The Chicago White Sox are one of the most young, exciting teams in baseball. They have a treasure trove of young talent not only on the major league roster, but still coming up through their farm system. The South Siders made the playoffs this year for the first time since 2008, but were eliminated in the first round by the Athletics.
Due to “differences of opinion” regarding analytics and strategy in general, the team relieved manager Rick Rentería of his duties after the season. In doing so, the Sox created for themselves a great opportunity to sign a dynamic, exciting manager to take this young group with an enormous skillset and lead them to a championship, right?
Ladies and gentlemen, give it up for your new manager of The Chicago White Sox….
Tony La Russa: seventy-six year old, hasn’t managed since 2011, Tony La Russa.
As you’ll notice in the picture above, the man is a Hall of Famer, a fact you can’t deny. However, isn’t that a reason not to hire him? His last managing gig with the Cardinals ended when he retired nine years ago. Per Baseball Reference, La Russa holds a career record of 2,728-2,365 in 35 years of managing the White Sox (for the first time), Athletics, and Cardinals. He last managed the White Sox in 1986. One of the White Sox’s best players, Luis Robert, was born 11 years after, in 1997.
The White Sox roster is full of young, lively talent. Tony La Russa is a baseball dinosaur who has been in the sport since 1963, when he made his playing debut with Oakland. This enormous age gap can cause major issues. How does a man capture the attention and respect of a group of studs 50 years his minor? I just don’t see it.
Now, with as loaded of a roster as the White Sox have put together, this could very well work out. At some point, the manager of a baseball team simply cannot lose if he’s given the right combination and talent and potential. If you’re a White Sox fan, you can only hope your new geriatric leader lets his guys be themselves and take the next step that they clearly have enough talent to take.
To quote one of the greatest broadcasters to ever do it, Mr. Al Michaels: “Do you believe in miracles? Yes!”
The White Sox have dethroned the Cubs, folks. The peak has been reached, the mountain has been scaled, and any of the other sports clichés you can insert here have been accomplished. After taking it to the Cubs in Game One by 7-3 final on Sunday, they came back last night and continued on their exhibition season tear by again defeating The North Siders 5-3.
The Sox used a six-run fifth inning in Game One to take a lead they would never relinquish. The barrage started with an Adam Engel home run off of Cubs Opening Day starter Kyle Hendricks, and continued with two singles by Tim Anderson and José Abreu, three doubles by Yasmani Grandal, Edwin Encarnación, and Luis Robert, and capped off by a triple by Leury García. This built the lead out to 6-2, and The Cubs would only add one more run via a David Bote RBI single in the seventh inning.
Yu Darvish took the bump in Game Two, only to be rudely greeted by a first inning grand slam by Eloy Jiménez. One of the Cubs’ former top prospects, who was dealt to The Sox in the 2017 trade for José Quintana, Jiménez showed his power surge by taking the first pitch he saw to straight away center. Dallas Keuchel started for the White Sox, and threw five innings of one hit, scoreless baseball. The Cubs got the offense moving a bit in the seventh, with Hernan Perez scoring on a fielder’s choice, Kyle Schwarber driving in Bote, and finally Javy Baez scoring on a double play ball from Steven Souza Jr.
This is The White Sox’s first Crosstown Classic victory since 2014, when they beat the Cubs in their annual season series 3-1. After ties in 2015 and 2016, The North Siders took the illustrious trophy back home to Wrigley in 2017 and 2018. As for 2019, we can all remember that unbeleivable 2-2 series tie that kept the trophy with The Cubs.
This feat is something that might not ever be topped, and White Sox fans should be immensely proud. So pop that champagne, order your tee shirts and caps, and enjoy this victory. No one can take this away from you, South Side.