BURR RIDGE, Ill. – Tony La Russa defenders are hard to find these days, but a handful were out on the links Monday, chipping in at the White Sox annual ‘Field of Greens’ charity golf outing.

“I’m a Tony La Russa fan from way back. I’ve known him since 1979. There is no better manager in baseball than Tony,” remarked Sox great Ron Kittle, who won Rookie of the Year in 1983 with La Russa as his skipper. “Unfortunately, a lot of the players – they’re more interested in social media than they are sitting out there hustling and busting their butt to win or lose the ballgame. You lose a game busting your butt, you tip your hat to the guy. If you do it lackadaisically or lazy, I don’t want to put up with that stuff.”

“The funny thing is we’re not out of yet as bad as we’ve been. We sucked. As bad as we’ve been, we’re still not out of it. If we can get some guys who can swing the bat and drive in some runs – it’s hard to win a Major League game if you don’t score runs,” explained former Sox play-by-play announcer Hawk Harrelson. “People are getting on Tony’s [expletive] and the thing about it is, he can only play with what he’s got. If you keep getting these guys going on the DL, you don’t have anything.”

“I don’t know what’s wrong with them not being healthy,” Kittle added. “Every morning the dog wakes up and stretches. These guys ain’t stretching. They’re lifting weights and getting strong. Their muscles are torqued. I think that’s one of the reasons they’re hurt. People can disagree with me, but that’s my opinion.”

“We’ve got people in the stands that know more about the game than I do,” Harrelson noted. “They’re baseball fans. They’re White Sox fans. The thing about it is, if you can’t be optimistic then you should go to another sport rather than be pessimistic or getting on Tony’s [expletive] or whatever it may be. It’s not his fault. It’s just that simple.”

“They wanted to fire him last year. They wanted to fire him this year. They said he’s too old. The man is as smart as anybody is in baseball,” said Kittle. “You don’t win two thousand, 26-hundred games, go in the Hall of Fame being a dummy. It’s tough for him because I really think he should explode every once in a while, but somebody will go tell their dad or their mom or their agent and everything will just be upset. I’m kind of venting on the bad side of it because it’s a great city for baseball and we’ve got some good players and there are some hustlers on the team I really love, but we need to play a little bit harder sometimes.”

The Sox will try to snap a four-game losing streak Tuesday, when they open up a three-game set against the Royals at Guaranteed Rate Field.