Hiring Tony La Russa was certainly a choice. There are simply countless reasons why a 76-year-old manager with his specific rocky track record on issues shepherding a team of young, exciting players of color doesn't seem ideal. Hiring him while knowing what the public didn't — that a second DUI charge had been levied against him in late October — is certainly a wilder choice.
Jerry Reinsdorf seems dead-set on seeing this thing out, even as the fallout fromJeff Passan's reporting lies smoking on the corner of 35th and Shields. It is too hot to touch, even delaying a much-anticipated announcement that White Sox baseball will be heard locally on ESPN 1000.
It's a small thing but it's indicative of an important thing. La Russa is not exactly the guy you want leading a positive PR charge right now. He's engendering frustration and whatever level of scandal you wish to ascribe. A home-run hire would be a catalyst for positive momentum. The White Sox are nothing if not entirely on the defensive.
So what's the point of that observation? Simply to nod at the way momentum works and how quickly things can move in 2020. It feels like some of the toothpaste is already out of the tube, with more likely to come. It's an elephant in the room that people won't forget about and will hang in the air like the post-dinger fireworks.
Yesterday I offered a lukewarm-to-slightly spicy take that La Russa wouldn't be managing the club come Opening Day. That's all based on gut instinct and is begging to get exposed when he invariably leads them to a World Series or something. But, look, there are 139 days left until that first meaningful game.
So much can happen in that time. Fans and neutral observers just forgetting about the whole thing isn't one of them. And 139 days is a best-case scenario. Who knows just how bad COVID will rip through the country over these next cold months? Who knows if the start won't be pushed even further back.
Again, this is not to be a Debbie Downer. It's to point out that there's a decent chance this begins to go downhill quite quickly.
Beginning a statement weeks after a hire by quoting your new manager's attorney is less than ideal. And certainly portends a rocky road ahead.