That’s the first question we’ll get answered in the off season. Will Tony stay or will he go? I just got off the phone with one of my all time best friends,Yancey. Yancey loves sports, strong drinks, playin golf, his dad, real food-none of that ‘foo-foo sh^t’, fantasy football, his friends, and the Cardinals. Yancey hates one person. Tony La Russa. He refuses to say his name. He calls him La Doucha. He swears TLR fills out the lineup card just to spite him. He says he’d like to gently remind TLR his name is not La Doubleday. You would love Yancey as much as I do. Along with Yance, most of my family are not enamored of La Russa either. They are of the “he may know what he’s doing, but he drives me insane” type of TLR fan.
What is it about Tony La Russa that engenders so much “unlikability”? Shall I count the ways? Could it be his prickly, moody, allergic to smiling, having fun is verboten, lint-like personality. His mercurial, rapier response, Vesuvius-like treatment of the press. His insistence that hitting the pitcher eighth really does increase the odds of having another runner on base for Albert. Instead of…oh, let’s see…the pitcher coming up with runners in scoring position and two out. Or how about his love of filling out 162 line up cards 162 different ways. There’s always his disdain and avoidance of having any rookies on his team. If we do sneak a rookie up, his refusal to coach and bring them along in a way that’s beneficial to them and the team is maddening. His bizarrely enamored way of dredging up re-retreads. His my way or the hi-way running off of several beloved Cardinals. Or the aspect of his managerial manual that says platooning a position just makes all the players involved ‘better’. There’s also his motto that ‘intense pressure produces diamonds’. Course it also produces teeny tiny grains of sand, but I digress. There’s always his over managing in certain situations, which inevitably leads to some weird double switches. The fact that he just seems to know one way to manage players, when a modern manager has to know how to manage all types and ages of ballplayers and find ways to get the most production from them. And finally there’s the curious case of his teams folding at the end of the season or just not doing well consistently in post season play. Okay…negatives taken care of.