Veteran baseball scribe Bob Nightengale wrote on Monday the the Chicago White Sox, fresh off firing Rick Renteria, would be be reaching out to Tony La Russa to gauge his interest in the team's managerial opening. It was a shocking sentence considering that the 76-year-old manager hasn't held such a position since 2011 and it was widely believed that Pale Hose brass exercised an itchy trigger finger in order to compete in the A.J. Hinch or Alex Cora sweepstakes.
After a bizarre 48-hour period in which no beat writer or columnist could match the reporting, it appears that things are moving in a confounding direction.
This is a damning indictment of the imagination on the South Side. La Russa is an uninspired and shortsighted option considering the state of the franchise, which is flirting with competing for multiple World Series over the next few years if this past season is any indication. The White Sox surely want someone with championship pedigree. They also would probably want someone who is going to stick around for the long haul.
What looked from afar like a baseball lifer doing his baseball lifer buddy a solid by throwing his name amid the chum in the water is apparently a thing with legs. General manager Rick Hahn is going full George Costanza lying to the Rosses about having a Hamptons home. He wants to get nuts? Let's get nuts!
The White Sox are bursting at the seams with young talent. They have one of the most dynamic and ferocious offenses around and were ultimately done in by lackluster pitching. Renteria was not known for having a great feel for the staff. Again, something the White Sox will look for in a new guy.
Thinking La Russa, who will be 10 years removed from the captain's seat on the bench, is the guy to solve this and shepherd a growing ballclub to the big time is head-spinning. If it actually becomes a reality, the Sox fans melting down right now over the mere possibility will go into some sort of a Fugue state and come to sometime next spring.
All this feels like a dare. Or a game of chicken. Like all parties are waiting for the other to tap out and stop the ridiculousness. But joke or otherwise, the train is moving out of the station. It's a long way from reaching the finish line. It is not yet time to panic. When the appropriate time comes, it will be too late.
A series of escalating dares can have consequences. Remember that when a ghost of baseball's past is filling Luis Robert into the No. 8-hole and insisting Jose Abreau learn to bunt next season.