We, as fans of the Chicago White Sox, just seem to be forbidden from having nice things. By now you’ve seen, read, and heard all about new White Sox skipper Tony La Russa being charged with his second Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol offense back on October 28 in Maricopa County.
This latest charge — filed just one day before the White Sox made the hire public, and opted to say nothing about the pending criminal case involving their new skipper — stemmed from a February arrest in Phoenix, AZ.
According to the police affidavit, La Russa was found outside of his vehicle that had run into a curb and blown out a tire rendering it inoperable. The reporting officer observed La Russa to be impaired and smelt the odor of alcohol on his breath. After failing a field sobriety test, an “argumentative” La Russa was arrested for suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol.
So, La Russa was not only booked for DUI, but the second-time offender had the nerve to be belligerent and argumentative with the police?
I’m sorry Tony, were the police inconveniencing your evening or did you just assume that they were going to come and help you change your tire while shooting the shit about the ’89 World Series?
Look, I understand that there’s a line to walk when it comes to hypocrisy and the act of driving drunk, and some have toed that line throughout their lives, but that doesn’t excuse the action.
Have I been behind the wheel of a vehicle after drinking in my 30 years of life? Yeah, I have and the fact that I didn’t get caught doesn’t make it right. It was stupid and it was wrong. I put my life and the lives of others at risk, and I’m sure that I’m not alone.
The difference here is learning from your mistakes. There’s been this magical advancement in society over the better part of the last decade in the form of “rideshare” services like Uber and Lyft, where you’re only a few drunken taps and swipes on your iPhone away from a reasonably-priced sober ride home.
I use those apps religiously. I don’t go out much these days, but when I do I use rideshare services to get home. So do millions of other Americans, so there’s really no excuse for a wealthy 76-year-old high-ranking baseball executive with the Los Angeles Angels to be behind the wheel drunk in the year 2020.
After all, you claimed in front of a Florida courtroom back in 2007 after your guilty plea to your first DUI that you, “learned a very valuable lesson and that this will never happen again.”
Well, you lied, and it did happen again. And to be quite frank, you only have a job because you now work for your old pal Jerry Reinsdorf. Most Americans with DUI’s lose their employment as a result or find it difficult to find gainful employment thereafter.
That’s the issue here. The wildly hypocritical double standard that the Chicago White Sox just rolled out to everyone.
Team spokesman Scott Reifert told reporters on Monday night that the club was indeed aware of the pending criminal case against La Russa but still went through with the hire.
Then — as a surprise to nobody — it was leaked that La Russa’s job was safe, even with the arrest becoming public knowledge.
In setting this horrendous double-standard, Jerry Reinsdorf has likely doomed the White Sox’s chances at landing free-agents this winter. Free agents that the White Sox desperately need to supplement their talented young core if they hope to compete for a World Series.
“No amount of money honestly. Peace of mind is always a priority.”
Those were the words of star right-hander Marcus Stroman, a free agent and likely target for the White Sox this winter.
Players don’t feel comfortable coming here now, and the fans are arguably more upset with this franchise than they’ve ever been right now. All of the years of good faith that they extended to this cellar-dwelling franchise has evaporated in a matter of weeks, and all because Jerry just had to have his way.
The White Sox as an organization asked their fan base to be patient with them during the rebuild, to trust the process in the hopes that they would reap the fruits of their patience on the other end of the rebuild.
For the most part, the fan base obliged that request. Showed up in droves to SoxFest each year, scoured every grainy Twitter video of their favorite prospects, watched telecasts and webcasts of minor league baseball games as a way to keep the hope — White Sox fans creatively kept their sanity through a three-year stretch of baseball where their beloved White Sox posted a 201-284 record and never finished higher than fourth place.
Mind you, this was in the midst of a playoff drought that would end at a whopping 12 years only just over a month ago. Nonetheless, White Sox fans kept their word and believed in what the organization was doing.
Then comes 2020, a year that has devastated much of life as we know it, but the fruits of our patience began to blossom in the form of on-field success. All those prospects that we watched like hawks from a distance for years were here, and they were as advertised. The White Sox broke their 12-year playoff drought, posted a winning record, and played a tough series in Oakland before ending their season in the Wild Card round.
Now just six weeks later, those loyal White Sox fans are reeling from the slap across the face that chairman Jerry Reinsdorf delivered to them when he forced his pal Tony La Russa into the fold, just one day after he was charged with his second DUI.
If it wasn’t bad enough that Jerry Reinsdorf knew that a large portion of the fan base would be up in arms over the hiring of La Russa — after Rick Hahn painted a totally different picture just weeks prior — he did this with the knowledge that La Russa’s second DUI would become public knowledge at some point.
Because Jerry Reinsdorf doesn’t care about you. He doesn’t care about me, he doesn’t care about any of his consumers, and he definitely doesn’t give a shit about your opinion. Jerry cares about his money and his friends. But you knew that already, this was just the latest reminder in a long-running series of events that have proven that White Sox fans are nothing more than dollar signs to Jerry.
Jerry Reinsdorf has a small window of opportunity here to right his wrongs, and dismiss Tony La Russa, whether by outrightly firing him, or giving him the option to step down and resign from his position.
Will he take that opportunity and try to salvage the wreckage that his decision making has created, or will he continue to spit in the face of his rabidly loyal fan base?
My guess is as good as yours at this point, but even if he does oust La Russa, remember that he’s only doing it to save face and save dollars. If he truly cared about what you thought, he wouldn’t have hired him in the first place.
As the new White Sox skipper drunkenly stated while sitting in the back of a Jupiter, FL police car back in 2007, “that’s the way it fucking goes, you know?”
Featured Photo: Clumsy Crooks