Sunday Shenanigans 8: Another Unwritten Rule Clash

Sunday Shenanigans 8: Another Unwritten Rule Clash

by May 23, 2021 0 comments

Following up last week’s Sunday Shenanigans, we stay in the Windy City. When the White Sox hired Hall of Fame manager Tony La Russa in late October, the reactions were mixed, to say it nicely. It had been 10 years since La Russa last managed the St. Louis Cardinals, and the game had evolved massively in his time off. Starters don’t go through the third time in the order often. Every member in the bullpen is seemingly talented, and several advanced analytics, even simple ones, have a bigger impact than ever.

The biggest concern may have been La Russa’s old school approach to the “let the kids play” mentality often seen now. Less than two months into the season, and we have already seen that take place in what is an increasingly negative way.

The Yerminator

In an absolute beating by La Russa’s White Sox of the Twins on May 17th, the Twins decided to throw position player Willians Astudillo on the mound to save their bullpen an inning. In stepped surprise rookie Yermin Mercedes. This should have been a fun at-bat to watch, considering the batter and pitcher are both under six feet and combine to weigh 470 pounds. But after three balls, Mercedes took a pitch and crushed it for a home run.

Right away Mercedes’ 429-foot bomb struck fear into baseball fans, as by swinging on a 3-0 pitch up big, he broke a big unwritten rule. We saw a similar clash in Texas last year when Fernando Tatis Jr. hit a grand slam, angering Rangers manager Chris Woodward. Given who Mercedes’ manager was, this added to the drama.

Yeah… Don’t Say This

Unsurprisingly, La Russa was not happy one bit. After the game, he gave this quote that could either be from an old-school baseball manager or a mob boss.

Whatever that consequence is, Mercedes’ appearance in the lineup the next day shows that it would be something behind the scenes. La Russa said that he apologized to the Twins and that Mercedes ignored a take sign before the pitch. La Russa’s main intention here was probably to avoid Minnesota throwing at Mercedes in the next game. This quote does beg to differ.

Insulting a new star to the team will surely keep the clubhouse intact. It did not do so immediately, as team leader Tim Anderson backed his teammate on an Instagram post, replying to NBC Sports Chicago’s post about the drama. He wrote “The game wasn’t over! Keep doing you, big daddy.”

Also, whatever La Russa’s intent with this press conference was, that does not excuse this quote.

Yikes.

Endorsing the Enemy

If La Russa wanted to prevent Mercedes from being thrown at, he did an awful job. The next day, Twins reliever Tyler Duffey threw a pitch behind the right-handed hitter. Both Duffey and Manager Rocco Baldelli were tossed and subsequently suspended.

An opportunity to defend your player after a wild night was right there for La Russa. Instead, he decided to defend Duffey’s decision, saying that a pitch that clearly had intent was by accident.

His ability to make things worse with nearly every quote is downright impressive. Luckily for La Russa, star pitcher Lance Lynn would give him another chance to do so.

The Lance Lynn Saga

Lynn said that “If a position player is on the mound, there are no rules. Let’s get the damn game over with. And if you have a problem with whatever happened, then put a pitcher out there.” Lynn also opinioned that “The more I play the game, the more those rules have gone away.” This was a dicey thing to say to begin with. Luckily for Lynn, he got away with it. Oh, wait he didn’t? Yeah, that’s right. La Russa decided to threaten Lynn.

Lynn’s quote did not mention or attack La Russa, but it caused drama anyways. Another source of shenanigans came with the fan reaction, and also the reaction of opposing players. The most vocal of which was clearly Mets pitcher Marcus Stroman, who actually did attack the White Sox skipper.

As the White Sox make their rounds to other ballparks and different media sources, this drama may be far from over. Right now, we can only sit and watch as the first-place White Sox and their manager born during World War II attempt to get this over with.

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Main Image Credit: Embed from Getty Images

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