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Tag:Tony La Russa
Posted on: January 24, 2012 3:31 pm
Edited on: January 24, 2012 3:33 pm
 

La Russa to manage NL squad in All-Star Game

Tony La Russa

By C. Trent Rosecrans


Tony La Russa hasn't managed his last game. The retired Cardinals manager will lead the National League in this year's All-Star Game in Kansas City, commissioner Bud Selig announced on Tuesday.

It will be La Russa's sixth time managing in the All-Star Game, third in the National League. The manager of the defending league champion gets the nod every year, but this is the first time a retired manager has gotten the honor. Twice before managers have left a World Series team and managed in a different uniform the next season. Dick Williams did it in 1974 after leaving the A's for the Angels, and Dusty Baker donned the Cubs uniform in the 2003 game after leading the Giants to the 2002 World Series.

"Tony earned this opportunity with the remarkable run that the Cardinals completed last October, and I am delighted that he shared my enthusiasm about his staying in this role," Selig said in a statement released by MLB. "The All-Star Game celebrated all the best of our game, and it is very approrpriate that we will have the chance to celebrated one of the greatest managerial careers of all-time as part of the festivities."

Only Casey Stengel (10), Walter Alston (nine) and Joe McCarthy (seven), will have managed more All-Star Games than La Russa. Joe Torre also managed in six All-Star Games.

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Posted on: December 27, 2011 3:38 pm
Edited on: December 27, 2011 3:46 pm
 

Voting for the 2011 MLB Bloggies, Part II



By C. Trent Rosecrans


With just a few days left until 2012 brings us a whole new year, it's only fitting to look back at the year that was. Sure, there's an actual baseball season, including spring training, the regular season and the postseason, but things happen nearly every day throughout the entire calendar year. So we're going to create a fake award and call it a Bloggie. 

We'll set the table with some nominations and let you, our readers, vote for the winners. We did Part I on Monday and this is Part II: Electric Boogaloo. Friday, we'll post the winners and our staff picks. Without further ado ...

Best Twitterer
• @JGuthrie46 (Jeremy Guthrie): The Orioles starter loves his Air Jordans and often gives updates on his newest kicks, but he also trash talks with his teammates in an entertaining feed.
• @BMcCarthy32 (Brandon McCarthy): The A's right-hander may be the most prolific tweeter of English Premier League analysis in baseball. He also shows off a great sense of humor.
@LoMoMarlins (Logan Morrison): The Marlins' brass may disagree, but Morrison is candid and entertaining with his tweets, even if it got him in trouble with the front office.
@DatDudeBP (Brandon Phillips): Phillips not only engages with his fans on Twitter, but also brings them into his real life. He's held contests to give away not just merchandise, but also a trip to spring training and even asked fans what to do on a day off, and when a kid invited him to his baseball game, Phillips showed up.
@str8edgeracer (C.J. Wilson): The off-season's most sought-after starter tweeted during the season, throughout the World Series and even in free agency.



Biggest bonehead move
• A-Rod's popcorn snafu: Usually having a famous actress feed you popcorn is a badge of honor -- unless you're Alex Rodriguez. Not only did Fox cameras catch then-girlfriend Cameron Diaz feeding A-Rod popcorn during the Super Bowl, but then Rodriguez made it worse by allegedly was upset about the shot.
Mike Leake's shopping spree: The second-year Reds pitcher was arrested for taking $60 worth of shirts from a downtown Cincinnati Macy's in April. He eventually pled guilty to a lesser charge.
• Distracted baserunner: The Reds and Phillies went 19 innings on May 25, but the game could have ended earlier -- with a different winner -- had Phillips been playing more attention to pitcher J.C. Romero than to his conversation with Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins. While gabbing with Rollins, Romero picked Phillips off at second. What made it worse was that the Reds had two on and one out -- and were a ball away from loading the bases -- before Phillips got picked off. After walking Scott Rolen, Romero walked Jay Bruce to load the bases with two outs, but David Herndon replaced Romero to get out of the inning.
Beer and chicken: Beer and fried chicken are great things -- unless you're consuming those two in the clubhouse as your team is playing on the field. The backroom hijinks got Terry Francona fired and may have cost the Red Sox a shot at the playoffs.
Tony La Russa's communication breakdown: If the Cardinals hadn't come back to win the World Series, Tony La Russa's gaffe in Game 5 would go down as one of the worst of all time. La Russa claimed the crowd noise at Rangers Ballpark prevented him from communicating with his bullpen. He said he wanted his closer, Jason Motte, to get warmed up, and instead Lance Lynn was told to get warm. When Lynn came into the game, his manager was surprised and the Cardinals went on to lose the game.



