White Sox

Garfien: Preview of Inside Look with Jerry Reinsdorf

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Garfien: Preview of Inside Look with Jerry Reinsdorf

In a city that has won only 24 professional championships since 1900, Jerry Reinsdorf is the proud owner of seven of them. He might even call it a Lucky 7.

Theres been luck at everything Ive ever done, Reinsdorf admits. Ive had a tremendous amount of good luck, a little bad luck along the way, but the good luck so outweighs it.

Like in 1985, when Reinsdorf and a group of investors bought the Chicago Bulls, who had a young, up-and-coming 22-year-old guard by the name of Michael Jordan. How much did they pay for the franchise?

16 million.

For some perspective, thats 5.1 million less than what Rashard Lewis is making himself this season with the Washington Wizards. Hes averaging 7.8 points a game.

At the time we made the deal, no one knew what Michael Jordan was going to be, Reinsdorf says. And I dont think they would have sold the team if they had known what he was going to be, so clearly I was lucky.

Reinsdorf shared these personal thoughts in a rare extended interview about his career for Inside Look: Jerry Reinsdorf which premieres Wednesday night on CSN at 7pm. The Bulls and White Sox Chairman prefers to stay more in the background, far away from any lights or microphones. In fact, when I asked him if he could talk to the Jerry Reinsdorf who first bought the White Sox in 1981 and tell him one thing, he replied, I would tell him dont be very accessible to the media.

But with cameras rolling inside his office at U.S. Cellular Field, Reinsdorf opened up about his time as owner of both Chicago teams, speaking about such topics as the 1994 baseball strike, where Reinsdorf was portrayed as one of the most hawkish owners behind it. Looking back, if the strike had been averted, I have to believe the game would have been better off, he said. Reinsdorf talks about the first time he met Jordan, how he flippantly predicted that the Bulls would win the NBA lottery and draft Derrick Rose despite having a 1.7 percent chance, and he reveals his all-time best White Sox team. Its not 2005.

We also had one of the games all-time greatest hitters make a surprise visit right in the middle of the interview.

Theres so much great content, we couldnt cram it all into a 30-minute show. So heres what you wont see Wednesday, but what you can read about today.

On not re-signing Mark Buehrle:

Mark Buehrle was a pillar of this franchise. He was a cornerstone, he was here for a long time. He came out of nowhere. He was a 38th round draft choice. He did everything we ever asked for him. He caught all the first pitches, he threw a perfect game, a no-hitter. Anytime you needed him to go to a school or a hospital, or whatever, Mark Buehrle was always there. But the fact is at his age, it didnt make sense for us to do what the Marlins were prepared to do for him. So he went, certainly with my blessing. I spoke to him and said, You gotta take it. You gotta take this deal. And Mark said, Ill be back in 4 years.
What he was doing the night the Bulls won the NBA lottery in 2008, giving them the number-one pick to draft Derrick Rose:

I was at a White Sox game that night, so we had the lottery on TV. We should have been ninth. They started making the picks. I was nervous that we were going to drop. So they start at 13, 12, 11, 10...now we're supposed to pop up. We don't pop up. Oh my God we're in the top 3 because that's where you go. Then we had to sweat it out as they went down, and then of course they get to the top 3 and they go to a few commercials, so we have to sweat that out. So number 3 comes up and its not us. At that point I know we're going to get what we think is a great player because its either going to be Derrick Rose or Michael Beasley. Then of course, the rest is history. We get number one, and we take Derrick. We wanted to bring Derrick along slowly, but Derrick didn't let us bring him along slowly. He was ready from the get-go.

How the Bulls were able to trade for Scottie Pippen on draft day in 1987:

I had heard of him, because all year long former Bulls GM Jerry Krause kept saying to me, Scottie Pippen, Central Arkansas. I don't think anybody has seen him. We got to get this guy. This is the guy we got to have. And then Scottie went to one of the pre-draft camps I think in Norfolk, and everyone saw what there was. And then Jerry came to me in a panic and says, I dont know what to do now. Hes been discovered. He says weve got to trade up, we've got to somehow trade up to get this guy, and Jerry pulled it off. We got Scottie. So in that case, we knew what we were getting.

After last season's personal tragedy, Tim Anderson ready to unleash real self

After last season's personal tragedy, Tim Anderson ready to unleash real self

GLENDALE, AZ --  There’s a different Tim Anderson at White Sox spring training this year.

You can see it on his face  You can hear it in his voice.

“I’m busting out of the shell. I’m talking more,” he said as he sat down for an interview with NBC Sports Chicago (in the video above).

It’s not the new Tim Anderson. It turns out, it’s the real one that’s been there all along.

“This is me. It’s always been me. I never knew how to express myself. I feel like I’m being a lot more open,” Anderson explained. “That’s what I want to give to fans. Let them know the real me. You’re cheering for me. Why not know me? I’m being open and kind of let fans into my life.”

The White Sox shortstop has learned a lot about life in the past year. It all started in May when the White Sox were in Baltimore to play the Orioles. Anderson received a phone call at 4 a.m. It was news from back home.

It was the worst phone call of his life.

His best friend Branden Moss had been murdered in the parking lot of a Tuscaloosa, Ala., bar after helping the victim of a fight.  

