Imrem: White Sox now stuck in Cubs' shadow

  • These are not the best of times for manager Robin Ventura and the White Sox.

    These are not the best of times for manager Robin Ventura and the White Sox. Associated Press

Updated 6/23/2015 8:29 PM

Contrary to common perception, the White Sox must have a compelling plan for the future.

Otherwise, why did three 50,000-watt stations bid for the Sox' radio rights starting in 2016?


A report Tuesday said that WLS 890-AM won out over current carrier WSCR 670-AM and former Cubs carrier WGN 720-AM.

Could it be that the Sox knocked WLS' socks off with a strategy to become relevant again in town?

For a long time the best claim the Sox could make was that they put a better team on the field than the Cubs did.

That didn't create better attendance or better media ratings than the Cubs had, but it at least made the Sox look respectable.

Now the fear on the South Side has to be that the resurgent Cubs -- professional in every way, for a change -- soon will bury the Sox.

The Sox missed out on a tremendous opportunity the past few years, when the Cubs were rebuilding by first breaking themselves down to the bone.

The Cubs were an unwatchable product waiting to be overtaken … but the Sox were equally unwatchable.

Now this season the Cubs are contending for a playoff berth while the Sox are one of the most disappointing teams in the major leagues.

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One theory, never substantiated, was that the Sox spent a lot of money on veterans last winter because they knew they better start competing with the improving Cubs as much as within their own division.

The result is that the Sox are in last place in the American League Central. It appears that all they can do now is sell off players at the trade deadline and try another rebuild next off-season with younger players.

Except, the Sox have a low-rated farm system not likely to contribute enough impact position players anytime soon.

Meanwhile, if the Sox haven't fired manager Robin Ventura during this underachieving first half, he might be in the job well into the 22nd century.

So that's what the Sox are looking at: the same manager in Ventura, the same executive vice president in Kenny Williams, the same general manager in Rick Hahn, the same stale broadcast teams and, most of all, the same club chairman in Jerry Reinsdorf.


At the same time, the Cubs have a dynamic management team in chairman Tom Ricketts, president of baseball operations Theo Epstein, general manager Jed Hoyer and manager Joe Maddon.

No longer are the Cubs the team in town that seems willing to simply open the doors to Wrigley Field and invite fans to come in to gawk at the Friendly Confines.

Today the Cubs are trying to win with appealing young players and a personable manager who will provide the media with great quotes.

The Sox have to do something to get back into the ballgame in Chicago.

A good start would be to do what former owner Bill Veeck did one year: declare a certain date, perhaps the first home game after the all-star break, as another Opening Day with corresponding festivities.

From there the White Sox could take tips from the creative minor-league Bakersfield Condors hockey team, which had a funeral-plot giveaway promotion, though that might hit a little to close to home for the Sox.

The Condors also had a "Seinfeld" night, complete with puffy shirts, a Kramer impersonator and fans shooting marble ryes at the goal.

That could be the compelling promotional plan that the Sox sold to WLS.

Along with, you know, the promise of making it back to .500 sometime this decade.

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