If I were Jerry Reinsdorf…
After the recent events that have been covered enough that you know exactly what I am talking about, I started to think about how Jerry Reinsdorf should respond. He denies ever saying the whole finish in 2nd place quote, but nobody really believes that. So I thought, maybe he should just keep quiet and spend a ton this off-season. While I don’t hate that idea, I really don’t think it will change anyone’s mind even if it happens. Therefore I see only one path. Lean into it and be the evil owner.
Look, with a few exceptions, nobody likes the owner. I’m not limiting this to baseball, just think about any company you’ve ever worked at. How often do you hear “sorry, but this is coming from up top”? It’s the universal excuse for giving bad news to employees. Think about Eight Men Out, it’s a movie about players throwing the World Series and the owner is the bad guy in the movie. Think about recent owners: How much do you love the cheap owners in Moneyball? How much do BoSox fans love John Henry out there talking about getting beneath the luxury tax? How much do people love Cleveland’s leadership ushering Lindor out before his contract is even up? Often times, this ire is deserved, so don’t think I’m giving a pass to the owners. But here’s the thing, if you’re gonna be the bad guy anyway, be the best bad guy you can be.
Jerry has never been above fan shaming, so go all in on it. In fact, I would hire extra staff to make sure people from the upper deck can’t come downstairs even when there are 2000 people in the park. Then instruct the broadcast to focus on how empty it is.
I would grow an evil mustache, like Dick Dastardly, and twist it while I talk about why prospects are being held in the minors, why I take every player to arbitration, and how the greedy players and agents are ruining baseball.
I would threaten to move the team again until the basically rent free deal at Sox Park is extended into 2050 and then blast the city for the taxes they put on tickets. But then raise ticket prices.
When I go into the locker room, I’d call everyone “boy”. When I speak to the media, I would always smoke a cigar and blow smoke in their faces. When I meet a fan, I’d shake their hand politely, then immediately use hand sanitizer while they can still see me do it.
I honestly have no idea if Jerry is a great guy or an evil guy, I’ve never met him. My guess is, much like all of us, he’s somewhere in between. But why not be the bad guy? It’d be a lot more interesting than what we’ve got going right now.