Central Concerns: Tony La Russa submits plea; Cleveland changing names

Two ongoing issues plaguing AL Central teams pivoted in a new direction on Sunday.

For the White Sox, James Fegan reported that Tony La Russa will plead to lesser charges to resolve his drunk driving arrest.

Last Wednesday night, La Russa’s attorney Larry Kazan submitted a plea agreement to the Maricopa County Justice Court. The agreement calls upon La Russa to plead guilty to a charge of reckless driving, a class 2 misdemeanor, as opposed to driving under the influence.

A copy of the agreement, acquired by The Athletic, comes with the terms that La Russa will serve a day in jail, but stipulates that the state is not opposed to work release or home detention if La Russa qualifies and a judge approves. A Maricopa County Justice Courts spokesperson indicated that a mandatory day in jail is typical for DUI offenses, but it will be determined at the Dec. 21 hearing if that requirement will be necessary for La Russa’s plea of reckless driving, which is a lesser charge.

This seems like the result of the kind of lawyering that the wealthy can afford, and it gives the White Sox a couple of courses for whatever response they’ve spent a month cooking up. The hope is that the Sox will still address the significance of the incident even without a court convicting him of a specific DUI charge, because La Russa’s previous conviction and the details of the police report indicate an underlying problem, and by hiring La Russa, they’ve now bringing him and his still-active driver’s license to Chicago’s roads.

(Regarding our Hall of Famer Baseball Person t-shirts, we’re down to our last medium and three smalls. We’ll be donating the proceeds to the Alliance Against Intoxicated Motorists later this month.)

* * * * * * * * *

Meanwhile, the Cleveland Indians won’t be the Cleveland Indians for long.

The New York Times reported Sunday night, and the team confirmed today, that the Cleveland franchise will finally move toward a new mascot after 105 years.

It’s a good move, but the Indians are going to take their time making it. The team name will remain the same through the 2021 season, and Chief Wahoo — the biggest issue with the Cleveland brand — will still be on merchandise during that time.

In defense of the team’s ownership, switching names was probably a lot easier before the organization had to secure every single social media platform in advance. It just sets up an awkward year, and a whole host of bad-faith arguments for people who can use this topic to restate their political priors.

(Photo by Gage Skidmore)

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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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That’s a pretty routine plea bargain for a DUI in Arizona.

Eagle Bones

With or without a lawyer though? I know Jim said “wealthy”, but maybe the better line of demarcation is “able to afford a non-Lionel Hutz style attorney”?

Completely different charge, but I ended up with a stupid underage drinking citation in college. I was able to get a lawyer and he got it knocked down to “drinking in public” and all I had to do was not get in trouble for 6 months and it got wiped off my record. Friends of mine who did not (or couldn’t afford to) get a lawyer got their drivers licenses suspended (I want to say for a year), pay a fine and do community service.


Without would be tougher, but even a competent public defender could probably get this done – most of them are experienced in this area.

Big Hurt Beer

I’m surprised yours was that serious. Where did you go to college? I got an underage drinking ticket as well (Champaign, IL) and all I had to do was pay a relatively small fine ($300, which was not small to me at the time). They reported it to the school as well, but there was definitely no real legal trouble attached to mine.


The Cleveland Really Sucks is available as a new monicker, or at least I think Joakim Noah is willing to let Cuyahoga County have it.


I wonder if “The Cleveland Suckers” is available across the social media platforms.


Any Cleveland name that isnt the Spiders is a bad move. Sports needs more arachnid representation.


If Francona stays on as manager, they can be Tito & Tarantulas.


Uh this needs a fan vote and when they realize how popular cleveland steamers is.. that will be your winner

writers should love that, the cleveland steamers pile it on team x, steamers on a streak, steamers drop bombs on…. steamers stay hot…. i mean this stuff writes itself … i’ll go now.

Eagle Bones

I like Spiders personally, but apparently that might get vetoed because of people hating / being scared of spiders.

I also can’t find it now, but I read something the other night about that name not having the greatest history either. Anyone else recall what I’m thinking of?


Spiders is a great name, but it’s the poster child for the abuses of syndicate baseball. In the 1890s the owner of the Spiders also owned St. Louis (I think). He transferred the best Spiders to St.Louis, leaving the Spiders so bad they had to finish their season on the road because no one was paying to watch them in Cleveland. I want to say they had a winning percentage descending toward .200.

I wrote a movie script (Unsold, unproduced, probably ungood) that had an expansion team called the Charlotte Spiders. I’m a fan of the name in principle. I don’t know if it’s appropriate in Cleveland, though.


St. Louis, indeed, one of the few times the Browns were the least embarrassing team in a baseball discussion.

If there’s another lengthy pandemic pause to baseball, we’re going to demand a table read of the Charlotte Spiders script.


A .130 winning percentage! Even worse than I remembered.

A table read. Yikes! Any shred of respect you all have for me would be nuked.


Clearly your assuming we have some respect for you Steve.


Not even a shred?


Hey Jim,
Is it possible to send those T-shirts directly overseas? I can’t seem to change the country for shipping.


How does donating profits promote equity? Bigger tax breaks?


Seems cheap. Cleveland could have done like Washington and called themselves the Cleveland Baseball Team for a year. Plenty of soccer teams go by [City] FC (football club).


I like that Cleveland Baseball Team has the same initials as Competitive Balance Tax. It’s the closest the team will get to being associated with the luxury tax in any way.


The Cleveland Nine has a certain ring to it


In Cleveland, the locals see Spiders as the most obvious choice. Alternately, I expect they’ll seek a Rock & Roll theme, but distinct from the Colorado franchise. Clevelanders don’t allow themselves to take pride in much else. Personally, I’d like the “Cleveland Burning Rivers”, but that’s already taken by a local beer.


Cleveland Rockers – the name of the former WNBA team which disbanded after the 2003 season.

Right Size Wrong Shape

I would be for that if their new uniforms were modeled after the attire worn by Shawn Michaels and Marty Jannetty.


How about the Cleavers? Not sure if Eddie Haskell would approve.

El Arvo

New nicknames for Cleveland take me back to the tourism video submissions from over a decade ago
There are 3 videos with plenty of inspiration for a new nickname


Last weekend Brandmeier had an amusing La Russa – White Christmas (White Russian) parody.

I don’t know how to post it but I would email it or text it if you want to hear it.