Back in 2003, Ozzie Guillen allegedly interviewed for the White Sox managerial job severely hung over from the Marlins’ World Series celebration the night before. He got the job despite bieng in such a state that he couldn’t remember anything about it and led the White Sox to a World Series title two years later.
From that point on, the White Sox decided that all future managerial decisions needed to be just as fraught in order to succeed.
Guillen was fired only after his attempt to stage a coup against Kenny Williams fizzled out. After no interviews, the White Sox replaced him by hiring Robin Ventura off a hunch and a personality test that high school counselors might deem insufficient.
The White Sox then replaced Ventura two years past his expiration date, also bypassing the interview process to promote Rick Renteria, the bench coach they’d hired the year before. The White Sox then extended Renteria for an indeterminate amount of time without telling anybody.
FROM NOV. 2018: The White Sox are still weird about their managers
That made the firing of Renteria doubly surprising — partially because they seemed to want to ensconce him from the usual pressures for change, and partially because the White Sox met expectations and ended two embarrassing streaks in the process. It’s how a proactive, merit-based franchise might behave, and it’s so unlike them.
Which is why the Tony La Russa news strikes such fear in the hearts of White Sox fans, because that’s a lot more characteristic of how they’ve behaved when it comes to managers: impulsively, against fans’ wishes, and in a way that can’t be defended.
There’s no reason to think that White Sox fans would learn about their new manager from a Dan Roan tease….
… but given the last 17 years of the White Sox’s decision-making “process” in this realm, this is very much how we would learn that the White Sox were on the verge of hiring a 76-year-old manager who hadn’t been in the game for nine years in order to rectify some four-decade-old regret.
I’d like to think this isn’t going to materialize, if only because Rick Hahn has seemed to savor listing off all the things White Sox fans thought his team would never do — rebuilding, trading with the Cubs, busting the international budget to sign Luis Robert, now firing Renteria and Don Cooper, etc. I can see a non-TLR type getting hired after a lengthier process and Hahn coming out like, “I can’t believe you dummies keep falling for it.”
But the problem with Hahn’s the-haters-said-we’d-never speech is that it’s a tacit admission of how long and how often the White Sox failed to act or behave like a well-oiled, state-of-the-art franchise with the correct priorities. It’s not the fans’ fault that they assumed self-limiting or self-sabotage until proven otherwise.
Another sham of an interview process reverses the flow of Hahn’s narrative, showing it’s no match for the larger story of Jerry Reinsdorf and the White Sox being profoundly weird and disproportionately self-reverential for the scant amount of success they have enjoyed. This was the reason why Hahn had to explicitly state that Guillen would not get a shot to manage the White Sox a second time, and if “La Russa” is Italian for “The Ruse,” now might be a good time to let everybody know.
(Photo by Gage Skidmore)
It’s happening, and we can get into about 1000 reasons why its a bad idea but the harder part is trying to spin anything positive off of it. I’ve boiled it down to 2 positives things. 1. I think LaRussa > Renteria for 2021. 2. Jerry must really really love LaRussa, he wont set up his 76 year old friend to fail and it may be the thing that finally forces him to open the pocketbook.
There really is no evidence that he would be better than Renteria. Honestly you are just hoping he would be better.
I do take solace in #2. LaRussa is not going to drag his elderly ass through a 162 game season without some assurance they are really and truly going for it.
The White Sox just made the playoffs, with a young roster. The safe assumption is that the players are likely to only get better. I don’t think the Sox need to make many additions to convince a manager that this is a good landing spot.
That is absurd. This roster is not favored to make the playoffs, let alone go deep in them as currently constructed. They need 1-2 starting position players, at least 2 starting pitchers, and possibly a closer. A team this close that would stand pat is not a good landing spot.
Well sure, they’re not going to stand pat. But if they spend up to the salary that they played with in 2019, or even slightly above that, I don’t think La Russa would have told Jerry no. This move, to me, does not indicate in the slightest that Reinsdorf is going to open up his wallet in a big way.
Huh, somebody has already changed La Russa’s Wikipedia page to say that he is the Sox manager.
