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Thanks to Jerry Reinsdorf, Nashville itself becomes story as White Sox depart Winter Meetings

Vinnie Duber Avatar
December 6, 2023
Jerry Reinsdorf

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Winter Meetings are over.

But it doesn’t seem that White Sox fans have heard the last from Music City.

Even after the White Sox were one of the few teams to make an actual move at these relatively sleepy Winter Meetings, their fans are talking about a lot of stuff besides Chris Getz’s roster-building.

After reports from both Politico and The Score surfaced Wednesday, the team confirmed that chairman Jerry Reinsdorf met with Nashville mayor Freddie O’Connell. The topics discussed were not disclosed.

Without being in the room, no one can know for certain why this meeting even happened. Reinsdorf is a long-time owner heavily involved with high-level stuff in Major League Baseball, and there’s a movement underway — spearheaded by Dave Stewart, a great friend of Reinsdorf’s great friend Tony La Russa — to bring big league ball to Nashville with an expansion team.

But it’s hard for folks to forget the August report from Crain’s Chicago Business that described Reinsdorf as considering a move from Guaranteed Rate Field, the options supposedly under consideration including elsewhere in the city, somewhere in the suburbs and even out of Chicagoland altogether and to Nashville. Since, it’s been reported the White Sox are considering sites in the city and another in the suburbs.

Even if there’s no fire to be found, this will count as smoke in the minds of a lot of fans — fans, by the way, who have already had it up to here with the White Sox at the end of a nightmarish 2023.

It’s worth sharing what Reinsdorf had to say about that August report the day Getz was promoted to general manager, during a rare sit down with reporters to go through the even rarer front-office changes at 35th and Shields.

“Somebody at Crain’s decided he wanted to write that you’re looking at the Bears’ (stadium situation) and the White Sox lease has six or seven years left to go and the White Sox have some options: They might move out of the city, they might move out of town, they might go to Nashville. That wasn’t us, that was a guy at Crain’s,” Reinsdorf said. “And ever since the article came out, I’ve been reading about that I’ve been threatening to move to Nashville. That article didn’t come from me.

“But it’s obvious, if we have six years left — I think that’s what it is — we’ve got to decide: What’s the future going to be? We’ll get to it, but I never threatened to move out. We haven’t even begun to have discussions with the (Illinois) Sports (Facilities) Authority, which we’ll have to do soon.”

This might just be business as usual in the tiresome world of pro sports teams, and the billion-dollar valuations that go with them, seeking taxpayer-funded stadium deals. Or it might be something else altogether, something completely unrelated. While the White Sox keep the content of the meeting secret, there’s only speculation to be had, even if there might be dots to connect.

But regardless how long Nashville stays a part of fans’ conversations, the conversation over what happens when the White Sox’ stadium lease expires seems destined to last quite some time.

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