This is getting out of hand. Chicago White Sox manager Tony La Russa just keeps digging himself in deeper and deeper with Sox fans. At first it was not knowing the challenge rules. Then it was not knowing the extra innings rules. Then it was questionable decisions with lineups or in-game lineup adjustments. Now recently it’s been his comments around some stupid “unwritten baseball rules” and not supporting his guys. Let’s recap.
Monday night in Minnesota, the Sox were up big. 15-4 big.
With the game out of hand, the Twins decided to put in a position player (Willians Astudillo) rather than burn a bullpen arm. With Yermin Mercedes up to bat, he was up in the count 3-0, the pitcher* lobbed a pitch over home plate in the mid 40’s and Yermin blasted it to center field to increase the lead to 16-4.
La Russa didn’t like the violation of the “unwritten rule” of not swinging on that 3-0 pitch.
“I was upset because that’s not a time to swing 3-0. I happened to look over there, and I know the Twins knew that I was upset. Third-base coach Joe McEwing had given the take sign. I just think that Yermín was locked in. He and Astudillo, they know each other from different competitions. He was locked in and thinking, ‘I’ve got to get him, I’ve got to get him.’
“But he missed a 3-0 take sign with that kind of lead. That’s just sportsmanship and respect for the game and respect for your opponent. He made a mistake. So there’ll be a consequence that he has to endure here within our family. But it won’t happen again because Joe will be on the lookout, and I will be, too, and we’ll go running in front of the pitcher if we have to.”
“I actually apologized to the Twins. I sent a message over there, said that it’s not acceptable. And I’m certain that it will not happen again with Yermín. I’m good with guys who celebrate, just like a pitcher who strikes us out and he celebrates. He wants to win. I’m good with that.”
At least one specific teammate loved the approach by Mercedes, and that teammate was the guy who makes this team tick… Tim Anderson:
Tim Anderson shares his thoughts on Instagram about Tony La Russa being upset with Yermin Mercedes. pic.twitter.com/3L89ohckBa
— Daniel Greenberg (@ChiSportUpdates) May 18, 2021
Again back to these stupid “unwritten rules”… retaliation was expected from the Twins Tuesday night. It came later than most expected, but Mercedes was thrown at late in the game leading to an ejection of pitcher Tyler Duffey and manager Rocco Baldelli.
Whatever, it wasn’t a surprise. But what WAS a surprise was La Russa once again not defending his team.
Tony La Russa's comments on the Twins throwing behind Yermín Mercedes: pic.twitter.com/dLe7Oriohk
— White Sox Talk (@NBCSWhiteSox) May 19, 2021
Didn’t have a problem with it? Really? I don’t care if you have a problem with it or not personally, you go up there and lie your ass off and say they got it out of their system and they better not do it again or we’re gonna have a problem. You defend your guy! Your team! This was the second night in a row though, that TLR failed to do so.
Now to top things off, Lance Lynn was asked about the whole situation and here were his thoughts:
Lance Lynn on unwritten rules:
"If a position player is on the mound, there are no rules. Let's get the damn game over with. And if you have a problem with whatever happened, then put a pitcher out there."#WhiteSox
— Ryan McGuffey (@RyanMcGuffey) May 19, 2021
TLR was asked if these comments counteract his message:
“No it doesn’t because Lance has a locker. I have an office. At some point, leadership is what you’re supposed to represent. If you ask Lance right now, does he disrespect my opinion, I’ll take my chances on the answer.”
Jesus dude. Are you trying to piss off the clubhouse? Maybe the team isn’t taking this as hard as fans, but we don’t know that. It looks bad from the outside looking in, that’s for sure.
Listen, do I think all of this is the end of the world? No. Has this blown up a lot because of social media? Absolutely. This team is still really damn good and doing more than hanging in there without Eloy and Robert, but it doesn’t take away from the fact that there is a huge disconnect within that clubhouse. If there weren’t already all the other issues so far this season with TLR, I don’t think this wouldn’t have blown up like it did. But there are those issues and people were already skeptical of the hire. It’s one thing after another and fans are already tired of it.
This might be the last straw for White Sox fans, but La Russa will have a much longer leash than this from the front office, and mainly Jerry. If this goes on all season, this team will be able to release it’s own 30 for 30 doc… and I hope the name of it isn’t ‘The 2021 White Sox: The Promising Team That Tony La Russa Ruined”.