(670 The Score) With the way manager Tony La Russa delegates responsibility during games to his coaching staff, the White Sox dugout can have an NFL feel to it.
"Our coaches have assignments just like they do,” La Russa said. “Daryl Boston is the outfield instructor. We count on him for positioning when we are on defense. Joe McEwing and Miguel Cairo work with our infielders in practice, and they help position them during the game. The game situation dictates our coaching as well. Every one of the guys has their in-game responsibility during games, and we talk throughout. Jerry (Narron) is the catching coach, but for me, he is an all-around coach. Ethan (Katz) has the pitchers, and I talk with him a lot.”
La Russa sees some similarities between MLB and NFL coaching jobs, including methods of instruction and motivation.
“The coaching methods are pretty similar,” La Russa said. “There are a lot of coaches that come to the Jupiter, Florida area. We watch training camps, and they are always about coaching fundamentals. A lot of it is getting players and coaches in a competitive frame of mind. We teach it's not like golf or tennis but about the team and paying attention to details.”
La Russa’s coaches with the White have become accustomed to his managerial style – as much as they can – in his first season back in the dugout since 2011.
“You never know what Tony is going to do during a game,” Narron said. “I tell the players every day to be ready. Tony may ask them to do something they have never done to that point. We also must be alert at all times working with him.”
La Russa relies heavily on his coaches for strategic purposes in games.
“It's been an honor to be on his coaching staff,” the bench coach Cairo said of La Russa, whom he played for in St. Louis. “As much as he depends on all of us coaches, it's a great learning experience working with Tony and the other guys. He has an unbelievable baseball mind that has only one focus -- winning that day.”
The White Sox have been doing that often, as they’re 37-24 and lead the AL Central, holding a four-game lead over the second-place Indians. La Russa knows the importance of his staff too as the game has evolved.
"Right now, a lot of the players don't have much time in the minor leagues so they need more instruction up here,” La Russa said. “So you also need coaches to be able to coach up these guys here. The job now is to help these players get the most out of their skills. I talk to those guys (NFL coaches ) pretty frequently. The one thing Bill (Belichick) always emphasized in his coaching – do your job. The key is you do not want people to be distracted by fame or fortune. You just want to help your team win. The money and the fame come after that.”
Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.