Following up: Police report puts some Tony La Russa words on the record

While the White Sox and Tony La Russa have dodged the media thus far, they also dodged a couple bullets, because neither of the team’s award candidates over the past two days were able to secure their respective honor. Luis Robert was a runner-up to Kyle Lewis for Rookie of the Year on Monday, and Rick Renteria took second place behind Kevin Cash for Manager of the Year on Tuesday.

Had Robert won his award, everybody would have bemoaned the fact that La Russa’s pre-hiring DUI charge overshadowed why this team excited the baseball world. Had Renteria somehow beaten Cash, it would have supplied critics with a very simple rhetorical jab — the White Sox let go of an award-winning manager for this?

Renteria also spared them some awkwardness by declining to appear on MLB Network’s award show. Instead, his choice made the visual presentation awkward for the network, which displayed a still image of a mask-wearing Renteria alongside live video of Cash and the other finalist, Toronto’s Charlie Montoyo.

Both finished as justifiable silver medalists, which is the kind of result that gets relegated to a paragraph in a “Sox notes” article. Some might argue that Robert would have provided a distraction from the La Russa news, but I can’t see that. An award recognizes a two-month body of work among a limited field that was completed more than a month ago. The La Russa mess is still a smoldering wreck, and that gets novelty points for determining newsworthiness.

* * * * * * * * *

Speaking of which, while La Russa still hasn’t spoken about the charges, ESPN relayed his words on the night of his arrest by obtaining the police report from Arizona. The details are worth learning for the sake of accuracy in present and future discussions, because they could get lost underneath some pretty memorable verbiage.

Before the arresting officer placed him in a vehicle, La Russa said: “Do you see my ring?” When asked what he meant, La Russa answered: “I’m a Hall of Famer baseball person.” He continued: “I’m legit. I’m a Hall of Famer, brother. You’re trying to embarrass me.”

This is equal parts amusing and disturbing. Some people picked up on “legit.” Some read La Russa’s dropping of “brother” in Hulk Hogan’s voice. Some matched the cadence of “Hall of Famer baseball person” to “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.” There are at least three notes to riff on for the foreseeable future.

It’s also a problem, because if La Russa resorted to do-you-know-who-I-am to try to evade this stop, it raises the question of how many times that’s gotten him out of previous incidents. On the other hand, it does answer the question of why La Russa was so dismissive and judgmental about the “sincerity” of police brutality protests, because it appears the officer afforded him a certain amount of belligerence. Doesn’t everybody get the same?

* * * * * * * * *

Marcus Stroman is on record — at least Twitter record — of saying he has no interest in playing for La Russa, which would apparently take one of the market’s top starting pitchers out of play.

The best pitcher on the market sounded a lot more ambivalent about the situation.

Trevor Bauer waxed rhetorical, philosophical, hypothetical and other “cals” during a 20-minute soliloquy on his YouTube page (thanks to Garry for alerting me). You can watch the whole thing if you’d like …

… but the key part pops up at the 15-minute mark, when Bauer describes his own approach.

Would it affect me, having a manager that has some issues like that off the field? It might. It might not. Generally speaking, I’m fairly forgiving until I meet someone in person, and have them interact with me, and judge their character for myself. I don’t like going based on anybody else’s judge of character. I like to actually meet someone and have a conversation.

So I’m sure in my free agency, that process would be important to me — that I can talk to the manager of whatever team that I’m going to sign with, and just get to know him and understand what his principles are, how he manages, his style and stuff like that.

Bauer sounded more concerned about whether somebody like La Russa is open-minded enough to appreciate how differently players prepare and present themselves in 2020. It’s a legit issue for him, given that his career got off to a false start with the Diamondbacks for such reasons, but he didn’t appear to be in any rush to rule out a potential suitor.

* * * * * * * * *

The White Sox get a one-day break from awards season today before the main event — José Abreu’s bid for Most Valuable Player on Thursday. That’s also the day that ESPN 1000 is supposed to announce their new flagship partnership with the White Sox.

If you’re waiting for the White Sox and/or La Russa to offer comments, I’d imagine they’ll wait until after, lest they trample on a new business partner and the momentous achievement of the franchise’s most beloved current player. Unlike ROY or MOY, the MVP award is hefty enough accomplishment to take hold of a news cycle for a day or two, especially if nobody brings anything new to the table here. Should Abreu join Robert and Renteria in finishing second, the La Russa debacle gives everybody a fallback option.

