The city of Chicago has become the new battlefield of Major League Baseball's culture war. Chicago White Sox manager Tony La Russa is in the center of that war thanks to his recent actions regarding one of the league's "unwritten rules."
After Yermín Mercedes crushed a 3-0 pitch for a long home run with a position player on the mound in the ninth inning of a blowout win over the Minnesota Twins, La Russa publicly chastised the rookie.
He did not agree with Mercedes' idea to swing at the 3-0 pitch, and then did not come to his player's defense after Twins pitcher Tyler Duffey threw at him in a game the next day. Instead the skipper said he didn't "have a problem" with Mercedes getting thrown at.
La Russa's comments angered plenty of people with new-school sensibilities around the league, including former All-Star pitcher CC Sabathia. The ex-pitcher went in on the White Sox's manager during an appearance on a new episode of his "R2C2" podcast.
"This is what I was telling you when they hired him: [La Russa]'s just so out of touch with the game. And most people are ... He should not be managing one of the best teams in the American League, period. The fact that Tim Anderson, basically the captain of their team, had to go on Instagram and step up for his teammate - Like, yeah, the game wasn't over. If you gonna put a f---ing position player in there to pitch, guess what? If he's gonna lob s--- over the plate, we're gonna f---ing tee off."
During the middle of his expletive-laden rant, Sabathia proposed implementing a 10-run rule in such instances, offering mercy as an alternative to the "unwritten rules" scenario that played out on Monday.
Sabathia went on to completely unload on La Russa for his treatment of Mercedes, who Sabathia states has been "carrying" the White Sox over the first six weeks of the season.
"This guy's been carrying you, and now you don't have a problem with the f---ing weird-ass Minnesota Twins throwing behind one of your biggest hitters? That's just f---ing stupid. It's stupid, period. I'm sorry. This s--- is terrible, he shouldn't be f---ing managing that team, and if you're not gonna step up and have your players' back, what's the point of being the f---ing manager of the White Sox?"
A Hall of Fame manager with three World Series titles to his credit, La Russa came out of retirement at age 76 to become the manager of the White Sox for the 2021 season. The White Sox currently lead the AL Central at 26-16, with a 2.5 game advantage over the Cleveland Indians.