Spare Parts: Another midseason managerial firing for White Sox to watch

White Sox fans stumping for Tony La Russa’s firing can point to the Philadelphia Phillies after they dismissed Joe Girardi: 24-14.

White Sox fans who regard La Russa as a secondary concern can point to the Los Angeles Angels after they let go of Joe Maddon: 12-21.

Now here come the Toronto Blue Jays, who could act as a sort of tiebreaker because they fired Charlie Montoyo on Wednesday. And unlike the other two teams who changed the guy at the helm, the Blue Jays had a winning record (47-42) and were tied for a wild card spot.

The Blue Jays expected better before the season, and they were in acceptable shape before a 3-9 July threatened their postseason hopes. They’re responding to the slide by making changes during the season.

Kaitlyn McGrath’s story in The Athletic makes Romero sound an awful lot like Rick Renteria.

Montoyo, 56, was hired before the 2019 season partly because of his player development experience. His even-keeled demeanor steadied the team during two seasons of upheaval, in 2020 and 2021, when the club played home games in three different ballparks and had to move twice in-season. He led his team from 95 losses in 2019 to 91 wins last year. At one time, his optimism and positivity were the needed tone for a young team. But now, amidst underachievement on the field, it seems as though the club needed a firmer touch.

And that, according to sources, didn’t come as naturally to Montoyo, who was fired as manager of the Blue Jays on Wednesday with a record of 236-236 over three-and-half seasons.

“When you’re 1-9, you’re looking for someone to come in and either kick you in the ass or pump you up, just something, some guidance,” one player told The Athletic, making reference to the Jays’ recent skid. “And you could have it as players, for sure, and we did, but you really do need it coming from the top and that just wasn’t happening.”

Of course, there’s plenty of room between 10 games over .500 and nine games under .500, so watch the Blue Jays tread water and continue to deprive White Sox fans of a consensus they really could use.

SPARE PARTS

Dan Szymborski details why ZiPS still likes the White Sox’s chances to take the AL Central despite trailing the Twins by five games. I get it, but here’s a case where an algorithm would struggle to account for players operating at 75 percent for an entire season. Eloy Jiménez leaving with an irritation of his leg situation doesn’t help matters in this regard.

Ben Clemens looks at La Russa’s … curious … decision to have Davis Martin intentionally walk José Ramírez before starting him off with a strike. La Russa’s punitive response to a success reminded me a little bit of Ozzie Guillen shredding Sean Tracey in the dugout because strikes were the opposite of what he wanted. Speaking of which…

… Ozzie Guillen got into a Twitter beef with Jon Heyman, which provides a convenient example of why he’s better off in media. That kind of attention can usually only help, whereas it eventually fell upon deaf ears toward the end of his tenure in the White Sox dugout.

Yermín Mercedes homered and doubled off Dallas Keuchel, and those clips made the rounds on White Sox Twitter. I was equally interested in what Keuchel had to say after this two-inning dud, which was sent off the rails by an outfield misplay. He hit the nail on the head:

“There’s some tough luck involved but as a starting pitcher, I’ve got to be a little bit better,” Keuchel said. “Haven’t really had a great first inning now in my fourth start so I was really trying to get that one under my belt, obviously that didn’t go well. It was either pretty much a strikeout or base hit somewhere or a home run.”

Reynaldo López’s velocity is back, he’s ironed out how to make his slider work with his shorter arm path, and he’s figured out how to apply that consistent arsenal to the hitters he’s facing. It’s that simple.

While we’ve seen various iterations of shift rules batted about and instituted at lower levels — two infielders on each side, all infielders on the dirt — Jayson Stark details new rules about to be implemented in the Florida State League that prohibit middle infielders from playing behind second base.

Every team but the Yankees and Astros has players who couldn’t travel to Toronto because they were unvaccinated (it was Dylan Cease and Kendall Graveman on the White Sox), but the Royals have blasted past everybody else with 10 players who can’t cross the border. Double digits!

There’s probably a number where it goes from being a couple of unfortunate individual choices to a condemnation of an organization, and considering no other team has had to replace five players before a trip to Canada, 10 clears that line by plenty. It’s especially ugly when a team leader like Whit Merrifield shows his ass and says that he’d change his mind for a better team.

“I understand what Canada has in place right now. That’s the only reason that I would think about getting it at this point is to go to Canada,” Merrifield said. “That might change down the road. Something happens, and I happen to get on a team that has a chance to go play in Canada in the postseason, maybe that changes.”

Dayton Moore expressed disappointment in the decisions of his players, but then he went and defended Merrifield with the you-don’t-know-what’s-in-his-heart defense. I don’t think Merrifield can back out of it. It’s more likely that he meant what he said, but had no idea how bad it would sound leaving his mouth.

(Plus, Moore has his own checkered history with doing his own research and influencing the team with his findings. Maybe they learned it by watching him.)