(Photo by Jerome Davis/Icon Sportswire)

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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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texag10

The Trevor Bauer comments are all well and good but La Russa won’t even talk to players already on the White Sox so I think it’s going to be difficult for Bauer to have that sit down with La Russa anytime soon. You’d think we wouldn’t have much left to hit with how many times we’ve shot ourselves in the foot over the years….

lastof12

Yeah, a new flagship on the radio I can’t listen to! And the Sox lack of any response regarding the TLR debacle is a huge FU to the fanbase. I can’t stomach this team (the team I love) right now.

As Cirensica

The lack of communication from the White Sox organization on this matter is mind boggling. They are acting as there is nothing to see when pretty much every baseball outlet is talking about this. I believe Hahn does not want to deal with this fustercluck because “it is your mess, Reinsdorf, not mine”.

knoxfire30

Is it though? Jerry basically never talks to anyone ever, and KW and Rick are likely on the brink of quitting so why would they come to the rescue and face media scrutiny? This is exactly the response I expected from the whitesox.

dwjm3

The only way I see this ending is LaRussa deciding this isn’t worth it and deciding to resign. Jerry won’t fire him as he doesn’t care what any fans think or the media for that matter

metasox

Firing La Russa is what got them into this mess in the first place

Amar

Why do you think KW and Hahn are likely on the brink of quitting? I haven’t read anything that would remotely suggest that.

fustercluck

You better believe Hahn does not want to deal with me right around now. JR is trying to embarrass us all. And I’m legit, brother.

karkovice squad

MLB teams are terrible at crisis comms. Even more when they don’t recognize the crisis exists in the first place.

mikeschach

Hopefully they are working out an amicable, face-saving, voluntary end to this mess…
but it hasn’t been a great week for old guys admitting it’s time to step down from the job of their dreams

Malkatraz

I don’t know why people are hoping for this. All the info coming out now the Sox brass (Jerry) knew beforehand… and preceded anyway.

Just John

I’m not hoping for a face-saving end. However, I’m still cautious regarding the Reifert quote, “I can confirm we were aware.” I’m not excusing White Sox for the hiring, as it was an ill fit regardless of the legal proceedings. Nevertheless, TLR’s side of the story may have changed now that the charges are official and I’m very interested in Hahn’s explanation of WHAT they knew.

soxexile

Did the Sox say that they knew in advance that TLR would be charged, or only that they knew he’d been pulled over? Maybe they assumed that if he hadn’t been charged by now he wouldn’t be charged ever?

MrTopaz

larry from the old site was saying on twitter that Reifert’s quote sounded like the sort of panicked assertion that they knew about it that a team that just got blindsided might make. I wonder if there’s something to that, and now they don’t want to back track? I haven’t heard any of the off the record stuff, so I don’t know if the unhappy front office types have confirmed that they knew, or that they didn’t and tried to put up a poorly constructed front that’s just causing more problems.

metasox

The entire hiring was to make amends for a past firing. It is hard to see it ending in another firing

dwjm3

Bauer is a smarter negotiator than Stroman apparently. It doesn’t make a lot of sense to publicly rule out any team when trying to maximize your value on the free agent market.

GrinnellSteve

I wonder if we’ll hear from the Sox today. An Abreu MVP will change the conversation a day later. Of course, the conversation would quickly turn back to LaRussa, and all they would have managed to do is shit on Abreu’s biggest moment.

MrStealYoBase

Tom Fornelli said it best I think:

I think the best hire you can make is a combination of things.

1. You want somebody to alienate a large portion of your customer base.

2. You want somebody with off the field legal issues.

3. You want somebody who will cause potential employees to say “nah.”

Grand slam hire.

