Spare Parts: White Sox fans didn’t watch on TV, either

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

While the pitch clock was a blessing to fans who subjected themselves to White Sox baseball all season long, it seems like a fair amount of Sox fans knew the real pace-of-play initiative was in their heart all along.

The Sports Business Journal published year-to-year differences in TV ratings for 29 of 30 MLB teams (Toronto doesn’t apply to this exercise), and the White Sox trailed all of baseball with a 41 percent drop compared to 2022, falling form 1.69 to 0.99.

They’re comfortably in the cellar, because the next-biggest drop-off was just 30 percent. And who suffered that decline? You guessed it: The Kansas City Royals.

The Sox were also one of four teams that failed to post an attendance increase in what was otherwise a fantastic year for Major League Baseball, suffering a league-worst drop of 4,194 fewer fans a game.

With nobody watching, this could’ve been the perfect time to overhaul the front office, giving new, unfamiliar decision-makers a couple years to address the roster in whatever way they see fit. Promoting from within only works if you’re trying to repair the plane in midair. Getz will try to repair the plane after it crashed into a farmers’ market, and he was the lone survivor.

Spare Parts

Rick Hahn previously tried to save a little cash by signing players who’d suffered season-ending injuries, but they were either relievers (Joe Kelly, Kelvin Herrera) or role players (Jeff Keppinger). None of those worked out well enough to justify giving Benintendi $75 million over five years, so that alone could’ve been a fireable thought process. He’ll probably bounce back to some degree, but the first year was the most important one, so it was already a mistake by June. It also doesn’t explain his problems in the field.

If you’ve watched any Pedro Grifol postgame scrum, he loves to filibuster with dry, rote accounts of what happened in the game while reporters wait him out. He does the same thing to Vinnie Duber here, and when it gets time to provide his perspective on what went wrong, he alternates between lacking answers and refusing to provide specifics.

Speas, a 25-year-old righty whose slowest pitch is a 91-mph slider, walked 38 guys over 56⅔ innings between Double-A, Triple-A and an unimpressive three-game audition with the Rangers, and that was considered a triumph, considering he walked 21 batters over 12 innings at Double-A two years earlier. The Sox designated Tyler Naquin to make room. An anagram for Alex Speas? Alex’s Peas.

I didn’t realize that Grandal’s 118 games and 405 plate appearances in 2023 represented his highest totals with the White Sox, even though he barely played over the final three weeks of the season. That quantity dragged down the quality of his overall line during his time on the South Side, as he finished with a 99 OPS+.

The White Sox ended Jake Eder’s regular-season early in order to prepare him for a productive Arizona Fall League, and he opened play with three scoreless, hitless innings, striking out three. He also walked three, so plenty of work remains.

Not only did the Twins end baseball’s funniest subplot by ending their 18-game losing streak with a victory over the Blue Jays in Game 1 of the Wild Card Series, but then they went and won Game 2, meaning the White Sox have the longest postseason series drought in the American League. Only the Reds have gone winless in October longer, but Cincinnati might end that streak next year.

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The drop in viewership may be embarrassing but does that impact Jerry’s bottom line? Because as we all know that’s all that matters.


I imagine it affects advertising revenue on the channel to some degree.

Jerry isn’t really swayed by anything. I mean this team is worth only half of what the Cubs are worth largely because we haven’t won anything of consequence for years. He has been doing self harm to his own investment for years and he just keeps on going because as he told us he has nothing else to do. I mean he doesn’t play bridge or golf so why not just burn a baseball team to the ground.

Jerry is terrible at the financial aspect of the business as well.

Last edited 1 month ago by dwjm3

I wonder why he still owns the team. I mean he can’t possibly enjoy it. Is he just one of those people who gets a power trip out of making others miserable who criticize him?

It makes no sense for him to own them. He’s a rich and cheap a-hole, and I’m not sorry to say that I’ll be happy when that dude is dead and there is one less of his ilk in the world.


I don’t know what his deep down motivations are as we sit here today.

I do wonder if some of it is motivated by fear at this point. I wonder if at 87 he fears passing away if he doesn’t have the team to focus on every day.


Sox are worth half of the Cub’s value for many reasons, the main one being that Ricketts owns the stadium, which is worth a ton of money.


