Podcast: Will the Chicago White Sox actually move?

Record Date: 8/21/2023


  • Josh is back from vacation, and Jim shares what he missed
  • Crain’s Business Journal reports that Jerry Reinsdorf has begun exploring a new stadium for the White Sox and is trying to leverage Nashville as a possible move. Jim, the resident Nashville expert, shares why that threat of a move doesn’t make sense.
  • However, is it possible for the White Sox to move away from 35th and Shields? Thanks to Bridgeport’s changing demographics and Chicago politics, Josh shares why that’s a topic we’ll be debating for the next three to four years.
  • We know Rick Hahn’s contract status and why it’s more of a reason to move on from him after this season.
  • Jim watched the Charlotte Knights in Nashville and boy, there’s not much going on with that roster.
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The city of Cleveland sued to keep the name Browns in-house, so Chicago can do the same. Put an expansion White Sox team here. Both teams will probably lose 100 games anyway, so what’s the difference? Oh yeah, we’ll have a competent front office.


Real problem if it is not set up when the White Sox move, the Cubs will work hard to let any team back into the market.

Michael Kenny

This is something I hadn’t thought of. The A’s are going to Vegas because the Giants wouldn’t let them move to San Jose. Could the Cubs block an expansion White Sox team with their territorial rights even if it was directly and immediately replacing the old team?

Augusto Barojas

It may be very hard to tell the difference between the 2024 Sox and an expansion team anyway. Hell, there’s not that much difference now. I think their last 3 losses combined were like 39-7.


Let Jerry move the White Sox to Nashiville and after the Rays keep dragging their feet on getting a deal in TB let them move here and rename the White Sox. win win!


We have two more failed rebuilds to go through before the lease is even up, this is a non story the sox arent going anywhere and wake me up in 2029 when it would actually even be used as a threat to secure a better stadium deal in or around Chicago.


A topic I could spend hours on. I have been following this franchise since the 50s. My father before me and my grandfather before him. Is that enough White Sox for you? So lets try to sum up hours on this to some quick takes. Because this topic will definitely be coming up again and again the closer we get to 2029. I would consider it a miracle if they don’t move. Ownership is going to get it absolutely right this time. Money of course is the big player here. They want to move to another location. It just doesn’t work there. A stadium of course. And maybe they want to be the fresh toy in town. We all know who they play second fiddle to no matter how they or the other team plays. Nashville, Louisville, Vancouver, or whatever! But 5 years is a short time when discussing building stadiums or moving teams. I love for them to stay. But that comes from my heart and decisions of this magnitude come from the wallet!


those markets stink compared to chicago, its actually criminal we also dont have a 2nd football team


Media Markets in of themselves have the least impact on NFL (Green Bay, Buffalo, Jacksonville, New Orleans, etc).


That’s because the NFL is a national TV market and the individual clubs only need to sell 600k-700k expensive weekend tickets. There’s just no comparison. The problem with a 2nd team though as you said has nothing to do with TV and everything to do with stadium deals which Chicago already has a problem with the one team they do have.

In baseball, Green Bay would be a difficult market for a AA team, Buffalo is dead, and New Orlean’s has no metro. Jacksonville isn’t horrible but it’s in a state that already can’t support the 2 teams it has.


I was just pointing out that those markets have NFL teams and are the smallest markets with “Big 4” sports teams. Chicago is over half of the size of LA market, but I don’t think should get back into the 2-team market for football.


The Dallas metro area population is projected to exceed the Chicago market before long, but it only has one team.


Louisville? That is a tiny market. None of these markets are in the same stratosphere as Chicago from a television revenue prospective.


As a 55 year Sox fan, I generally agree. Mr Reinsdorf has always hated playing second fiddle to the Cubs. But as to the observation thet “It just doesn’t work here” I would beg to differ. It could work here with a competent business organization. But the great failure of the Reinsdorf ownership is the absolute failure to expand the fan base beyond the core. A team can certainly work at 35th and Shields- great accessibility and an amazingly improved neighborhood. But you have to develop, market and sustain interest in a product by providing quality.


