It’s been a mentally exhausting week in the world of a White Sox fan amid the Tony La Russa DUI scandal that surfaced on Monday night courtesy of ESPN’s Jeff Passan, and it’s only Thursday.
We’re well over 48 hours removed from the original ESPN report and nearly the same for the subsequent reports that included the police affidavits from the February arrest of La Russa in Phoenix, Arizona.
Reports that painted Tony La Russa as a cocky drunk who thought he could big time his way out of getting booked by the responding officer.
La Russa was argumentative with the responding officer, admitted to consuming wine while having dinner with his buddies from the “California Angels,” and then proceeded to gush about his baseball accolades to the police officer telling him that he was a, “Hall of Famer baseball person” before being placed into the officer’s patrol vehicle.
The Chicago White Sox have said absolutely nothing, save for a one-sentence response from spokesperson Scott Reifert late Monday evening in which the organization acknowledged that they’re aware of the incident but won’t comment on an active criminal case.
Despite days of furious backlash from fans on social media and in the inboxes of probably every White Sox email address available to the public, the White Sox remain mum on the TLR front, and at this point, you should just forget about them saying anything at all for the foreseeable future. In fact, The Athletic’s James Fegan confirmed as much on Wednesday night.
So, it’ll be at least the second week of December before we hear anything at all on the TLR front, which also likely means that he’s not going anywhere in 2021. With a pre-trial conference set for December 8 in Maricopa County, this trial could very well drag on into the new year, especially if he is convicted.
I can’t see why he wouldn’t be convicted given the fact that he submitted to a breathalyzer on the scene and then had blood drawn while in custody. Oh, and of course his admission of consuming wine during dinner, and the single-vehicle traffic accident he was involved in. This one’s pretty much a slam dunk, especially in Arizona where they have strict DUI laws as USA TODAY Sports’ Bob Nightengale pointed out on Wednesday morning.
Despite there being no official statement from the White Sox this week, they made sure to let their mouthpiece Bob Nightengale know on Monday night that La Russa was in no danger of losing his job, and then Chuck Garfien and Ryan McGuffey hosted Nightengale on the White Sox Talk podcast on Wednesday morning, an NBC Sports Chicago production.
Gee, isn’t that convenient? Jerry Reinsdorf’s media pal Bob Nightengale was picked to discuss the La Russa debacle on the White Sox podcast produced by the media outlet that Reinsdorf owns.
The episode itself was cringeworthy to listen to as Bob Nightengale spent the entire segment downplaying the significance of impaired driving and talking about how La Russa will be able to earn the player’s trust during Spring Training after all this blows over.
When Garfien asked him about the potential scenario where La Russa might have to serve time in jail — he can serve up to 10 days if convicted according to Arizona law — during Spring Training, Nightengale chuckled and compared it to Cubs’ manager David Ross missing the opening of the 2020 season with the flu.
Nightengale — an Arizona resident himself — made sure to illustrate how “tough” the DUI laws in his home state are, almost as to blame La Russa’s drunk-driving on the state of Arizona.
If you didn’t know the history of Bob Nightengale and the White Sox, and Jerry Reinsdorf in particular, you’d have found all that pretty baffling coming from a media personality in 2020. Guess what folks, that was Jerry Reinsdorf’s statement this morning, it just came from the mouth of Bob Nightengale.
Tony La Russa isn’t getting fired, and the White Sox aren’t addressing this issue on the record until they absolutely have to, at the conclusion of the legal proceedings. Even then, don’t expect anything than some fancy lip service from the organization.
I’m sorry, it sucks, but that’s the way it is.
The only question left at this point is, where do we go from here?
It’s November 12 and the White Sox still don’t have a coaching staff announced, 15 days after La Russa was named the new manager of the White Sox. The White Sox have glaring holes that need to be addressed, and the La Russa scandal might have just made it more difficult to attract free agents to Chicago to fill those holes this winter.
Not to mention the fact that the starting pitching market took a nice hit on Wednesday when Marcus Stroman and Kevin Gausman accepted their qualifying offers in New York and San Francisco respectively.
All the La Russa bullshit aside, the White Sox are still an extremely talented baseball team, and they’re the ones who play the game when things get rolling this spring. With the Cleveland Indians looking to deal Francisco Lindor and shed payroll, it’s shaping up to be a two-horse race between the White Sox and the Minnesota Twins in 2021, even with the present construction of the roster on the Southside.
They’ll need help to top the Twins. They’ll need a right-fielder, and at least one more starting pitcher in the middle of that rotation. Despite all the talk of Andrew Vaughn being the designated hitter and backup to Jose Abreu at first base in 2021, he hasn’t seen a minor league at-bat at any level higher than High-A, and that was in 2019. Even if he does end up with the major league club for most of the 2021 season, he won’t break camp with the team, and the White Sox will need some depth to soak up at-bats at the DH spot to open the season.
There’s a lot of things that the White Sox need to accomplish in a window that feels a whole lot smaller than it actually is thanks to the shit-storm that has surrounded the club since the day that La Russa was hired.
Let’s hope they start doing that soon because the players in the clubhouse and the fans that support this team deserve much better than the crap that they’ve had to endure over the last two weeks.
White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson summed it up nicely in a Tweet on Wednesday afternoon:
Featured Photo: Chicago Tribune Photo