Tony La Russa to Arresting Officer in DUI Charge: ‘I’m a Hall of Famer, Brother’

Update: According to 12 News, an NBC affiliate in Phoenix, the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office has moved to drop the charges against La Russa. The new White Sox manager failed a field sobriety test and refused a blood test, but a subsequent search warrant revealed that he had a .095 blood-alcohol content. Arizona’s legal limit is 0.08.

Though it initially felt like a situation in which a wealthy team owner with a vested interest in the situation may have pulled some strings, it appears this was the result of a clerical error. According to WGN’s Rick Tarsitano, the charge was filed in the wrong court and the MCAO will be refilling the charges in a different justice court.

The Tony La Russa situation just keeps getting worse as more details emerge about his DUI arrest in the Phoenix area this past February. It was at least the second such incident for the new White Sox skipper, who was charged in 2007 while managing the Cardinals. You may recall that one for the recording of La Russa attempting to recite the alphabet backwards during a field sobriety test.

I don’t want to speculate on whether La Russa’s issues are more than merely bone-headed ignorance, but I do want to point out the general fact that addiction is a disease and should be acknowledged and treated as such.

Regardless of any root causes, La Russa’s behavior can’t simply be waved off as was going to be the case in Chicago. Or so said the initial reports from the organization, which held that the Sox knew about the arrest and were not planning to discipline La Russa in any way. Nor are they likely to do so based on what he said to the arresting officer, though his words betray a special brand of assholery that deserves to be put on blast.

“Do you see my ring?” La Russa asked, per a police report. “I’m a Hall of Famer [sic] baseball person. I’m legit. I’m a Hall of Famer, brother. Your [sic] trying to embarrass me.”

No, bro, you’re doing a perfectly fine job of embarrassing yourself. Even worse, La Russa and bosom buddy Jerry Reinsdorf are doing a bang-up job of turning the up-and-coming White Sox into a laughingstock in the baseball industry at large. What was perceived as a bad hire by everyone not wearing rose-colored glasses, and even some who were, now looks like the sort of pathetic cronyism being displayed in Washington, D.C.

But it’s not just fans who are being turned off by the shenanigans at 35th and Shields, as free agents have now become wary of the South Side as a destination. Free agent righty Marcus Stroman, who by all accounts would be a perfect fit for the Good Guys, didn’t mince words in a Twitter thread about La Russa when asked how much money could get him to play for “an old and seemingly racist alcoholic.”

It’s too late for the Sox to avoid getting egg on their face, but maybe they can at least grab a towel and clean themselves off a little bit. They could probably borrow one from Jed Hoyer now that he’s been done with it for a while. That’s not really Reinsdorf’s style, though, so I’ve got a very strong suspicion that nothing material will come of this.

And just in case you’re still clinging to a shred of hope for humanity, I present you with proof that it can always get worse. Even among all of Mike North’s previous awful takes, this one stands out.

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