Jerry Reinsdorf doesn’t want to talk about the Sox, but he’s happy to praise his pal Rocky Wirtz

The White Sox and Bulls owner says there were cross words between him and Wirtz just once: “I wanted to call the United Center restaurant ‘Rocky’s Place,’ and he refused.”

SHARE Jerry Reinsdorf doesn’t want to talk about the Sox, but he’s happy to praise his pal Rocky Wirtz
Jerry Reinsdorf.

Jerry Reinsdorf.

Lynne Sladky / AP

The man.

Chicago sports legend Jerry Michael Reinsdorf.

A complicated, brilliant, sometimes-gruff guy who owns the Bulls and the White Sox, Jerry Reinsdorf, 87, has been infuriatingly mum about the future of the sagging Sox, stuck in a two-year slump.

Reinsdorf’s silence has ignited fuming fans and flummoxed sport reporters.

A few days ago, Chicago Sun Times columnist Rick Morrissey wrote about Reinsdorf’s “say-nothing response to turmoil” regarding the White Sox and cited a private memorial service Tuesday for the late Blackhawks owner Rocky Wirtz, who brought the Hawks back to life despite a decision by Bill Wirtz, his father, to sit “on them for so long.”

On Tuesday, Reinsdorf eulogized Wirtz, his United Center business partner, at the church memorial for friends and family. Wirtz, who died after a sudden illness, had pivoted the Blackhawks’ puny puck into Stanley Cup-winning luck after the death of his father.

Reinsdorf had told the church audience “Rocky and I were in lockstep….never allowing a third party to come between us,” then abruptly ending his eulogy when he choked up.

Sneed called Reinsdorf to talk about Rocky, but also, of course: “WHAT ABOUT THE WHITE SOX!!!!?

Reinsdorf: “Nope. Not going there now.”

So we chatted away about Rocky — a mix of personal thoughts and eulogy notes, a 50-year friendship between families, a 30-year close friend and business partner.

Reinsdorf: “I never knew Rocky to be in a bad mood…with only one exception. That’s when Rahm [Emanuel, the former mayor now U.S. ambassador to Japan] raised the city’s amusement tax. Rocky was not happy. That’s probably why Rahm is now in Japan,” Reinsdorf quipped.

“I really feel sorry for all of us to be denied the enjoyment of Rocky’s company,” he said. “There never was a cross word between us….with one exception. I wanted to call the United Center restaurant ‘Rocky’s Place,’ and he refused.”

Then, Reinsdorf got personal.

“Rocky and I shared a common love for dogs. He had his beagles, and I’ve had six poodles: Sammy and Sophie and George and Gracie and Zooey and……Rocky really was a wonderful and special guy.

“Look, I don’t know if there is an afterlife…It’s either all over, or it isn’t. But, if there is, then Rocky is in a good place with all his friends.”

“So, Jerry,” Sneed asked again: “WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR THE WHITE SOX?”

Reinsdorf chuckled…. no dice.

(It’s all yours, Morrissey!)

Sneed’s bet: When the baseball season is finally over, Reinsdorf, a man of few words who is known for talking to lots of people before he makes a decision, will have a lot to say.

Count on it. And let’s play ball!

It’s on the WALL!

Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas had a special reason for shelling out $10 for a huge, multicolored painting of renowned physicist Albert Einstein at the Edgewater Yard Sale.

A painting of Albert Einstein by artist Brad Fitzgerald overlooks a think tank lounge in Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas’ offices. 

A painting of Albert Einstein by artist Brad Fitzgerald overlooks a think tank lounge in Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas’ offices.

Provided photo by Ted Slowik of the Cook County Treasurer’s Office.

“We hung it on the wall of our new AI think tank to inspire our researchers who are performing cutting-edge automation technology,” Pappas said. “We are batting around ideas to improve a system which tends to punish poor people who have trouble paying their taxes.

“Einstein encouraged people to be curious, creative and imaginative. I hire people like that.”

Sneedlings

A huge shout-out and hug to retiring columnist Mark Brown, a much-loved member of the Sun-Times family…Former Mayor Richard M. Daley was mobbed by well-wishers as he exited the family memorial for Rocky Wirtz at Fourth Presbyterian Church.

Saturday birthdays: rapper Sir Mix-A-Lot, 60, actor Yvette Nicole Brown, 52. actor Lakeith Stanfield, 32, and actor Cara Delevingne, 31. Sunday birthdays: actor/DJ Danny Bonaduce, 64, actor Dawnn Lewis, 62, actor John Slattery, 61, actor Kathryn Fiore, 44, actor Sebastian Stan, 41, and actor Eme Ikwuakor, 39. And belated happy birthdays to Rita Binzen, 70, and her husband Rich Binzen.

The Latest
From Garrett Crochet to Jake Eder, Bannister is watching a dominant development with the lefties in the organization.
Could the Sky’s starting lineup see a change Sunday against the Fever? Either way, Chennedy Carter will be a huge factor in their rematch with the Fever.
It might be prudent for the Sox to start monitoring Crochet’s innings, even with the dominance he has shown.
In addition to 10 pitmasters vying for rib supremacy, among the featured attractions new this year at the 24th annual rib extravaganza is a bigger kids area and a whiskey tasting.