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Tony La Russa Is Actually Good For Baseball

Unless you're living under a rock, you've likely seen the Tony La Russa/Yermin Mercedes controversy this week. To briefly sum it up, Mercedes hit a home run on a 3-0 pitch in the ninth with his team up 15-4. Tony La Russa said he shouldn't have swung in that scenario and would learn a lesson. Then the Twins threw at Mercedes the next day and La Russa basically said "Yeah he deserved that" and didn't stand up for his player. It led to a classic old school vs. new school debate over baseball's unwritten rules. And that's a good thing. 

First off, let me just say that I have no problem with Mercedes swinging there and jacking a moonshot. He's a career journeyman who is finally getting his chance and should take advantage of every opportunity he gets. He's not some guy with a $300 million contract in the bank already. Arbitration battles get ugly and every single stat matters. I'm glad he swung and hit a monster home run. 

I'm also glad there's dinosaurs like Tony La Russa who got mad over it. That classic old school vs. new school debate is what makes baseball tick. Having that dichotomy makes baseball fun. Baseball needs all the attention it can get these days. I think these debates over unwritten rules are pretty unique to the sport and are a good way to get people talking and having spirited discussion about baseball. I like when players bat flip. I also like when they get thrown at their next at-bat. We need fun players who make things exciting. We also need old fucks stuck in their ways who hate the new-school antics.

I truly hope we never get to a point where all the baseball dinosaurs go extinct, but I'm afraid we might be heading in that direction. I want it to be 2060 and there's an old cranky manager mad that Fernando Tatis III bat flipped after a walk off home run. Baseball is better that way. And that's why baseball is better with Tony La Russa in it. 

Listen to the latest Short Porch for our full discussion on this, a preview of the White Sox series, and a Rangers series recap.