Best celebration:
Brewers: Milwaukee's "Beast Mode" was inspired by Prince Fielder's kids and the movie Monsters, Inc.
Diamondbacks: Was the team's "Snake" inspired by the movie Dodgeball?
Yadier Molina: The Cardinal catcher either did a "cry baby" or motorcycle celebration during the NLCS.
Rangers: Texas' "claw and antler" started in 2010 and started the signaling to the dugout trend.
None, they're all lame.



Weirdest injury:
Jeremy Affeldt: The Giants left-hander suffered a deep cut that required surgery on his right hand when he used a knife to attempt to separate frozen hamburger patties.
Sergio Escalona: The Houston reliever suffered a spraining ankle when he tripped over a glove during batting practice.
Matt Holliday: The Cardinals left fielder left a game after a moth flew into his ear.
Zack Greinke: The Brewers' ace debuted on the disabled list after he broke a rib in a pickup basketball game before spring training started.
Chris Narveson: Another Brewer pitcher with an odd injury, the left-hander cut himself while fixing his glove.

 

Most Impressive home run:
Juan Francisco

Justin Upton

• Prince Fielder

Mark Trumbo

Mike Stanton




Best defensive play:
Asdrubal Cabrera

Brandon Phillips

Ben Revere

Jeff Francoeur

Sam Fuld




So, cast your vote and check back Friday for not only the winners, but also the choices from our staff.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter, subscribe to the RSS feed and "like" us on Facebook.
Posted on: December 22, 2011 10:57 am
 

Homegrown Team: St. Louis Cardinals

Albert Pujols

By C. Trent Rosecrans


What if players were only permitted to stay with the team that originally made them a professional? No trades, no Rule-5 Draft, no minor or major league free agency ... once you are a professional baseball player, you stay in that organization. This series shows how all 30 teams would look. We give you: Homegrown teams. To view the schedule/past entries of this feature, click here.

While most of the teams on our list would love a do-over for 2011 -- or at least part of it, the season somehow worked out pretty well for the St. Louis Cardinals, a team that took advantage of an epic collapse and capitalized upon its chance by winning the World Series. The moves made by both the current management team and former executives, all worked out for one glorious season in St. Louis, so it's another example of why the exercise is for fun only. But there's one thing our Homegrown Cardinals have that the 2012 version doesn't -- Albert Pujols

Lineup

1. Jon Jay, RF
2. Placido Polanco, 3B
3. Albert Pujols, 1B
4. Allen Craig, LF
5. Colby Rasmus, CF
6. Yadier Molina, C
7. Brendan Ryan, SS
8. Skip Schumaker, 2B

Starting Rotation

1. Dan Haren
2. Jaime Garcia
3. Kyle McClellan
4. Chris Narveson
5. Lance Lynn

Bullpen

Closer - Chris Perez
Set up - Mitchell Boggs, Fernando Salas, Luke Gregerson, Blake Hawksworth, Eduardo Sanchez

Notable Bench Players

The bench has some interesting players -- you have defensive replacements in Jack Wilson and Coco Crisp, some pop in Brett Wallace, J.D. Drew and Rick Ankiel, as well as some versatility in Daniel Descalso. Daric Barton's there, too, but not sure where or when he'd ever play considering Pujols is still a Cardinal here.

What's Good?

Any lineup with Pujols is not bad -- but it's not overwhelming, either. While lacking some of the firepower from Matt Holliday and Lance Berkman, there are still some passable players. While there's no Chris Carpenter or Adam Wainwright, there is Dan Haren and the top two of the rotation are good. The strength of this team -- and Tony La Russa would certainly love this -- is the bullpen. Not only are their Cardinals holdovers of Motte, Boggs, Salas and Sanchez, you also add Perez, Gergerson and Hawksowrth, giving this team plenty of relief options. 

