Another Chicago White Sox game, another baffling managerial decision by Tony La Russa.
There’s no denying that La Russa is a legendary baseball manager, with three World Series victories and four Manager of the Year honors, but the 77-year-old has also offered up some of the most overwrought and confusing moves of this Major League Baseball season, specifically when it comes to intentional walk scenarios where the odds are already heavily in his team’s favor.
La Russa was at it again on Tuesday in Chicago’s game against the Cleveland Guardians. Down 4-0 in the 5th inning, with a runner on second and two outs, you could possibly make the case that the Sox should intentionally walk Jose Ramirez in order to try and create an easier third out. However, once Chicago had Ramirez on an 0-1 count following a foul ball, the idea of an intentional walk would have seemingly gone out the window, right?
Not to La Russa, however, as that’s exactly what the White Sox did.
Tony La Russa decides to intentionally walk Jose Ramirez on an 0-1 count.
Even Steve Stone has no explanation for it. pic.twitter.com/tMzBA4fNM8
— MLB Errors (@mlberrors) July 12, 2022
“I have no idea,” analyst Steve Stone when asked why you would make a decision like this.
MLB fans and media members had some strong reactions to the decision and how it fed into a larger narrative about La Russa, how the game has passed him by, and it’s probably time for the White Sox to end this experiment.
Can they please bring out the people with nets for Tony La Russa now? https://t.co/RAUyJNJOHx
— Joe Posnanski (@JPosnanski) July 12, 2022
I don't even have a funny insult, this guy has single-handedly ruined something I used to enjoy greatly. https://t.co/wCeKoYcqxM
— Tim Marchman (@timmarchman) July 12, 2022
According to one of the mods of r/baseball, this has never happened before in MLB history.
— Baseball GIFs (@gifs_baseball) July 12, 2022
Reminds me of playing a video game too quickly and then you realize who is hitting after throwing a pitch. Oh, shit, uhh, take your base. I was also famous for letting a reliever throw in my bullpen for 3 innings. Oops. https://t.co/KF66ksgr1i
— T.J. Zuppe (@TJZuppe) July 12, 2022
Ozzie Guillen calling Tony La Russa "Rick Renteria With Credentials" on the postgame show.
— Rick Gregg (@rickgregg) July 12, 2022
It's always something with this team https://t.co/fuPsh7RH6Y
— local bIogger (@fergoe) July 12, 2022
Everybody's grandpa falls asleep during a baseball game I don't understand what the big deal is https://t.co/bQXgxJOg2i
— Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) July 12, 2022
For the record, the decision ended up “working,” as Guardians DH Franmil Reyes struck out to end the inning, and that’s probably what La Russa will point to when he inevitably gets asked about it. But it doesn’t change the fact that the old-timey manager seems to be playing a game that is different from what baseball is today.