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White Sox hire Hall of Famer Tony La Russa as new manager – Sportsnet.ca

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CHICAGO _ Tony La Russa, the Hall of Famer who won a World Series with the Oakland Athletics and two more with the St. Louis Cardinals, is returning to manage the Chicago White Sox 34 years after they fired him.

The 76-year-old La Russa rejoins the franchise where his managing career began more than four decades ago. He takes over for Rick Renteria after what the White Sox insisted was a mutual agreement to split.

“We are extremely excited about the future of this team,” general manager Rick Hahn said Thursday. “As we showed in 2020, this is a young, talented club that we expect to only grow better and better in the coming years. Adding in a Hall of Fame manager who is recognized as being one of the best in the history of the game, we are a step closer to our goal of bringing White Sox fans another championship.”

La Russa inherits a team loaded with young stars and productive veterans that made the playoffs for the first time since 2008, only to sputter down the stretch and get knocked out in the wild-card round.

He becomes the oldest manager in the major leagues by five years. Houston’s Dusty Baker is 71.

“While I have had other inquiries about managing since retiring, this opportunity with the White Sox brings together a number of important factors that make this the right time and the right place,” La Russa said. “The on-field talent is amazing, and the front office, led by Kenny Williams and Rick Hahn, has done everything necessary to create an atmosphere of long-term success. All of those factors aligned to make this a tremendous opportunity, and I am excited to get going as soon as possible by building a coaching staff and getting to work.”

La Russa, who started his managing career with the White Sox during the 1979 season, is returning to the dugout for the first time since 2011, when he led St. Louis past Texas in the World Series. He also won championships with Oakland in 1989 and the Cardinals in 2006.

La Russa is 2,728-2,365 with six pennants over 33 seasons with Chicago, Oakland and St. Louis. He was enshrined in Cooperstown in 2014. Only Hall of Famers Connie Mack (3,731) and John McGraw (2,763) have more victories.

LaRussa got his first major league managing job at age 34 when the White Sox promoted him from Triple-A to replace the fired Don Kessinger. He took over that August and led them to a 522-510 record over parts of eight seasons.

The 1983 team won 99 games on the way to the AL West championship _ Chicago’s first playoff appearance since the 1959 Go-Go White Sox won the pennant. But he was fired in 1986 by then-general manager Ken Harrelson after the White Sox got off to a 26-38 start.

Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf has long regretted allowing that move and remains close with La Russa. Now, they’re reuniting.

“His hiring is not based on friendship or on what happened years ago, but on the fact that we have the opportunity to have one of the greatest managers in the game’s history in our dugout at a time when we believe our team is poised for great accomplishments,” Reinsdorf said.

The move is a surprise considering how long it’s been since La Russa was in the dugout. General manager Rick Hahn said the White Sox were looking for someone who has “experience with a championship organization in recent years.”

Former Houston manager AJ Hinch and ex-Boston skipper Alex Cora fit that description. Both were suspended by Major League Baseball for the 2020 season for their roles in the Astros’ sign-stealing scandal, and both lost their manager jobs. Their punishments ended this week.

Though he hasn’t been in a dugout in nine years, La Russa has remained a part of the game.

Shortly after retiring, he went to work in the league office for two years assisting former Yankees manager Joe Torre in on-field discipline issues.

In May 2014, he was hired by the Arizona Diamondbacks to oversee their baseball operation. They signed Zack Greinke to a $206.5 million deal following the 2015 season. La Russa got demoted to an advisory role following a 93-loss season in 2016 and joined Boston’s front office as a special assistant to then-president Dave Dombrowski in November 2017.

La Russa was with the Red Sox when they hired Cora and won the World Series in 2018. And he spent last season as a senior advisor for baseball operations with the Los Angeles Angels, assisting in player development. Whether any of manager Joe Maddon’s eccentricities rubbed off on him remains to be seen.

Maddon keeps a loose and fun atmosphere, whether it’s having a magician or zoo animals at the ballpark or showing up for a spring training workout decked out in tie-dye with a 1970s van blasting Earth, Wind & Fire’s “Shining Star.” La Russa, of course, was known more for his scowl than his smile. Now, he’s taking on a vibrant and outgoing team, where sky high bat-flips by Tim Anderson seem almost as common as pop flies.