Reinsdorf and Einhorn immediately took the Sox off free TV and let Harry Caray run to the Cubs just when WGN was going on the satellite and cable systems all over the country. So just who let the Cubs be No. 1? JR. Who build an old style modern ballpark when Camden was already designed? JR. Who pointed the ballpark in the wrong direction, away from a view of the Chicago skyline? JR. who had and still has contempt for the fans of both the Sox and Bulls? JR And so it goes with JR.


Yea, JR has played a big role in the Sox being second fiddle to the Cubs but the history of White Sox ownership groups has always been to be shortsighted and penny-wise and pound-foolish.


I wonder where the White Sox would be if Veeck sold to Ed DeBartolo while helping with the transition. Maybe they stay on WGN, keep Harry and spend money on organization. Veeck would have kept it fun with promotions.


The White Sox were on Channel 44 for about 6 years from 1974 to 1980. They dropped the White Sox as the station went with a pay TV format called “On TV”. Bill Veeck signed a deal with Cable Vision to carry the White Sox. Only problem was Cable Vision was only operating on Oak Park and Evanston at the time. The White Sox returned to WGN that year with about a 60 game package. So, the intial move to cable was actually Bill Veeck as he was going out the door.

With the Reindorf / Einhorn first year of ownership (1981), a 50 game free TV package was moved to Channel 32, and Sports Vision was launched on Channel 50 with the same technology of the day that was functional with ON TV on Channel 44. This was also the time Jimmy Pearsall was getting in hot water for his comments about players and their wives. Harry Cary stayed for an addional year before moving to WGN and the Cubs. Harry Cary was never fired but was wooed away with WGN being on nation wide cable TV. Jimmy became a commentator on Sports Vision but was dumped before the end of the baseball year.

Eventually Sports Vision moved form over the air pay TV to cable once the City of Chicago was wired for cable TV. This is what would eventually become today’s NBC Sports Chicago that you see today.

Einhorn for all of his faults was actually a visionary for starting sports pay TV networks since the industry followed his lead many years later.

Eddie Einhorn was very much the face of the White Sox ownership early on before 1990. He was very vocal about wanting a new stadium trying to set up a deal to move to Tampa Bay in the 1988/1989 time frame. Jerry Reinsdorf was much more discrete on moving the White Sox at this time and let Eddie take the heat. After the Stadium deal for the new Comiskey was signed, Eddie Einhorn pretty much took a back seat and Jerry Reinsdorf became the mouth piece for the ownership group as Eddie appeared to have burned too many bridges to remain in the public view.


This was also the time Jimmy Pearsall was getting in hot water for his comments about players and their wives.

I do not remember this, do tell.


Thanks, I was in the service at that time so I didn’t get all the mucky muck over why he was canned. Did he name names?


A team can certainly work at 35th and Shields- great accessibility and an amazingly improved neighborhood. But you have to develop, market and sustain interest in a product by providing quality.

All things foreign to Reinsdorf.

Yolmer's gatorade

Josh is right that the real problem is old Bridgeport. They couldn’t get Tony Ciaravino elected. IIRC, the old Bridgeport areas around the ballpark voted heavily for him, but Nicole Lee trounced him overall. The world has been sucking up to some of those people for 100 years, but I think those days are over.


The Nashville and Pittsburgh metros are close in size. If JR wants to move the team to Nashville and become the Pittsburgh Pirates 2.0, be my guest. I’ll root for someone else or no one at all.

He’d finally have a market size that fits the way he runs the team.


tbf, at least Pittsburgh has Ben Cherington and their analytics dept is like twice the size of that of the White Sox.

A Reinsdorf owned team in a market that size would probably make a strong case for case for EPL style regulation.


Under the radar, but a bunch of front office staffers left the Sox even when the team was winning over 2020-21. Evidently a lot of people knew how bad Hahn’s leadership was and that the organization was going nowhere.