— Write Sox (@WriteSox) November 10, 2020

knoxfire30

4. You want someone who is your bestie cause that in no way shape or form impairs your judgement.

texag10

It’s low key brilliant though. If no Free Agents want to sign on with the White Sox, Jerry doesn’t have to spend any money. Checkmate.

carbiner

This is some Thom Brennamen level tragic comedy

fustercluck

Do you see my ring? I’m a hall of famer baseball person. I’m legit. I’m a hall of famer, brother, as there’s a drive into deep left field by Castellanos and that’ll be a home run. And so that’ll make it a 4-0 ballgame.

denny

Dear Mr. Hahn: After winning The Executive of the Year award, it seems you don’t even have the cajones to get out in front of this hot mess that Jerry, Kenny, and yourself are complicit in creating. Man, I had such faith in you and excited anticipation for the 2021 White Sox. We’ll get through this Covid crisis, we’ll get through this national political divisiveness, and the White Sox contending in 2021 was to be the catalyst for hope again (for me). Thank you, Mr. Executive of the Year for allowing Reinsdorf to throw a bucket of cold water on that. I’ll save the money I was going to spend on tickets this summer…Either fire LaRussa before this gets worse or fire yourself.

As Cirensica

*cojones*

denny

Thank you for the correction. Spell check didn’t catch that one. I was more concerned on the spellings of complicit, divisiveness, and catalyst. Didn’t cojones play left field for the 1969 Mets ?

As Cirensica

I am not sure, but Keko Jones* plays in many teams.

*Probably only native Spanish speakers will get this one.

denny

I must be older than you… I was obscurely referring to Cleon Jones. Oh, well.

As Cirensica

I got your joke. ☺ I tried to add one of my own, but, I guess it isn’t a good one.

madridsox

Yes, it is. At least to me.

denny

It is funny, but I think the spelling is *kiko*

As Cirensica

That was the joke!

I’ll try to explain:

Keko Jones is “phonetically” speaking in Spanish “Que Cojones” (Ke(que) Kojones (cojones) which is a typical expression to say “What the fuck”. If I used Kiko, then it won’t work. I think MadridSox got it 🙂

asindc

If you want someone to fire TLR, you should be directly your statement to the person responsible.

denny

I have sent an email and left a phone message to Chic White Sox and as yet have not received a response. I did forget to preface my comment above in a “Open letter to…” format, which would have been more proper. Thank you.

carbiner

For some non white sox related baseball levity, here’s your NL manager of the year:

Don Mattingly gets thrown out of the game, but not before he has his say. from baseball

Ugh.

Tony Lugh. Russa

Willardmarshall

Just wondering what behaviors Reinsdorf noticed — or didn’t! — during all those hours spent jawing with TLR….

asinwreck

Chuck Garfien – “so could Tony La Russa have to spend a night in jail during spring training or even a regular season game?”

Bob Nightengale – “Well David Ross missed the first 3 games of the season with the flu.”

Can’t. Make. This. Up.

— Casey Boguslaw (@caseyboguslaw) November 11, 2020

I've heard Bob Nightengale speak for 20 seconds and I literally cannot with him.

"It's embarrassing but not serious"

I only follow him because Jerry speaks to him. When a new owner takes over for the White Sox, that will be cutting the cord.

— Josh Nelson (@soxmachine_josh) November 11, 2020

“Embarrassing but not serious” is a good summation of Jerry Reinsdorf’s philosophy of owning a baseball team. Not serious about winning, and certainly embarrassing.

Greg Nix

I just tweeted this, but there’s a very real possibility TLR has to spend a week-plus in jail. I know lots of people who have gotten DUIs in Arizona, and it’s virtually impossible to avoid at least one night as part of your sentence. For a second timer (even if it’s not technically on his record still) the judge could absolutely decide he needs a longer sentence. In fact, if he doesn’t spend at least one night in prison, the reason is probably due to COVID precautions.

raylewis67

The Nightengale interview was, or at least should have been, an embarrassing travesty on BN’s own account because the confirmation bias preventing him from giving a single reasonable answer was palpable. BN literally suggested that Tony should use the same lines to win over the clubhouse, as he did to unsuccesfully evade arrest during the stop. But, in a way I am embracing BN having the platform to espouse these positions because this is the closest to a Jerry mouthpiece that we will get. Let there be little doubt over what Jerry’s responses to the same questions would be, now that BN has given them.

asinwreck

Marcus Stroman has accepted the QO and is staying with the Mets.

dwjm3

What a tool….Spouting off about the White Sox when he intended to sign a qualifying offer.

