José Abreu is disappointed, Tony La Russa angry, White Sox fans angrier

When José Abreu speaks, the White Sox listen, but White Sox fans don’t have to hang on every word.

Abreu is too politically adept to give the public exactly what it wants to hear. He never shows anything but the utmost respect to his bosses, to the extent that Robin Ventura would probably still be managing the team if it were Abreu’s call. And while Liam Hendriks said that Abreu issued the gravest words during the White Sox’s team meeting last week, he boiled down his rendition to boilerplate material.

“My point in that meeting was if we believe that we can do it, we can do it,” Abreu said through team interpreter Billy Russo. “The success is in the unity of a team. I truly believe that because that’s my goal in life and in my family. That’s how I strive as a family man. Being this is my second family, I just try to enforce that message here and try to have everybody understand and try to get everybody together, everybody to come together in that same goal. If we believe it, we can make things happen. But we have to believe it, like I said. That was my message and point in that meeting.”

None of that is all that enlightening to us on the outside, but reading through the rest of James Fegan’s account of the media session, one sentence jumped out to me. Here’s the full quote without any emphasis to see if the same sentence jumps out to you (scroll slowly if you don’t want the spoiler).

Speaking before the game Saturday, Abreu wouldn’t go as far as to say that something is missing with this group compared with last season, when that team easily won a division crown despite a similarly rough injury situation to this year.

“Comparisons are tough, are difficult,” Abreu said through Russo. “To compare last season with this one is not fair. It’s different. It’s different seasons. Honestly, I think this is a really good culture, to put it that way. I think the group of guys that we have here, the young guys — even though I don’t think we are as young as we think we are — are trying to do their best every day. Like I said, if we believe, we can get to a point in this stretch where we can make things happen. But we have to believe.”

It’s actually more of an aside than a sentence now that I’m ready to single it out.

Ready?

— even though I don’t think we are as young as we think we are —

That’s a fascinating combination of words because it retains accuracy no matter how far you twist the “personal judgment” dial, and it appears there’s at least some.

At its least scornful interpretation, Abreu might be noting that Luis Robert, Eloy Jiménez, Yoán Moncada and Tim Anderson will have anywhere from three to seven full seasons under their belt at the end of the year, and if they can’t be counted as full seasons, it’s only because they keep getting hurt like 50-year-olds do, pulling muscles on movements that should be routine for them. (Michael Kopech is only working on his second full season, albeit one that’s four years removed from his debut.)

At its most vinegar-soaked, Abreu might be issuing a critique of arrested development at the team and individual levels. “You’re going to be 25/27/28/30 years old, and you’re using empty pizza boxes for blankets. When are you going to get it together?”

That’s the biggest question, and one that’s going to linger over the entire offseason like smoke from one of Jerry Reinsdorf’s defeat cigars. If there’s an abundance of talent here, the Sox are squandering it, trailing a Guardians team that didn’t even try to get better over the last year, and a Twins team that’s more injured than the Sox. If the talent isn’t as abundant as it appeared, the Sox have to figure out how to get out from under it.

Rick Hahn has faced this problem twice before, and both episodes resulted in lengthy rebuilds without having accomplished anything. History says that letting him fix a roster on the fly is like expecting a dog to solve a Rubik’s Cube. Even if you gave him the necessary implements, he still wouldn’t have the vision.

Ultimately, Abreu defaulted to a pragmatic optimism in the form of a tautology from Havana’s Yogi Berra (“There is a saying in Cuba that it’s not done until it’s done”) because there’s no other option.

Tony La Russa echoed similar sentiments, but he laid out alternative feelings to explore, and fans have already beaten him to the punch.

Judging from the reception at Guaranteed Rate Field post-Elvis Night, fans have moved on from the first part of DABDA, and now they’re exploring the second letter. Most of the online chatter from Saturday’s game followed the two heroes hoisting a “SELL THE TEAM” sign in various parts of the lower bowl.

The excellent photo at the top of this piece captures the banner as it came closest to the action in the bottom of the ninth. It shows AJ Pollock hitting the deck after Luis Frias buzzed his tower. Afterward, Tony La Russa tried to get angry himself by glaring into the Diamondbacks dugout for the duration of Pollock’s at-bat.

Here are three GIFs of La Russa’s, and in the last two, I had to include the Arizona broadcast’s cutaway so you know you’re not watching the same 15 frames on loop.

