CHICAGO -- Tim Anderson won’t tailor his energetic and emphatic bat-flipping style, helping to make him one of MLB's burgeoning stars, to fit new White Sox manager Tony La Russa.
In fact, the American League Silver Slugger Award-winning shortstop didn’t wait for the full question to provide a decisive answer during a Zoom call with reporters on Thursday evening.
“Nah, that won’t happen,” Anderson said with a laugh, continuing his answer after the question’s completion. “I won’t change my style, the way I play, for Tony. I will continue to be me. I always have, and I always will be.
“We’ll see what happens, I guess, if I do a bat flip or if I [celebrate] one, we’ll see what happens. But no, I will not be changing the way I play or the way I approach the game.”
La Russa, 76, was also the White Sox 30th manager with a stint from 1979-86. He has not managed since winning his third World Series title in 2011 (his second with the Cardinals to go with one as A's manager), although La Russa has worked for MLB and in the front offices for the D-backs, Red Sox and Angels since.
Jiménez and Anderson know of La Russa’s managerial pedigree and don’t seem to be worried about his age or length of dugout absence.
“He's still been watching the game, so he pretty much does know what's going on. It's not like he's got to get out there and play,” Anderson said. “All he has to do is just manage us, and I'm pretty sure he's going to know how to do that. He's in the Hall of Fame for a reason. I'm just excited to see the Tony that everybody's talking about. Learn from him and see which way this thing's going to go.”
“What can I say? Tony is one of the greatest managers in the history of the game,” Jiménez said through an interpreter. “When I saw the news, I was excited to be managed by a guy like him. At the same time, it was kind of bittersweet news because I love Ricky, too.”
Renteria guided the White Sox to a 35-25 record in 2020, leaving them one game behind the AL Central-champion Twins. He also presided over three lean rebuilding years, but he helped develop players such as Anderson and Jiménez, who both captured their first career Silver Sluggers, along with first baseman José Abreu, who won his third.
The hope is that La Russa, ranked third in MLB with 2,728 career victories, will take the White Sox to a championship level. La Russa was officially announced as Chicago's manager on Oct. 29, but he has not talked with either Anderson or Jiménez.
“I’m still waiting on him to, you know, reach out to me,” Anderson said. “I’m excited to talk to him. I’m going to ask him if he’s been reading. … A lot of people have been saying we’re not going to get along, so I’m going to ask him why you think that.
“We’ll see. I’m excited about it. Hopefully, we can turn this negative around into a positive and keep moving, keep enjoying the game and keep having fun with it. You can’t get sidetracked from what the ultimate goal is.”
The managerial change hasn’t changed the excitement for the clear upward direction of the team.
“It’s just one of those things we have to experience ourselves and see what type of manager he is and learn from him,” Anderson said. “It’s something we are looking forward to, and we are definitely kind of excited to see which way he’s going to go.
“We say each year is going to be harder, but hopefully, we continue to get better and keep being consistent. And keep having fun with it. That’s the ultimate goal. If we have fun, the rest is going to take care of itself, and you see, here we are. We are just having fun, and we have three Silver Sluggers.”