Then again, he’s no stranger to managing outsized personalities. He had Rickey Henderson and Jose Canseco in Oakland, after all.

The White Sox have never made back-to-back playoff appearances. But after ending a string of seven losing seasons, they are in position to change that.

They have a core of young players on team-friendly deals, starting with Anderson. Veteran Jose Abreu put himself in the running for AL MVP by driving in 60 runs. Ace Lucas Giolito pitched his first no-hitter.

Eloy Jimenez hit .296 with 14 homers and 41 RBIs. Luis Robert, who agreed to a $50 million, six-year contract in January, showed star potential in a roller-coaster rookie year. He got off to a great start and hit a massive homer in the playoff series against Oakland, though he also slumped in September.

Now, the White Sox are banking on La Russa to help push them to championships, just as he did with Oakland and St. Louis.

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Cris Collinsworth Apologizes for Saying He Was 'Blown Away' by Football Questions From 'Even the Ladies': TRAINA THOUGHTS – Sports Illustrated

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1. NBC’s Cris Collinsworth has offered a mea culpa after making a head-scratching comment during Wednesday’s Ravens-Steelers game.

The Sunday Night Football analyst was talking about how passionate Steelers fans were when he said, “In particular, the ladies that I met. They had really specific questions about the game. I’m like, ‘Wow.’ You’re just blown away by how strong the fans are here in this town.”

Collinsworth singling out “ladies” instantly generated backlash on social media, with many people pointing out that it shouldn’t surprise anyone that women are knowledgeable about the NFL—or any sport, for that matter. 

A few hours after the game ended, Collinsworth addressed the controversy and issued an apology for the insulting remarks.

2. A brand-new SI Media Podcast dropped late Wednesday night with Chris Long. The Super Bowl champion, who now hosts the Amazon Prime pregame show on Thursday nights and the Green Light podcast three days a week, shared his insight into what NFL players are going through this season while trying to play through a pandemic. 

Long also talks about what’s going on with Tom Brady and the Bucs and why he thinks people shouldn’t sleep on the Packers.

Non-football topics Chris and I discussed include our hatred of shaving, UGGs, celebrity-scented candles, the funniest TV/movie death or funeral scenes and much more.

You can listen to the podcast below or download it on Apple, Spotify, Stitcher and Google Play.

Or you can watch the podcast on YouTube.

3. We need more honesty like this from NFL head coaches.

4. Anyone else surprised that casino revenue in Las Vegas is down only 36% this year? I expected that number to be much higher.

5. It’s giveaway time. Easton Baseball has relaunched its “Green Easton” bat, and they are providing one for a Traina Thoughts reader.

The first person to email me (Jimmy.Traina@si.com) the correct answer to these two questions wins the Green Easton bat. You have to email me the answer. Do not send it via Twitter, Instagram, etc.

• On this week’s SI Media Podcast, Chris Long said he expected Mark Sanchez to be doing commercials for what after his football career?

• On the same podcast, Long cited which TV show as having the funniest funeral scene? 

6. RANDOM VIDEO OF THE DAY: As I’ve said, funniest TV/movies death or funeral scenes was a topic on this week’s SI Media Podcast with Chris Long. Some of my Twitter followers passed along their favorites, and I need to shout out Sean Malone for this one. 

7. SPORTS VIDEO OF THE DAY: Barry Sanders won the Heisman Trophy on this date in 1988. We’ve all seen Sanders’s Lions highlights many times, but did you all know he once had a 100-yard kickoff return during his Heisman season at Oklahoma State?

Be sure to catch up on past editions of Traina Thoughts and check out the Sports Illustrated Media Podcast hosted by Jimmy Traina on Apple, Spotify or Stitcher. You can also follow Jimmy on Twitter and Instagram.

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STYX Releases Quarantine Video For 'Too Much Time On My Hands' In Time For STEELERS/RAVENS Football Game – BLABBERMOUTH.NET

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STYX has released a video for its classic hit “Too Much Time On My Hands”, filmed from the band’s home studios specifically for Pittsburgh #SteelersNation in time for yesterday’s (Wednesday, December 2) game against the Baltimore Ravens.

