Vibe Check: Tony La Rules-A

Stretch out, light some incense, and let’s check the vibes. 

Hello! Welcome to Vibe Check, a weekly roundup article where we just sit back, take a deep breath, maybe brew a cup of tea (peppermint if you have it) and just kind of take the temperature on what’s going on around Major League Baseball. So stretch out, light some incense, and let’s check the vibes.  

What an incredible week for getting Vibe Checked. This week, we got perhaps the most ill-advised vibe check of this season. Before I launch it, it may be important to clarify that this article started as a weekly roundup of vibes going on around the league. However, its true function is to check and interrogate those vibes when need be, thus the check. Well, it’s finally time for our first deep dive of the year, where we take a look at the Chicago White Sox as they hit their very first inflection point of vibes, in direct opposition to the least vibey manager in the game. So let’s just get into it. 


The Vibe Check Of The Year

During a Monday night blowout of the Minnesota Twins, White Sox catcher Yermín Mercedes did the worst possible thing a baseball player could do – he played baseball well. 

The thing is when you send a position player out there to get the last outs of a blowout like the Twins did with Willians Astudillo in the clip above, it’s supposed to be good sportsmanship to NOT get ahead to a 3-0 count then send a 47mph tater into orbit. It is, however, kinda funny though. 

And then White Sox Manager and custodian of the unwritten rules, Tony La Russa, weighed in with an incredible Goodfellas-esque quote. 


Keeping it in the family is the exact opposite of telling reporters you’re mad at a player, so it’s very fun that my guy Tony made sure to continuously and aggressively make this family problem well known across baseball media for 24 hours. 

And then predictably Tyler Duffey made Mercedes wear a pitch, which is kinda lame. And that’s coming from a guy who wrote an article ranking plunks. Which, in retrospect, is also kinda lame. Because throwing a baseball at a dude as a punishment to enforce rules that may or may not exist is, one more time here, kinda lame. 

So naturally, La Russa went all in. 

And it just never gets better. The wild part to me, truly, is that La Russa was handed a young, exciting, winning team with guys like Tim Anderson who bat flips on a drawn walk, and he didn’t even pass the very first vibe check. He failed it so much, it seems, that he was left out of the commemorative Good Vibes Gang photo they took just a few days later. 


Because, to just drive the point home, the vibes coming off that photo are powerful and mystic in their energy. You can’t stop that, you can only hope to channel it. And instead, La Russa tried to dismantle it for the sake of stopping offense from happening in blowout games. 

And maybe in a season where we’re chasing the all-time record for no-hitters and it isn’t even June yet, more offense might not be the worst thing. Hitting a baseball is so incredibly hard, let’s just let the kids do it when they can. 

But hey, at least maybe the league learned a lesson from all this. 



Good Vibes

Walkoff Hesi

This whole article this week was on track to just be about profiling the La Russa Vibe Check odyssey, but then Hansel Robles delivered a last-minute vibe that had to be thoroughly checked. 

Robles hits Phil Gosselin with the hesi-slider to get the game-ending strikeout looking, and nobody on Earth will be able to tell me whether or not this is a balk. And I don’t care. Please, please don’t think I care. The thing about the hesi-slider is that it is preposterous and disrespectful and maybe just a tiny bit goofy, and if it happened more it would be a huge problem, but if we can keep it to a few of these a year, I think it’s the greatest innovation in baseball since that time all the umps collectively agreed to stop recognizing clear pine tar stains. 



Championship Vibes

How are the Mariners? 

The last time I checked in, they had gotten no-hit by John Means. Well, the Mariners managed to dial in, put that behind them, and…. 

Big oof. 

Ben Ellenberg

Ben lives in Los Angeles and is almost always thinking about Tony Gwynn stuff.

One response to “Vibe Check: Tony La Rules-A”

  1. Man-With-No-Name says:

    Tony La Russa handled this situation horribly. However, he wasn’t trying to stop “offense from happening in blowout games” and he wasn’t trying to prevent the young players on his team from having fun. If the count had been 3-1 then Mercedes would not have been given the take sign, he would have been allowed to swing away. If a position player hadn’t been pitching then he probably wouldn’t have been given the take sign either. Instead with a position player on the mound, Mercedes swung 3-0 in spite of the take sign and his manager yelling from the dugout. He ignored the signs to pump up his stats. Sure he broke and unwritten rule but you shouldn’t have to write sportsmanship into the rules.

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