On Saturday, White Sox ace Chris Sale did something no one in baseball history had ever done.
Unfortunately, it happened off the field: He was displeased that the White Sox were going to wear throwback jerseys from 1976, so he reportedly cut them up. That earned him a five-game suspension.
Scott Merkin of MLB.com caught up with Sale on Monday to get his side of the story. Sale said that he didn’t like those particular throwbacks because of how they affected his performance, and told pitching coach Don Cooper as much on Friday night.
Yet when he arrived to the clubhouse on Saturday, the ’76 jerseys were in the players’ stalls. Sale then talked with manager Robin Ventura and Cooper. Sale was not happy with the response, so he took matters into his own hands — literally.
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“Robin is the one who has to fight for us in that department,” Sale told MLB.com. “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.”
Sale said his goal has always been to win a World Series title, and that’s why he was was displeased.
“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,” Sale told MLB.com. “I’ll never understand why we need to do something on the business side on the field that might impede us winning a game.
“(The ’76 uniforms) are uncomfortable and unorthodox. I didn’t want to go out there and not be at the top of my game in every aspect that I need to be in. Not only that, but I didn’t want anything to alter my mechanics. ... There’s a lot of different things that went into it. Looking bad had absolutely zero to do with it. Nothing.”
Ventura denied that he didn’t put winning first.
“I didn’t put promotion in front of winning,” Ventura told MLB.com. “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.”