Anyway, what’s happening with the Royals is a reductio ad absurdum outcome of the decisions made by Graveman and Cease. They’re not bad teammates — in fact, the López story above shows Graveman being a great one — but they fell well short in that instance. Fortunately, life could go on because their teammates stepped up to minimize the disruption. If everybody else on the team chose to make the same individual decision, a team couldn’t be fielded.

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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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Right Size Wrong Shape

The Jays’ disappointing record is even more so considering their country has a rule that excludes a percentage of most of their opponents from playing. I think Chicago should pass a law that states that any non-White Sox right handed pitcher should be barred from entering the city limits.

As Cirensica

It is a ridiculous rule if you ask me, and as a Canadian, I am ashamed it is still being enforced.

As Cirensica

LOL
That’s hilarious. They can’t play in Canada because of that rule, but they can play in the USA with the same rule. This shit is what drives me nuts with all this Covid measures.

itaita

Canada has a rule limiting the amount of right handed people that can enter? I get its a left leaning country but that might be a bit much.

As Cirensica

What? This is made up, right? If there’s a joke here, I don’t see it. Maybe it is best that way.

calcetinesblancos

What part of it don’t you like?

As Cirensica

I am gonna leave that discussion for another forum and audience. Don’t want to create an issue here for Jim to lock this thread.

calcetinesblancos

I have thought about that many times actually. Definitely fascinating to think that they are playing weakened teams almost every time they play at home.

BenwithVen

I guess being frustrated with White Sox is kind of overshadowing the tire fire that is the Royals. That Merrifield quote is something lol.

HallofFrank

Edited; Nevermind.

Last edited 4 months ago by HallofFrank
lifelongjd

The 0-1 intentional walk and the Yermin incident from ‘21 are emblematic of who our manager is and it ain’t a good look. It’s always his way, and if you don’t comply he shows you up and insults you because he’s so much smarter and knows baseball. If you wanted the kid to pitch around Ramirez with 1st base open, put up the 4 and put him on. Unfortunately he doesn’t have to be accountable for him showing up his own players or any of the piss poor decisions he’s made for 1.5 seasons. It’s so maddening.

Toronto firing Montoya seems a bit reactionary but maybe it was needed. He seemed like a good manager and one that seemed to earn a chance to lead the team through the end of the season. As a Sox fan, I wonder how long our manager would have lasted with the pressure to show results like that.

Jason

If the Sox ever turn it around, I’ll get back on board, because they are apart of me.

But this year has killed my fandom like nothing else in my life (save the 94 strike, which killed the Sox/baseball for about 3 years for me). Firing TLR is the bare minimum for me to give the team more than my bare minimum in money/attention (which this season has been about 10% of the past 2 years and far below the rebuild years, since I was more or less on board with “the plan”).

metasox

Looks like you have a typo in the text of a link. Should read:

‘A few of us are pissed’: Some Royals unhappy with unvaccinated teammates’ decision – Kansas City Star

chipporter

(s)

metasox

I guess it also should say “ticked,” not pissed. But close enough.

GrinnellSteve

Unrelated to anything in this post…

I’m watching Miami-Pittsburgh. Billy Hamilton scored from first on a double. Broke up a scoreless game. He was called out, but it was overturned. He got hurt on the play, but stayed in the game.

Watching him reminded me how much I enjoyed having him on the team. He was fun. This team is mostly the opposite of fun. All the talk is about losing being the difference in this year’s clubhouse, but maybe the difference is Billy Hamilton.

There’s not really a place for Hamilton on this year’s roster unless they peddle Engel. Still, I miss Billy.

vince

Meanwhile, across town…

calcetinesblancos

Hm, ok.

As Cirensica

Why can’t Chicago do the same the Yankees did with the Yankee Stadium? Blow up that thing and build a modern one (can be a replica). That or make it a museum already. THere is gonna be a point where they can’t play there anymore.

Joliet Orange Sox

I read the Tribune coverage of this. It’s behind the paywall but I’d encourage people to read the coverage whereever they get their news. The Cubs response is essentially that the renovation made things better than they had been in the past. It seems like they have missed the last 30 years of the rest of the world working hard to do the right thing under ADA. I work in higher ed and my colleagues and I spend a lot of time on ADA issues trying to make things truly accessible and I think that is true for many people in many fields. The Cubs should stop making excuses and do the right thing here.

Last edited 4 months ago by Joliet Orange Sox
calcetinesblancos

“This wasn’t something that I took lightly. I had a really dear friend of mine die from COVID, a college friend. He passed last fall of COVID. So it’s something that I’ve taken seriously,” Merrifield said. “But talking to people, I feel that the vaccine initially — what it was supposed to do, it’s not doing it — and if it was doing what it was supposed to do, stopping the spread of COVID — I would probably have a little more willingness to take it.”

That quote made my brain hurt.