The brief glimpse of Torey Lovullo’s eye rub more or less summed up his indifference after the game, and suggests that the White Sox’s anger is going to be as impotent as everything else this season.

The fans’ efforts in this area will probably be just as ineffective, but there’s a brief window where “rage as the prevailing sentiment” is novel, so they may as well seize the opportunity before it gives way to indifference. White Sox fans eventually reach acceptance, and it’s reflected in attendance.

Take a second to support Sox Machine on Patreon
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.

Articles: 3724
62 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Shingos Cheeseburgers

At least they also did an in stadium promotion for the Saudi golf league last night. Good vibes all around!

Root Cause

I know it is unintentional but comparing my Bella to Hahn is a stinging insult. She has a greater chance of solving Rubic’s cube than Hahn has of fixing this team. (I know she is color-blind but I still stand by it).

Last edited 1 month ago by Root Cause
As Cirensica

I agree with you. Also, my cats have a better chance to swat at the rubik’s cube randomly and solve it than Hahn to fix this team.

Coincidentally, the cat in my avatar, her name is also Bella. 😋

Last edited 1 month ago by As Cirensica
Foulkelore

Bella for GM! Or manager! Or RF!

chipporter

What, she can’t play 2b?

As Cirensica

— even though I don’t think we are as young as we think we are —

I could be wrong, but what I am interpret here comes back to physical conditioning. Maybe some players go into the off season with a

“I am young, I will hit the gym a week before the Spring Training, and I will be ready to roll. Now, let’s party, eat pizza, pursue other hobbies, have fun, and binge watch Netflix shows. I got a lot of money the White Sox gave me in advance”

Then the season starts, and all the sudden, “you are not as young you think you are” and you break down by doing some routine baseball thing like running to first or swinging a bat.

Last edited 1 month ago by As Cirensica
GrinnellSteve

This is a good interpretation, I think.

metasox

Selling is a poignant message. But if they start whispering ‘who knows, new ownership may want to move the team, and there several good candidates even after expansion,’ that enthusiasm my ebb

soxygen

I would go see the Montreal White Sox several times per year. But full disclosure as a White Sox fan living in Maine: I would probably go see any Montreal team several times per year.

Augusto Barojas

At this point I could care less if they moved, honestly. I’d be more inclined to root for them even if they played somewhere else, if they actually had a good ownership, than hope they find success miraculously under Jerry’s regime and utterly pitiful and deceitful tactics. Who needs this team in Chicago as it is, seriously?

I think highly doubtful a new ownership with money would move them, Chicago is a huge market. Improve the team, they would draw plenty of fans. Where they play is not the problem, it’s the owner.

metasox

I would be careful about any assumptions. Revenue has changed. Less about putting people in the seats and more about tv, streaming and gambling. I could see people in NY saying moving a team would be more lucrative by expanding MLB’s footprint.

Last edited 1 month ago by metasox
chipporter

I moved to Milford, KS last month. They could move here, there’s lots of space.

soxygen

Have any details been reported that support a narrative that the missing ingredient (post ASG) on this team is unity? I don’t recall seeing anything reported that indicates there is dissension in the clubhouse. There was some reference to cliques earlier this year, but then (IIRC) there were quotes from folks who basically made the argument that all of that was just sour grapes from Dallas Keuchel.

If anyone has seen anything relevant and current, please share.

Last edited 1 month ago by soxygen
MikeAndrews2

The “Sell the Team” theme is certainly understandable, given that the White Sox, for all their efforts, are simply not a successful baseball organization. But Sox fans should be very careful what they ask for. Sox fans “of a certain age” lived for at least 15 years (1965-1980) with threats that new ownership would move the team. It creates a level of insecurity that never quite goes away. The proposed Tampa move notwithstanding, Reinsdorf ownership has given the team financial and location stability. All those who yearn for a Veeck-like leadership ignore the fact that he was incredibly undercapitalized, and essentially ruined two sets of rosters (1960, 1977) by sell-offs because he could not afford to own an MLB team. No doubt the Arte Mareno announcement has Mr. Reinsdorf thinking, but be realistic of what might happen after that.

