Chris Sale, last seen cutting up White Sox throwbacks with scissors in the clubhouse, broke his silence today, and the pitcher does not appear happy with Robin Ventura. In an interview with MLB.com’s Scott Merkin, Sale laid out the entire timeline of events that led to him defacing the jerseys, talked about not wanting to get traded, and opened up about his frustrations with White Sox higher-ups.
Sale and the White Sox were fitted for the throwback uniforms in Spring Training, and he informed management then that he didn’t want to pitch on a throwback night, since he didn’t want to play in an untucked jersey. He preferred to play in a different throwback, one with a tucked-in shirt, and so he took his case to pitching coach Don Cooper and Ventura. That’s when things got heated.
The core of his beef is that the White Sox, in his eyes, prioritized the added business of throwback night over the winning and losing of baseball games, and their apparent disinterest in listening to his concerns represented a betrayal of sorts.
“When I saw that there was something in the way of that 100 percent winning mentality, I had an issue,” Sale said. “I tried to bring it up and say, ‘Hey listen, these are my thoughts and concerns,’ and they got pushed away because of the business deal that was set in place. I’ll never understand why we need to do something on the business side on the field that might impede us winning a game.
“Robin is the one who has to fight for us in that department,” Sale said. “If the players don’t feel comfortable 100 percent about what we are doing to win the game, and we have an easy fix — it was as easy as hanging up another jersey and everyone was fine. For them to put business first over winning, that’s when I lost it.”
Ventura denied that he impeded the White Sox’s chances of winning, then explained his deferring to management thusly:
“I didn’t put promotion in front of winning,” Ventura said. “But I think we all have things that we have to do. There has to be a line somewhere, and that’s what ended up happening.”
That equivocation sounds a lot like Ventura admitting that sometimes he has to do what his bosses tell him, even if it compromises his team’s chance to win.
Either way, Sale sounds like someone who would cut up a bunch of throwback jerseys all over again, if he had the chance:
“Do I regret standing up for what I believe in? Absolutely not. Do I regret saying business should not be first before winning? Absolutely not.”