The two were like brothers. Anderson is the godfather to Moss’s young daughter. Moss was the godfather to Anderson’s 2-year-old daughter.

“It was heartbreaking,” Anderson said.

While Anderson grieved, playing baseball seemed like it would be a perfect escape for his pain. Only it wasn’t. Far from it.  Baseball might have made things even worse.

In fast-paced sports like football and hockey, players don’t have much time to think. It’s react, react, react. Whatever might be happening off the field feels like a million miles away.

Not in baseball.

The game moves at a much slower speed. There’s plenty of time for your mind to wander. Thoughts kept going back to Anderson’s lost friend, taken from him in an instant.

At 23, he didn’t have the tools to deal with the emotional pain and excel at baseball at the same time.

“The year was rough. I wasn’t having fun in between the lines. I was making the game harder than it was. I was thinking too much. I was feeling sorry for myself and the list can go on. When my friend died it definitely took a lot out of me. I had a dark moment,” Anderson said. “Some days I didn’t feel comfortable coming to the ballpark because I knew it was going to be a bad day.”

Making matters worse, there were many nights when Anderson didn’t sleep. Not a wink. Still, he dragged himself to the ballpark and somehow tried to play.

The results weren’t pretty. On June 22, Anderson already had 16 errors at shortstop, most in the majors. At the plate, he was hitting .256/.284/.374 with six home runs and 19 RBIs.

He knew he was better than that. He also knew something else: He needed help.

In July, Anderson started meeting with a therapist who was able to unlock the pent up thoughts and emotions that he was burying inside him.

The therapist would write down everything that Anderson was feeling on paper and then read it back to him.

“Just going in and talking and pouring everything out of you. It lets you hear what you’ve been going through,“ Anderson said. “When she did it, it was a lot. I took what she read to me, balled it up and threw it away. I got lighter. It was a brightening. Those counseling sessions definitely helped me.”

Soon, Anderson was back to being himself both on and off the field.

In the month of August, he had 8 doubles, 5 home runs and 16 RBI.

“Woof. I was hot,” he said after hearing those stats. “That’s Tim. That’s more Tim that we need to see.”

In September, he batted .327 with 3 home runs and 9 stolen bases.

“We need a lot of that this year. That’s the way I want to go. That’s the way I want to go about it. Get back to what got me here.”

There was still an issue with his plate discipline. He had 32 strikeouts and only 1 walk in September.

“We play a tough sport as it is. They’re going to come,” Anderson said about the walks. “I mean, when I walk more, what are you going to tell me? ‘Start swinging more?’ It’s one of those things. It’s a give and take. We’ll see what happens.”

In 2017, Anderson received a crash course in adversity. What did he learn from all that pain and misery?

“Tough times happen, but they don’t last forever.”

Now that he’s survived the personal storm from last season, he wants “another shot at it. I feel like last year went left. This is new season.”

So, what does he envision for himself in 2018?

“Having fun, smiling a lot, picking up my teammates, hugging on the coaches and players. A lot of love, more so than stats,” Anderson said. “I’m fired up. I’m excited. I feel like I’m ready to lead this pack. We got a great group of guys. We’ve got a chance to do something special.”

Injuries affecting Fire's preseason with season three weeks away

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USA TODAY

Injuries affecting Fire's preseason with season three weeks away

It may be a good thing that the Fire’s originally scheduled season opener March 3 at Colorado got moved back.

The Fire’s preseason has been riddled with injuries to key players and the extra week may end up being needed to get the team ready for the season. Four players (not counting the already known long-term injuries to Michael de Leeuw and Djordje Mihailovic) sat out Saturday’s game against Florida Gulf Coast University due to injury: Daniel Johnson (a right ankle injury suffered in a game against Philadelphia on Feb. 8), Grant Lillard (left knee), Matt Polster (left knee) and Luis Solignac (left hip).

Polster’s injury is especially notable because he has had recurring left knee problems since first suffering a sprain in the 2016 season finale at Toronto. Polster missed the first nine games of 2017 due to the injury and missed three more in August due to a related injury.

The 24-year-old, who is now the longest tenured player on the team and the only player remaining from before general manager Nelson Rodriguez’s tenure began at the end of the 2015 season, arrived with the Fire after playing with the U.S. national team in January. He played all 90 minutes on Jan. 28 against Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Bastian Schweinsteiger still hasn’t played in the preseason and the team hasn’t listed him as injured.

All the absences, combined with rest for some of the team’s regulars, resulted in a starting lineup against Florida Gulf Coast that featured two players who have appeared in an official match with the Fire. Three trialists and four draft picks started.

Four of the Fire’s seven scheduled preseason matches are in the books. The Fire lost 2-1 to Montreal on Feb. 14. One of the bright spots was a rare set piece goal after the Fire trailed the Impact 2-0. Dax McCarty headed in a free kick from Diego Campos. Campos has been dangerous on set pieces, hitting the post with a free kick and assisting a goal from a corner kick in Saturday’s 2-0 win against Florida Gulf Coast.

Next up is a match against USL expansion team Nashville SC on Feb. 21. Next Saturday the Fire play at Orlando to finish up play in Florida.

The Fire close out the preseason March 3 against the team’s USL affiliate, Tulsa, at Toyota Park before the season opener on March 10.