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White Sox Managerial Situation Going from Bad to Worse


Cody Christie
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The White Sox made headline last week after naming 76-year old Tony La Russa as the team’s next acting manager. This decision seems like it was driven by Jerry Reinsdorf, the owner of the White Sox and the Bulls. La Russa had previously served in the same role before being fired and going on to win the World Series with Oakland and St. Louis. Since his hiring, there has been plenty of controversial information that has come to light.Hiring Tony La Russa

When the White Sox hired Tony La Russa, it was a bit of a shock. He hasn’t managed since 2011 with the Cardinals and his tenure with that club didn’t exactly end on the highest note. He’s been elected to MLB’s Hall of Fame and there is no question that he has changed the game with managerial style. He approached relief pitching in a different way and he helped to lead multiple franchises to a World Series. That can’t be said for many mangers.

 

Based on many reports, it sounds like the front office for the White Sox had little interest in La Russa becoming the White Sox manager. This was a decision driven by the ownership group. The White Sox have a diverse, young core on their roster and baseball has greatly changed since the last time he was a manager. Former Astros manager AJ Hinch seed like a better option, but the White Sox never offered him an interview after learning the ownership group was offering the position to La Russa.

 

DUI Arrest

Since La Russa was hired, ESPN has reported that he was arrested for a DUI shortly before he was hired. This is his second arrest for this offense and the recent details are grim. He told officers, “Do you see my ring? I’m a Hall of Famer baseball person. I’m legit. I’m a Hall of Famer, brother.”

 

It was his second known drunken driving arrest after falling asleep at the wheel during spring training in 2007. At the time he said, “It was an embarrassment, so I apologize to anyone who is close to me, members of the Cardinals organization, our fans, I regret it, take responsibility and I’m not sure there is anything else I can say.”

 

Free Agent Ramifications

Their manager has made raciest comments in the past, he has struggled with alcohol issues, and he hasn’t managed in nearly a decade. Stroman’s reaction might be indicative to a larger reaction from the free agent pool this season. Regularly, free agents might be willing to sign with an upstart White Sox team, buy the current organization doesn’t meet their core values.

For the overall good of baseball, this might be a dark cloud. For teams in the AL Central, this might be an opening that allows the Twins to contend for multiple seasons while keeping other teams out of contention.

 

How do you feel about the White Sox’s recent issues? Leave a comment and start the discussion

 

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Let's just be clear:

  • LaRussa has a long history of advocating for far right-wing causes
  • LaRussa strongly criticized the Black Lives Matter movement, which is strongly supported by most of the White Sox players
  • LaRussa is one of the leaders of the "play the game the right way" narrative, which is extremely racially tinged. The things that are not the "right way" include bat flips and big celebrations are often identified with Black and Latin American players (great article by Jeff Passan about this)
  • LaRussa has multiple drunk driving arrests now. In both cases, he was far over the limit and tried to use his celebrity to avoid arrest and complained of being treated unfairly by the police who in these cases were legitimately doing their jobs
  • LaRussa was hired basically in a no interview, good old boy network sort of situation ahead of many more deserving candidates, in contravention of rules that require interviewing minority candidates.

The White Sox stars include Abreu, Jimenez, Robert, Moncada, Anderson and Moncada. The hiring is a recipe for disaster. Good for the Twins but bad if you care about fairness, equity or a welcoming environment for the majority of the players.

 

 

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LaRussa has multiple drunk driving arrests now. In both cases, he was far over the limit and tried to use his celebrity to avoid arrest and complained of being treated unfairly by the police who in these cases were legitimately doing their jobs

 

To be fair, he was barely over the limit for his first DUI and he seemed to take responsibility.

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La Russa is going to be fine, I wouldn't worry about him being "cancelled" -- whatever that actually means.

 

La Russa's hiring seemed out of place from the start, just by the fact that he has not managed for a decade and his age. Seems like once we turned over the stone and looked at what was underneath, his hiring seems even more out of place. It's correct for people to say he does not seem to be a fit for a team in Chicago, given the other facts that are coming to the surface. (Even for the DUIs -- Chicago may be a huge drinking city, but there are trains. :P)

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What racist comments has TLR made in the past?