I guess this is my punishment for wanting Renteria fired.
Does Tim Anderson demand a trade? How do you spend all this time trying to rebuild the franchise and just throw it away?
Yeah, if your first move of the offseason is to hire a guy who is likely to piss off the Face of the Franchise, that seems like a pretty stupid move.
The White Sox are “disproportionately self-reverential for the scant amount of success [they’ve] enjoyed.” That sums up the possible hiring of TLR perfectly.
IF this is true, Hahn needs to walk. There is no way that old bag of booze knocked Hahn’s designer socks off in the interview.
Just walk away, Rick. You’ll be fine. You’ll be respected. And you’ll have no trouble finding a job.
Executive of the year!! That’s my sarcasm font.
I doubt he walks with THAT resume!
Since La Russa was an advisor to Dave Dombrowski on the 2018 Red Sox, Hahn can say that La Russa fits the stated criteria that “recent October experience with a championship organization would be ideal.” That would invite questions of whether the Sox would adopt Dombrowski’s strategy that produced that championship (jacking the payroll to $220 million).
They’ll just hand La Russa a 5 year contract, and miss out on all their top targets for the umpteenth time. Then Hahn will have a press conference In February and say with a straight face that, “we feel like the addition of Tony, with the experience and knowledge he brings, is the equivalent of a big free agent signing.”
I would really, really, really hope that the White Sox are at least self-aware enough to understand that the south side of Chicago is a demographic that is overwhelmingly black, they have a single black player on their team, and hiring a hiring a crusty old white guy who is completely out of touch with that reality is a horrible move.
It’s probably not going to hurt their bottom line or result in criticism from the talking heads in Chicago sports media, but this is a team that has been so disconnected from the community that surrounds it for so long. Tim Anderson has probably done more for them in terms of connecting to their community in 5 years than the White Sox Charities have done in 30 years.
There are other free agents out there besides guys like Marcus Stroman, Michael Brantley, and JBJ. But pushing those guys away just because you are too stubborn and lazy to hire someone who is open-minded is a massive misstep.
Ugh. Can’t even have 2 fun seasons in a row.
This is weird and stupid, but has a much greater potential to work out fine than, say, trading for Nomar Mazara. I’m a lot more concerned with who they add in RF and the rotation (though obviously hiring TLR has the potential to affect those moves).
José Canseco and Dave Stewart probably won’t get the Sox into the luxury tax.
The giant breaking news is official.
I think Bob misspelled Gordon.
Sox sign Tim Beckham to minor league deal, kinda interesting name.
Doesn’t he still have to serve a PED suspension?
Sounds like Hahn is telling Jerry it’s him or me regarding LaRussa. As much as I have ripped Hahn in the past, I think if you’ve stuck with him this long, then he should get the chance to finish the rebuild his way. He should not have a manager forced on him.
Who’s reporting this?
An unnamed executive. I would hope Hahn would have the guts to do that.
Where did you see the report though?…local media or one of the national writers…just curious
My son saw it, then I saw it on Bleacher Report.
Here is the tweet I see about it on BR. It sure sounds like its pure speculation. Might be spot on, but it doesn’t sound like it is based on actual info from Hahn.
Feels like he don’t know shit.
Yeah, it’s not from Hahn, but likely from someone who has knowledge of the situation.
If true, it actually makes sense. I can’t see Hahn seriously considering LaRussa.
LaRussa announcement could be followed by Hahn departure, which would just be so …. White Sox.
Marcus Stroman is liking a bunch of tweets suggesting he won’t play for Tony La Russa.
More than any tactical issues or La Russa’s potential inability to click with the existing clubhouse, free agents choosing not to play for him would instantly make him worse than a bad tactician or a poor leader.
Do they have history?
No idea whether he dislikes him due to personal interaction or whether it’s just general knowledge of his worldview.
Stroman also shit on the Mets, immediately after chosing to sit out the rest of the season, while a Met.
So he’s now reduced the number of teams buying for his services by at least two.
Tony La Russa, a member of baseball’s Hall of Fame, the third-winningest manager in baseball history, a three-time World Series champion and a four-time winner of the Manager of the Year Award, has been named the new manager of the Chicago White Sox.
