Steve Stone knows what Tony La Russa wants: A 2nd World Series for Jerry Reinsdorf

There’s still room in baseball for 70-something baseball guys like La Russa and Stone.

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“His overwhelming goal is to win one more time for Jerry Reinsdorf,” White Sox broadcaster Steve Stone said of manager Tony La Russa.

“His overwhelming goal is to win one more time for Jerry Reinsdorf,” White Sox broadcaster Steve Stone said of manager Tony La Russa.

Ross D. Franklin/AP

Steve Stone can relate to White Sox manager Tony La Russa. Both are 70-something baseball lifers, still up and running, still going strong.

Stone is rooting for La Russa, whom he has become more acquainted with in the last year, playing golf and visiting for Saturday lunches in Phoenix with him, Bud Selig, Walt Jocketty and Jerry Reinsdorf.

La Russa’s aim in his second go-round with the Sox has never been more clear to Stone.

“His overwhelming goal is to win one more time for Jerry Reinsdorf,” Stone said. “If Jerry did not bring him back, I’m not sure he would have gotten another managerial job. But he and Jerry have a wonderful relationship. Watching the dynamic between those two, they kid each other and laugh, and there is a tremendous amount of mutual respect.”

La Russa’s pursuit of the goal starts Friday, when the Sox visit the Tigers to open the season, his 35th as a manager, 10th with the Sox and second of his second tour on the South Side.

“And Tony realizes how important winning one more time is for Jerry Reinsdorf,” Stone said. “And he wants to present that to him; he wants to be the guy that gets Jerry that other World Series championship.”

The Sox won one in 2005 but have won only three postseason games since. Reinsdorf turned to La Russa, who was fired by then-general manager Ken Harrelson in 1986, to come out of managerial retirement and bring home a second trophy. It was a controversial hire but a good one, Stone says.

To watch La Russa all over the back fields during spring training — eyeing prospects, watching drills, talking with coaches, putting in long days — is to know he won’t fail for lack of effort.

“It’s not in Tony’s DNA to coast,” Stone said.

“Most people really don’t understand how good a baseball man Tony La Russa is. We have a tendency to believe that when you get in your 70s, you forget everything you’ve learned through a life of professional baseball. You might argue that there are guys who know some aspect of the game better than Tony, but he prepares as much as anybody. He lives, eats and breathes the game of baseball.”

The same could be said of Stone, 74, who says he’ll stay in broadcasting as long as he loves it. La Russa is 77, still loves and breathes the game and, like Stone, wants to prove he’s not washed up.

“People think that when you get in your 70s, you ought to sit back, kick your shoes off and enjoy retirement,” Stone said.

That’s not happening with Stone or La Russa.

Stone keeps an open mind to the new age of analytics and data-driven player evaluation. La Russa says he does, as well.

Much of the new stuff is good, Stone says, “but everything that is old isn’t bad, either.”

Some of it might be good for the game.

“The more of us who are allowed to stay in the game, the better the game will be because we’ve seen so much,” Stone said.

“Tony still has a lot to share. He knows the game backward and forward, and it’s nice to see him get a shot at it. He’s going to be a better manager this season because he knows the personnel of the White Sox. He has a better feeling now of what his players can’t do.”

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