The Chicago White Sox, an already sturdy tree budding with spectacular young talent bursting with fun and individuality and imagination, have just needlessly put a governor on their own success. If not in the immediate term, then in the intermediate and certainly long-term.
Hiring 76-year-old Tony La Russa, a man who has forgotten more baseball ideals than most will ever know, sounds good on paper. The man's a winner with Hall of Fame pedigree and is battle-tested.
Sorry, let me be more specific. It sounds good on one man's paper. A guy who still gets the paper delivered himself probably. Jerry Reinsdorf went ahead and did it despite the protestations internally that this was a disastrous fit. Like an executive making a handshake deal on the 16th hole, he's off to celebrate in the clubhouse while the rank-and-file desperately try to recalibrate their own professional lives.
Literally the moment the news broke, there were dissenters calling the biggest mouthpieces in sports media to vent.
A snapshot of the fanbase is particularly tough to look at. This sums it up neatly, if a bit depressingly.
That's right. La Russa is going to manage Tim Anderson. Every day. During the prime of his career. Anderson, not Tony. During what proves to always be a shorter title-winning window that anyone ever thinks. This is what they're doing. They've surveyed the board and found a card that's been lost under the couch for almost a decade and hasn't been entirely legible longer than that.
He inherits a decidedly modern team in a modern game in the sourdoughiest way possible. La Russa certainly wouldn't have taken Blake Snell out of Game 6. But his hire achieves the same effect for opponents everywhere. As Mookie Betts and the other Dodgers celebrated the move and knew it'd improve their chances to win, so too do the Sox' AL competition once they fully accept this as reality.
Every single team in the AL Central got better today if baseball, as Billy Mumphrey found out, is a zero-sum game. Addition by Reinsdorf's absurd addition.
The damning thing is that no one forced them to do this (which, by the way, is a funny yet mean-spirited sign to bring to marathons). Many other options were on the table. Hell, still are on the table, to be picked over not as scraps but appreciated delicacies by franchise's seeking more relevant leadership.
There's a reason the whole La Russa rumor was laughed out of hand. There's a reason tapped-in people made bold proclamations and misguided dares as to what they'd do if he ended up in a White Sox uniform. Because it is so ridiculous. On its face and upon any reflection.