Shingos Cheeseburgers

Bingo. A new owner certainly would be different but not necessarily better. Sure you could end up with a benevolent billionaire (Mets) but you could also end up with an ownership group that treats the team as part of an investment portfolio (Marlins)

Augusto Barojas

Jerry is not an unknown. I’d rather take my chances with an unknown, with at least a chance that things get better, than more of the same with certain mediocrity the only possibility. Chicago is a huge market, I think highly unlikely that fears of them being moved would come to fruition. I mean, what ownership is going to have real reason to think they would be more successful in a smaller city, rather than the 3rd biggest market in the US?

They can make money here. Hell, Jerry has been making money here for decades without winning even being necessary.

metasox

A Southern city willing to build a stadium… a big land deal adjacent to a stadium…

Augusto Barojas

Like I said, I’d rather take my chances with uncertainty than a known cheap nitwit like Reinsdorf. I mean nobody can be content with things the way they are now. It probably will never happen anyway, but I’d take my chances with any random new owner in a heartbeat. At least there would be a chance of something better.

I’m about done with this team as things are. Boring, and pointless.

Augusto Barojas

Thank you, completely agree. No reason at all to fear an ownership change, the only fear should be toward keeping the owner we have.

Jerry is the only owner in the universe in which Tony is manager. I’ll bravely take my chances with somebody new, thank you.

Last edited 1 month ago by Augusto Barojas
metasox

I understand the stadium situations. But once those are resolved and MLB sets on 2 expansion cities, there will still be cities that are candidates. If a new owner has his heart set on one of those and gets a good stadium arrangement (and the Sox will have their own stadium questions at that point), seems optimistic to assume nothing will ever change.

Last edited 1 month ago by metasox
OldMMJ87

I THINK I agree with that but the stupidity of owners and the league never ceases to surprise me.

dwjm3

Yup, the Sox also have the third largest regional tv contract in the sport. (FanGraphs analysis)

You won’t generate that in some small southern media market. There is no business case to move this team.

Last edited 1 month ago by dwjm3
Yolmer's gatorade

This. Not just a viable market, but a very strong market. Loyal fans, strong brand, 100+ years in Chicago. There’s no reason for them to move.

metasox

None of us know the future. But take a good look at population trends, and there will be another established market that can support two teams.

Last edited 1 month ago by metasox
metasox

Territorial rights is a good point. I don’t know the territorial situation for the Rangers, but Dallas metro is forecast to be the third largest market before long. And I have a hard time seeing TX only having two teams forever. Someone there will open up a checkbook

Last edited 1 month ago by metasox

Better management could tread the needle between competitiveness and profitability. They have a decent payroll right now and are probably going to have a break even or have a slightly unprofitable year. If they were a better team, attendance would be higher, and they’d be making money with a high payroll. The fans are loyal, but they don’t fork over a lot of money for a bad product like Cubs fans. If I was a billionaire, I’d see the Sox as kind of a turnaround story. Basically, if they had the right management, they could win, make money, and increase the value of the team. Good business and good baseball.

#3 for HOF

As Franklin D Roosevelt said. “The only to to fear is fear itself”.

chipporter

That’s pretty much a, be happy with the devil you know and scared of the devil you don’t argument. While you are correct, we will never be well off with the devil we already know in this circumstance and it would be hard to be worse.

joe-u4351

Jerry has spoken about the succession issue in the past and has public said that he has instructed David Reinsdorf to put the team up for sale after his demise. His rational is that baseball is not a profitable business venture but basketball is. Jerry is getting up in age so you’ll probably get your wish within the next 5 years or so.

One thing that Jerry Reinsdorf has brought to the White Sox is stability over the last 33 years after the Stadium agreement was put into effect in 1989. This was a franchise that was always in danger of moving especially when Arthur Allen bought the team after Bill Veck’s first ownership stint. Other than the 1959 White Sox, the White Sox where never a winning franchise after the Black Sox Scandal in 1919. The Reinsdorf years while wining only one Pennant and World Series did produce several division winners which was unthinkable before 1983 for us older White Sox fans.

Selling the team will bring up the issues of a new stadium in a city and a state that is cash poor to build a newer one, and a market where they will always be 2nd fiddle to the Cubs which dates back to the Black Sox Scandal of 1919. I disagree that movement of the team to another city is not a threat. What it needs is a “White Knight” ownership team to come-in and purchase or take control of the franchise. I can’t think of anyone that has interest to do this at least as of now. After living through previous threats and past done deals of the White Sox leaving for other cities, as a fan you will just not want to go through this very painful process.

