Former Cleveland President Gabby Ball once said sarcastically, “A manager really gets paid for how much he suffers.”
If that’s still the case, Tony La Russa deserves a raise.
No one has suffered quite like the Chicago White Sox coach, who was still baseball talk on Friday after a day of “walking.”
Not since Kevin Cash raised starter Blake Snell in Game 6 of the 2020 World Championships, a strategic move that drew so much scorn.
By ordering Bennett Sousa from the left to issue a deliberate outing to the Los Angeles Dodgers, Tria Turner with a 1-2 number and an open base in the sixth inning on Thursday, La Rosa inadvertently opened the door to a world of pain.
When Max Muncie followed him with three home runs, the second-best coach in history knew the decision would be called into question. However, La Rosa maintained a post-match stance where she was completely taken aback by the questioning, which only made the moment dramatically worse.
It was the deliberate rally we heard around the world of baseball, where a 77-year-old manager made an untenable move and then took a defensive stance in an effort to defend it. If this was just the usual Sox Twitter mob on his back, perhaps La Russa could have shrugged it off as another bump in the road in his much-publicized comeback after leaving the dugout in 2011.
From last season’s Yermín Mercedes crash to Thursday’s deliberate run on a 1-2 account, La Russa was in for a few crazy episodes but survived them all. It was a real Teflon Tony.
But practically no one agreed with La Russa, leaving him on an island. Even Fox News called it “puzzling” and mentioned a Sox fan yelling “He’s got two hits, Tony!”
NBC Sports Chicago analyst Ozzie Guillén told WSCR-AM 670 “The Mully and Haugh Show” that he was “shocked” by the move. The MLB Network showed 42.8% of hitters taking 1-2 runs, and former senior player Cameron Maybin provided other La Rosa decisions.
Nobody was under the illusion that no Rosa would survive this. Chief Jerry Rensdorf is a loyal friend. Case closed. But it gave La Rosa’s already formidable corps of skeptics one more reason to demand change.
The move was already zoomed to the top of the charts at “La Russa Top 40”, bypassing “YermínGate”, the controversy over recall on the 3-0 floor in the defeat. Declining chart Larsa had left Liam Hendrix closer to Liam Hendrix as last season’s ghost runner, not knowing the rule, and brought in left-handed Tanner Banks to face New York Yankees right-hand man Giancarlo Stanton last month.
Unless another manager asks for a deliberate outing on the 1-2 course, La Russa will have that category to themselves for the rest of the time. imagine that.
One decision in one game is not the end of the world. The Sox went into Friday’s game against the Texas Rangers knowing rookie Lance Lane would be back soon, with Tim Anderson not far behind. And La Rosa is not the first coach to do some crazy moves.
Beloved in Chicago for disregarding conventional wisdom in the summer of 1989, former Cubs manager Don Zimmer said that season he never worried about the reaction of fans or the media as long as he had a good explanation for every decision he made.
La Russa had an explanation, too: The chance of a left-wing standoff – Sousa vs. Muncy – was better than Sousa facing Turner, even with two goals. La Russa challenged the MLB.com writer, asking if he knew Turner and Muncy’s numbers.
As the MLB Network chart showed, Turner had a 0.24 career average with 1-2 counts and a 0.378 average this season, with a strike rate of 31.4%. Muncie is scoring 0.146 on the left hand this season (and was at 0.125 before at-bat, one of the worst majors in that category). During Muncy’s career, the MLB Network has noted that he has a respectable 0.225 more average versus the left.
One stat that both MLB Network and La Russa have ignored belongs to 27-year-old Sousa. Left-handed hitters hit 364 from Souza, who has an 8.20 ERA. Just because he’s left-handed doesn’t mean he was successful against left-handed hitters.
Did not matter. done. Now is the time to watch the repercussions.
General Manager Rick Hahn didn’t fire La Russa Thursday night while everyone was asleep despite pleas from Sox fans on Twitter. Han, who didn’t choose La Russa personally, this week serendipitously discussed how he reacts when bad things happen to Sox.
He said: “I throw (things)”. I walk a lot. I leave home when I’m not with the team. Actually here (in the guaranteed price field), I walk a lot in tunnels. My wife accuses me of acting like Jerry West in ‘Winning Time’, which I think is (an expletive). I I don’t act like that. I think it’s slander, me and West apparently.”
Han isn’t the first Sox GM to walk around to gather his thoughts when things go wrong. When Executive Vice President Ken Williams was GM in 2002, he went on a long tour around Edison Field during the 19-0 loss to the Anaheim Angels, the biggest lopsided defeat in the team’s history.
At least, Sox GMs traditionally take their stride in times of stress.
So what’s next for Sox? Is it time to hear?
Cubs president Jed Hoyer spoke about the addition last June before an 11-game losing streak led to the biggest sale in the team’s history. Hahn said he does not expect to be in “sell mode” by the trade deadline.
“I really don’t wish I could be sitting here in six weeks and taking these words,” he said.
The Sox invented the “white flag trade” in 1997. Don’t expect the same for their 25th anniversary in July.
But at least six weeks should be fun for Sox and La Russa, who seem to be living according to Jane Mauch’s words.
Mauch once said, “I’m not the manager because I’m always right.” “But I’m always right because I’m the manager.”