For roughly a half-hour Saturday, it looked as though ace Chris Sale was about to be traded. He was scratched from his start due to the flu, but he wasn’t sick. Fans of the game seemed pretty shocked that Sale might be on the move.
What actually happened was surprising. Sale was scratched from his start after it was revealed he cut up the White Sox’s ’76 throwback vintage jerseys because he didn’t want to wear them. It was a bizarre situation in which neither the White Sox nor Sale were willing to shed light on.
The Chicago White Sox have suspended Sale for five days after his reported dispute. If Chris Sale did take scissors to his team’s uniforms, he may have set a new standard for uniform pushback, but he’s just the latest in a long line to have strong feelings about what they wear.
Sale has apologized in his first public comments since he was given a five-game suspension stemming from a dispute over the team’s throwback uniforms Saturday, saying winning was — and remains — at the center of his actions, and made it clear that he wants to remain with the White Sox.
“I want to win a championship in Chicago. That’s been my goal from Day 1,” Sale said Monday afternoon during a 30-minute interview, his first public comments since Saturday. “It has never changed. I only get more passionate about it because I know that it’s not easy winning a championship. There’s a lot that goes into it.”
Sale said he was sorry to fans who came to see him pitch and to his teammates, especially the White Sox bullpen.
“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,” Sale said.
According to ESPN and multiple reports, Sale expressed displeasure over having to wear the White Sox’s 1976 navy-blue collared throwbacks. When he found out he would have to wear them, he asked both the clubhouse manager and pitching coach Don Cooper if the club could wear a different jersey and the matter escalated from there, culminating in a confrontation with a member of Chicago’s front office. The team then decided to send Sale home from U.S. Cellular Field.
Sale reportedly cut up the 1976 throwbacks during batting practice so they couldn’t be worn. He disliked the uniforms because he thought they were uncomfortable and believed the White Sox were putting “PR and jersey sales” ahead of winning.
The suspension cost Sale $250,000 of his $9.15 million salary. He also was fined about $12,700 — the cost of the destroyed jerseys.
It’s not the first time Sale has been at odds with the organization. He went on a verbal tirade against team president Kenny Williams during spring training after Williams told first baseman Adam LaRoche he could no longer bring his kid around the clubhouse. LaRoche retired, leaving $13 million on the table, due to the request. Sale was not disciplined for his outburst.
That’s not the case this time around. The team suspended Sale for five games. He’s due to return to the club and make his next start Thursday against the crosstown Cubs. The end of the suspension would normally signal the end of bad blood between both sides, but irreparable damage may have been done this time around.