lower-level college pitching by refusing to move in the batter’s box. They recruit players who don’t flinch, then run like hell afterwards, and it seems to be an incredibly successful science project.

By this account, Stephen Strasburg sounds like a more distressing version of Lonzo Ball, as he’s still dealing with complications from surgery to relieve thoracic outlet syndrome years after the fact. Between Strasburg and Madison Bumgarner, Dallas Keuchel’s contract was merely inefficient by comparison.

He tried to ramp up three different times this past winter, progressing to multiple bullpen sessions. But after throwing one in late January, he felt discomfort on his right side and couldn’t continue. The surgery, which he underwent in 2021, removed a rib and two muscles from his neck. As recently as last summer, Strasburg couldn’t stand for long before his right hand went numb. He often had to lie down and press his hand against his chest to be a warped version of comfortable.

Hannah Keyser notes that managers have felt the squeeze from MLB’s pace-of-play initiatives, because with a shorter window of time to flag a play, they’ve taken a hit with their accuracy. A manager like Buck Showalter, whose challenging methodology prioritized precision, just isn’t pulling the trigger.

Max Kepler was briefly tied to the White Sox as a right field solution over the winter, and my assessment that the White Sox would be acquiring another Nomar Mazara was too kind. Kepler is hitting .192/.264/.376, and now he’s getting in the way.

Just when Chris Sale thought he was in, a shoulder injury pulled him back out. He has only pitched 107 innings over the last three years.

I welcome the Defector business model of consolidating writers I’d read into one subscription that pays everybody a decent wage, although it’s a difficult model to emulate.

Take a second to support Sox Machine on Patreon
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

I remember when Sale and Strasburg faced off in a marquee matchup early in their career. It seems pretty mush over for both of them now. That’s baseball’s loss.

Joliet Orange Sox

I thought the severity of Sale’s shoulder soreness was yet to be determined. Prior to being pulled from his most recent start due to the soreness, Sale had a good month of May (2 good starts, 2 great starts). I’m not sure he’s done.

Stasburg is done.

Last edited 3 months ago by Joliet Orange Sox

The Strasburg story is sad but at least he got a big contract and won a title when he was a main cog of it. With how often he seemed to get hurt it always felt like this was going to happen eventually. Hopefully they can at least find a way to let him enjoy the rest of his life if this is the end of his career.

Im also already dreading Jerry starting some direct to consumer TV thing then crying poor when not enough fans buy in.


Thankful for sites like Sox Machine and Defector. The CJR story’s final paragraph starts with two sentences that sum up sports media in 2023.

Defector’s co-owners anticipate single-digit revenue growth from subscriptions this year. Meanwhile, one of their old enemies, Barstool Sports, was recently acquired by Penn Entertainment, a gambling conglomerate, for three hundred and eighty-eight million dollars.

As Cirensica

I never heard of Defector until I read this article.


Ray Ratto, formerly of the San Francisco Chronicle, is a must-read about the A’s relocation scheme. Of David Roth’s prolific output, Let’s Remember Some Guys is a worthwhile rabbit hole for those of us fond of Ted’s Sporcles.


I believe they were started by a bunch of Deadspin writers after Gawker got body slammed by Hulk Hogan


Indirectly due to the Gawker/Hogan thing. The Hogan suit is what led to Gawker being sold to Univision, who later sold it to private equity dopes who everyone hated and after those folks fired Deadspin’s editor because they wouldn’t “stick to sports” the rest of Deadspin quit.


I hate what misericordia is doing and wish great evil upon them.

Last edited 3 months ago by StockroomSnail

It seems strange to me to still see guys on the phone waiting to get the “challenge / no challenge” decision from upstairs. If the call looked wrong to you in real time, challenge it. If a pivotal call looked damn close, challenge it. If your pitcher needs to catch his breath, challenge it. If it’s the 8th inning, challenge it.

I don’t watch much tennis, but I feel like they’ve got it right. The player decides right away to challenge or not, sometimes because they think it was wrong and sometimes just to take a quick break.

Last edited 3 months ago by shaggy65

taking a beating for Misericordia might attract the wrong kind of baseball Annie


This is like a bingo game of things I hate: the word “chalice,” Jerry Reinsdorf, Sinclair Broadcasting, Bally Sports, the f-ing Minnesota Twins…c’mon, Jim, take it easy on us…

Joliet Orange Sox

So if Jerry Reinsdorf changed the name of his media company to Golden Goblet Games, would you have a higher opinion of it because it didn’t use the word “chalice”?


As long as Jerry changes his name to Lord Voldemort.

To Err is Herrmann

Did he name it Silver Chalice because silver is for those who finish in second place?