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Zulgad: Embarrassingly out of touch: White Sox manager — and some Twins — just don’t get it

MLB: Chicago White Sox at Minnesota Twins
May 17, 2021; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Twins relief pitcher Willians Astudillo (64) throws a pitch during the ninth inning against the Chicago White Sox at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: Jordan Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

So let me get this straight: In a season that has been a complete embarrassment, the Minnesota Twins were being embarrassed 15-4 by the White Sox on Tuesday night at Target Field when they brought in position-player Willians Astudillo to throwing embarrassingly slow Eephus pitches in the ninth inning. Yet, it’s Chicago rookie Yermin Mercedes who embarrassed the game of baseball and broke the unwritten rules?

This is infuriating on many levels. Let’s go through them:

— Mercedes’ solo home run on a 3-0 pitch was met with anger from his manager, 76-year-old Tony La Russa. This isn’t a complete shock, given how out of touch La Russa is with the game, but his comments before the Twins and White Sox played again on Wednesday were beyond ridiculous and, yes, far more embarrassing than anything his player did the day before. Read the below series of tweets from Jesse Rogers of ESPN and then tell me who’s the clueless one.

— The White Sox are 25-15 and 3.5 games up on Cleveland in the AL Central. They are an exciting team, with star power and 27-year-old shortstop Tim Anderson is not only an outstanding player but also a guy who has tried to make the game more fun. Anderson doesn’t play by La Russa’s silly rules and if he hits a big home run, he’s going to flip his bat. There was an immediate prediction when La Russa somehow got the White Sox’s job last offseason that he and Anderson would clash and it seems inevitable that that will soon happen. Want proof? Here’s the social media exchange between Anderson and Mercedes, a 28-year-old rookie who is one of the best stories in the game this spring.

— If you’re a Twins fan this might be the most maddening thing. Brian Hall, who often covers the Twins for the Associated Press, had this pregame quote from manager Rocco Baldelli. Baldelli, in his third season, is 39 years old and for him to be surprised is bad enough. But who are the guys in the Twins’ clubhouse whose emotions haven’t been “quelled” and, more importantly, what the heck are they thinking? The Twins are 13-26, they have are 11.5 games behind the White Sox in the AL Central, they have underachieved at a enormous level and they have some guys who are upset that a member of the White Sox had the gall to swing at a non-major league pitch from a non-major league pitch whose entry into the game was met with cheers because Baldelli decided to make a mockery of the game rather than waste another real pitcher? Tell me, again, who is guilty of breaking an unwritten rule?