Have the White Sox turned to self-censorship amid a trying season?
In a bizarre sequence in last Thursday’s game against the Dodgers, manager Tony La Russa made the baffling decision to intentionally walk Los Angeles star Trea Turner with a 1-2 count. Max Muncy came to the plate, and promptly hit a three-run homer as the Dodgers eventually won, 11-9.
The move was criticized by everyone, from a fan who yelled, “He’s got two strikes, Tony!” to the broadcast crew on NBC Sports Chicago. However, when fans tuned in to watch the replay of the game later in the day, the moment was curiously scrubbed from the broadcast entirely.
Instead of that quizzical moment, a graphic appeared on the screen, saying: “Due to the length of this program we now move ahead in the action.”
As called out in a blog on RobertFeder.com, White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf owns 50 percent of NBC Sports Chicago. Per the Chicago Sun-Times, however, the edit was made by “an unaffiliated person from a vendor in New Jersey” who “wasn’t aware of what happened in the inning that was cut.”
La Russa, for one, didn’t seem embarrassed or regretful after the game last Thursday in a testy press conference.
“Is there some question about whether that was good move or not?” he said to a reporter. “Do you know what (Turner) hits against left-handed pitching with 0-1 or two strikes? Do you know what Muncy hits with two strikes against a left-handed pitcher? Is that really a question? We had an open base and Muncy happened to be the guy behind him and that’s a better matchup. That wasn’t a tough call.”
In a season when the White Sox, originally pegged as a potential World Series contender, have struggled to a 29-31 record amid injuries and underperformance, it’s just another hint that not all is quiet on the Midwestern front.