Right Size Wrong Shape

Kenny Williams is going to have to tell him to stay out of White Sox business.

Just John

I was on my way to crafting a series of compliments for Marcus and his courage to give up earning power for something he believes in. On the contrary, I’m glad I didn’t finish what I started as it’s clear now his comments lacked “sincerity”.

jorgefabregas

His comments and actions were in line. He said he wouldn’t take more money to sign with the White Sox, then demonstrated it.

dwjm3

My thought is why say anything at all? If he didn’t intend to test the free agent market why bother commenting? He wasn’t interested in anybody’s money but the NY Mets.

asinwreck

I’m good with a player publicly attacking the team’s buffoonery. Why should the Sox be the beneficiaries of polite silence? They haven’t earned it.

dwjm3

I agree with you that the White Sox don’t deserve any deference. The organization hasn’t comported itself in a fashion that is worthy of respect.

My issue with Stroman is acted like he was crossing them off his free agent list out of principle when he never intended to pursue free agency in the first place.

asinwreck

We don’t know what private discussions took place. Stroman’s one public comment on the timing is that he was inspired be yesterday’s Cohen-Alderson press conference. For all we know, Hahn offered him $20mil/year over 3 years (or some such) last week.

MrTopaz

He might have been interested in other teams’ money. He might have specifically been interested in the Sox’ money, until this catastrophe rolled through.

Buehrlesque

There is simply no defending any of this from the White Sox, or specifically Reinsdorf. Reinsdorf doesn’t make himself available to the public or media (nor does he care), so everyone has to keep the heat turned up on the rest of the org, including Hahn and KW. They weren’t responsible for the decision, but they’ve agreed to the role of taking the brunt of the backlash and outrage. As for TLR himself, anyone with a semblance of perspective, selflessness and respect for the fans would have stepped down. Clearly TLR has none of those things.

fustercluck

Whenever TA breaks the ice with TLR, he might ask how Tony thinks that arrest might have played out differently if Tim were in his position. Sincerely.

ParisSox

I logged in just to +1 this

blackoutsox

lmao of course Bauer is a youtuber

Sell the team Jerry!

dongutteridge

It was a terrible hire from the get go. Jerry’s management team was not on board with it which makes it a bad call. Then, tack on the other 10-12 reasons that it’s a bad hire. If they don’t get rid of him now and get someone decent in a hurry this is gonna be one shit storm of a season for the Sox. The worst part is that the Sox were just starting to get respect again from their fans and the rest of baseball. It’s really like they just can’t stop shooting themselves in the foot. Well, we shouldn’t have to wait too many more years for new ownership.

asinwreck

.@DannyParkins:

"It's in play right now that the first member of the White Sox organization to speak publicly and address Tony La Russa being charged with his second DUI is … MVP Jose Abreu speaking through a translator. That's not fair."

Full segment: https://t.co/G9Cm7iG5J2 pic.twitter.com/3D2Mm7q5Uv

— 670 The Score (@670TheScore) November 11, 2020

Jerry Reinsdorf, Tony La Russa, Kenny Williams, and Rick Hahn are cowards. There is no leadership in this organization.

MattVerplaetse

I have trouble condemning Williams or Hahn for this situation since all accounts indicate it was forced upon them. As the one that insists on perpetuating this dumpster fire, Reinsdorf should absolutely be the one to address it.

dwjm3

I honestly hope Kenny and Rick continue to say nothing. Let Jerry own every bit of this. It is his failure.

asinwreck

Yes, but when it comes to the point that the players become the spokesmen for the team, then the abdication of authority extends beyond Reinsdorf to the “management” under him. They have a moral duty to the players to lead. All four men have failed to do so.

dwjm3

Well Jerry decided it’s his job to hire and fire coaches instead of the front office. I guess he can handle this duty as well.

MattVerplaetse

Exactly. If Jerry is going to take on decision-making that would normally belong to the front office personnel, he should also have to defend those decisions.

metasox

I never had a job where I could just pass the buck because management above me didn’t know what they were doing or made a decision I disagreed with. As I see it, they should either do the job they signed up for or resign.

