White Sox manager Tony La Russa expressed disappointment with Yermin Mercedes after his designated batsman took a 3-0 lead in the ninth inning of a game that Chicago led 15-4 on Monday night against the Minnesota Twins.
Mercedes smashed the 47 mph over the fence of midfield for its third goal of the game.
“Big mistake,” said La Russa on Tuesday. “The fact that he’s a newbie and excited helps explain why he was just clueless. But now he has a clue.”
Because of the large deficit, the twins fielded the infielder Willians Astudillo at that time. He sat 3-0 behind Mercedes before throwing the ball on the plate. Mercedes crushed it and then partied with his teammates while his manager simmered.
“I took a few steps from the shelter into the field and shouted, ‘Take, take, take'”, La Russa recalled. “The way it was set up, it looked to me like it was swinging.
“I was upset because this is no time to make it 3-0. I knew the twins knew I was upset. … He missed a 3-0 mark. With that kind of lead, it’s just sportiness and respect for your opponent. “
Mercedes is known in Chicago as a free spirit and fan favorite. While La Russa was all but guaranteed it wouldn’t happen again, their best batsman declared he wasn’t going to change.
“I always do Yermin,” he said. “That’s why I’m here right now. That’s why you’re talking to me right now. If I’m not Yermin, if I don’t, nobody wants to talk to me, nobody wants to know what I’m doing.”
The entire availability of La Russa to reporters included the unwritten rules of the game. He even referred to Fernando Tatis Jr., who swung 3-0 for the San Diego Padres in a blowout last year, which got him some backlash. The 76-year-old White Sox manager said he wasn’t against progress in the game. For example, he’s on board with celebrations.
“MLB wants to promote the theater and the players should have fun,” said La Russa. “I’ve spoken to some of my colleagues. If everyone does that, nobody can get upset.”
The 28-year-old Mercedes leads the most important leagues on average and is one of the most interesting storylines in baseball. He worked in the minors until he finally got a chance to play this year and is already the top runner for AL Rookie of the Year. But that won’t excuse him for his mistake, according to La Russa.
“There will be a consequence that he will have to endure here in our family,” said the manager. “It’s a learning experience.”
Mercedes were in the line-up against the twins on Tuesday, so he will not be penalized with playing time, although La Russa would not explain the consequences.
White Sox manager Tony La Russa expresses his displeasure with Yermin Mercedes taking on the team 3-0 against the twins.
“I’m sure that Yermin won’t happen again,” said La Russa. “It’s a manager’s responsibility. It’s a teaching moment. You want them to understand why there is a take sign in this situation : 0 will swing. “
La Russa is also aware of what rubbing could mean for other players on his team.
“I never want to give the other team an excuse to shoot one of our players,” he said. “We learned from day one to respect the game, to respect the competition, to respect our opponents.
“I heard him say something like, ‘I’m playing my game.’ No, he doesn’t, he plays the game of Major League Baseball, respects the game, respects the opponents, and he has to respect that [take] Sign.”
It is unclear whether Mercedes received the message that La Russa sent. He just wants to keep being himself on the field.
“I’ll play my game,” said Mercedes. “I can’t be another person. If I change, everything will change.”
As expected, the twins were not satisfied with the 3-0 home game either and took matters into their own hands on Tuesday. Reliever Tyler Duffey threw himself behind Mercedes as it hit the plate in the seventh inning.
Duffey was kicked out, and moments later so was Rocco Baldelli, Minnesota manager. Before the game, Baldelli had expressed his own dissatisfaction with the home run.
Perhaps fueled by all of the drama, the Twins overcame a 4-0 deficit en route to a 5-4 win. After the loss, La Russa went into the twins’ strategy. He didn’t argue against it.
“I wasn’t that suspicious. I’m suspicious when someone throws someone on the head,” he said. “I had no problem with how the twins handled it.”