Podcast: Hello, Tony La Russa

Sox Machine Podcast logo

The Chicago White Sox made the bold move of hiring Tony La Russa as their new manager. This episode recaps the White Sox’thought process, why this is Jerry Reinsdorf’s decision, and ponder what it means for the team’s near future.

Click play below to listen:

Take a second to support Sox Machine on Patreon
Become a patron at Patreon!
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

oh man, i just listened to the first six minutes and i have to take a break already. i was cringing listening to hahn. that statement was brutal.

i’ve never had super strong feelings about hahn. i know he’s a lot smarter than i am and i really haven’t been following the sox very closely the last five years or so like i did in the past so i can’t necessarily comment on the job he’s been doing lately but listening to him hem and haw through that garbage statement was painful.

ok. i’m going to take a few deep breaths and then keep listening.


Thanks for doing this review of the whims of a weird billionaire.

I am reminded of Bill Wirtz’s relationship with Bob Pulford. If you’re not a Blackhawks fan older than about 35, you’re a lucky person (unless, of course, you are a White Sox fan now).


can someone help me out? i saw that press release the sox put out that had about 20 quotes from the last 15 years from people, mostly cardinals players and coaches and front office, praising la russa. is that a normal thing that teams do? if it is, okay, i guess. it seems very weird to me.


I know I’ve never seen that before. Seemed like they knew how much blow back they were going to get from fans, and that was a ham-handed attempt to mollify us.


I consider myself fortunate to have been a Sox fan when I was young, as it taught me the invaluable lesson of letting go of what you can’t control. It was like a Midwestern American realization of Zen…or as close to it as I am likely to get. I am in their debt.

Firing Rick Renteria to hire Tony La Russa is really pretty grotesque. A Latin American manager toils through rebuilding (for the second time) to get a Chicago team to the playoffs and is promptly canned for an old-school White guy friend of the owner who was supportive of Arizona’s SB 1070 law, I say this as someone who remembers the 1980s Sox and struggled to be Zen when La Russa was fired then.

I feel bad for Giolito and Anderson…really the whole team… whom I can’t imagine will mesh well with the new/old manager. At least they had 2020, which I enjoyed.


“white guy”? i don’t like la russa any more than you do but you might want to reconsider that aspersion.


I didn’t think calling someone White was an aspersion. I actually thought about that comment for awhile before posting. FWIW I don’t think race was a consideration in the hire by Reinsdorf, but I do think that element of replacing Renteria with La Russa, especially given statements La Russa has made in the past, has to be a concern in terms of how many of the Sox players will view La Russa and respond to working for him.

Anyway – I was not totally comfortable posting that comment – I even spent time debating whether or not to follow the convention the Washington Post seems to have adopted of capitalizing adjectives describing race (which I don’t like for some reason, but went with anyway) and was worried it might seem or be too overtly political or racially charged. If it is, I trust Josh and Jim will remove it. I really enjoy Sox Machine and I don’t want to create an atmosphere of contention and rancor.


i didn’t mean that calling someone White was casting an aspersion, i was saying that implying that he was hired because he was white was an accusation that might not hold water. also, i don’t really know the rules but i don’t think la russa even qualifies as being “White”. but i understand la russa’s reprehensible past actions.

LuBob DuRob

Person of Western European descent?


This is a good point.
I was fine with Renteria being fired given I hoped that the plan was to copy the Cubs in replacing him with a forward-thinking manager and that any clubhouse disruption at his departure would be minimal. Now I am worried about the thing we shouldn’t (particularly in this year of all fuggin years) have to be worried about.


I guess this implies we’ll spend money and it seems highly likely that spending money will be a massive market inefficiency for the foreseeable future; should theoretically give us a huge advantage provided we go after decent players.


I would argue this makes Jerry less likely to spend big. This hiring process demonstrated that Jerry hasn’t really changed his spots. If Jerry is the same guy he has always been then one must assume he will be his usual miserly self.


Jerry has had rosters in the top 5 in payroll in other years they went for it


I can think of one in the last decade…. 2011

He then proceeded to slash it the next year. He sure as heck didn’t bend over backwards to sustain it.


Well, they’ve not been competitive the last decade


I would argue they would have been more competitive if he had spent during their so called “retooling” rebuild.


You can argue that but it doesn’t change the fact that when JR decides to go for it, he does spend. He doesn’t spend the way we’d like him to (long term contracts for elite players), but he does spend


You haven’t made you case. I haven’t seen you cite evidence (namely payroll) data to support your claim. I have on only seen you give your opinion.

The evidence during the last window of contention previous to this one the payroll data doesn’t support your claim at all. Payroll did not go up measurably during that period at all. He committed to the retooling and did not back it up with spending.


All right, here are facts since you’re too lazy to look it up:
2006 4th highest payroll
2007 5th
2008 5th
2011 5th
Then they never broke .500 from 2013-2019.


That was cute cherry picking of numbers by you to suit your argument…He did not raise payroll anywhere near the top 5 in the last window of contention. Specifically, in 2016 which was supposed to be a year of contention (started the year off with the best record in baseball) the sox were 16th in payroll.

You ignored that and went to the window of contention before that. He hasn’t consistently spent at all.


In the scenario where they spend and we suck I think it is relatively unlikely that Larussa wants to keep managing after that.


Normally, I would think the team’s manager is far less of a factor for attracting and signing free agents than money offered ($$$ trumps all). But I think TLR will balance those factors out more for the worse. Especially this year, when free agency is likely our main approach for addressing the gaps on our roster.


I haven’t listened yet but my first thought when I woke up this morning was “I can’t even fathom this”. I’ll listen for sure later.

Now I know I’m in the minority on this but I like Hahn and I’d be sad if this pushes him out. Give Hahn a clean slate without the interference of an owner and he can build a really good and likeable team.


No bets accepted for guessing the identities of the Sox players in James Fegan’s story:

La Russa said he has not spoken to any White Sox players yet, but Sox players who spoke to The Athletic ranged from cautiously open-minded, to dismissive and derisive in their reaction to the hiring.


I think many Sox players are “dismissive” and “derisive” because they have no idea who the man is. “Oh, he’s bilingual? Didn’t know that.” This is crazy but let’s give it a shot.

LuBob DuRob

They don’t know who Tony La Russa is? That’s dismissive. Google him, his stink is everywhere.


Was a great podcast, guys! Well done giving a pretty matter-of-fact review of this, with just enough “this is how it could have happened” to both get your insights and yet not delve so deep into beard-strokey-ness.