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A lot of Chicago White Sox fans think they could manage the team better than Tony La Russa. Well, LaRussa seemingly gave one fan a chance to call the shots.
The White Sox are still in the playoff picture, but 77-year-old LaRussa has gotten a lot of attention this year, usually for the wrong reason. From having to answer for his team’s streaky play, to his questionable managerial decisions, to falling asleep in the dugout, LaRussa has had a lot questions from the Chi-sox press corps.
On Monday night, the White Sox were hosting the AL West-leading Houston Astros, trailing 2-0 heading to the bottom of the eighth. The Sox Eloy Jimenez doubled home 2 runs to tie the score.
That is when a fan started yelling at La Russa to have center fielder Adam Engel pinch run for left fielder Eloy Jiménez.
La Russa called time, and Engel emerged from the dugout and swapped places with Jiménez.
It turned out to be a great call because the White Sox ended up coming from behind for a crucial 4-2 win.
No matter how it turned out, Tony La Russa couldn’t lose
Whether La Russa was really letting the fan make the call or he had already decided he was going to send Engel in as a pinch runner, the move paid off.
La Russa ends up looking great since he was the one that technically made the call, even if he got the idea from a few rows back.
If Engel had gotten thrown out to end the inning, then La Russa could say, “Don’t look at me, I just listened to the guy in the second row.” His hands are clean and all the other White Sox fans jump down that fan’s throat for influencing the Sox skipper.
Sure, there would be questions from the media like, “Hey, why would you let the crowd make calls like that?” Then La Russa could say, “I wanted to show them it’s not as easy as they think,” then he could drop the mic and leave to kick back and watch Matlock in his office.
It was a Win-Win situation for Tony.
The win helped the White Sox draw even with the Minnesota Twins, two games back from the AL Central-leading Cleveland Guardians.