Time to learn how mighty these White Sox are

In one of Bob Nightengale’s numerous publications of White Sox apologia this winter, he presented the most favorable interpretation of Tony La Russa’s first year back from another member of the Baseball Man set.

Now, 35 years since La Russa was fired by the Chicago White Sox in 1986 – which owner Jerry Reinsdorf called the worst mistake of his career – here they are, coming full circle.

“Really, it’s a Hollywood story,” says Walt Jocketty, the Cincinnati Reds adviser who won seven division titles, two pennants and a World Series together with La Russa in St. Louis. “This could have a terrific Hollywood ending with a World Series title. If that happens, they better make a movie out of it.’’

Of course, they’ve already made a movie about a guy with a law degree who, after a DUI arrest, was assigned to return to his roots and coach a group of players from the wrong side of the tracks who had yet to achieve anything.

I watched the original “The Mighty Ducks” just to see if there was anything else connecting Tony La Russa to Gordon Bombay, and sure enough:

  • He’s asked how he still has a license given his driving history, and he doesn’t have an answer.
  • He’s not the likeliest candidate to manage such a precocious team, saying kids are “barely human.”
  • He asks his players to believe his sincerity, in his case after a sarcastic comment they overheard was misconstrued.

There’s also the matter that they gained their most talented player from their intracity rivals, only to see him get hurt when they were counting on him the most.

It already seems like La Russa has taken to the young talent, and vice versa. From here, fans will hope La Russa can convince the laywer who arranged this marriage to invest in the team, the way Bombay persuaded Mr. Ducksworth to finance their equipment upgrades. The players will pray La Russa ignores the part where Bombay takes interest in one of the team’s moms.

The only sizable difference is that the Ducks weren’t supposed to win, and the White Sox absolutely are. They boasted the best managerial vacancy of the winter because they’re on the cusp. La Russa, even if foisted on the team by Jerry Reinsdorf, has Hall of Fame credentials that are supposed to put them over the top. It’s like if the Ducks ousted Bombay with a no-confidence vote in the dressing room and replacing him with the grimacing, authoritarian Hawks coach Jack Reilly.

That outcome wouldn’t be as pleasing to general audiences. But it also wouldn’t be the worst thing if some viewers saw the White Sox as the villains, because that means they’re too talented to ignore. Hell, Disney sees it the same way. Like every other intellectual property from the 1980s and 1990s, the Mighty Ducks have been rebooted into a streaming show for its own platform. Now the former ragtag group of youngsters is now the youth hockey dynasty to be hated.

In The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers, the Disney+ series that premieres on March 26, the once-scrappy hockey program is now a Montreal Canadiens–level dynasty. The show’s central characters are a ragtag squad of middle schoolers who supposedly aren’t good enough to play for the Ducks, who’ve shamelessly shed their status as underdogs. “They became the bad guys,” says Brill. It feels almost blasphemous to say, but a quarter-century after upsetting the Hawks in the peewee state championship, the Ducks—gulpbecame the Hawks. […]

A lot may have changed since the ’90s, but everyone still loves an underdog story. Game Changers just makes the point that some underdogs don’t stay that way forever.

It wouldn’t surprise me if that eventually happens to the White Sox, what with their major-market presence and scowling manager. But that’s looking too far ahead. The White Sox are still underdogs for the time being, at least according to the projections. They’re popular, much-discussed underdogs with the reigning MVP, a Cy Young favorite, one of baseball’s most charismatic stars and standalone previews from the Washington Post and New York Times, but underdogs nevertheless.

This is the enjoyable part of the cycle when everybody wants to see them do well, and nobody wants to see that more than the people who paid attention during all the years the White Sox couldn’t get out of their own way. Hopefully the Second La Russa Era skips the parts where they stumble and struggle and want to quit, and get right to the time where they never lose again. If the White Sox ever become the team that needs to be knocked down a peg, we skate across that bridge when we get to it.

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Jim Margalus
Jim Margalus

Writing about the White Sox for a 16th season, first here, then at South Side Sox, and now here again. Let’s talk curling.

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Old friend Colome blew a 3-run lead with a HBP, his own throwing error, a single, and a double.


Twins lose 6-5 in 10! The season is off to a good start. Cubs, Indians, Yankees lose. Just need the Sox to hold up their end tonight.


Also Yu darvish gave up 4 home runs in the fifth inning for San Diego, who now trail Arizona.


That’s sad man. Ya gotta love Yu.


Box score says he gave up 2 homeruns (4 runs, though).

Last edited 1 year ago by jorgefabregas

Yep I was mistaken. And hasty.




Would this be the first time the Sox went for a regression-candidate veteran and came out on the better side of the regression?


LaRussa dating one of the players mom’s would be so damn funny. If the sox get off to a poor start, I will pull for that scenario. Way to take the parallel all the way. Enjoyable read and I’m now ready for the game. I have my mighty ducks t-shirt under my Sox hoodie.


Am I the only one who hasn’t seen The Mighty Ducks? Do I really need to see this?

Right Size Wrong Shape

I would definitely recommend seeing it before you watch D2. If not, the plot may be difficult to follow.

Joliet Orange Sox

I’ve never seen it either but Jim made it come alive for me. I’m not sure either of us wants to actually watch a movie which prompted Jim to think about TLR dating Adam Eaton’s mom.

You could just watch the new Disney+ series Jim mentions and figure out what must have happened in the movie. I’ve done that with the Karate Kid movies. I was in grad school they came out and didn’t bother to see them but my youngest child is a 15-year-old boy and we’ve had a good time watching Cobra Kai and I think I’ve seen the entirety of the all the Karate Kid movies in the flashbacks.