When you have a great first place ballclub, like the White Sox, you would like the focus to be on the field. However, it seems like every week there is a new Tony La Russa sideshow.
This week was no different. WGN obtained dashcam footage of Tony La Russa’s DUI arrest from last year. In the video, you can see Tony La Russa on the side of the road after his car suffered major tire damage.
Police approach La Russa and after having a conversation with him it becomes apparent he is under the influence. La Russa then lies about having nothing to drink and is forced to take a field sobriety test. After blowing a .09, La Russa admits that he had a glass of wine before driving.
La Russa is then placed in cuffs and can be seen in the back of a squad car. At this point, he is visibly upset and delivers his great one-liner “I’m legitimate. I’m with the Angels. I’m a Hall of Famer.”
In the video, you can also overhear one cop having no idea who Tony La Russa is. His fellow cops try and explain it to him saying: “He’s a f***ing Hall of Famer,” one officer said … before adding, “This guy’s like the Michael Jordan of baseball … like World Series manager, like Manager of the Year.”
One La Russa Distraction After Another
The hiring of Tony La Russa caused shockwaves across the MLB. A Hall of Fame manager that has not been in the dugout in a decade is going to draw lots of attention. Mix that with a championship-caliber roster and some baggage and, your season is going to be under a microscope.
La Russa’s DUI arrest before being hired was not a great start. Since then it has been nothing but a circus. Before the season even started it was reported that Jerry Reinsdorf ruffled feathers in the organization by going over Rick Hahn’s head to make the hire.
The Hall of Fame committee was also reportedly unhappy that La Russa was coming out of retirement. On top of that Marcus Stroman ruled out the White Sox because of the hire and Trevor Bauer alluded to the fact that other free agents may do the same.
Jeff Passan reported on May 3rd that patience in some parts of the White Sox clubhouse was growing thin. That came after La Russa allowed Billy Hamilton and Leury Garcia to hit, even though Robert was available on the bench. La Russa’s explanation after the game was that he was “looking for a single there.”
That was the same game he left Lucas Giolito in too long. After a solid outing, he sent him back out for the seventh inning despite showing clear signs of fatigue. Giolito wasn’t going to ask out of the game. That responsibility fell on La Russa, who after the game said he didn’t realize Giolito was gassed.
He’d made the same error three weeks earlier with reliever Matt Foster and admitted “that’s lousy managing.” La Russa then made headlines when he publicly scolded Yermin Mercedes for hitting a home run on a 3-0 count off a position player. The next day Twins pitcher Tyler Duffey threw at Mercedes in retaliation. After the game, La Russa failed to defend his player and even took the Twins side saying “I don’t have a problem with how the Twins handled it.”
Despite this embarrassing arrest and weekly La Russa distractions, the White Sox continue to win. They say winning cures all and as long as the victories keep piling up then all will be forgiven.