MattVerplaetse

That’s the whole problem though – the second Reinsdorf interfered with the hiring of the manager, Hahn and Williams were no longer allowed to do the jobs they signed up for, through no fault of their own.

dwjm3

Oh you are correct that is how a functional organization operates. The White Sox are an organization that makes hiring and firing decisions based on 1980s regrets. Since Jerry is focused on the 1980s maybe he can drive to the park in his Oldsmobile Delta 88 and clean up his mess.

Amar

I can’t access the Score from DK, what did Abreu say?

I would assume he would say that the DUI is serious but that the players will give TLR the opportunity to explain fully to players, or something similar, etc?

To Err is Herrmann

It’s hard to believe Jerry would regret something for 34 years then turn around and replicate it in a matter of days. He has dug in. Also hard to believe that Tony LaRussa would suddenly humble himself, back down, apologize and resign. It’s a Mexican standoff, in a manner of speaking. The odds are that the White Sox roll into the 2021 season like this. I feel like one of those cartoon characters who has just been hit in the face with a cast-iron frying pan.

asinwreck

White Sox are not expected to formally comment on manager Tony La Russa’s DUI arrest and charges until the legal case is resolved.

To that end, there is not a known timeline. The Maricopa County court system website lists a pre-trial conference scheduled for Dec. 8.

— James Fegan (@JRFegan) November 12, 2020

asinwreck

I will repeat myself: Jerry Reinsdorf is a coward. Kenny Williams is a coward. Rick Hahn is a coward.

Tony La Russa is a recidivist drunk driver and a coward.

None of these people are leaders, none of these deserve respect from the young men they purport to manage.

As Cirensica

I agree. The White Sox are shielding themselves on weak particularities. Not wanting to make a comment on this topic now is gonna make it look worst than it is. The problem won’t go away. Journalists will still ask about it. Journalists aren’t gonna wait politely until the legal case is solved. Hahn cannot hide forever, and then come back to talk about baseball business ignoring this.

The White Sox know the screwed it up. The underestimated the fan’s reaction. They were not prepared. Did they really knew about the DUI before they hired TLR? I wonder. I bet they weren’t. TLR knows the mess he has caused, and he says nothing. He does not resign either. There is lack of transparency.

On the other hand, recidivist, oh cool…I learned a new word!

HallofFrank

We don’t want a comment. We want a firing. Find someone fit for the job and we’ll listen—until then, I couldn’t really care less what the comment is.

metasox

Unless JR really changed his mind and doesn’t want him – which I doubt – that doesn’t seem likely. The way forward is for La Russa to publicly acknowledge he has a problem and is working on it, and for the Sox to say they are supporting him in that effort. The Sox become the good guys, supporting redemption. That should have been part of the deal with JR, and perhaps some acknowledgement and contrition is in the mix – as opposed to simply ignoring it. Whether he is an effective manager, who knows, but at least there can be a path forward from this.

HallofFrank

This was my first reaction, too—JR clearly knew about it, wanted TLR anyway, and so will stick by his man. So, why expect anything will change?

There has, however, been a greater outpouring of criticism than I initially anticipated. This is partly on the heels of further details about the incident. I saw a petition circulating online aimed at White Sox sponsors, encouraging them to pull their support. Which, even if not because of an online petition, is not out of the question if this is the story. And, at this point, there’s almost no chance this cloud doesn’t hang over the entire 2021 season—win or lose. Ultimately, you’re probably right—I doubt fans can kick up enough dust to convince JR that TLR isn’t the guy. But at this point *even Jerry* has to recognize this is looking like a costly decision (in potentially a number of ways).

Hopefully, he’ll recognize the way out of the hole is to turn around and reach for an outstretched hand, but he sure does seem resolved to keep digging.

MarketMaker

Headline: Billionaire wants what he wants to the detriment of everyone else, gets it

jorgefabregas

Cy Young vote totals. Keuchel 5th, Giolito 7th. https://www.mlb.com/news/2020-cy-young-award-vote-totals

phillyd

Is there precedent for MLB levying punishment on LaRussa after his trial.

As Cirensica

MLB does not have an DUI policy as far as I know. Many have wanted it, but it is up in the air.

denny

Over a normal offseason and into spring training, Rick Hahn will be responsible for announcing and presenting assorted details on transactions, roster moves, injuries, etc. I wonder how the fans and media will react to his press conferences if he doesn’t address the LaRussa cluster-f**k beforehand.