Word came down this week that long-time St. Louis Cardinals manager, Tony LaRussa, had been asked by Commissioner Bud Selig to manage the National League All-Star team during the mid-summer classic. Major League Baseball’s 83rd All-Star game will be held on July 10, 2012 at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City…which, if you’re somehow on this website, and didn’t know that, you should probably avoid sharp objects.
La Russa will be the second retired manager to manage in the All-Star Game, joining John McGraw, who managed the National League team in the first playing in 1933. Two other managers have worked the All-Star Game while no longer with the teams with which they won the pennant: Dusty Baker in 2003 and Dick Williams in 1974. Even still, the request by Selig didn’t come without some fans balking at the idea (Bob Davidson alert!). Just imagine it, Tony LaRussa being part of conversations where fans have a difference of opinion.
I’ll say this: Anyone who thinks Tony LaRussa will manage this game with any less intensity or with a different style and approach than we’ve seen in the past simply isn’t paying attention. The guy’s developing an ulcer even as you read this, trying to decide how he’s going to handle the 6th. Not to say he won’t make a move that leaves the entire freaking world scratching their head wondering precisely WTF he was thinking, but you can bet your life’s savings he’ll have what he feels is a very good reason for making that move. Remember last time he managed an All-Star game on the 10th of July? Aaron friggin’ Rowand, are you kidding me?
I’ll say this about the All-Star game, though: If you’ve never been to one, go. Especially for you folks living in the Kansas City area, I can’t overstate it.
Go. To. This. Game.
Go to the fan fest, go to the futures game, the old-timers game, the home run derby, go see all of it, every last bit you possibly can. (If you absolutely must miss something, I’d suggest the celebrity softball game.) The All-Star game doesn’t come to town that often, and the next time it does, face it, you’ll be too old to go enjoy it. Sleep some other time. Refinance your house. Pimp your daughter. Whatever you have to do to take part in this experience, do it*.
I went to the 80th All-Star game when it came to St. Louis in 2009. During those few days, I slept only a little, and spent a whole lot. I’ve joked since then that I “…had planned on sending my daughter to college, but left field bleacher tickets to a Home Run derby & All-Star Game don’t come cheap!” But, getting to see those guys play? I mean, I checked off two lifetimes’ worth of “players I’d like to see play before I die” bucket list names that night. Oh, and being IN the highlight of the Carl Crawford catch? Priceless.
It’s pretty much a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and I’d encourage anyone & everyone to take advantage, and make it happen. If you’re a baseball fan, you will not regret getting to see these living legends play, live and in-person.
…As well as what’s likely to be Tony LaRussa’s last game managed.
Part of this article was taken from a piece written by Matthew Leach, who is waaay more talented than I. Hence the reason I used some of his work. (full article here).
*Don’t pimp your daughter.