What's Not?

After the top two in the rotation, the rest are pretty pedestrian. McClellan is not only in the rotation -- where he started in 2011 -- but he's also going to be either a No. 3 or No. 4. The outfield isn't terrible, but when you take away Berkman and Holliday, it's going to pale in comparison.

Comparison to real 2011

Let's just get to the point, the margin for error for the 2011 St. Louis Cardinals was razor thin, but they stayed on the right side of it just enough to go on to one of the most exciting, improbable runs of all time to capture the World Series title. There is no way this hypothetical team could do anything close to what the real Cardinals did. The offensive firepower isn't the same and there's no Chris Carpenter. No, this team doesn't just fail to win the World Series or make the playoffs, it fails to reach .500 and probably finishes in the bottom half of our made-up NL Central.

Next: Ranking the Homegrown teams.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @eyeonbaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: December 16, 2011 12:06 pm
 

La Russa talks about 'unavoidable' Pujols signing



By Matt Snyder


The Cardinals losing Albert Pujols was "unavoidable," says former manager Tony La Russa, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The now-retired manager seemed to defend both the Cardinals and Pujols -- who signed a 10-year, $254 million contract with the Angels -- and La Russa instead specifically blamed "the system."

"I know it was a painful decision and it pains [Pujols] now," La Russa said (Post-Dispatch). "He deserves what he got. He earned it. There's no bad guy here. I think the Cardinals went where they thought they should go. If they can't go farther, they shouldn't."

Albertageddon
The full story, written by Joe Strauss, is definitely worth a read and I'm not going to sit here and copy and paste the thing. Just go read his original version. La Russa was mostly being political in trying to defend both sides, though he certainly seemed intellectually and emotionally honest. It sounds like he truly loves the Cardinals organization, Cardinals fans and Pujols, so La Russa obviously wasn't going to bash anyone. He did point out one glaring mistake, though.

"I think he made a mistake when he said it wasn't about the money," La Russa said (Post-Dispatch). "If the Angels had offered the same exact thing he would have gone back to the Cardinals. I think his point was he was ready to sign for less than the best offer. I think he's sincere. I think he was trying to make it work. But you had a club that made an overwhelming offer."

And that's the point. People who make five figures a year don't want to hear about how it's not about the money when a player signs with the highest bidder. We aren't stupid. If you are going to say it's not all about the money, you better be like C.J. Wilson and actually leave money on the table -- putting your money where your mouth is, if you will. Taking the most money doesn't make someone a bad person. Far from it. I've long defended athletes who take the highest offer because most human beings would do the same. But if you sign the contract with the most money, patronize the fans in a different manner -- saying it's not about the money just doesn't sound honest. And there's no way to prove otherwise.

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Posted on: November 16, 2011 4:27 pm
Edited on: November 16, 2011 4:54 pm
 

Including playoffs, La Russa top manager



By C. Trent Rosecrans

At last year's Winter Meetings in Orlando there was a motion during the Baseball Writers Association of America's meeting to change the voting for the Manager of the Year Award until after the playoffs. The resolution was overwhelmingly voted down, but it did get me to thinking how Wednesday's choices would have been different had the voting taken place at the end of October rather than the end of September.

For the record, I voted against the measure. I believe the true test of a manager is over 162 games, while the playoffs can sometimes be a crapshoot with moves sometimes magnified more on whether they worked or not, rather than how things often even out over the course of a full season. Heck, the past postseason has turned managers from genius to idiot back to genius in the course of a single series.

Award Season
Kirk GibsonKirk Gibson overwhelmingly won the National League Manager of the Year award, getting 28 of 32 first-place votes. Joe Maddon won the AL award, getting 26 of 28 first-place votes.
Read>>
Related links

In the American League, Maddon probably still would have won the award, regardless of when the vote was taken (as long as it was after the regular season, he was kind of an afterthought at the beginning of September). In the playoffs, the Rays fell to the Rangers in four games, but it was through no fault of Maddon's. Nobody expected the Rays to go on to the World Series, and they didn't.

