No Crying in Baseball? Tell It to TLR.
In the 1992 movie “A League of Their Own”, actor Tom Hanks uttered that now famous line. These days, it should be directed at St. Louis Cardinals’ manager Tony LaRussa.
Another Brewers-Cardinals series is in the books and, once again, the cranky Cardinals manager has revealed himself to to be the biggest baby in the game. During the just completed three game set between the teams, LaRussa complained about everything from the lighting at Miller Park to accusing Milwaukee of stealing signs.
Things came to a head in the 7th inning of Tuesday night’s game when Cards’ relief pitcher Jason Motte beaned Milwaukee leftfielder Ryan Braun after the Brewers’ Takashi Saito plunked St. Louis first baseman Albert Pujols the previous half-inning. Never mind that there was no intent on Saito’s part to load up the bases in a one run game. LaRussa had his club adhere to his own golden rule which must read: ‘Do unto others even though we don’t allow it to be done to us’. LaRussa all but admitted after the game that they intentionally threw at Braun (as if there was any doubt), even implying that it was Braun’s fault for not getting out of the way. Then, he went off on reporters when they challenged him on it. This is “classic LaRussa”; instigate a situation and then respond with righteous indignation when people react to it. It would be like if I had an affair on my wife and then turned around and lectured her on the sanctity of marriage when she filed for divorce.
The accusation of stealing signs is particularly ridiculous. First of all, there’s nothing in the written rules against it. In George Will’s book on baseball “Men at Work”, LaRussa himself boasted of stealing the signs of other teams but, using his own selective morality, reserved the right to determine which signs were in play to steal and which ones were off limits. This is yet another LaRussa ploy, appointing himself as the arbiter of baseball etiquette. Frankly, in this day and age of touchdown celebrations and multi-million dollar contracts, the notion of an unwritten “code” regulating the playing of any game is, at best, archaic. If, say, Justin Verlander doesn’t like the idea of Eric Aybar bunting on him in the midst of a no-hit game, maybe he should get his ass off the mound and make the play. The last time I checked, both teams were getting paid and are obligated to do what they can within reason to win a game. But I digress….
Lest anyone think that this is just the sour grapes rant of an “idiot” fan, well, you’re partly right. By way of disclosure, I’ve never had any love for LaRussa. But my friend Chad is a die-hard Cardinals fan and he’s almost as sick of TLR’s shenanigans as I am. Even if I were a Cardinals fan myself, I’d be dismayed that my manager risked losing an important game to a division rival in order to make a point that didn’t need making in the first place. Not to mention providing added incentive to a team with whom you’re battling for a playoff spot.
There’s no question that Tony LaRussa is a Hall of Fame baseball manager. He probably gets more out of less than any other manager in the game. Unfortunately, he’s also a Hall-of-Fame ass clown whose childish displays of gamesmanship ultimately diminish his accomplishments. And it seems to be getting worse as he gets older. Cardinals fans have long given LaRussa a pass because his teams generally win but that doesn’t mean the rest of baseball should. Someone in authority needs to rein in this bonehead before a player gets seriously hurt as a result of his antics.
Featured Image Credit: Benny Sieu/JSOnline