I was listening to the comments of the Private Equity guy that bought Chelsea FC in Britain for 2.5 billion. He said the number one thing you need to do to grow the value of any sporting business is win, so the fact the sox haven’t won anything in years is definitely keeping the value of the franchise from achieving maximum value. I would say that is the biggest reason the Sox are worth half of the Cubs.

The Cubs leveraging Harry Caray and the Superstation to grab some fans from outside the area is another reason they are worth more than the Sox. Jerry screwed up his whole media strategy in the early years.

Wrigley is a complicated beast because it drives tourism dollars for the Cubs, but it also has to be costly to maintain. Wrigley seems to bring intangible brand value for the Cubs. It is difficult for me to quantify that.

Last edited 1 month ago by dwjm3
karkovice squad

The Cubs were owned by a media company and on national TV at a time when Jerry limited the audience with a subscription TV model that was let’s say ahead of its time. They’ve since become a real estate development firm.

Jerry’s operating a parking lot, theme park, and cable channel. Tho he does have a nice sideline on sports streaming.

As Cirensica

The comparison with Chelsea is not good. In baseball you make money just by existing. It is almost a cartel. Once you are in, you are guaranteed an almost endless flow of of money. You will never lose money, and when things turn uncomfortable, there will be suitors aplenty to take ownership from you and relocate (See: Montreal Expos). In the Premier League, if you don’t win, you get relegated to the inferior division and “out of the cartel” and the surefire money.

Jerry knows this. This is why he does not care about winning. It is a business for him. He collects his revenue every year not matter what. All he needs to do is put 26 guys plus coaches in the field that can go thru 162 games. Games needs to be played which might annoy Jerry a bit. In my opinion, the White Sox isn’t a successful team because his owner sees only a business instead of a sports franchise. Jerry’s loyalty is to keep “things rolling easy”. I mean, all he cares is to collect the revenue. Why bothering going thru changes of GMs, etc? Too much work. Too complicated.

For Jerry, winning 100 games or 60 games has the same meaning as the mortgage business in regards to the variable interest mortgages. When the interests are low, revenues are low. When interests are high, revenues are high. It will even out in the long run, so all you have to do is run the business, sign papers, punch your card, and collect.

Last edited 1 month ago by As Cirensica

I wasn’t comparing the Sox to Chelsea. The point he made, and I reiterated was to grow the franchise value you have to win. He wasn’t making a Chelsea or English Premier League specific commentary.

You aren’t getting the theme of my posts. If you are running this business simply for commercial purposes the best way to maximize the commercial value of the business is to win. Jerry isn’t following a sound commercial strategy even if you set baseball operations aside.

Some Sox fans seem to think Jerry is running this business properly from a commercial standpoint even there isn’t success on the field. That is factually untrue because you need to have success on the field to maximize the commercial value of the business.

As Cirensica

I do believe Jerry IS running the White Sox properly from a commercial point of view. Growing the value of the franchise only makes sense if Jerry plans to sell. Jerry won’t sell, so for him, growing the value comes secondary. I mean, it is still important, and the firing of KW and Hahn meant that even Jerry can see a limit and he has to show “he cares” (he does not).


You always want to be growing the value of your business whether you are planning to sell it or not. Any business needs to be making short term investment for long term gain. As the Phillies owner said I’m buying Harper and other tier 1 free agents because if I make this investment now and we win I will see the long-term gain by increasing the value of the business.

Jerry isn’t running it soundly from a commercial perspective. I believe the sox could be worth as much a billion dollars more with proper running of the business.


He gets richer and richer even if he fails, that’s pretty good business.


Does the Premier league do revenue sharing? I think that has kept many American sports afloat, also the lack of relegation is a plus too for economics. I get the comp, and also think its fair to look at the landscape of pro sports from different POV’s. But American sports don’t necessarily make it advantageous to not be bad, in fact it could be argued in American Pro Sports the middle ground is worse than being bad or good. But thats just one mans opinion on the matter


Baseball puts a floor under you with the franchise model, but the owner has the ability to reach for additional upside with good stewardship in my view.

The Premier League does not have a salary cap like every one of our leagues except baseball. They do give parachute payments to teams being relegated to give them a shot to bounce right back up.

It does have Financial Fair Play regulations that tries to force teams to spend relative their earnings.