Let’s Update the Estimated Local TV Revenue for MLB Teams | FanGraphs Baseball

Here are the regional television revenue estimates from Fangraphs. As of 2020 the White Sox had the 3rd largest RSN deal in baseball. The Yankees will probably pass them at some point which will knock them only to 4th.

Nashville or Louisville or whatever the heck other market can’t match that.


No matter what they do, I just hope no taxpayers get bamboozled. Do NOT give billionaires any more money.


I would love for the Federal goverment to ban municipalities fundings stadiums to entirely kill cities competing for teams.


As a life long Bridgeport resident, I’m not aware any “baseball village” proposal that was ever floated for approval by local home owners. There has been a concerted effort to limit liquor licenses for corner bars but, that has had nothing to do with anything the Illinois Sports Stadium Authority wants to do for a baseball village. It has never been proposed publicly, period.

I have been told in the past that White Sox ownership did not want any restaurant’s and bars directly across from the ball park as ownership wanted control of all concession revenue within the walls of the ball park. This is what Jerry wanted, not local residents creating a roadblock.

I’d be interested to see where yo would like to see the baseball village set up. Maybe the north parking lot? If so, maybe the need for multi level parking along the railroad tracks?

The public housing to the southeast of the ballpark limits doing anything there unless the public housing is moved. I’m not sure there is any political will to move the public housing from a City Hall perspective. Armor Square Park to the north is off limits as the Friends of the Parks will take anyone to court for any future use of park land.

Just don’t see the local Bridgeport residents as being the issue here.


I agree the residents aren’t the issue. Armour Square park isn’t an issue – it could be rebuilt on the parking lot west of the tracks – a better location farther from the expressway.

Commercial property with a “baseball village” along 33rd makes sense, as does a parking garage next to the tracks.

What Jerry wanted in 1990 probably isn’t what he or any prospective owner wants in 2023. From what I’ve heard from cops who work the games, the tailgating at Sox games gets out of hand – not a problem at Wrigley since there are no parking lots. Pre-game drinking takes place at bars where it can be controlled a bit more and people aren’t five feet from their cars. So the city/Stadium authority would probably be happier with fewer parking lots and a garage. Get a Big Ten baseball tournament in there every 5 years for added revenue.


I think it will be a waste of public money to build a new ball park. My not be the most ideal of a design but far from being something to abandon. If he wants a new one, he should pay for it himself.

The idea of a baseball village is to provide an entertainment and restaurant/bar venue across from the ball park. This could be placed north of 35th street but will reduce parking, thus the need for a multi level parking lot. All of this could be a part of a newer lease agreement.

When the old ball park existed, there were many independent souvenir sellers lined up and down 35th st and Shields. All of these independent sellers were no longer allowed after the new ball park was built in 1991. McCuddy’s wanted a location on the north side of 35th St. They were denied is location but were offered a location on 33rd st and Wells which they turned down. Closest any independent venue was allowed to get was 33rd St. This was promarily due to the lease agreement was nor due to any 11th ward restrictions.


When my dad was still living in the 90’s he would say, they should tear down the ‘new’ ballpark and rebuild where the old one was and do something more like Camden. they had the chance to start the new design but instead, JR wanted something more like Kauffman. I have no doubt that if JR is still in charge, a new stadium will be just as terrible if not worse than what New Comiskey Park was when it first opened. Many people asked me what I thought of it, and my response is, it’s way better today than in 1991. But it might be the 10th best of the 20+ I’ve been to.

As for moving from the area, I see no reason to stay if you can find the right fit closer to the city. but going further? eh. I haven’t lived in the area for 13 years, and I rarely go to home games as I’m closer to 10 other stadiums. So if they found a different city, I’d probably still be a fan since home for me is in Pirate territory and that’s a rough organization to like, so I don’t/can’t.

Michael Kenny

Shortly before I was born, my father decided to boycott the White Sox because Reinsdorf threatened to relocate, and he didn’t come back until 2005. Now I just had a kid and this feels very Circle of Life. I’ve never cared less about the White Sox since becoming a fan and I have no hope for their future, so why not toss a little relocation drama on the pile? Screw that.