Non-specific stuff: some feel he's weighed in far too often on the Colin Kaepernick stuff, has called him a "fraud", has also said that he would "never allow anyone to take a knee" when the anthem would play, etc. Some people believe that prioritizing the flag over the feelings of minority players is racist. Former players Ron Gant, Royce Clayton, Brian Jordan (among others) have called him a racist. Marcus Stroman obviously feels the same. I don't have specifics, just citing what's been said.

 

Specifically: in 2010, La Russa publicly supported Arizona's odious SB 1070 law, which essentially encouraged racial profiling of Latinos. Ozzie Guillen spoke out against it.

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The White Sox, specifically their owner Jerry Reinsdorf, needs to take the PR hit right now and find another manager. JR can back pedal by saying he got ahead of himself and will allow the professionals he hired to interview for a better fit. 

 

That would be the smart thing to do. But considering the original hire was Jerry-driven and cut out the senior management...what are the odds the owner is going to step up here and take the hit? Especially since he considers having fired LaRussa back in the 80s to be the worst mistake he ever made?

 

Hiring LaRussa was always a bad idea, for a variety of reasons. It's only gotten worse with the DUI. But with Alex Cora and AJ Hinch already getting hired back in, it seems the consensus in MLB is that they don't care about problematic managerial hires. 

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Just because a guy gets a couple DUIs over an extended period of time, doesn'ake him a bad person or bad manager. 

 

I disagree with your entire post, but this part is easily refuted by looking at alcohol-related statistics. It may not make him a "bad person" whatever that subjective term means, but it makes him unfit to be a manager. He repeatedly breaks laws, endangers lives, and shows addictive behavior. Those are not qualities I want in charge of my organization.

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I disagree with your entire post, but this part is easily refuted by looking at alcohol-related statistics. It may not make him a "bad person" whatever that subjective term means, but it makes him unfit to be a manager. He repeatedly breaks laws, endangers lives, and shows addictive behavior. Those are not qualities I want in charge of my organization.

I'm 8+ years sober and I agree with you. I wasn't given a "pass" on the actions I committed while I was an active alcoholic. Sure would have been nice if the credit card companies cancelled my debt on purchases I made on that Vegas trip because I was loaded the whole time. Would have been cool if my girlfriend had come back and said "no worries", or my old job would have said "it's all good, forget about it". But that's not reality. The stuff I did while under the influence still counted against me, and I accept it. Most Americans with 2 DUIs are in a world of sh*t by the way, we're talking losing your driver's license for FIVE YEARS.

 

In my case, I was lucky enough to have a strong support system around me to help me get sober and more importantly stay sober. And I found that inside myself, I knew that stopping drinking was in my best interests long-term. Sounds like Tony is missing some of that from his life. The guy clearly has a drinking problem and needs help, but that doesn't mean he gets a free pass on the actions he's committed while under the influence.

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DUI is a DUI but the timing of just days before he was hired as reported by ESPN is ESPN style to flare out the sensationalism in their reporting.  The incident was back in February of this year.  The police didn't file the arrest documents in the right jurisdiction.  Not defending the guy at all, DUI is reckless but ESPN is reckless in the matter as well.  White Sox should have known better if they care about background checks, etc. so let them have mud on their face by choosing a old timer.  Go Twins

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DUI is a DUI but the timing of just days before he was hired as reported by ESPN is ESPN style to flare out the sensationalism in their reporting.  The incident was back in February of this year.  The police didn't file the arrest documents in the right jurisdiction.  Not defending the guy at all, DUI is reckless but ESPN is reckless in the matter as well.  White Sox should have known better if they care about background checks, etc. so let them have mud on their face by choosing a old timer.  Go Twins

 

How is it sensational to report the facts?

 

Here's the headline I see on ESPN: Chicago White Sox manager Tony La Russa charged with DUI stemming from February arrest, court docs show.

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I disagree with your entire post, but this part is easily refuted by looking at alcohol-related statistics. It may not make him a "bad person" whatever that subjective term means, but it makes him unfit to be a manager. He repeatedly breaks laws, endangers lives, and shows addictive behavior. Those are not qualities I want in charge of my organization.

