Report: Tony La Russa set to announce retirement on Monday

The White Sox have given Tony La Russa the first of their parting gifts for managers whom Jerry Reinsdorf forced to overstay their welcome: a Bob Nightengale story that careens between an overly defensive stance and a rote accounting of the facts that undermines his position.

Nightengale alternated breaking news and breaking brains in his Sunday column. He said La Russa is expected to announce his retirement at a press conference in Chicago on Monday, when the White Sox hadn’t even announced the press conference to the, y’know, press.

Much like 2017, when Nightengale revised his story about Reinsdorf’s passive-aggressive arrangement for Robin Ventura’s final week to chastise White Sox fans who demanded better, he takes creative liberties with the events to cast La Russa as the protagonist of a hero’s journey that turned out to be impossible.

The whole story is worth reading multiple times, if only because every Nightwashing includes preposterous assertions that distract from milder sentences that are also wrong.

For instance, I spent my first read recovering from the whiplash these paragraphs gave me:

La Russa’s two-year stint will be widely considered a failure, but really, that’s unfair. He led the White Sox to a 93-69 record in his first year back 2021, losing to the Houston Astros in the first round. 

It led to surreal expectations this season. Anything less than a World Series title would be considered a failure. 

It was a disaster. 

The White Sox, drowning in mediocrity all season, were unable to put together any semblance of success until interim manager Miguel Cairo took over, going 13-6. It proved to be nothing more than a mirage. They needed to sweep the Cleveland Guardians in their last home stand. They instead lost eight consecutive games, putting a merciful end to their season

Nightengale goes from saying “failure” would be unfair, but “disaster” is appropriate. How does he square this up? By treating the White Sox’s record as predetermined:

The White Sox will now be looking for their fourth manager in eight seasons. White Sox GM Rick Hahn originally wanted to hire A.J. Hinch instead of La Russa, but it would have made no difference.

The more you spend time looking at this story, the more you see. The fans are the ones who had “surreal expectations,” not the general manager who proclaimed that his only unit of measurement for success was the parade. Said general manager wanted A.J. Hinch, but who cares, because even Earl Weaver couldn’t have bailed out his crap-assed roster.

And then there are the first two paragraphs:

It was one of baseball’s greatest feel-good stories,with a Hall of Fame manager coming out of retirement to lead his old team to a World Series title.

Only, it didn’t turn out the way it was supposed to.

It was the feel-good story nobody felt good about — especially after the DUI charge that Nightengale downplayed on La Russa’s behalf — and it turned out exactly how it was supposed to.

Anyway, Nightengale says the White Sox will “begin formulating a list of managerial candidates,” but based on the White Sox’s behavior this millennium, there’s no reason to believe they actually care enough to go through all the trouble of an actual process. He suggests Carlos Beltran, Bruce Bochy, Mike Shildt, Joe Espada and George Lombard. My sources, which are History and Precedent, say the White Sox are likely to limit their search to people Reinsdorf already knows, so Nightengale himself might be at the top of their list.

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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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Eddie

Bravo, Jim. You didn’t go hard enough.

chipporter

Maybe it’ll be Northbrook Bob. Reinsdorf knows him.

calcetinesblancos

The fact that he’s old enough to use a cane should push him to the front of the Reinsdorf line.

vince

This Nightengale article’s gaslighting is an example of everything Sox fans hate about this organization.

itaita

Im already set for the inevitable “We couldn’t spend much money cause we didn’t draw enough fans” bullshit Jerry loves using after this next FA period goes nowhere.

Trooper Galactus

The money was already spent in 2022 on players who were gonna stick around to be millstones in 2023. Kudos to Hahn on saddling the team with another season of Joe Kelly, AJ Pollock, Jake Diekman, Leury Garcia, and others.

JimMargalusBiggestFan

LOL this article was a chef’s kiss. In only a few hundred words, this article is an exposition on what it is to root for the White Sox. Even the most foreign among us can understand precisely what this fandom is about just by reading Bob Nightengale’s latest vomit.

asinwreck

A son could cite Bob’s column in a court case to assign a guardian or conservator over their father’s affairs. Unclear whether that son is Michael Reinsdorf or Bobby Nightengale.