I think what gets lost here, and this isn’t directed at you dwjm3, is the ancillary values, which can be enormous. As fans, we think, tickets, TV, parking, concessions. Lost in the value is merchandising, which is one revenue stream that skyrockets with winning and has huge markup. Cubs were second in merchandise sales in 2022 @ 425M. The other is sponsorships. Many times sponsorships are directly tied to advertising packages, meaning you can’t buy the Feldman Windows free pass sponsorship as a standalone, it has to be an add on to a thresholded ad buy.

So, when numbers go down, both in attendance and viewership, all those revenue lines are directly affected, except merchandising.

Merchandising does probably trend with the others, but isn’t directly tied.

So, some math would tell you the value of buying into winning, or at least the appearance of winning (i.e. something to stoke fan excitement for the team). The benefit of winning is residual merchandising. Even after the light fades on a winning team, merchandising takes awhile to trend lower.


Wrigley’s value isn’t really complicated. It’s worth $1.5B when you’re talking to the media and net worth estimators, but if you’re talking to insurance companies or tax assessors, it’s worth $75M or less.


The answer is YES ABSOLUTELY. Advertising is sold based on CPM, Cost Per Thousand. How many dollars does it take to reach 1000 viewers/listeners/readers. Each medium, broadcast/radio/print, has a different ratio with broadcast being the most expensive. So, if the CPM remains the same, let’s say $20 per thousand, if you reduce the number of viewers, you have to reduce the amount you charge for advertising because you are reaching fewer people.


I like the Alex Speas addition. If they get a little bit more control out of him from a pitching perspective, he is a reliever with 2 option years remaining.


Signing Benintendi to such a large contract after a major hand injury is just malfeasance. Did they do any due diligence? Yeah, the Sox needed to upgrade LF, but why him and why so much money if he was injured?is

Why is Grifol still the manager? He is such a kiss-up and PR cipher. Kepler, Showalter, and maybe Counsell are/will be available. All are better than Pedro, and not tainted with 101 losses and the 5th worst team season record, and these players.

As Cirensica

Quite honestly, 75M for 5 years is not something I would pin as a “large contract”. It comes down to 15 AAV. That’s why I am not that enraged (yet) for the Benintendi contract. I think he has time and youth to recoup some of the value.


Agreed, 3 good and 1 more mediocre seasons and that’d be a fair return. We all hoped for more power but the 5 from last year should’ve been an indicator of what we might get. The defense this year though was very disappointing. Maybe they should send him to ReyLo’s eye doctor.


Signing someone for 15M/yr prior to what will prove to be garbage years for the team for probably the entire contract is/was pointless. Whether he posts a WAR near 0 or close to 2 hardly matters for a team that will probably lose 300 games the next 3 seasons. I could care less what he does aside from making it possible to trade him.

Hopefully Benintendi recovers some value next year and they can pass him off in the next year or two on some team that wants a mediocre outfielder with little to no power for 15M/year. They waste SO much money on mediocre players that it is just brutal.


While I appreciate the annoyance of due diligence and settling for Grifol despite having options that would fare better, end of the day I’ve learned to not hold this franchise to such a high standard in evaluation. Jerry doesn’t seem to think anything is really wrong with his franchise, so best to not think about professionalism or process. Just enjoy the entertainment of a floundering team under a horrid owner that no one will miss when its said and done.


The sox adding a guy who walks way too many people on the same day as a sox prospect going to the AFL and walking too many people is just legit lit!!! Bring on 2024 maybe we can set an all time record in walks given vs taken.

#3 for HOF

I think you mean given and NOT taken.


No he’s talking about a walk differential like run differential. So if give up more walks than you take then you have a negative differential and vis versa. A differential line is an interesting team stat line, besides run and walk, I’d include HR, SB, GIDP, and Errors.


1) Viewership: can a smart member of our community explain what the numbers in the column to the left of the +/- mean? (Where it went from 1.69 to .99)

2) Grifol Filibusters: I’ve watched a fair number of Grifol post-game scrums and I’ve never thought his dry, rote recaps of the losses were an attempt to filibuster. I honestly never thought of him as being smart enough to try something like that. Just figured he’s rambling like the buffoon he appears to be


I agree. He is just so unqualified for this job that he doesn’t really have any clue what he is doing. And yet our current GM was part of the interview process and has stated that Pedro is the manager in 24. How clueless is he? Wow, what a dysfunctional organization. And it all leads to one man- Mr. Reinsdorf. The way he runs the Sox, I have to wonder how he made his money in the first place. He just seems to be an awful businessman.