Lurker Laura

Yeah, the cognitive dissonance there is just…yeah.

soxfan67

Covid 19 adversely affect the elderly and people with comorbidities. Since these players are young and healthy there is no reason why they need the vaccination in the first place. Besides how many players took the vaccination including the booster and still got Covid. Wouldn’t it make sense for the players who do not take the vaccination, just take a Covid test before they leave and tests while they are in Canada.

soxfan67

It is not a question of the players being babies but a concern about the adverse effects of the vaccination. The FDA and CDC has compiled over 1.3 million vaccine implicated ‘adverse effects’ including blood clots, myocarditis and other issues. There have been 29,000 deaths as well.

a-t

Myocarditis is a much more common side effect of getting COVID. The rate of COVID-related myocarditis is 146 per 100,000 people in the GENERAL population, not even those infected. The rate of COVID vaccine-related myocarditis is approximately 1 per 100,000. Every side effect the vaccines have is not only also a possible symptom of the actual disease, but the chances of occurrence and severity of the symptoms is much greater with the actual virus than with the vaccine.

Furthermore, given the commonality in specific adverse effects between the disease and vaccine, it stands to reason that those in common are both caused by an individual’s immune response to the spike protein, either found on the virus itself or via the mRNA vaccines. So: those with adverse reactions to the vaccine are much more likely to have severe symptoms if unvaccinated and infected. Additionally, being infected with the virus would cause a much longer continuous exposure to the spike protein inspiring the immune response than the mRNA vaccine.

All in all, the side effects of the vaccine are from the same source but much less severe than those of the disease itself. Which is the entire goddamn concept of a vaccine!

Link: https://www.beaumont.org/health-wellness/blogs/myocarditis-risk-associated-with-covid-19-infection

Joliet Orange Sox

Thank you Jim.

I just deleted the start of a long response to the OP that I was going to post. I realized that the chances of the OP being someone who was going to be swayed by my post were zero (as are the chances of the OP swaying me with a post).

This is a great place to talk about White Sox baseball. This all started with @Right Size Wrong Shape making a good joke about Chicago banning right handed opposing pitchers. Anti-vaxers have already made our workplaces and extended family gatherings into unpleasant places dominated by debate over facts.

I think the best thing for those of us who differ with the OP about vaccines to do is to upvote Jim’s reply and move on.

Last edited 4 months ago by Joliet Orange Sox
BuehrleMan

Probably the best advice but I might feel a little better if I could give the OP a downvote in addition to giving Jim an up one.

jorgefabregas

I believe at this point both countries do allow unvaccinated travelers, but there is a quarantine period (required for Canada, recommended for US) not possible w/ professional sports schedules.

calcetinesblancos

Is this a serious post or are you trolling?

BenwithVen

I’m bad with math, but what percentage is 1.3 million out of 222 million who received at one dose?

soxfan67

It may be a small percentage but it might mean more to you if you or a family member were one of the 1.3 million or one of the 29,000 deaths.

GrinnellSteve

Anyone who isn’t a Patreon supporter should consider becoming one after reading your comment.

fustercluck

c’mon Jim, you know he ain’t reading all that. (but thanks anyway)

chipporter

I’ve been studying vaccines for over 20 years, as a layman. My coworker had a profoundly autisic son and one day his wife came home and announced that the folks at his autism daycare center attributed his autism to vaccines.

Here is the backstory on the first, what they call in medicine, “vaccine hesitancy” or what we know as, “anti vaxxers”.

Robert Kennedy Jr. was an environmental lawyer famous for tilting at windmills. He would take on cases altruistically that no one else would handle. A woman who had a report authored by a British physician by the name of Andrew Wakefield, badgered Kennedy until he read the report and took up the cause.

To paraphrase the reports conclusion, a preservative used in vaccines, Thermosol, contains minute traces of mercury and that mercury was responsible for causing a number of maladies in children, primarily autism.

Long story short, Wakefield wound up being completely discredited for making up the report but he and Robert Kennedy Jr. were the founders of the first anti-vax movement. That movement continues to use the discredited report to this day.

The reality is, there has never been a failed vaccine…ever, anywhere. Some work better than others, some have more complications than others, but if you do the math, more people benefit from each vaccine than are harmed, by factors of logrhythmic proportions.

As an FYI, Dr’s are not taught immunology or vaccines in med school. They basically have no training in it. That’s why immunologists are so important. The current rate of vaccine hesitancy among Dr’s is slightly less than 10%. That may seem high, but that number has been constant for years. The reason is, the same as the public, ignorance.

So you can come out and say covid vaccine this and covid vaccine that, but in reality, it is a solid vaccine that has done tremendous good. So when people want to take on someone like Dr. Fauci, the most published and peer reviewed scientist in the history of the world, understand, that you and no one you know, has the chops to do that.

billm2214

I know I’m probably in the minority on this, but I think Ozzie would do a great job with this team. This group has more talent than any of his teams. Ozzie’s teams always played hard. I know everyone focuses on the controversies and social media would only make it worse. But if winning is the bottom line, I have no doubt they’d win the division and maybe go deep into the playoffs with him as manager.