Tony La Russa has been in the crosshairs of just about the entire baseball community over the last few days. Actually, nobody thought hiring La Russa was a good idea back when the move was announced over the offseason, but the noise has gotten much louder.
To briefly catch you up: White Sox slugger Yermín Mercedes swung on a 3-0 pitch while up big against the Twins. The decision was lambasted by those who consider the Unwritten Rules to be the highest order of baseball law: Don't swing on a 3-0 pitch when you're blowing a team out because it's bad sportsmanship or whatever. La Russa sided with that crowd over his own player in the postgame press conference, then basically said Mercedes had it coming when Tyler Duffey threw behind the Chicago first baseman the next day.
Not exactly what anyone wants to hear from their manager, who theoretically has his players' backs at all times when they're doing their job correctly. The whole situation has become an example of how La Russa is holding back the White Sox with his ancient managerial strategies, which include not knowing the new rules of the game instituted after his most recent stint on the bench. CC Sabathia is especially incensed by the fact that the White Sox tabbed La Russa as manager and went on an enraged rant on the latest episode of R2C2, the podcast he hosts with Ryan Ruocco.
I will say that the shot at Christopher Russo seemed like an unnecessary stray but otherwise Sabathia is speaking truth with an appropriate amount of vulgarities. It's extremely disappointing that La Russa is managing what would otherwise be the coolest team in baseball. Tim Anderson bat-flipping his way through win after win, backed up by a guy named Mercedes mashing dingers? How can that not be awesome?
I'll tell you how. By bringing in a manager who doesn't know how the modern game works and won't stand for anything cool that goes against How The Game Used To Be. Despite all this, the White Sox have the best record in the AL. Imagine what things would be like if anyone other than La Russa was coaching this team.