The Chicago White Sox are among the best teams in the American League, and are currently in first place of the AL Central division with a 29-20 record as of Friday morning.
And they have done all this with Tony La Russa at the helm.
La Russa, if you have followed MLB for a few years, is a respected manager with a winning reputation, having lifted three World Series titles, one with the Oakland Athletics (1989) and two when he was with the St. Louis Cardinals (2006 and 2011).
He is also a four-time Manager of the Year Award winner (1983, 1988, 1992, 2002).
After retiring from managing in 2011, he filled some front office positions for several teams.
However, he returned to managing for the 2021 season as the skipper of the White Sox.
His season, on the field, has mostly gone well given the White Sox’s win-loss record and position in the standings.
However, there has also been some controversy.
A fierce traditionalist, La Russa felt Mercedes had disrespected the Twins by swinging to the 3-0 pitch and ignoring the “take” sign.
After the game in which Duffey threw behind Mercedes and was ejected, La Russa stated that he had “no problems” with the way Minnesota handled the situation.
"I don't have a problem with how the Twins handled that."
White Sox Manager Tony La Russa gave his thoughts on Twins Pitcher Tyler Duffey being tossed from tonight's game after he threw a pitch behind Yermin Mercedes.
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) May 19, 2021
People criticized La Russa for failing to have his player’s back.
Also, he got heat for failing to understand that baseball is a business and it’s in Mercedes’ best interest to put up the best numbers he can regardless of the count or score.
"You're numbers on a piece of paper at the end of the day. Get yours when you can."
— Flippin' Bats Podcast (@FlippinBatsPod) May 27, 2021
All of this, plus his 2020 DUI arrest and reputation as an old-school manager, has raised the question: Should White Sox fans have any faith in La Russa?
In any case, the White Sox have a strong team in a position to compete this season.
The offense even without Robert and Jimenez – and both are expected to return at some point this year – is formidable.
Is La Russa In The Way?
So White Sox fans should only hope La Russa doesn’t stand in the way.
He has loads of experience and can win some games, but as evidenced by his recent lapse with the rules and his failure to protect his players, he could be an obstacle to the White Sox’s aspirations.
It’s unlikely he loses his job with Chicago leading the division, but in any case, the fans should have faith on the team and on the talent assembled by the front office during all these years.
La Russa, in the meantime, should worry more about learning the actual, written rules, rather than putting his own players against him by defending the silly unwritten rules.