Loosing is not fun but, not having a team in town to follow unless you or your kids want to follow the Cubs is even less fun. For good or bad, Jerry Reinsdorf and Tony LaRussa will not be here for ever. Things will likely be very different in the next 5 years.

gibby32

I know that I would be terrified if Tony glared at me, heh. He is an impotent clown.

vince

How about them Bears?

Shingos Cheeseburgers

A long history of extremely limited on field success? An antiquated ownership group that clearly doesn’t understand the modern game? Playing in a stadium that they are going to try and leave in the next ten years? Hmmmmm 🧐

hitlesswonder

I’m surprised I feel this way, but I’d be OK with the Sox moving out of Chicago (especially to Montreal) if it meant the team was sold to a decent owner. It would be a fitting epitaph to Reindorf’s ownership. I’d still be a fan, wherever they are.

So, do it Jerry. Pull the trigger and max your profit by selling to someone with intent to move the team.

Last edited 1 month ago by hitlesswonder
MrStealYoBase

How many teams would you say have a worse ownership/management construct than the White Sox? You can probably safely say the Rockies, Reds, and Angels. The Royals have an argument to be made but that trophy isn’t yet a decade old. The A’s, Marlins, and Pirates have shit owners but at least forward thinking front offices. The Tigers?

Point is, you can safely slot this cadre of incompetents and sycophants in the bottom third of the league. And you could easily argue lower I think. I’d take the dice roll on new ownership 100 times out of 100. It’s not impossible, but it’s very unlikely that a new ownership would move the team or be worse than the current situation.

If you look back at the attendance figures from the years leading up to Reinsdorf taking over, the Sox were neck-and-neck with the Cubs. They are only perceived as a second-rate team in the city because Jerry has run them like a second-rate franchise for 4 decades. He extorted the taxpayers for a stadium that looked out of date almost immediately after Camden opened. He refuses to invest in infrastructure but will keep paying old players and yes-men who contribute nothing to the on field product. He won’t sign star players so the on-field product perpetually must be more than the sum of its parts to be competitive. In a division with 4 small-market teams the playoff appearances have been few and far between. He’s treated the fans with contempt, sometimes more open than not.

I’m done being okay with the Sox doing things the “Jerry Reinsdorf way”. I want him gone.

Augusto Barojas

Nice, my favorite post on this thread. Says it all. A change in ownership does not guarantee a great positive change, but very unlikely that a new ownership would be worse, indeed.

Jerry is the only owner out of all the bad owners they could possible have, in which Tony would have been the choice for manager – or not fired by now. Both Tony and Jerry seem to share contempt for the fans, and doing things out of spite. They are a package deal, both need to be gone.

BenwithVen

What would it take for Obama to buy the team?

OldMMJ87

I think you’d need someone with billions of dollars, likely someone in the money management industry, to be able to buy the team. Having said that, I could see someone like Obama (maybe even Michael Jordan?) being included in an ownership group. I’d feel better about the long-term prospects of staying in Chicago and on the southside were that the case.

calcetinesblancos

An Obama/Jordan ownership combo would be awesome. It would generate more interest in the Sox and be a hilarious contrast with the entitled Omaha trust fund kids running the team up north.

Right Size Wrong Shape

Why would we want that?

MasGarcias

TLR is so incompetent.
Talks about getting angry and then when AJ is buzzed up and in what happens on the next play?? Why of course he has to take a fastball middle middle.
Anyone who wanted fire would be free swinging there…

lifelongjd

I am someone who believes little things turn into big things, either positively or not. The Sox do not do any of the little things right. Cleveland does which is why they’re in first and the Sox keep having meetings.

The Sox as an organization have no accountability. Hahn has shown no ability to build a comprehensive and deep roster. The player development under his leadership has been subpar. And yet he remains.

Same with the manager and coaches. They keep making the same, fundamental mistakes whether with lineups or sending runners home or coaching players to hit singles. And yet they remain.

The players have figured this out and just not have performed. They see a lack of accountability from the top down and know they can get away with lackadaisical effort. It sucks because there is a lot of talent on this team, but it’s being wasted by an organization who finds it perfectly acceptable to underachieve and continually miss expectations. Nothing will happen. Nothing will change. LaRussa will manage next year if he chooses to and will have the same staff. Hahn will make half assed moves in the off-season that won’t work out. And yet they’ll remain.

chipporter

That’s an interesting take, that the players take their motivations from the tip top down.

lifelongjd

I guess I was speaking to culture more than anything. We all have employers and work mates and in a good company culture, you feel accountable to both. Performance matters sure, but if someone sees lack of effort or results do not matter or isn’t addressed, it’s human nature to give less effort.

soxygen

I agree with this generally, though I do think that the players need to be responsible for some portion of their own performance: it’s not all on the coaches; these players are well compensated professionals who have not been good this year.