This is the kind of shit that kills fanbases, but Jerry is always pushing the limits of how much he can alienate the fans because in today’s game he knows he can. If zero fans show up next season he’ll still make money hand over fist, so we get stuck with this depressing and shameful display.


My first game was the last year in Old Comiskey, with my dad. My dad said he would never set foot in the new, taxpayer ballpark. That changed when he went to World Series game 1. Since then, he has been to a few games.


The horror. Of the prospect of a team with one championship in the past century and the worst ownership/GM combination in pro sports moving to another city.

If it came to that, good riddance. A house of turds.


We all knew this was coming. And coming fast after that clause was changed. My thought was they might work out an extension – and I guess it could still happen – and punt the whole deal to a future owner. But there is business logic to moving that process along now. And the Bears may have accelerated that process by putting different municipalities in play


Negotiate for same deal, with major renovations for a longer term, with a rather easy opt out for a new ownership.?


Sure, of course it makes sense because it does. Still, the timing couldn’t be worse and his current handling of the team. Instead of presenting this as a new era with a fresh approach/ideas, he is coming off as someone stuck in his outdated ways and intolerant to new ideas. Who is going to buy in to that.


Politicians will buy in. With your money, of course.


It is really kind of lame. I believe Manfred had said the Tampa and Oakland stadium situations have to get resolved, then expansion can happen. Now you have a number of other teams trying to jump into this pre-expansion window to gain leverage.


Seems crazy to spend public money on sports teams as there is no guarantee that these lease agreements will not be broken as the bears are currently trying to do with Soldier Field. Thinking the current Mayor will not be willing to provide sports team owners with money he would rather give to social programs and schools. Both Chicago and Illinois finances are really not in a postition to fund public stadiums.

Makes more sense for a new ownership group to buy in and see what their desires and needs are vs doing something for the current ownership group which is sure to change in the next couple of years.


Most (if not all) of the Stadium Authority public money is controlled by the state, not the city.


Most if not all of the money is generated by the hotel / motel tax with the assumption that mostly out of town visitors would be paying the tax, not the local residents. Believe the stadium authority board has 3 state reps, 3 city of Chicago reps and the White Sox with one rep as a tie breaker. So, it is a Illinois / Chicago entity. This funding source had to suffer during the pandemic.


Correct but that tax money goes to the stadium authority. For all intents an purposes, Pritzker controls those 6 seats now.


I have a question that someone may or may not know the answer to (and may have been mentioned here previously), but when the Sox got their deal for the new ballpark back in the ’80s, didn’t politicians try to make some deal to save a local bar that the White Sox wanted to get rid of? McCuddy’s? Where Babe Ruth would allegedly go in between innings. I thought the Sox didn’t want to have anything around the new Comiskey because they wanted to have all the concessions to themselves.


McCuddy’s wanted a location on the north side of 35th St. They were denied is location but were offered a location on 33rd st and Wells which they turned down. Yes, the White Sox wanted all of the concession revenue for themselves. So it’s kind of hard to believe that they want to walk away because of lack of entertainment and food venue’s around the ball park. Sound like more of an excuse. I can see a new ownership group asking for this, so maybe that’s what this push is for.


So it’s kind of hard to believe that they want to walk away because of lack of entertainment and food venue’s around the ball park

Times change, that was 35 years ago. Wrigleyville wasn’t even Wrigleyville back then.


The original agreement was 35 years ago. The original agreement was for a 20 year period. So, they re-upped the agreement in 2011 for the current one that runs until 2029. Times must have really changed in the last 12 years as they could have made their case for venue’s out side the park in 2011 but chose not to. More of a case with “Monkey see Monkey do” with Atlanta being the model. Braves are on their 3rd stadium in what the last 25 years? Texas rangers are on their second stadium in the last 28 years. In both cases the older stadiums were repurposed for college football use. Chicago and the state of Illinois will need to repurpose both Solder Field and Guaranteed Rate Field or they will have 2 white elephants on their hands.

Wrigleyville is still Lakeview at the end of the day.