STYX‘s affiliation with the Pittsburgh Steelers has been strong for years. One of the band’s other signature hits, “Renegade”, has been an adopted theme song of the team for over a decade, and they’ve sung the national anthem at many Steelers games in recent years.

STYX recently asked fans for donations to be made to the Pittsburgh Foundation Emergency Action Fund. The Pittsburgh region is facing unprecedented economic, health and human services challenges in the global public health pandemic brought on by the COVID-19 virus. In response, on March 16, local philanthropies partnered to create the Emergency Action Fund, which awarded operating grants on a rolling basis to emergency service providers and nonprofit organizations serving on the front lines of recovery.

STYX has spent the last few months working on its new studio album, The upcoming effort will be the follow-up to “The Mission”, which was released in June 2017. That disc marked STYX‘s first new LP in 14 years. It was recorded at Blackbird Studios in Nashville, co-produced and co-written with Will Evankovich, a longtime collaborator of guitarist/vocalist Tommy Shaw‘s in the SHAW/BLADES band and who also plays with THE GUESS WHO.

STYX‘s James “JY” Young told Radio Forrest in September that the band will hold off on releasing the new album until it can go back on tour. “That’s the current plan,” he said. “Because we like to have everything kind of get launched at once. It’s easier to make people aware of it if it’s not released in a vacuum. But if you can get a tour going, and tickets are selling, and then the record’s out, it’s easier to build a critical mass for awareness.”

This past August, Young told the Q105.7 radio station that STYX‘s next LP may not arrive for at least another year. “If Dr. Fauci [Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases] is right, [we won’t be able to tour until] the end of [2021], so that would put us out in 2022, which would be the 50th-anniversary year of us signing our first recording contract, which is February 22, 1972,” he said. “But if it’s in ’22 that this record comes out, it’ll be 2-22-22, so maybe that’s what we’ve gotta wait for.”

During the late 1970s and early 1980s, four straight STYX albums sold at least two million copies — “The Grand Illusion” (1977), “Pieces Of Eight” (1978), “Cornerstone” (1979) and “Paradise Theatre” (1981). The band eventually replaced original singer/keyboardist/songwriter Dennis DeYoung in 1999 with Lawrence Gowan.

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Raptors prop odds roll out in advance of season – Sportsnet.ca

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With the start of the NBA regular season less than three weeks away the Toronto Raptors are adjusting to life in their temporary home of Tampa Bay. Forced to relocate due to continued cross-border travel restrictions related to the ongoing pandemic, the Raptors will play home games at Amalie Arena until further notice.

However, with a COVID-19 vaccine looking increasingly likely to roll out at some point in 2021, the odds of the Raptors playing at least one home game in Toronto this season sit at a short -250 in NBA props betting at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

But faced with the prospect of living out of hotels for the entirety of the NBA season, the Raptors have taken a step back on the NBA odds.

Victorious in 53 games last season, second most in the NBA, the Raptors’ win total for the upcoming season sits at just 43.5. Toronto remains a -360 favourite to return to the NBA playoffs for an eighth straight season, but their temporary exile from Scotiabank Arena and recent offseason moves have raised questions. While the team locked up Fred VanVleet with a lucrative four-year contract, the departures of Serge Ibaka and Marc Gasol suggest the team is undergoing a changing of the guard.

Those concerns extend to team president Masai Ujiri, who has been in demand around the league since leading Toronto to a championship and sports -110 odds of resigning his position with the Raptors before next season’s NBA playoffs.

Indeed, if the Raptors fall out of postseason contention during their upcoming nomadic campaign, Kyle Lowry’s future with the team could also be in question. The heart and soul of the Raptors since his arrival in Toronto eight years ago, Lowry played a crucial role in the team’s march to an NBA title in 2019. But with Lowry turning 35 in March, and entering the final year of a contract that will pay him $30 million, he is listed as a +250 wager at online betting sites to not finish the season as a member of the Raptors.

While a slow start could place Lowry’s future in question, Drake’s position with the Raptors appears to be eternal. The Toronto-born hip hop star has served as the team’s global ambassador since 2013, and has become a familiar presence around the franchise both on and off the hardwood.

That is not expected to change, even as the global pandemic rages, with the musician sporting -850 odds to take his familiar seat at courtside for at least one Raptors game in the season ahead.

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