Well there it is. I'll start by saying this: I don't HATE the hire, solely because it's absolutely an immediate improvement over Renteria. The White Sox are better today than they were when the 2020 season ended.
Now, I don't really like it... like, at all... but I have no doubt Tony La Russa can push the correct buttons on a day to day basis in the dugout. That's not the end all/be all of managing an MLB club, but correct button pushing is definitely at or near the top in terms of job qualifications for a manager. TLR is one of the best managers ever, nobody can deny that. Go look up his wikipedia.
I don't like this hire this solely for the fact that it reeks of organizational dysfunction; anyone who listened to Rick Hahn's postseason presser knows that this hire is not his doing, and that drives me up a goddamn wall. Now he's the one who's gotta face the music in the media for it, and it's fucked up that that's the case. If and when this is announced, I'm sure we'll get Hahn's best poker face possible and spin zone it as best he can, but deep down you gotta imagine he's as irate as a lot of other people are.
That's not fair. Not fair at all. Fucking Reinsdorf should be the one trying to spin zone this as it's crystal clear that it's his hire. WHY IN THE FUCK DOES HE HAVE TO MEDDLE? Let your goddamn front office do their thing. It's put the organization in a position to win and win a LOT in the coming years. The organization will be MUCH better off if you just disengaged, you crusty old bag.
Rick Hahn made it pretty clear that the organization was looking for in a manager that has had recent postseason success. La Russa last managed in 2011. Hahn would not have laid out his pretty clear qualifications for what he was looking for in a Renteria replacement and then gone and hired La Russa. It just doesn't add up and that's why I'm PISSED OFF about these rumors right now.
Also, this is an atypical hire because the White Sox NEVER land someone who's at the forefront of the media rumors. They were favorites to land Soriano, Machado, Harper... and then didn't. They operate like ghosts and are kings of misdirection. This is the first time a targeted name has been floated in the media, simmered on the stove for a couple of weeks, and then ended up actually happening.
But not EVERYTHING is bad about the hire. Let's look at some pros and cons
- Any asshole can win with this roster. Most people agree at this point that managers *shouldn't* matter all that much inning by inning, game by game. If a team is pissing on the ball and the pitching is cruising, the manager could take a nap in the dugout and win a game. That is still true.
- Tony La Russa is a 3x World Series Champion. He's got arguably the best resume of any living person on earth. He didn't just forget how to manage a pitching staff or bullpen. This, to me, is the most important part of the job. TLR will still have a great feel for managing, that much I'm sure of.
- He's bilingual. Obviously the White Sox are loaded with LatAm talent, so him being able to communicate with his entire roster is huge.
- Jerry Reinsdorf made this hire, not Rick Hahn. Absolute fucking bullshit. What's the goddamn point of employing a GM and VP if you are just going to overrule them and make a completely out of left field hire? It makes no fucking sense to me. Poll anyone and they'll tell you Jerry Reinsdorf is and has been the #1 thing that has held the White Sox back since he's owned the fucking club. Whether it be not ponying up for top shelf free agents or hiring his buddies, the dude just cannot get out of his own way and it SUCKS as a fan.
- TLR 76 years old. What if July comes around and he realizes he's not cut out for the 162+ game haul of a season? I have no idea where his physical and mental health are at at this point, but at 76 his best days are clearly not ahead of him. What if he decides he made the wrong choice and ups and retires? Then the White Sox are back to square 1 looking for a manager. I think this is a more than fair worry, and it could even be my biggest worry personally
- The kneeling stuff
I look at this two ways:
1. Tim Anderson is vocal about social justice. Tony La Russa is on record saying don't kneel. You think these two types can coexist? Maybe, maybe not. A lot of people are just assuming they can't. I don't see that to be the case necessarily, which might make me an idiot. No idea. There's definitely a chance both are so hellbent on their ways that they absolutely loathe each other from day 1, but I choose to believe that differing opinions can often times breed civil discourse and good conversation. Maybe they don't change each other's minds, but maybe they learn a little bit about other viewpoints.
It's probably crazy to believe that two different people from two different walks of life can... ya know... be professional and do their jobs in spite of their differences of opinion, but I'm an eternal optimist I suppose. I don't think TA would lay a fucking dud or stop working his dick off because his manager doesn't agree with his social opinions, and I don't think La Russa is going to bench arguably his best player for the same reason.
That's called being an adult. I know the idea of being an adult has waved bye bye to most people with access to a twitter account, but I think people should probably give TA and La Russa a little more credit for being professionals than they are right now. Have some confidence assholes. The dude DID manage Ricky Henderson, Jose Canseco and other egos... and won World Series titles with them.
2. They fucking hate each other and this doesn't work. Simple as that, and if this ends up being the case it's 10000% on Reinsdorf and nobody else.
- La Russa prolly isn't balls deep in the analytics world. But... I don't care. He'll get handed his reports every single day and I'm of the opinion he can adapt to how baseball is managed in the year 2020. He's a smart dude - has his JD from FSU, is bilingual as I said, and I think he can absolutely find that balance between being a numbers manager who goes 100% by the computer, and a feel manager who goes with gut over numbers. I am not worried about this at all and don't think anyone else should be either.
- Free agents? Stroman has been liking tweets like crazy today...
Ultimately free agents go to the team that pays them the most money 99% of the time, but who knows. Maybe players shun the Sox and don't wanna play for the old school dude who doesn't share the exact same beliefs as him. I hope to god that ain't the case and if it is, again, blame Reinsdorf
Like I said, any asshole should be able to manage this team to a LOT of playoff births. The White Sox should still be a wagon in 2021 and beyond.
I'm not too happy. Jerry Reinsdorf is the bane of this teams' existence and that's just a fact at this point. Let your fucking front office do their goddamn jobs and stop meddling