Tony La Russa is coming back to Chicago, and that’s not something that most Cubs fans want to hear. Even though La Russa won’t be coaching in the National League Central Division, his presence will be felt amongst Cubs fans.
The 76-year-old La Russa is set to manage the Chicago White Sox next season, and that is sure to ramp up the Cubs/Sox rivalry. La Russa has not managed since 2011, and most Cubs fans probably wish that he had stayed retired.
La Russa is a Hall of Fame manager that has won three World Series titles in his managerial career. Two of those came with the hated St. Louis Cardinals, and La Russa’s teams always seemed to torment the Cubs during his tenure.
Now La Russa will be tasked with trying to get the Chicago White Sox to the promised land, and he has the roster that is capable of getting it done. The White Sox are set up much like the Cubs were in 2016, and we all know how that season finished on the North Side.
Just like with the Cubs and their young core it was Ricky Renteria that helped get the organization turned around. When the Cubs were ready to really compete, Renteria was let go and it was Joe Maddon that took the team to the World Series.
The White Sox believe that they are at that very same stage, and they have also turned to a more established manager to take the next step. Unlike Maddon, La Russa is an old-school manager, and it will be interesting to see how things play out.
It’s unclear how many times the Cubs and White Sox will square off against each other in 2021, but this hire of La Russa adds another layer to the rivalry. When La Russa steps out of the Wrigley Field dugout for the first time to make a pitching change, expect a cascade of boos to shower the legendary skipper.
Why the La Russa Hate?
The majority of Cubs fans despise Tony La Russa, while others would go as far as to say that they “hate” the former Cardinals manager. Jealousy is one reason why some Cubs fans can’t stand La Russa, but there are other factors at play here as well.
For one, it was Tony La Russa that largely started the whole idea of having relief pitchers face just one batter at a time. La Russa wore out a path between the dugout and the pitcher’s mound, and it drove opposing fans crazy.
Another reason is that La Russa’s Cardinals teams had a history of “throwing” at Cubs batter, whether it was intentional or not. Former Cubs manager Dusty Baker famously challenged La Russa to a fight after one such incident.
Perhaps the biggest reason is that the Cardinals won a pair of titles under La Russa, and the Cubs couldn’t get out of the first round. Cubs fans can’t stand to see the Cardinals have success, and the Redbirds had plenty under their former skipper.
If La Russa is able to lead the White Sox to a World Series title, you can only imagine how bad that would hurt the beloved Cubs fans. Here’s hoping that La Russa’s old school managerial styles fail completely in the new-age baseball.
Either way, this was a gutsy move by the Chicago White Sox, and the organization is clearly going all in. The Cubs/White Sox rivalry just got a whole lot more intense, and the Crosstown Classic should be fun in 2020.