Should He Stay or Should He Go Now-Apologies to The Clash

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.

“When I first became a manager I asked Chuck (Tanner) for advice. He told me, ‘Always rent.'” – Tony La Russa  Kind of ironic, since Tony has only been with three teams. The Whitesox, where he coached and managed for eight years, and where he won his division once, but lost in the ALCS. He then was with the A’s for ten yrs where he won the division four times, lost in the ALCS once, won the pennant three times and won the 1989 World Series. He was the AL Manager of the Year in ’83, ’88, ’92. He’s been with the Cardinals fifteen years where he has a .543 win percentage. We’ve won our division eight times, lost in the NLDS twice, lost the NLCS four times, won the NL Pennant twice and of course won the 2006 World Series. He was NL Manager of the Year in 2002. 

In his 32 years of managing he has a winning percentage of .535. He ranks 2nd only to Connie Mack in total games managed and shares winning 2,500 victories with only two legendary managers: Connie Mack and John McGraw. He’s one of only five major league managers to obtain a law degree. One of the other five was Branch Rickey. He kinda knows what he’s doing. Okay…there’s your positives.

He speaks fluent Spanish. He has four daughters. He is loyal to a fault. His favorite Bruce Hornsby song is ‘Hooray For Tom.’ He’s a vegetarian and loves dogs and cats. He is a human.

He may be quirky. He may drive us insane. But he’s ours. So should he stay or should he go, now? I hope he stays. One reason-Albert likes him. And as another Bruce Hornsby song says…”That’s just the way it is. Somethings will never change”…..At least for one more season. (photos courtesy of Post Dispatch)

6 thoughts on “Should He Stay or Should He Go Now-Apologies to The Clash

  1. >The Cardinals have won 86, 91, 86, and 78 games the past 4 seasons respectively with TLR & Albert. I'm pretty sure that they can put up those win totals w/o TLR (and possibly without Albert). Holliday and Waino already signed on for the long haul, and most of Cardinal Nation is hoping Albert does the same. Why aren't we asking the same of the manager?

  2. >Thanks for all the comments. I really wanted to present both sides and see what people think. I can't see TLR leaving this year on such a bad note. He does owe the organization a quick decision. We should know soon.

  3. >I would like to see Tony come back next year and have a more successful season to end his Cardinal career on. As you mentioned, Albert likes him, and I definitely want to keep Albert for the next several years. As also mentioned, I don't want to lose Dave Duncan, I think he is the best pitching coach around. I wish Tony was a little more warm and fuzzy, like the animals he champions with ARF.

  4. >Excellent points! Agree totally. He must treat people he likes and respects personally in private better than he treats people publicly. Anyone who loves animals as much as TLR has to have a soft place in his heart somewhere!

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