If you've visited here at all during baseball season, you know that I am an avid (some might say rabid, even) Cincinnati Reds baseball fan. By virtue of that and some related factors, I am NOT a fan of manager Tony LaRussa and the St. Louis Cardinals. The exception is Albert Pujols, who is simply one of the best baseball players I've had the chance to see in person. Like him? Not really, but I certainly respect and appreciate the way he plays the game.
So you can imagine my grin this morning after LaRussa outmanaged himself last night, costing his team a win and giving the Texas Rangers a 3-2 lead in the World Series.
With LaRussa, when something goes wrong it appears there's always a story, an explanation, a reason, but, of course, never an EXCUSE. Remember, LaRussa is a lawyer by training, should there be any questions about his ability to explain things to the media and by extension the public.
So, in last night's game, after I had to turn it off to go to sleep (they're STILL not starting these World Series games early enough!), LaRussa called for a hit-and-run with a runner on first and Albert Pujols, the afore-mentioned all-universe slugger, at the plate. Never mind that he is absolutely a clutch performer in such situations. Pujols swung through the pitch and the runner, breaking after getting the sign, was out at second. LaRussa indicated in his postgame remarks that Albert put that play on himself. Huh?
Then we come to the eighth inning, and the short version (ESPN.com can provide greater details than I, since I was asleep when this occurred) is that LaRussa claims to have called his bullpen to ask twice for a certain pitcher, only to get others in each case. Wrong guy pitching, Texas puts men on base and ultimately pushes two across to claim the win.
After the game, Counselor Tony suggested that it's awfully noisy in that part of the Texas stadium, the bullpen phone is in a bad place, etc., etc. Said he asked for the pitchers he wanted to warm up and instead got a guy who was supposed to sit (he had pitched a good amount in a previous game), and only discovered this when he arrived at the mound. "What are you doing here?" was what LaRussa claims to have said to the wrong pitcher.
I'm sorry, but the LaRussa mystique has always escaped me. And now that obvious mistakes were made by LaRussa and his coaching staff, he isn't adult enough to accept responsibility.
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