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When Jerry Reinsdorf fired Doug Collins as the Bulls' head coach July 1989, the first thing he didn't do was make the ludicrous assertion that the decision was mutual. It obviously wasn't, just like it was obvious that Rickey Renteria didn't decide not to manage the potential World Series co-favorite White Sox in 2021.
So, Rick Hahn, next time maybe be an adult instead of starting one of the your most important missives to your fan base with an obvious lie. You may have made the three remarkable trades that are the centerpiece of this so far highly successful rebuild, but White Sox fans also remember your nightmarishly bad trading away of then-prospect now-superstar Fernando Tatis, Jr. for way-over-the-hill James Shields.
There was also the giving away of 2019 MVP candidate Marcus Semien, the giving away of 2020 stellar starting pitcher Chris Bassitt (5-2, 2.29 ERA), the refusal to pay the price for a decent third starter what, a month-and-a-half ago and . . . I've made my point, haven't I? You don't have as much goodwill with us as you seem to think - certainly not enough to lie your way through a managerial change for a team on the cusp of greatness.
The most vocal (at least on social media) fans turned against Renteria in the last two seasons. They can turn on you as well, Rick - especially if they conclude they are being played for fools.
The key with the Collins firing was that the Bulls weren't just certain they were in position to quickly hire his successor, but were also in position to hang on to two basketball innovators, Johnny Bach and Tex Winter, as assistants to make up for Phil Jackson's lack of major head coaching experience.
So if the White Sox step right up and hire A.J. Hinch or Alex Cora, the managers of the 2017 Astros world champs and the 2018 Red Sox world champs respectively, the Renteria dismissal makes obvious sense. Hinch and Cora may be cheaters but they have at least paid a debt to baseball (a season-long suspension), and they have shown they know how to bring home the big trophy.
It is impossible to feel the same way about the potential hiring of 76-year-old Tony La Russa, who will have gone a decade without managing a major league team when 2021 arrives. The White Sox will set themselves up as a target of league-wide ridicule if they hire LaRussa.
But Reinsdorf might just insist on it anyway. The White Sox don't have Reinsdorf's son Michael arguing against La Russa like Michael almost certainly argued against keeping Jim Boylen.
When the Bulls hesitated, and hesitated, and hesitated some more before finally firing the obviously overmatched Boylen as their head coach late in the summer, you had the feeling it was Jerry Reinsdorf who was fighting the move.
Part of it was that the owner has never made a habit of firing guys with multiple years left on their contracts (Boylen had two years left). But part of it was that Reinsdorf was not convinced the Boylen had had a fair chance to show what he could do.
Fortunately the change was made and the Bulls lucked into Billy Donovan (I'm not sure if someone with good sources has reported it as such but there is no way the Bulls had any idea Donovan would be available when they launched Boylen). And even as happy as the Bulls are to get Donovan, he never has taken an NBA team to a Finals, let alone a championship.
So Billy just remember, there is no doubt that you are seen as the coach to get the Bulls from A (terrible) to B (not terrible but not a contender for a championship). With a Reinsdorf in charge there are no promises of even getting a chance to be there for B to C.
Just ask Doug Collins. Or Rickey Renteria.
Jim "Coach" Coffman welcomes your comments.
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