Monday, May 20, 2024

Multiple Players Listed As Reason For White Sox Bad Locker Room Culture


On Sunday night former relief pitcher Keynan Middleton peeled back the curtain on the Chicago White Sox locker room culture in an ESPN article where he pulled no punches. Middleton said there were no rules, rookies were sleeping in the bullpen, players were missing meetings and the clubhouse lacked leadership and accountability. 

During a guest appearance on ESPN 1000’s Kap & J. Hood show, Jesse Rodgers, the author of the article, elaborated on some of the culprits behind the White Sox poor locker room culture. 

“Grandal is no friend of the pitchers. Moncada is no hard worker who is there for his team or his teammates. It’s the guys you know. Eloy is kind of happy-go-lucky but really isn’t the hard worker at least according to people that I talk to,” Rodgers said. 

He also added that Middleton isn’t the first player to tell him about what is going on inside the White Sox clubhouse. Other current and former players have provided similar accounts. 

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A White Sox minor league player called into the Kap & J.Hood show and said that Gregory Santos was the one who was falling asleep in the bullpen. Jake Burger also said after his first game with the Marlins that it was “the most fun I’ve had on a baseball field in a really long time.” 

He also made a comment about the Marlins that seemed like a veiled shot at the White Sox. 

“Kept fighting back, kept fighting back. I actually had that thought on the field today. I’m like, hey, this is what this culture is like here. We’re never out of it. Doesn’t matter what the score is. We’re just gonna keep battling.”

Miami is not known for being a well run organization. You never hear any former players talking about how great the Marlins locker room culture is, which speaks volumes as to just how bad the White Sox clubhouse was. 

Many of these issues were supposed to be solved by Pedro Grifol, who was hired by the White Sox because of his reputation for being a good communicator with players. But talk is cheap if there are no consequences and so far no players have been held accountable.

But anybody who has watched this team over the past several years should not be surprised. The toxic clubhouse rumors date back to Tony La Russa. 

On July 10th, 2022, Bob Nightengale released his weekly column about the MLB and dropped an intriguing nugget regarding the White Sox locker room chemistry. 

”No one has been more disappointing than the Chicago White Sox, who must take a good hard look at what went wrong if they miss the playoffs,” Nightingale wrote. “There have been a lot of whispers of unrest, cliques, and the lack of player leadership inside the clubhouse tearing apart this talented team.” 

This matches Middleton’s sentiments about the current team. 

​​”Leadership in general. They say shit rolls downhill. I feel like some guys don’t want to speak up when they should have,” Middleton explained in a recent ESPN article. “ It’s hard to police people when there are no rules. If guys are doing things that you think are wrong, who is it wrong to? You or them? It’s anyone’s judgment at that point.”

Some of the issues stem all the way back to 2020. Following a 5-1 loss to the Detroit Tigers in 2020, Dallas Keuchel called out the team’s effort to the media. 

“It just seemed like we were taking a night off. We can’t afford that with a young core that we have here,” Keuchel said after the game. “We’ve got to show up every day, and even if there are no fans, we’ve got to make sure that we are ready to go. And if we’re not ready to go, we’ve got to fake it until we make it.” 

Following manager, Rick Renteria’s firing Ken Rosenthal also reported that some White Sox veterans felt that Renteria needed to hold players more accountable. Grandal, Jimenez, and Moncada were all a part of that team, which would fit the trend that Rodgers reported earlier today. It also vindicates Lance Lynn yelling at Moncada earlier in the year.

Regardless of the manager, accountability has been an issue. These issues stem from the top down. It’s clear the White Sox need to tear this thing down to the studs and start over.


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Smoky Burgess
Smoky Burgess
Aug 8, 2023 12:44 pm

”Rules” maybe? But a clear mission statement can cover the problem better for the Sox. Example: “The mission of the Chicago White Sox is to win the game they are playing and when that game is over to look to the next game and win it.” So if a player or coach or GM or popcorn vendor is impending the mission statement they need to be immediately dealt with. This is how great Corporations thrive and not so great ones (Bud Lite) get into trouble. Everyone must be trying to win that game.

Aug 8, 2023 7:04 am

First and foremost, he White Sox have no franchise identity identifies with and represents the blue collar, hard working fan base. Chicago fans have dealt with poor talent, but if a player hustles and works to get everything out of his skill set…we love the guy! To be clear, a major league clubhouse is historically run by veteran leadership. They’re supposed to know what it takes to stay in the big leagues and mentor their teammates. The organization’s culture is established by the front office and trickles down to the field manager. The manager dictates what that culture should represent… Read more »

Aug 7, 2023 6:45 pm

Losing begets losers. Losers beget losing. Losers hired as their manager a guy from a losing organization with a losing culture because they could get him on the cheap. Now Grifol is teaching this team what he knows – how to lose. None of this should come as a surprise. We heard earlier this year that guys don’t want to be here. That’s on the manager. Apparently, Grifol is clueless to his team’s attitude, or doesn’t care, or is incapable of doing anything about it. Unfortunately, under-performing seems to be what the Sux excel at, so Grifol will probably be… Read more »

Southside Mike
Southside Mike
Aug 7, 2023 12:20 pm

The fact that a guy like Grifol was hired by Hahn shows how clueless Hahn is about the complacency and crappy culture surrounding this team. You needed to hire a guy that has been in charge before not a rookie. What a blunder, but that’s our Three Stooges for you. Maybe the national spotlight on this horribly run team will finally make something happen. What an embarrassment to the city and the fanbase.

Aug 7, 2023 12:00 pm

What a sad state of affairs…..
This team seemed poised to be a playoff contender for the next decade with all that young talent and veteran leadership.
Plenty of blame to go around…

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