Tim Anderson offered a somewhat skeptical outlook during the offseason when Tony La Russa was announced as the new skipper of the Chicago White Sox following an extremely extended absence from the dugout.
With spring training getting underway, it sounds like La Russa has at least started to alleviate some of the superstar shortstop’s concerns.
There is certainly potential for a clash of styles with Anderson leading a White Sox squad that is a fiery, emotional bunch and the 76-year-old La Russa, who represents a more traditional, low-key and old-school approach to the game.
It appears getting to know La Russa at the White Sox’s spring training site in Glendale, Ariz., has been reassuring to Anderson.
“Just to see what page he’s on is definitely awesome,” Anderson told reporters on Monday, per ESPN. “Just have conversations with him, very motivating.
“The drive to want to win, he has that. I’m behind him 110 percent. That’s the ultimate goal, is to win and to win a World Series here. I’m behind him.
The White Sox stunningly parted ways with Rick Renteria last October despite a resurgent 2020 campaign for the club. The decision to bring in La Russa — who reunited with the White Sox following a 34-year absence — was arguably more shocking than Renteria’s departure.
Amid the dugout shakeup, Anderson, one of the more flamboyant players in Major League Baseball and also one of the most popular sluggers in the game, insisted last November that he “won’t change” his approach to appease La Russa.
It appears a recent one-on-one meeting has assuaged Anderson’s concern that La Russa, who last managed in 2011 with the St. Louis Cardinals, would be aggressive in putting his stamp on the White Sox. That does not appear to be the case any longer.
“I think he’s pretty solid,” Anderson said. “So far, everything has been great. The things he has been preaching have been good. I think we got the right man. I hope so.”
Anderson added Monday that he feels he “can tell [La Russa] anything I want to” after the meeting.
“I ain’t afraid of him,” Anderson joked. “Tell him that.”