Ditching him midseason will be framed as addressing the culture….


Jerry makes money on loopholes, sweetheart deals on GRate and owning his RSN. Essentially he runs things like a 1970s economic playbook, which helps him stay complacent. At least that is the optics.

karkovice squad

Funny thing that so many teams are taking on the even older McDonald’s model, becoming real estate developers who happen to play baseball games, while Jerry’s stuck capturing rents as a property manager.


I’d have no problem if his model was motivating him to do better, or care about the product in a way that felt meaningful. Regardless of the fiscal model used, when the person in charge either doesn’t have the drive or care to be open to new ideas, then stagnation will take effect and lead to what we see today.

Joliet Orange Sox

I’ve made it pretty clear over the years that I’m not a smart member of this community but I happen to know what the +/– is. The column is actuall labelled “% +/–” and it is percent difference which is equal to {100*[(2023 ratings)–(2022 ratings)]/(2022 ratings)}.


I should have clarified, I was wondering what the ratings number means. Rangers increased from .71 in 2022 to 1.41 in 2023. What does 1.41 mean?


Alex’s Peas was a great farmer’s market stand before that infernal plane destroyed it.

Jim Caple, one of my favorite baseball writers from the past quarter century, died this week. Tributes have come in from his peers like Jayson Stark and Jerry Crasnick, but the one I encourage everyone to read came from his nephew Christian. It preserved Jim’s format while being an outstanding eulogy.

As Cirensica

Jim Caple’s articles might have been the first Baseball related articles I started to read when I was learning English back in the early 2000s


Good thing Jerry has so many other ways to profit despite fans not caring about the product. It’s an older form of economics that seems to take care of “the partners” while making embarrassment acceptable on a fiscal level. Any other owner I’d think would be motivated by lack of attendance or viewership but with Getz and Grifol being the guys in charge, that doesn’t appear to be a factor. The broadcast stopped caring, the team stopped caring…Jerry quit on the season…the list goes on about how poorly this was handled from top down, just to think throwing “fans deserve better and a quicker bounce back” would satiate the fans, even though we know nothing is changing with the exception of a few new faces to promote “being different”.


That Grifol interview was so painful to read through. He has zero answers or ideas about how to improve and basically confirms that he has no problem bullying rookies while letting vets skate. Dude is a grade A loser.

As Cirensica

I have ZERO interest in watching that interview. I was afraid that will kill me out of boredom. So, yes, it didn’t occur to me to click on that link. In Pedro’s parlance, I didn’t even think about it.


Pedro/Getz interviews feel more and more like 2 dudes who have no idea what they are doing or how to fix this but sold the owner they could and now have to deal with the consequences.


And when JR said the “core” was in place, it sounded like he really believed it.


He was talking about the Eric Clapton song, it was cued up in his 8 track player.


Of everything maddening about Grifol’s media presence, the aspect I find hardest to stand is how he acts like he is forbidden from answering even the most softball questions.

What did you learn about managing this team?

“A lot of the stuff, I can’t talk about. I just can’t. And even if I could, I don’t want to, because I don’t want to continue to.”

Jesus Christ, he could have said anything. Instead he 1) announced his inability to say anything, 2) doubled down on his inability to say anything, then 3) tripled down by expressing his unwillingess to say anything.

My only defense of Grifol is that the antagonism and evasion towards the media–and, by extension, the fans–seems to be top-down in this organization.


sad lol @ “Only the Reds have gone winless in October longer, but Cincinnati might end that streak next year.”



Which of these doesn’t belong?


Thing is, no part of Beni’s game showed up. Bad breaks on balls, scared of the fence, poor accuracy on throws (we knew his arm was weak but accuracy used to be good), no power. He failed in every department.


Let me get this straight…they want me to pay to watch this team? As in I give money and in return…I get to watch Sox games?

Take a page from the Mat Ishbia playbook Jerry; put the games on free TV. People will start watching, and you can out-Cubs the Cubs as well.

King Joffrey

Jerry’s probably watching ‘Wheel of Fortune’ during the games. But he’s not buying any vowels.

El Arvo

Obviously Sox Machine is to blame
“We watch the Sox so you don’t have to”


Well by pythag, it was the fifth worst white sox team of all time. Worse than 2018. Even worse than the 106 loss 1970 team.

Best to look away.

Last edited 1 month ago by StockroomSnail