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The White Sox invited some gray clouds when they fired Rick Renteria to bring in Hall of Famer Tony La Russa, who was treated by the media as Drunken Old School Baseball Man, for reasons almost entirely of La Russa’s own design.

But as a young Cubs fan during La Russa’s spirited (heh) reign in St. Louis, I think some of the dismissal is shortsighted. This guy put power bats in the two-hole back when it was called the two-hole because everyone thought the only logical baseball move was to put your best bunter slash worst hitter there. The second spot in the batting order was referred to as a hole when La Russa was taking criticism for using good hitters there. I know I’m being redundant, but it’s been weird to see the Twitterverse speculate the guy who oversaw the bash brothers would throw a hissy fit about bat flips. Maybe he won’t love it. Maybe he’ll say something stupid. Maybe he’ll debilitate an up-and-coming clubhouse. And maybe he hasn’t earned the benefit of the doubt. But to characterize him as some groupthink fossil who’s never done a single smart thing in the game is the sort of internet sunshine of the spotless mind that gets my neurons firing. He inherits a system with immediate help at the top and not much to dream on beyond that. 

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Someone wins the off-season every winter. The baseball calendar invites us to imagine how a power bat like Edwin Encarnacion and a high OBP catcher like Yasmani Grandal will impact a lineup. It’s math we can do more easily than we can measure the addition of a great left tackle to a football team. We can plug Dallas Keuchel and Gio Gonzalez into Chicago’s rotation and add up their wins above replacement. It’s all very earnest and joyful and helps us push through the expanding darkness. 

Course, someone wins summer in football, too, but it feels very different. Football has no WAR, ironically enough, and while I think that’s at least as flawed a statistic as batting average, WAR is currently treated with reverence due to the shorthand evaluative powers it grants the baseball world. 

While it’s efficacy can be debated, WAR dominates our world, and there can be no doubt the White Sox have gone to WAR this winter. The people are singing songs of freedom and glory—not just for these winter wins but also for the prospect waterfall coming this Spring. 

And who doesn’t love to see a slow-cooked recipe come together, especially during the holiday season?

Please, blog, may I have some more?