SOX PARK — White Sox fan Bennett Karoll doesn’t want to give team owner Jerry Reinsdorf anymore of his money.
Karoll, a lifelong White Sox fan, launched a GoFundMe Wednesday that has now raised more than $5,000 to put up a “Sell The Team, Jerry” billboard just a few blocks from Guaranteed Rate Field. More than 350 people have donated to the effort.
“We want to support the team without buying tickets and hats and that [money] going to Jerry, who won’t spend it on a star player, anyway,” Karoll said.
Karoll only expected “maybe a hundred bucks” when he started the fundraiser, he said. But the campaign has exceeded exceptions to the point Karoll will now buy two billboards, he said.
“One local company even reached out to me first,” Karoll said. “I didn’t expect all this. White Sox fans are nuts.”
The billboards — which will be 12 by 8 feet on a black background with white lettering — will be up for at least the first two months of the season, Karoll said.
The White Sox have been to the playoffs seven times, with one World Series win, in the 41 years Reinsdorf has owned the team. Fans had high hopes for the team to at least make it to the playoffs this past season, as the team had a strong lineup after years of rebuilding.
But the Sox struggled, finishing second in the American League Central.
“This past year really broke a lot of fans,” Karoll said. “We went from turning the corner to starting bad and ending worse.”
Karoll, who works as a recruiter, said he was recently fuming at his desk in Washington, D.C., as other teams made splashy signings in this year’s star-studded free agency.
The Sox took a chance on struggling pitcher Mike Clevinger and dished out a healthy five-year, $75 million contract to former Yankees outfielder Andrew Benintendi.
But the team “has never been willing to spend money needed to get a true star,” Karoll said.
Karoll found a picture of Reinsdorf photoshopped with a clown nose and posted the GoFundMe during his lunch break. Friendly donations and heated messages from fans came rolling in.
“The team just has so many holes in it,” Karoll said. “Some of our best players are gone, and our competitive window should be now. We needed to make more moves and there’s been nothing. I’m tired of the Sox being marred in mediocrity.”
Will the billboards get Reinsdorf to sell the team?
“Zero chance,” Karoll said. “But I hope he at least reads it.”
The White Sox did not respond to a request for comment.