Without a manager’s job to weigh him down, Tony La Russa can come and go pretty much as he pleases.
That’s why the former White Sox skipper was spotted in the company of old friend Jerry Reinsdorf last weekend at U.S. Cellular Field.
Make no mistake, La Russa, 68, now a special assistant for Major League Baseball, wants to be rooted in a team front-office job.
“I miss the winning and losing,” he said. “At some point there would be a good front-office situation, where they figure I can help. I like responsibility. I had my time down there. I passed the (Cardinals manager’s) torch to Mike (Matheny). There can be some other way I can contribute to baseball.
“I miss people in the office, I miss people in the clubhouse. Players, we’ve always had a very strong relationship. You do miss being around the people and competing as a unit. You can still have that being in the office.”
Lack of Deshaies Cubs background a hurdle: New Cubs TV analyst Jim Deshaies has displayed his trademark wit and knowledge of the National League in his first two weeks on his job.
Closely identified as a pitcher and announcer with the Houston Astros, Deshaies does lack one quality deemed vital in his job: a past Cubs connection.
”He’s knowledgeable. He’ll make contributions,” said Iowa-born-and-raised Milo Hamilton, a Cubs announcer from 1955-57 and 1980-84. Hamilton worked with Deshaies his entire 16 seasons on the Astros broadcast team.
“I was very surprised they didn’t hire somebody with a Cubs background,” he said. “He’ll do a fine job, but it absolutely will be a transition. A play-by-play guy can do it (move to a new market) easier, but it’s more difficult for an analyst to do it.
“When you go to a market like Chicago, people will notice if you’re not doing some of the things they expect you to do. That’s why when (Ron) Santo was no longer there, I was happy (Keith) Moreland got the (radio analyst) job. People remember him from the ’84 Cubs team.”
Bootcheck starting in Triple-A for Yankees: LaPorte native Chris Bootcheck, a former Angels and Pirates pitcher, was happy he signed with the Yankees organization March 6. He’s in the rotation at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
“A winning organization is important to me,” Bootcheck, 34, said, “also, being a starting pitcher. It’s a win-win situation.
“Guys who get called up usually are starters to provide length or closers-type in the bullpen. When the Yankees called, I was prepared to throw 70 to 80 pitches from the first day.”
Bootcheck was the closer at Triple-A Toledo, the Tigers’ top farm club, in 2012. He does not regret leaving despite potential opportunities with the in-flux Tigers bullpen.
“Detroit never even made an offer for me to come back,” Bootcheck said. “They’ll take velocity over pitchability.”
Attendance issue still front and center: Crowd counts will still be a story for both the Sox and Cubs this season.
The Sox drew just 18,708 last Sunday even though many upper-deck tickets were cut to $5 with parking just $10. For the other dates, the Sox determined the market will bear $20 parking.