Tony La Russa’s decisions from the dugout became the subject of scrutiny for White Sox fans — and MLB viewers in general — all season long. On Monday, he might actually have listened to a fan to make a decision.
Video from Monday’s match against the Astros shows a fan yelling at La Russa for substituting Eloy Jimenez for pinch runner Adam Engel in the bottom of the eighth inning.
“Hey Tony! Hey Tony, run angel,” the fan shouted. “Put angel in there.”
In fact, La Russa appeared to be listening. White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu was already in the batter’s box taking pitches when La Russa came out of the dugout late but right after the fan’s suggestion to make the switch.
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NSFW language in the video
— David (@WeinoChi) August 16, 2022
Jimenez had just drilled an RBI double to tie the Astros 2-2 in the bottom of the eighth inning. The decision to make a pinch run became moot as Engel moved up to third place and a single from Yoan Moncada easily propelled him and Abreu home to put Chicago 4-2 up, a result with which they would end up winning.
Still, late in the game, it’s hard to argue against the decision to put him in second place for Jimenez. Engel ranks in the 92nd percentile for sprint speed, according to Baseball Savant, and is above average on outs at 75th. Jimenez, on the other hand, is 23rd in sprint speed and while he doesn’t qualify for the above-average percentile, he ranked fourth percentile for 2020.
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Fans have weighed in and critiqued La Russa’s decisions in real time in the past. Earlier in the season, the White Sox manager made the decision to intentionally walk Dodgers shortstop Trea Turner in the sixth inning, even though Turner was 2-1 behind.
No sooner had he made the decision than a fan was heard yelling, “Tony, what are you doing? He had two strikes, Tony.”
“When was the last time you saw someone go 1-2 on purpose?”
“Does not happen often.”
— White Sox Talk (@NBCSWhiteSox) June 9, 2022
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The decision confused both audiences and broadcasters, as did his decision later in the year to leave Guardians third baseman Jose Ramirez after reliever Davis Martin went 0-1 on the count.
White Sox broadcasters are confused as Tony La Russa decided to deliberately lead José Ramirez with a 0-1 count pic.twitter.com/TWBcjzHkQC
— Jomboy Media (@JomboyMedia) July 12, 2022
La Russa was also recently spotted falling asleep during a game.
Tony La Russa literally sleeps at work 😭😭😭 pic.twitter.com/Nlzx2EIhED
— Mr. Matthew CFB (@MrMatthewCFB) August 2, 2022
Now fans are making sure he’s awake and alert by roaring into the White Sox dugout.
At least now he won’t let anyone question him.