So here is the question: which specific players have been trying to get away with, as you put it, “lackadaisical effort”?

My sense is that within the Sox Machine community there is at least some agreement about the general premise that SOME unnamed players haven’t given 100%. What has been surprising is how ugly/divisive the conversations have been when the topic turns to individual/specific players.

metasox

Regarding the players responsibility, I also wonder what degree of peer pressure exists. Sure, Cueto spoke up. But that was more of a general comment about the team and fairly obvious. Guys may not listen to coaches. Sometimes guys may need to be hear from teammates and even be read the riot act, if necessary. I don’t know if that happens

upnorthsox

It’s always the other guy when it comes to pointing fingers.

soxygen

My sense is that we all generally agree on Tony LaRussa (who himself was a very divisive figure last year). With respect to players, there is broad agreement that Leury Garcia is not good, and that Tim has had a disappointing season. But when it comes to the effort issue specifically, it seems like a hard one to discuss (even among friends / like-minded Sox fans).

Last edited 1 month ago by soxygen
PauliePaulie

He’ll be 36, is showing a Konerko-like late career trajectory and there is zero indication that his clubhouse leadership moves the needle a millimeter.
If the Sox are going to retool and go for it again next year, Abreu’s $20mil needs to be reallocated to clear the 1B/DH logjam, improve OF D, 2B and on platoonable players who mash RHP.

vanillablue

Reinsdorf isn’t selling the team. Kudos to the fans who made the sign, but it’s not happening. Moreno is selling the Angels because he couldn’t get control of the stadium land for future development – it has nothing to do with the team’s performance or how the fans view him. There’s no financial reason for Reinsdorf to sell the team, so he won’t do it.

That said, keep the pressure up and Reinsdorf will eventually realize that the Sox need an organizational reset like the Bulls. The question is, how long is “eventually.”

Joliet Orange Sox

I think the Bulls situation is irrelevant because of Jerry’s children’s interest in the Bulls. I think Jerry himself will remain in control of the Sox until his health makes it impossible.

Greg Nix

I had to time that second La Russa GIF. 14 seconds without moving a muscle. His impression of a cadaver just keeps getting better.

calcetinesblancos

Maybe he’s of a species that can sleep with their eyes open.

Nellie Fox

Is there one player on the Sox bench that has not been on the 10 day injured list this year at some time? Some have been multiple times. The Sox have multiple issues but conditioning should not be one of them. With these huge yearly contracts being given, every one needs to have a games played included in them. This team is an embarrassment to the city and the fans that continue to come out and spend rediculous money at the ballpark and witness this type lackluster performance at every level, including ownership all the way to the team mascot.

upnorthsox

— even though I don’t think we are as young as we think we are —

I think Jose can be taken literally here, we have 10 guys who are 33 or older which is old in baseball years, 5 who are 30-32 which is past middle age in baseball years, and 4 of the 20somethings are 5yr vets. This might not be the ’83 Phillies Wheez kids, but it is a very veteran ballclub and not a young club coming into their own like you would think of a team at this point of a rebuild. It’s also a team that shouldn’t be expected to need to be “taught” the game by the coaching staff. And yet here we are.

metasox

My guess is Abreu would agree that this team literally is not exactly young even if it wasn’t exactly what he meant. I wish I could know exactly what he meant but I have trouble even speculating when comments come through a translator.

soxygen

I wonder who on the team doesn’t “believe.” Someone is screwing it up for everyone else. We need to identify this player so that we can get started with all the winning.

Last edited 1 month ago by soxygen
billyok

I hate this whole fucking team, more than any team wearing any uniform in all of professional sports history, and will not watch another White Sox game until everyone affiliated with this season — owner, front office, manager, every active player, all four main broadcasters — are gone.

pedemangonz

Its time to call it a season. Bench Jiminez, Robert, Anderson,Moncada and Grandahl. Play Cespedes, Montgomery, Colas, Burger and Zavala with Abreu, Vaughn and Sheets. This will give the new manager and GM an idea what the team needs for the next year.