“Speaking from a player’s standpoint, for sure. I definitely want him in,” White Sox All-Star shortstop Tim Anderson said of manager Tony La Russa. “He did a great job with the way he managed and just being open. “For me, yeah, I want him to be back.” | David J. Phillip/AP
“I want him to be back,” the All-Star shortstop said.
White Sox manager Tony La Russa said he would return next season if the players want him back, and while there isn’t much doubt the 77-year-old Hall of Famer will return, staunch support from an important voice in the clubhouse came Thursday.
“Speaking from a player’s standpoint, for sure. I definitely want him in,” All-Star shortstop Tim Anderson said. “He did a great job with the way he managed and just being open.
“For me, yeah, I want him to be back.”
On Wednesday, Jose Abreu said he hadn’t talked to La Russa about next year after this season ended in a disappointing three-games-to-one defeat to the Astros in the ALDS.
“But I’m pretty sure he’s going to come back,” Abreu said through a translator. “He won’t leave us alone. He’s going to be with us.”
When La Russa was hired in the offseason in a stunning move by chairman Jerry Reinsdorf, an immediate reaction was the assumption La Russa’s age (76 at the time) and old school manner would clash with the culture of a fun, free spirited Sox clubhouse. Anderson’s bat flipping and outgoing persona were driving forces in the team’s “Change the Game” mantra, and Anderson was somewhat skeptical at first. He took a wait-and-see approach.
But he warmed up to La Russa after initial conversations, and his respect for the manager grew during the season.
“Huge impact,” Anderson said of La Russa’s leadership. “Everybody thought we weren’t going to get along, but we were talking behind the scenes the whole time. For him, the players come first, and he makes that known. We’re one big family.”
Anderson has spoken of his appreciation for La Russa’s office door “always being open” for conversations about baseball and non-baseball issues.
“When we took the field, we were going to go out and play hard for him and give him everything we got,” Anderson said Thursday. “I’m very pleased with him.
“He did a great job coming in and being a part of what we’re trying to do. I couldn’t be more happy with what he did. The relationship was great, overall, with the players. Everybody was just getting along with him. Hopefully he can step right back in and continue to push us next year and make these decisions that he did. He did a great job overall, and I was very pleased with how he handled it.”
Anderson characterizeded the Sox’s season as positive.
“We won the division, that didn’t happen last year. We also brought two playoff games to Chicago, that didn’t happen last year,” he said. “So I think it’s just a step to where we’re trying to get to, and we’ve just got to keep believing and trusting in that process and take it step by step.
“We competed all season, through injuries, really through everything. And just for us to get to where we were, it says a lot about the ball club and this organization.”
La Russa is completed the first year of what is believed to be a three-year contract.
“For me, yeah, I want him to be back,” Anderson said. “But at the end of the day, my decision don’t really matter. So I guess it all depends on what the front office thinks.”