Spare Parts: The ‘Ted Lasso’ White Sox tie nobody talks about

Donny Lucy
(Photo by Christopher Hanewinckel/USA TODAY Sports)

It took me weeks to watch the entirety of the third/final season of Ted Lasso, because the overstuffed runtimes made it difficult to watch multiple episodes in one evening. That’s forced me to wait to mention something that no responsible White Sox blogger should let go unsaid.

(If you’re avoiding spoilers, skip ahead to the Spare Parts.)

It involves Zava, the international soccer superstar who briefly elevated AFC Richmond by himself, only to withdraw from the club as it began to stall out. He disappeared and eventually announced his retirement in the fifth episode of the 12-episode arc.

To hear the actor tell it, Zava was inspired by various soccer personalities, primarily Zlatan Ibrahimovic. But obviously the writers took inspiration from an entirely different sport’s superstar.

After all, Zava retired to tend to his avocado farm …

… which is precisely what White Sox catcher Donny Lucy did after the 2011 season, even though he, too, was at the height of his powers. Larry broke the story for South Side Sox, and the Produce News ended up running with it a few months later:

A Dec. 16, 2011, article on SouthSideSox.com paid a glowing tribute to Donny Lucy, calling his retirement from Major League Baseball “the most important White Sox Story of the off-season.” The article described Donny as “a key performer. His career line is excellent for a catcher. But it’s not just his superlative on-field skills that mattered. As a Stanford graduate, he brought a Greg Maddux-esque cerebral approach to the game. Scouts raved about his ability to handle pitching staffs, which is no surprise considering he is a summa cum laude graduate of the White Stag Leadership Camp. His mere presence inspired all those around him.”

I waited until the final episode to see if Zava reappeared, but he sent a care package before the final game of the season, which included a massive avocado. Just like Lucy stayed committed to the avocado game, so much so that he’s now the vice president of Del Rey Avocado Co., as he and his brother took over the family business from his father last year.

Perhaps it was memory-holed, but Google and Twitter searches for “Donny Lucy” and “Zava” or “Ted Lasso” turns up zero results. Now there’s one.

Spare Parts

I took a crack at that question this week, but here’s Davy Andrews with his own look at Anderson’s off season. He notes that Anderson is struggling against fastballs and swinging at far fewer of them, but he built a lot of success on spraying fastballs all over the field, so he’s kinda stuck.

Carlos Rodón’s Yankees career, which was delayed by a back injury, is off to a miserable start now that he’s on the field. He’s 0-3 with a 7.36 ERA over three starts, and his last one ended with him blowing a kiss to a heckling Yankees fan at Angel Stadium.

The Mariners will be without Jarred Kelenic for a while, as he broke his foot after kicking a water cooler when he struck out in a lengthy battle against Minnesota’s Jhoan Duran. The injury is goofy, but Kelenic’s reaction is anything but.

When Shane Bieber and Triston McKenzie were healthy, all the Guardians needed at the deadline was a little bit of offense. With Bieber and McKenzie’s returns unclear, they no longer have pitching depth to deal.

The Yankees shifted Josh Donaldson to the 60-day injured list as he deals with his latest calf injury. It freezes one of the more bizarre stat lines you’ll see. He’s hitting .142/.225/.434, but 10 of his 15 hits have left the yard.

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karkovice squad

Glad that Fangraphs piece on Anderson go in depth on the plate discipline/pitch selection struggles I mentioned in the comments on your article about him. I do think there’s an underlying mechanical issue with his swing plane that he needs to fix and the Sox aren’t suited to address. Unfortunately, Statcast hasn’t made that data public and the only other provider is a subscription service marketed to the teams.

Josh Nelson

I’m with you that swing data needs to be a feature Baseball Savant

OldMMJ87

My dad has a theory about an actual South Side connection to Ted Lasso, it’s a bit convoluted, but bear with me:

Lasso is played by Jason Sudekis, the nephew of White Sox fan George Wendt who grew up in Beverly and went to school at Christ the King (Sudekis even mentioned that Christ the King had a Ted Lasso viewing event in an interview with 60 Minutes). When Sudekis moved to Chicago to do Second City, he initially stayed with his grandparents who lived at 92nd and Bell, in the series finale when they show Lasso’s family back in Witchita watching the game against West Ham, they show their house is at the intersection of 92nd and Bell.

It’s convoluted but that’s all I got in terms of Ted Lasso and a South Side connection, other than the obvious Donny Lucy inspiration.

itaita

Wouldn’t be the first time somebody in a form of media forgot the Sox existed!