White Sox

Hiring 2005 White Sox is the hottest managerial trend in Japan

Hiring 2005 White Sox is the hottest managerial trend in Japan

In Major League Baseball, the hottest managerial trend is hiring guys with no experience, grabbing them out of the front office or broadcast booth to helm World Series contenders.

In Japan, the hottest managerial trend is hiring members of the 2005 White Sox.

Last week, the Yakult Swallows named former White Sox reliever Shingo Takatsu their latest skipper. He joins Tadahito Iguchi as a manager in Japan's NPB. The former White Sox second baseman managed the Chiba Lotte Marines in each of the last two seasons.

All kidding about White Sox connections aside, obviously these guys have every reason to be managing in their home country. Takatsu pitched for the Swallows for 13 seasons before coming to the U.S. to pitch for the White Sox and another two seasons after returning from the big leagues. He first managed way back in 2012, when he was a player-manager in an independent league in Japan. He spent the past three years as the manager of the Swallows' farm team.

Iguchi, meanwhile, played nine seasons with the Marines after his major league career was over, retiring in 2017 at age 42. He took over as the team's manager the next year. In 2018, the Marines won 59 games. Last season, under Iguchi's watch, they won 69, a 10-win improvement — just like the 2019 White Sox.

And who knows, if Iguchi keeps winning in Japan, maybe he'll catch the attention of the decision-makers on the other side of the Pacific.

When he visited the South Side in 2017 to celebrate his retirement, he talked about his desire to once again wear the White Sox uniform and to some day manage in the big leagues.

"In the future," Iguchi said through a translator that day, "he wants to wear the uniform in Major League Baseball.

"About two years ago, he was invited for SoxFest, and he remembers he spoke to Jerry (Reinsdorf, team chairman) about wanting to come back to the Chicago White Sox again."

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9 jaw-dropping Luis Robert plays and performances from 2019

9 jaw-dropping Luis Robert plays and performances from 2019

Luis Robert had a monstrous 2019 in the minor leagues and did so with some incredible highlights along the way. It earned him a big league contract from the White Sox thie offseason.

While his wait to make his MLB debut will go on longer due to the start of the 2020 season being on hold, we can still revel in some of Robert's jaw-dropping plays from 2019.

9 jaw-dropping plays and performances from Luis Robert

Major League Baseball reportedly considering starting season in empty spring training stadiums

Major League Baseball reportedly considering starting season in empty spring training stadiums

Major League Baseball is searching for ways the 2020 season can take place and one idea that has been thrown around is playing in empty spring training stadiums.

According to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, MLB is thinking that the season could begin play “in Florida or more likely Arizona” in empty stadiums to start things off.

The logistics of this during a pandemic are a nightmare and could prevent the idea from becoming a reality, but it’s on the table as a possibility. The league and its teams would have to figure out how to quarantine the coaches, players and anyone who would be involved in games, both on and off the field.

Having games with fans seems unlikely until a vaccine is available or the league has the ability to guarantee everyone in large groups of people has not contracted the virus. Eliminating crowds minimizes the number of people that need to be virus-free, but guaranteeing the safety of anyone involved would still be difficult.

Having the teams in the same city with no crowds offers an easier way to do that, relatively speaking, but all it would take is one player or stadium worker to test positive for COVID-19 for the whole thing to fall apart. The Cubs recently had two seasonal game-day workers test positive.

It’s clear that MLB is working on finding a solution for the 2020 season, and this one is becoming the most realistic way to start the season in the summer. Things are going to continue to evolve with the many unknowns involved, but this shows MLB is getting creative in its thinking.