La Russa is no stranger to the city of Chicago. He played for the Cubs in 1973 and was a coach for the White Sox in 1978 and manager from 1979-1986. The three-time World Series Champion and four-time Manager of the Year award winner is an experienced addition to the team that made it to the playoffs after seven losing seasons.
People are excited that La Russa has a Championship pedigree, but in order to coach a winning team in the modern game communication with players is paramount. Especially with important offensive threats, such as Tim Anderson and Jimenez, who just won the Silver Slugger Award this past season, La Russa needs to talk with his important assets. It has been at least a week since the announcement and La Russa has not given Anderson or Jimenez a phone call, setting a bad precedent between players and management.
Many journalists have gone back and forth about whether or not La Russa is the right choice to manage the White Sox because of how different each entity is. The White Sox are a young team that loves to celebrate (with enough bat flips to spare), and La Russa said he is fine with players celebrating as long as it’s sincere. La Russa failed to give a definition of sincere, but his history of the unwritten rules of baseball speaks for itself.
The culture of the White Sox is very much about celebration, sincere or not — especially a good Tim Anderson bat flip. After the announcement, Sox Twitter became curious what would happen after a Tim Anderson home run that resulted in his signature bat flip. The overall message of what could happen is not positive.
The La Russa hire is a symbol of a change in leadership in the baseball clubhouse and as a leader, the General should communicate with their team. But it has not happened yet. Due to the nature of both La Russa and the Sox, it could create a negative relationship because the Sox are a tight clubhouse who now have a rather distant manager.
It is normal with a new changing of the guard to talk with your players and talk about expectations, give or take a few days. But La Russa not communicating with the top players of the White Sox for over a week is abnormal for leadership. Relationship building between players and managers should be happening now. The sooner a relationship starts the stronger team chemistry will be.
Anderson is open to La Russa and what he brings to the table as a manager. However, La Russa cannot forge a relationship with the shortstop or anyone else on the team if he does not communicate with them. It has been over seven days without a word, which is concerning.
The potential for an unhealthy relationship between players and managers is ripe because La Russa has been distant.
Featured Photo: John Antonoff/For the Sun-Times