'Myth' buster: Reinsdorf says he always backed Sox's needed rebuild
During the 2016 season, the White Sox finally tired of being "mired in mediocrity," as general manager Rick Hahn aptly phrased it.
Chris Sale was the first big name to be traded, launching a rebuild that resulted in 95 losses the following year and 100 in 2018.
Through that dark period, the Sox were confident brighter seasons lay ahead.
They made the playoffs last year and are headed back to baseball's big stage again after beating the Indians in Game 1 Thursday to clinch first place in the AL Central.
Since deciding to blow up the roster and start over, White Sox sources have repeatedly said Jerry Reinsdorf was against a rebuild.
Not true, the chairman said after the Sox wrapped up a playoff spot at Progressive Field in Cleveland.
"There's a myth they had to talk me into it," Reinsdorf told a pool reporter Thursday. "I wanted to do it just as much as they wanted to do it. It was an easy decision because we didn't make that decision we were going to be caught in mediocrity and that's no fun.
"Going through it, it was painful watching the team lose individual games, but I always knew we had a plan and we were working our plan and ultimately the plan was going to work."
Getting to the playoffs last year following a 12-year drought was part of the plan, but sustaining the success and winning the World Series were much more important.
"Jerry and I were just talking about when we first started this rebuild, put the plans in place for the rebuild five years ago," Hahn said. "One of the things he mentioned -- and quite frankly lamented -- was the fact that this club has never gone on an extended run of success and that if we were going to do this, if we were going to go down to the brass tacks and rebuild this organization, it had to be with the end goal of putting ourselves in a position to go on a run and win multiple championships."
The Sox lost Game 2 to the Indians Thursday, 5-3.
That didn't dampen a postgame celebration, which had to be delayed after the White Sox won Game 1 to clinch a playoff spot.
"They're going to have a fine time and they deserve it," manager Tony La Russa said after doubleheader ended. "They're going to celebrate, trust me. They're waiting for it and it's well deserved."
Michael Kopech made a spot start in Game 2 and was impressive. While throwing 27 pitches, the right-hander was perfect over 2 innings while striking out four.
"Wish he could have pitched longer," La Russa said. "That's him right there. He was so sharp, everything was working. We want to get him multiple innings between now and the end of the season. He was outstanding."
Andrew Vaughn came off the injured list and played third base in the loss.
Out since Sept. 14 with lower back inflammation, Vaughn grounded out in his first two at-bats. His 2-run single the third time up have the Sox a 2-1 lead in the sixth inning.
"The first couple of at-bats looked like he was away for a while but then the last couple he was on time with everything," La Russa said. "Had a great at-bat. Got the base hit and the defensive plays he made, you have to admire him. He's strong minded. He's a real gamer."