Tuesday, September 27, 2022

The White Sox Clubhouse Is In Shambles

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On Sunday night Bob Nightengale released his weekly column about the MLB. This week’s edition was especially notable. Nightengale dropped an intriguing nugget regarding the White Sox locker room chemistry. 



Nightengale writes: 

“No one has been more disappointing than the Chicago White Sox, who must take a good hard look at what went wrong if they miss the playoffs. There have been a lot of whispers of unrest, cliques, and the lack of player leadership inside the clubhouse tearing apart this talented team.” 

Cliques And A Lack Of Leadership

Bob Nightengale is not known as the most reliable of baseball insiders, but it is clear that he has major connections inside the White Sox organization. He has gotten exclusive interviews with Rick Hahn and was the first to break the news of Tony La Russa’s hiring.

This report is no surprise for anyone following the White Sox closely this season. The White Sox are playing uninspired baseball and, at times, look lifeless. Even other teams have been surprised at the White Sox’s lack of success in an easy division.  

During an appearance on 670 The Scores, Parkins and Spiegel show Nightengale revealed that players on opposing teams have been asking White Sox players what is going on with the team. White Sox players are opponents that there are cliques and a lack of leadership in the clubhouse. 

A Telling Twitter Video

A video tweeted by Chicago White Sox tells an outsider all you need to know. It was of the clubhouse learning that Tim Anderson was named an All-Star starter. The reaction was not a good look. 

The players looked unenthusiastic when Joe McEwing broke the news. Nobody stood up; nobody cheered. A few half-hearted golf claps were the only sound that could be heard. Anderson himself was slumped in his chair and looked unimpressed. 

Anderson said a few words, and someone yelled at him to “stand up.” Anderson ignored the request and finished a dull speech. 

If you watch the video with the volume down, you can’t even tell it’s a celebration. 

This is a very telling scene compared to the locker room reaction from last year when Tim Anderson learned he had been named an All-Star reserve. 

After Joe McEwing made the announcement, the locker room erupted in celebration, and multiple players jumped on Anderson in joy. Anderson was named a starter for the first time in his career this season. That is a tremendous honor. Last season he was not even guaranteed an at-bat. 

Lack Of Accountability Dating Back To 2020

Some of this falls on the culture created by Tony La Russa. There has been a total lack of accountability this season. However, most of this falls on the players. Even before La Russa’s hiring, there were rumors of a lack of accountability in the White Sox clubhouse. 

Following a 5-1 loss to the Detroit Tigers in 2020, Dallas Keuchel called out the team’s effort to the media. 

“It just seemed like we were taking a night off. We can’t afford that with a young core that we have here. We’ve got to show up every day, and even if there’s no fans, we’ve got to make sure that we are ready to go. And if we’re not ready to go, we’ve got to fake it until we make it.” 

Following manager, Rick Renteria’s firing Ken Rosenthal reported that some White Sox veterans felt that Renteria needed to hold players more accountable.” 

Regardless of the manager, accountability has been an issue. The major difference has been the team does not look like it is having fun. Losing tends to compound frustrations. 

Little To No Veteran Leadership 

However, Nightengale also reported that none of the players outside Lance Lynn have stepped up as a leader. Generally, a position player is the one being vocal in the clubhouse because they play every day. 

With Yasmani Grandal on the shelf, this comes as no surprise. Tim Anderson has sometimes shown a lack of maturity, and Jose Abreu has never played on a team that has won a championship. 

After the White Sox extra-inning loss to the Twins on July 4th, Abreu could be seen sitting by himself in the dugout, looking distraught. Having players care as much as Abreu is refreshing, but that is the time to come into the locker room and make a statement, not sulk in the dugout by yourself. That simply isn’t in his nature. Abreu is more of a lead-by-example type of guy. 

Nightengale also said on the Parkins and Spiegel show that, to his knowledge, there haven’t been any team meetings to address the team’s issues. 

If the White Sox fails to make the playoffs with this roster, it may be the most disappointing season in White Sox history. With the talent on the roster and the sub-par divisional opponents, the players have nobody to blame but themselves.

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Navylifer3
Navylifer3
Jul 14, 2022 10:12 am

First and foremost – MLB teams traditionally police themselves. If a player doesn’t run out a dropped 3rd strike to end the game – then the Captain must call him out. Unfortunately, it was the Captain who gave up the final out recently! If LaRussa decided TA was the best choice to serve as this team’s Captain – then he needs to re-think the selection. Can’t actually make the change right now without throwing the SOX into a further funk, but maybe adding a Co-Captain might allow TA to step back. Or maybe there should be no Captain and let… Read more »

MikeM
MikeM
Jul 13, 2022 8:10 am

The White Sox need an AJ Persinski personality. In 2005, AJ was the ring leader of a group of young players (Joe Crede, Aaron Rowand) who kept the enthusiasm up on the team. They had quiet leaders also like Abreau (Paul Konerko), but AJ was the guy that made the team go!

Chuck Cue Farley
Chuck Cue Farley
Jul 12, 2022 3:11 pm

LaRussa holds most of the blame ! As a manager he needs to hold players accountable . But it does not end there as he needs to appoint a team captain / leader and Co capt that will get a bonus of sorts for doing the job appointed to !

mjc72
mjc72
Jul 12, 2022 11:34 am

Nigthengale is hack. Everyone knows he is the personal mouth piece of Ebenezer Reisndorf.

Phil
Phil
Jul 12, 2022 11:18 am

If managers hold players accountable they’re old school….or labeled worse things by the media especially if they have a pale skin pigment. If managers have a lazzies faire approach…..let players dictate the clubhouse and accountability or lack thereof….well…it’s all their fault. The media can’t have it both ways .. either you have competent structure or a free fall in either case. The variables that can exist in an organization and locker room are infinite. What we do know is that this team has been bad to average since the AS break in 2021. Misery loves company in losing situations and… Read more »

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