Last year, it was Fernando Tatis of the Padres against the Rangers. This year, the “unwritten rules” police in baseball have descended on Yermin Mercedes of the Chicago White Sox for daring to swing at a 3-0 pitch with a big late-inning lead against the Minnesota Twins. The problem for Mercedes: His own manager, Tony La Russa, is part of the police, ruthlessly and ridiculously criticizing him for merely doing his job well.

Just look at what La Russa said about Yermin Mercedes on Tuesday, a day after the hot-hitting catcher crushed a 3-0 pitch for a homer off Twins position player Willians Astudillo, with Chicago leading 15-4 in the top of the ninth:

It really is insane. In football, a coach can refrain from calling aggressive plays with his team leading by 40 points in the fourth quarter. Even then, as long as players are out on the field competing, it’s the job of the offense to score and the job of the defense to prevent the offense from scoring. “Running up the score” shouldn’t be seen as a sin or character flaw. It’s merely what sports teams are supposed to do: Score!

In baseball, it’s different: There is no coach to call plays. Basketball is a game of constant scoring, so it’s not as though a team can stop scoring even if it wanted to. In baseball, there’s a hitter and a pitcher in every at bat. The hitter’s job is to hit the baseball, nothing else. The idea that a hitter shouldn’t swing at a pitch in any situation, as a reflection of manners or etiquette (as opposed to taking a pitch with three balls and the bases loaded, in order to force in a run), is absolutely ludicrous… but not to the “unwritten rules” crowd, and La Russa clearly thinks Yermin Mercedes violated that unwritten rule.

A “mistake”? There will be a “consequence he has to endure”? For doing his job? Yermin Mercedes is just trying to hit a baseball. He is hitting .364 entering Tuesday and having an excellent season for a White Sox team which is leading the American League Central Division and — for that matter — the entire American League with a sparkling 25-15 record.

Live and breathe baseball?

🚨 Get viral MLB graphics, memes, rumors and trending news delivered right to your inbox with the Clutch Newsletter.

The White Sox are loaded with prodigious young talents, Yermin Mercedes included… and yet their manager is trying to dent their level of confidence rather than supporting them at every turn.

This idiocy from La Russa, directed toward Yermin Mercedes, deserved a strong response. Twitter provided it.


The comment is an obvious reference to the fact that Tony La Russa has been charged with driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) multiple times, one of them being the day before White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf hired him as the team’s new manager.

This is the irony of La Russa’s comments about Yermin Mercedes: La Russa, not Mercedes, should face real consequences which have to be endured… and he hasn’t faced them.