(CBS) There has been a fair share of antagonism on the field between the Cubs and White Sox through the years, most notably in 2006 when Michael Barrett punched A.J. Pierzynski.
But never in the past several decades has there been any issues on the business side between the teams, Cubs president of business operations Crane Kenney said Monday. And he credits that in large part to White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf.
“Off the field, Jerry and we have been partners since ’99 (with Fox Sports Chicago) and actually for me going back even further because WGN carried the White Sox, so Jerry’s been a great friend and mentor to be honest for 20-some years to me,” Kenney said in an interview with Matt Spiegel and Danny Parkins on 670 The Score. “And we’ve done a lot of interesting things together, including two regional sports networks, so Jerry and I both sit on the board together. We meet often. We have a lot of phone calls in between. And there’s never been any business animosity between the organizations. (Chief marketing officer Brooks Boyer) went to Notre Dame with me. We’ve got a lot of great connections, and really, off the field, we get along incredibly well and see opportunities to do things like the Crosstown Cup and anything that promotes baseball in general in our market, we’re in favor of.”
The two teams recently pulled off a blockbuster trade on the baseball operations side, with left-hander Jose Quintana heading to the Cubs as they’re in win-now mode and four prospects, including heralded outfielder Eloy Jimenez, heading back to the White Sox. The 81-year-old Reinsdorf gave his blessing for the White Sox to rebuild from the ground up starting last December, and his patience will be tested in the coming years as it relates to winning games.
“Going back even before we won, Jerry (and I), at the owners’ meetings, we’ve had a lot of time together,” Kenney said. “We talk about the perceived animosity between White Sox and Cubs fans, and there never was any with Jerry. Listen, he doesn’t love it when we’re winning and he’s not. But I think if both teams can win, he’d be in favor of it, especially looking at the ratings on the network, another important asset for both organizations. So never had any animosity toward the Cubs from Jerry’s office.”
Listen to Kenney’s full interview below.