Tony La Russa was ‘upset’ that Yermín Mercedes hit a homer on a 3-0 count during White Sox’s blowout victory.
It’s safe to say rookie Yermín Mercedes learned not to break an unwritten rule of baseball around Tony La Russa, even if the play would be record breaking.
The White Sox were up late in the game, 15–4 in the ninth, and Minnesota had utilityman Willians Astudillo pitching. By the time Mercedes stepped up to bat, Astudillo was 3-0.
The unwritten rule is that you shouldn’t swing on a 3-0 pitch when your team is up late in the game, especially when a position player is pitching. But, the rookie couldn’t resist slammed the 47.1 mph pitch, hitting a home run with the ball traveling 429 feet.
Since 2008 (as far back as MLB’s pitch velocity data goes), no one has hit a dinger on a pitch thrown slower than the one Mercedes walloped.
But, La Russa wasn’t having any of that on Tuesday night.
“He made a mistake,” the manager said. “There will be a consequence he has to endure here within our family.”
He went on to add, “The fact that he’s a rookie and excited helps explain why he just was clueless. But now he’s got a clue.”
Meanwhile, Mercedes called it just baseball.
“I’m going to play like that. I’m Yermin. I can’t be another person because if I change it, everything is going to change. … We’re just having fun. It’s baseball.”
La Russa was quick to reject Mercedes’s mentality.
“I heard he said something like, ‘I play my game.’ No he doesn’t. He plays the game of Major League Baseball, respects the game, respects the opponents. And he’s got to respect the signs.”
But not everyone on the White Sox agrees with La Russa’s thoughts. Shortstop Tim Anderson shared his opinion about the manager’s comments on Instagram, saying “The game wasn’t over! Keep doing you big daddy.”
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