It seems like just yesterday that I was speechless. I, like many others, were caught completely off guard two years ago by the report from noted MLB stooge, USA Today lackey, and Jerry Reinsdorf henchman Bob Nightengale, that the White Sox were looking at bringing back noted septuagenarian Tony La Russa to coach the Chicago White Sox. The very same La Russa who had more recently made headlines by getting DUI’s and having dumb opinions about protesting, than had actually coached a major league baseball game. Yet, there his name was, in some form of karmic nonsense, being attached to Chicago because the owner was trying to make right the issues of four decades prior.
At the end of the 2020 season, the White Sox were considered a team on the rise. They had young stars throughout the lineup and a starting rotation that was poised to run away with the AL Central for years to come. Management had differing opinions on who should be managing the team, though. Ricky Renteria had been unceremoniously dumped by the Chicago Cubs as they were on the rise in place of Joe Maddon. Five years later, the White Sox would show him the same fate. In spite of being a good clubhouse culture guy who was well liked by the team and had nurtured a swagger among his players that was making the team incredibly entertaining, he wasn’t a big advanced metrics guy.
General Manager Rick Hahn had attempted to develop a 21st century baseball club on a budget more befitting of a regional independent league team than a professional team in the 3rd biggest market in America. Through smart free agent signings and deft trading (with the notable exception of trading Fernando Tatis for James Shields, which is going to go down as one of the worst trades of the past 20 years), he had built a team that seemed ready to compete for the league title, and with a little pitching luck, the World Series. What he wanted was a statistically driven manager who was going to do what was best for the long term success of the franchise. Jerry Reinsdorf had other ideas, though.
La Russa had spent years coaching in the White Sox system, including as the manager of the Major League team from 1979-1986. Part way through the 1986 season, Reinsdorf fired GM Roland Hemond, and replaced him with the man more responsible for bringing down the IQ of a fanbase than any other person in any other sport in history, Ken “Hawk” Harrelson. Harrelson, among other spectacularly dumb things (trading a young Bobby Bonilla comes to mind) decided to fire both La Russa and assistant General Manager Dave Dombrowski. La Russa went on to win three World Series’, and Dombrowski would win two more as an executive.
Instead of letting the past be the past, Jerry held this sadness inside for 35 years.
So as the 2020 World Series began to wind down, and with Rick Hahn looking for people who would best guide the team to the next stage of their ascendance, Reinsdorf decided to pull the “owner” card and brought in La Russa back from the managing dead.
Not to say “I Told You So” to every White Sox fan I know who thought this was a good idea, so…Surf Party USA? Anyway, Tony was terrible for the team and even worse, actively made the team worse with his decision making. Now that Tony has re-retired to live out his days in a Whiskey Still, the Sox are back on the market for a leader of men. Or just someone who won’t intentionally walk a batter with two strikes already.
Looking forward, here is a very well thought out and researched list of candidates from someone who DEFINITELY doesn’t take joy in watching this team self destruct without winning a single playoff series.
1: Joe Espada
Espada is expected to be the number one coaching candidate going into the offseason. Currently the bench coach of the Astros, the Sox will need to show patience if they want him, due to an expected deep playoff run by World Series favorites Houston. With as many as seven openings this year, he is going to be the belle of the ball.
While the Sox have an intriguing team with a ton of talent, it might be difficult for Estada to feel comfortable coaching the team, with the smell of La Russa still fresh in the managers office. And I mean that literally. His office smells like arthritis cream and scotch.
2: Matt Quatraro
A favorite among the sabermetrics community, Quatraro has been the bench coach for the perpetually underfunded Tampa Bay Rays. He has been working his way up the managerial ranks since retiring from minor league baseball two decades ago. He interviewed last season for the Mets and Athletics coaching jobs, and is expected to be a popular candidate again this year.
If Rick Hahn gets a say in who the coach would be, then Quatraro would be the favorite for the job. Of course, since we all know he won’t get his choice, though…
3: Hawk Harrelson
Jerry Reinsdorf is nearly 114 years old. Whatever cryogenics company is keeping him alive knows they aren’t going to be able to keep this charade going forever. Jerry will probably decide once again that he needs to correct some ill he feels he committed in the past. I’m sure in 1993, he cut off Harrelson while he was rambling about some Carl Yazremski story and regrets it to this day, so instead of trying to help his team win, Jerry will force an incoherent Hawk into scribbling lineups in between day dreaming about giving Yaz backrubs back in the 60’s.
4: Sandy Alomar
If we are just going to cut the baby in half so both of these failures get their way, then Alomar might be the pick. Alomar is a former player, which we have established gets Reinsdorf off. He is also a smart student of the game who comes from a different successful franchise, which will get Hahn all aroused. If both people have a say in the decision making process, then Alomar might be the choice.
5: Anthony Ra Lussa
The name might not make sense, but then Bob Nightengale will ejaculate a tweet with the name and everyone will realize what is happening at the introductory press conference when Reinsdorf and Kenny Williams walk in doing a full Weekend at Bernies with La Russa wearing one of those pairs of glasses with a nose and mustache attached to it. Tim Anderson will drive his car into Lake Michigan.
6: Fredi Gonzalez
Gonzalez has a lot of managerial experience, just not much of it very good. He is currently the bench coach for the Baltimore Orioles, a team that was supposed to be among the worst in baseball and not expected to compete, but were still in competition for a playoff spot deeper into the season than the White Sox. Gonzalez will be the choice if/when they strike out on all the good candidates.
15: Joe Maddon
This would just be spectacularly funny because it would be a signing that would create a huge amount of reaction and would make the Sox look like they think they are ready to win a World Series right now. Wait, that’s not the funny part. The funny part is that Maddon was fired from the Cubs because he didn’t like analytics, and he got fired from an Angels team that had both Shohei Ohtani and Mike Trout. Chicago does not currently have either of those players.
51: Donald Trump
I’ve hit the very lazy part of the article. Something something something getting off Truth Social, something something something calling Jose Abreu a mexican.
374: Ozzie Guillen
Jerry Reinsdorf making the decision to bring back another ex coach would drive Rick Hahn over the edge. Not even quitting over the edge. More like Michael Douglass in Falling Down over the edge.