Bulls/White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf has a unique bit of experience under his belt: he’s overseen the construction of a publicly-financed stadium (New Comiskey Park/US Cellular Field) and a privately-financed arena (United Center). He once played the I’ll-move-the-team-to-Tampa card with the White Sox and turned it into the birth of the new era of ballparks. He also has a reputation as a shrewd negotiator and plain talker. So I suppose it was not all that surprising that, when Susan Slusser and John Shea caught up with Reinsdorf at the Winter Meetings this week, he had a few choice words about the A’s situation.
Major-league owners can vote to overturn territorial rights, and recent signs point to a potential vote on the issue at the owners’ January meetings. The A’s will have at least one prominent backer in White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf, a longtime friend of A’s owner Lew Wolff.
“I’m totally supportive of Lew getting a new ballpark and going to San Jose,” Reinsdorf said. “He needs to be there. It has to come to a head soon.
“Certainly, (the Coliseum is) past its time. In my opinion, Oakland’s past its time, too. Oakland’s had plenty of opportunity to build a stadium and hasn’t gotten it done.”
Within MLB, it’s been well known that Reinsdorf backs his buddy Lew Wolff, along with Commissioner Bud Selig. As a 30-year tenured owner and a member of MLB’s Executive Committee, he’s been known to have nearly as much sway as Selig. When it comes to rallying votes and gaining consensus, Selig and Reinsdorf should be able to pass just about anything, including a resolution to the A’s-Giants territorial rights battle. Will that actually happen? It sure looks that way, based on how Billy Beane’s practically gushing about it.
As for Reinsdorf’s quip about Oakland, that was just mean and unnecessary. Then again, this is the man who sided with Jerry Krause over Michael Jordan.