Last edited 2 months ago by asinwreck
dwjm3

There will be an enormous opportunity for a new owner some day. This organization is so nails on a chalkboard annoying that a new owner will be be treated like a conquering hero if he hires a decent front office that delivers 5 playoff appearances and one title over the course of a decade.

StockroomSnail

Ask the Blackhawks

MikeAndrews2

Of course the sad part of this is you know that this is the line that the Sox will use all off season. It’s all our fault! “Even the reincarnation of Al Lopez himself couldn’t have overcome these pesky injuries and the irresponsible fan expectations”. One would think that the people in the FO were smart enough to know that the fan base would NEVER buy into this line—but obviously they are not. Incredible that they could be so out of touch with the customers.

StockroomSnail

This organization could blow it’s feet off with a kitana.

Tony La russa and “feel good” are antipodes in at least 2 ways.

It’s going to be Wee Willie Harris.

Last edited 2 months ago by StockroomSnail
steelydan52

We will never know if Hinch would have made a difference.
I don’t have any doubts about the disdain JR has for the media and some of it is deserved. Not including Jim, the sports writers of Chicago have almost turned into the brutal writers out east. And the writing, reporting hasn’t been equal to what the other Chicago team has gotten. Yeah, they won the WS but I’m going back to maybe the 80’s. Once the Trib company bought the other team the reporting got warped. I emailed Paul Sullivan a few years back about that very thing and after kind of ripping on Sox fans he emailed me that cub fans read more! Yes, he said that. Prick.
Now all reporters are like that and yes, Jerry deserves a lot of crap for how he’s handled things. A lot. I honestly feel that he no longer cares about what happens. The next few weeks will be very telling about this organization.

Trooper Galactus

Sullivan, like Nightengale, is a journalist not by dint of his investigative prowess or skill with the written word, but solely by being an uncritical mouthpiece for inside sources.

lastof12

Did I deliberately misread toward reality? begin formulating a list of marginal candidates.

To Err is Herrmann

Bob needs to look up the word “surreal.” If hoping the Sox win the division and maybe a playoff series is “surreal,” that is news to Salvador Dali and a century of art critics. The only thing surreal going on here is my brain melting.

Last edited 2 months ago by To Err is Herrmann
kingkellly

LaRussa was a laughably bad hire and he’s spent two years reinforcing that opinion.

But I agree with Nightengale on one point. No manager would have won the WS with this team the last two years. The Astros were streets ahead of them last year and roster construction/injuries/underperformance doomed any chance this team had. LaRussa’s exit can only help, but that’s focusing on fixing a broken wrist when you’ve been shot in the gut.

The players the Sox need to be stars have to be stars and unless that happens it’s just rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.

Last edited 2 months ago by kingkellly
calcetinesblancos

The idea that anyone was/was wanting to feel good about this is so laughably ridiculous. To put it mildly, TLR is seriously lacking in both character and sincerity; I hated the hire just based on that. I will admit that I didn’t realize he would be THAT bad at managing, but the idea that nobody saw this train wreck coming a mile away is bullshit.

dongutteridge

So, after the comprehensive search, should we expect Darryl Boston or Joe McEwing?

chipporter

Bobby Thigpen

calcetinesblancos

Harold Baines. He’s a hall of famer, brother.

ForsterFTOG

One of my happiest days as a Sox fan will be when Daryl Boston is fired.

upnorthsox

They’ll never find a better body armor holder.

BuehrleMan

Only eleven years too late. So long, sucker. Good riddance.

670WMAQtheElder

Assuming the sources are TLR or JR or both there’s no surprise that Bob wouldn’t blame TLR. Looks like the plan is to blame the roster. So look out, Rick!

If he still has his job, Rick’s countermove will be to blame the injuries and I expect he will make a couple of mild but negative comments about TLR’s influence on roster construction and injured players to defect blame from himself.

And for us, the organizational dysfunction continues….sigh!

gibby32

The Nightengale piece is utter horseshit. But he can square the “unfair” and “disaster” seeming contradiction by saying that his disaster comment related to 2022, but the overall criticism of LaRussa would be unfair because of the 2021 playoff attainment. The guy is a steaming pile, however.