Would White Sox fans be upset if Jerry Reinsdorf moved the team out of town? Hmmmm.

The bad baseball and the shootings in the ballpark might have brought people to their breaking point.

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White Sox Jerry Reinsdorf at a 2021 game against Detroit.

The White Sox and owner Jerry Reinsdorf have been going through a chaotic season.

Associated Press

At this particular moment, with the White Sox hopelessly floundering and the search for the Guaranteed Rate Field shooter ongoing, I wonder how many people would be broken up if the team went away. Moved, relocated, vamoosed.

Granted, the question is being raised at a time when the people who follow the club are at low ebb. The Sox are terrible at baseball, which is considered a very bad thing in their line of work, and they’re still dealing with a shooting incident in the left-field bleachers that would be bad enough on its own merits. Throw in the poor decision-making and the seeming befuddlement of officials, and you can see how the accumulated frustration of the paying customers might reach a breaking point.

How much can one group of fans be expected to absorb without losing that loving feeling?

My sense is that there are two groups of White Sox fans: Those who know they’re in a bad relationship and those who think that being abused is normal. Both could find it liberating to be team-less and Jerry-less.

According to a recent Crain’s Chicago Business report, Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf is considering moving the team. It sounds like a classic Reinsdorf negotiating ploy to get a more-favorable lease when the current one runs out in six years. Implicit in the strategy is the idea that city and state authorities would have a fan uprising on their hands if Reinsdorf took his bat and ball and moved to Nashville or some other city.

Would there be an uprising?

At this point, it’s more likely there would be a celebration that Reinsdorf is out of their hair, the remaining hair that hasn’t been pulled out. Out of misplaced loyalty to his underlings, the chairman allowed a once-promising rebuild to fall apart in spectacular fashion. It’s been one misstep after another for this man and this franchise.

The shooting speaks to an organization that couldn’t be bothered. Couldn’t be bothered to have rigorous security measures in place that would stop a gun from getting inside the ballpark. Couldn’t be bothered to stop the Friday game against the Athletics after two women were shot in the fourth inning. If I were a Sox fan, I might come to the conclusion that the franchise cares less about my physical safety and more about my ability to continue buying hot dogs in the later innings of a meaningless game.

Chicago police said they asked the Sox to stop the game in the aftermath of the shooting to do a proper investigation, but the game went on anyway. It’s unclear how the decision to play on was made. Given the choice between a possible active shooter and a panicked crowd, I’d go with panic. School shootings have taught us the importance of making everyone aware of the danger as soon as possible.

The combination of ineptitude and indifference toward the fans here is quite something.

Maybe it really is time for a breakup.

I’m not suggesting that Sox fans would, upon being orphaned, switch their allegiance to the Cubs. For some, that would be like taking up with the enemy. But many, many people live happy lives being single. Scrapbooking: not a bad option.

One of the questions involved here is why Reinsdorf, at 87, would care about the next lease at Guaranteed Rate Field. He cares because that, and not baseball, is the game to him. What kind of deal he gets is how he keeps score.

If you don’t think Reinsdorf would move the team out of spite, you haven’t been paying attention. He’s taken more abuse in the last 10 years over his stewardship of the Sox and the Bulls than he did in all the years before. The hiring of Tony La Russa as manager and the slooooooooow response to the failed rebuild are just two of his major sins in the eyes of the Sox fan base. The franchise won the World Series in 2005. It feels like 50 years ago.

You can almost see the thought bubble above Reinsdorf’s head: After all I’ve done for you, this is how you treat me?

He’s been the Sox owner since 1981, for better or worse. It’s been worse for quite some time. He surely doesn’t see it that way, but the fact that many do see it that way might lead him to move the team rather than sell it. Just as a final one-finger salute.

He’s the burden that Sox fans have had to bear. Would they feel better if that burden moved south?

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