In a stunning move, the Chicago White Sox have somehow hired the ghost of 1940s Philadelphia Phillies manager Ben Chapman to take over as the team's manager prior to the 2021 season.
At a press conference, White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf introduced Chapman as the new manager, tasked with guiding the team as they enter their window of contention in the AL Central. Chapman, at 111 years old, will become the oldest manager in MLB history, and his 68 years between big league jobs is the longest professional hiatus ever.
He will inherit a White Sox team that is 78-84 over their last 162 games, but is coming off a narrow second-place finish in the AL Central in 2020 and their first postseason appearance since 2008. The 2021 White Sox are one of the youngest and most exciting teams in baseball, and some fear that Chapman's clashing traditionalist views will damage the team's development.
If Chapman is going to have any chance of winning over the clubhouse, he's going to first need to win over the team's star shortstop and leader Tim Anderson. Anderson has become known throughout the league for his high-energy playing style and signature swagger on the field, while Chapman comes from an era of baseball when fun was highly discouraged, and even punished.
There is also the concern of Chapman's history of racism and prejudice in the league, most notably dating back to his harassment and abuse of Jackie Robinson during his tenure as the manager of the Phillies.
When questioned about his past, Chapman said, "Not only do I respect, but I applaud the awareness that's come into not just society but especially sports. ... There's not a racist bone in my body."
White Sox team owner Jerry Reinsdorf defended the hire, saying "I don't really care what you all think. I've known Ben for years, and this is my team. What are you gonna do about it?"
Chapman's hiring also comes after news that the team's former manager, Rick Renteria, has been named a finalist for Manager of the Year for his leadership of the team during the 2020 season.
General manager and architect of the current Sox team, Rick Hahn, was unavailable for comment, as he stared blankly into space for the duration of the press conference.
Following the Q&A at the end of the conference, Ben Chapman floated upward and phased through the ceiling. Reinsdorf and Hahn used the door.