Well, there it is
Not surprising given the lack of reported interviewing.
Given his age, is there any chance this is intended to be short term – like 1 year?
Merkin reports a “multi-year contract”
Given his age, there’s a lot of chance that it will be short-term, one way or another.
I don’t know why he would even want to manage at this point. I was thinking maybe an “interim” kind of deal where he could then give his thoughts on future decisions as he goes out the door
I guess I can finally catch up on my backlog of TV shows.
It has happened: https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2020/10/white-sox-hire-tony-la-russa-manager.html
Damn it, Jerry:
Why can’t we have nice things?
Welp. Now we can have the celebrity death poll 2020: who goes first? Jerry or Tony?
Does not have recent WS experience. Hasn’t had success in a decade. Showed a lack of emphasis/understanding of analytics during his time in AZ. Was the only person interviewed. Is a longtime friend of Jerry. Does not fit the “long window of contention”. Still carries questions about condoning or turning a blind eye to cheating.
Sox are always gonna Sox.
He was known for being analytical pre-Moneyball. Let’s just hope he is still open to analytics but also won’t pull his ace who is cruising and has only thrown 73 pitches because he’s worried about TTOP.
Or maybe he’ll doze off in the 4th and miss 30 pitches, and come the 6th think “hey he’s fine, he’s only at 90.”
I would hope that Jerry at least talked to Timmy and Giolito and others about this before going thru with it. We are getting a very good game manager- let’s just hope that he can relate to today’s players. And if this will get Jerry to spend big bucks, it could be a good move. I don’t like it, but it is what it is. I’m not going to stop being a White Sox fan because of it.
I’m not sure we’re getting a good game manager. The game has changed a lot since 2011.
He hasn’t managed in 9 years. We really have no idea how he will be as an in game tactician. I’m not sure his St. Louis time is all that instructive at this point.
Head scratcher all around why a man who is 78 years old in the Hall of Fame would want to be a manager in the age of Covid would want to deal with a bunch of millennial ballplayers the age of his grandkids is way beyond me. If Jerry wanted to be nice to Tony he should have shown it by never letting Hawk into the Sox organization after he fired Tony .
And to think, I was worried about Ozzie when they started their managerial search (before Rick’s first press conference saying Ozzie wasn’t a candidate). I’d take Ozzie over La Russa in a heartbeat. This damn team. Even when I’m irrationally pessimistic, they find a way to disappoint me.
They picked the right year to cancel Sox fest.
The man who made Ken Harrelson GM is still the man who made Ken Harrelson GM.
A real slap in the face to fans. Been there every step of the way though a decade plus of crap, and now this. I feel like I’m gonna fucking cry. Ugh. Fuck this.
This is feeling more like a setup than I originally thought. I’m going to assume the LaRussa decision was made sometime in September at the latest.
I suspect ego is driving LaRussa’s desire to manage. He can prove he’s still the smartest guy in the room. Plus, this year he’ll pass John McGraw for second-most wins in history. And if he’s successful with this young, talented team, he can be just the third to take 3 teams to a World Series. If he wins, he’d be first to accomplish that.
I think this is a terrible hire. My fear, besides his just being the wrong fit who fails to get the most out of this team, is that his desire to win now will lead to the gutting of the farm system to acquire the Brandon Belts and Craig Kimbrels of the world.
Say hello to your new DH and catcher: Albert Pujols and Yadier Molina
I like Ken Tremendous’ take:
There are too many ways to view this as ridiculous. Maybe Jerry actually hates LaRussa and is using a ready-to-win Sox team to show the world that Tony can’t manage and is wildly out of touch as a last “fuck you” before he slides back into the slime pit that spawned him. It’s the long-con that gets you.
La Russa post up. https://soxmachine.com/2020/10/29/jerry-reinsdorf-gets-his-man-with-tony-la-russa-the-white-sox-are-an-afterthought/
Now announce A.J. Pierzynski as his bench coach.
Can we have at least once guy that all the players won’t hate?
Jason Benetti was born during La Russa’s fifth season as Sox manager.