White Sox owner Reinsdorf says he doesn't see how shooting could have occurred in ballpark
CHICAGO (AP) — White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf is pushing back on the possibility that a shooting at Guaranteed Rate Field came from a gun inside the ballpark.
Two women were injured in a shooting during the team's 12-4 loss to Oakland last week. Chicago police are investigating what happened, including whether the gun was fired inside or outside of the facility.
Fred Waller, interim superintendent of Chicago Police Department, said Monday that investigators have nearly ruled out the possibility that the shots came from outside the ballpark.
“I spoke with Superintendent Waller last night, and he authorized me to say that regardless of what anybody has said, up 'til now, they have not ruled out that the shots came from outside the ballpark,” Reinsdorf said Thursday in a rare media session in his office at Guaranteed Rate Field.
“They're still investigating. I don't want to get into specific facts while they're investigating,” Reinsdorf continued, “but we've really done a deep dive into this and I don't see any way in the world that the shots could have come from inside the ballpark. But let's let the police continue with their investigation.”
Both wounded women, ages 42 and 26, were expected to recover from the shooting that occurred during the fourth inning. Police said the 42-year-old sustained a gunshot wound to the leg and the 26-year-old had a graze wound to her abdomen. The 26-year-old refused medical attention, according to a police statement.
A Chicago police spokesman said Thursday that the investigation is ongoing, and they had no update at this time.
Major League Baseball has had mandatory metal detection in place since opening day in 2015. Big league clubs had between the 2013 season and 2015 opening day to meet the metal detection screening requirements.
Reinsdorf, 87, spoke with the media ahead of Chris Getz's first press conference as the team's new general manager. The White Sox began this season with playoff aspirations, but they are fourth in the AL Central with a 53-81 record after Wednesday’s 10-5 victory at Baltimore.
“(The) 2023 season was my 43rd season in baseball. It was absolutely the worst season I've ever been through,” Reinsdorf said. “It was a nightmare. It's still a nightmare. It's embarrassing. It's disgusting. All the bad words you could think of is the way I feel about the 2023 season.”
Reinsdorf said it has been so bad that he's had trouble watching the games. Asked if he thought this year about selling the team, he responded carefully.
“I’m going to couch this so nobody writes that I thought of selling,” he said with a chuckle. “Friends of mine have said why don’t you sell, why don’t you get out? And my answer always has been, ‘I like what I’m doing, as bad as it is, and what else would I do?’ I’m a boring guy. I don’t play golf. I don’t play bridge. What else would I do? And I want to make it better, I want to make it better before I go."
Reinsdorf addressed the situation with the franchise and its lease with the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority for its use of Guaranteed Rate Field. The lease runs through the 2029 season, and the team could begin to take a closer look at a new home.
“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?” Reinsdorf said. “We’ll get to it, but I never threatened to move out. We haven’t even begun to have discussions with the Sports Authority, which we’ll have to do soon.”
Reinsdorf also defended his decision to hire Tony La Russa for a second stint as manager prior to the 2021 season. The Hall of Famer guided the White Sox to the AL Central championship that year, only to miss the playoffs last season with an 81-81 record.
La Russa missed the final 34 games because of health problems and announced he would not return, ending a disappointing two-year run with the franchise that gave him his first job as a big league skipper. He is now in an advisory role with the ballclub.
“I am so sick and tired of reading that bringing Tony La Russa back was a mistake,” Reinsdorf said. “Tony La Russa came back in 2021, does anybody know what we did in 2021? Does anybody remember we won 93 games, we won the division by 13 games? Was that a mistake to bring Tony La Russa back? Last year he was sick. The man had a heart problem, he had cancer. You didn’t see the Tony La Russa last year that we saw before that.”
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