 

Specifically, I wouldn't want someone with such poor personal decision making skills in charge of a large group of young men.

 

How the heck would the team justify suspending or fining a player for any kind of off field offense now?

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No kidding too out of touch. The I am a HOFer was pathetic.

 

His two oldest daughters sued him from his first marriage that he totally abandoned them to his first wife while doting on his second wife's kids says something especially after starting an animal foundation.

 

I was surprised that he didn't go for McGraw's 2nd place managerial wins and waited 9 seasons to make a comeback. About 700 wins could have been had.

 

Tony Larussa please retire.

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Let's just be clear:

  • LaRussa has a long history of advocating for far right-wing causes ...
  •  
  • LaRussa has multiple drunk driving arrests now. In both cases, he was far over the limit ...

 

I looked it up:  Arizona has an extreme DUI law for 0.15+, and a super extreme for 0.20+. LaRussa this most recent time was .09, right?

 

Not excusing drunk driving--far from it. But Arizona is rightfully pretty hard-core: "Arizona is a no-tolerance state for driving under the influence, or DUI, meaning you can be arrested with a blood-alcohol content of less than the legal limit of 0.08 percent."

 

Just curious:  What evidence do you have of his "long history of advocating" for far right causes?

 

Outside of baseball activity, I've only heard of stuff like his being vegetarian and founding the animal rescue organization:  https://www.arflife.org/

 

Other than that, he set up the A's players dancing the Nutcracker with the Oakland ballet for charity. This from the SF Chronicle:

 

"Tony La Russa was just getting started as the A’s manager when he persuaded some of his players to dance in the Oakland Ballet’s “Nutcracker” holiday performance in 1986 to benefit the arts organization, and photos recently found in The Chronicle’s archive show ace Dave Stewart, slugger Mark McGwire and others getting into the Christmas spirit."  

 

https://www.sfchronicle.com/thetake/article/When-the-Oakland-A-s-of-the-Bash-Brothers-era-12431192.php

 

I'm not saying he isn't a boogaloo bois or some such, I'd just never heard anything like it. I knew he was old school in his approach to baseball, and his pathetic comments on Kapernick (which he has backed off on). 

 

BTW, I never rooted for him. Quite the contrary, always rooted against his teams. But as baseball seems less colorful in recent years, I'd thought he'd add some spice now to the Twins/Chisox rivalry. But what do I know ...

 

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Oh, did a little more digging on the inter-web. His wikipedia page says he's pals with Bruce Hornsby and Bruce Springsteen, among others.

 

And I did read that Glenn Beck charmed a bunch of Cardinals. From the StL Post-Dispatch in 2010:  "Along with a number of staff members, coaches and players, La Russa met two months ago in the Cardinals clubhouse with Beck and fellow Fox News commentator Bill O'Reilly. Pujols autographed a bat for Beck and the two struck a relationship that facilitated Saturday's appearance."

 

LaRussa went to the "Restoring Honor" rally after Beck told him it wouldn't be political in nature.  Maybe he's naïve for believing that?

 

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Not sure what La Russa is like as a person—available evidence suggests I wouldn’t enjoy his company. From a purely baseball standpoint, just an absurd decision by Reinsdorf, especially when Hinch and Cora were still on the market, not to mention all the other way more qualified candidates. I just can’t wrap my head around hiring a guy who has been retired for ten years when the core of the team is so young and talented. Anything can happen I guess, but it seems like a really great way to squander maybe the most exciting young core in baseball.

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I'm glad the Sox are f***ing this up. As a Twins fan why wouldn't we want them to hire La Russa over more qualified candidates?

 

La Russa's political affiliation, or his critique of a politicized organization doesn't make him a "racist." There's no need to grasp at straws to label him as such in order to justify his dismissal. His relationship with his daughters or his marital strife is equally as irrelevant. 

 

If Chicago ownership decides to go another direction after his most recent DUI incident conveniently came to light then that's their right. It doesn't have to go any further than that.

 

If some of you are so disgusted with La Russa's hire, watching the hometown team must be agonizing as well. The Twins roster isn't full of choir boys. Also, Cora somehow gets a pass from the morality police on his legitimacy as a managerial candidate? Smh....

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