None of the three other managers in the American League playoffs -- Texas' Ron Washington, New York's Joe Girardi or Detroit's Jim Leyland -- were seen as having great postseasons, or even good ones. Washington is always criticized for playing his hunches -- including starting Matt Harrison in Game 7 -- while Leyland didn't just Justin Verlander on short rest and engaged in a bunt-fest with Girardi that nearly broke Twitter, meaning Maddon wouldn't have to worry about giving up his crown if the voting were moved.

Had the voting been done after the playoffs, the National League winner would have certainly been different. After leading his underdog Diamondbacks to the playoffs, Arizona manager Kirk Gibson was the overwhelming winner in the National League Manager of the Year award, but just a less than two weeks after 28 of 32 ballots (mine included, for the record) had Gibson on top of their ballots, it might not have been such an easy choice.

While Maddon won the American League award based in part because of the Rays' late run to the playoffs, La Russa did the same in the National League and still finished third in the voting. Maddon's Rays were 9 1/2 games out of the wild card on Sept. 2, while La Russa's Cardinals were the 8 1/2 behind the Braves on that same date and went 17-7 over the rest of the season, winning the wild card on the final day.

La Russa added to that resume in the postseason when the Cardinals made an underdog run to the franchise's 11th World Series title. Along the way he was praised for the handling of his team's pitching staff up until a communication breakdown with his bullpen in Game 5 of the World Series in Texas. At that point, the so-called smartest man in baseball looked clueless and was called worse. Two more wins salvaged that reputation before La Russa retired on top.

Meanwhile, Gibson was roundly criticized for his perceived overaggressiveness early in the series, including a decision to pitch to Prince Fielder in a Game 1 loss. Gibson was then praised after pulling starter Joe Saunders in Game 4 of the NLDS against the Diamondbacks in a win. Overall, the Diamondbacks didn't lose the series because of Gibson's managing, but he did come out with his reputation taking a bit of a hit following the first five postseason games of his managerial career.

Despite the bullpen phone mixup in Texas, there's zero doubt La Russa would have added his fifth Manager of the Year award to his collection had the voting taken place after the playoffs. While Gibson shouldn't be making apologies for winning the Manager of the Year on Wednesday, it's unlikely he'd have it if the voting were done later -- but I'm pretty sure La Russa wouldn't trade his 2011 trophy for the one Gibson' received.

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Posted on: November 14, 2011 5:45 pm
 

Duncan to return as Cardinals' pitching coach

Dave Duncan

By C. Trent Rosecrans

The Cardinals will have a new manager in 2012, but not a new pitching coach.

Dave Duncan, who served as Tony La Russa's pitching coach during his entire reign in St. Louis, was under contract for 2012, but wanted new manager Mike Matheny to have the final say on his status for the upcoming season. According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Matheny reached out to Duncan on Sunday, telling him the spot was his if he wanted it.

"I wanted him to feel comfortable if he felt like he wanted somebody else, that he could make that decision," Duncan told the Post-Dispatch's Derrick Goold. "He assured me that he wants me to be a part of what he's going to be doing there.

"My intentions are to come back. I'll be there."

Duncan said his wife, Jeanine, is recovering well from brain surgery and is optimistic he can be ready for spring training.

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Posted on: November 4, 2011 1:06 pm
Edited on: November 14, 2011 9:05 pm
 

Retired La Russa: 'Need to get back in baseball'

La Russa

By Evan Brunell


"I need to get back in baseball somewhere," recently retired manager Tony La Russa said on ESPN Chicago, as transcribed by SportsRadioInterviews.com.

Despite retiring, La Russa isn't ready to completely hang up the cleats. Rather, he'd like to be involved somewhere.

“I think I don’t really want to retire immediately and just make a ceremonial visit here and there," he said. "I don’t want some kind of idle job that doesn’t do anything. I like responsibility. I like to wake up in the morning with something to do, so if there's some fit there somewhere, hopefully you get an opportunity then you prove you are really willing to work and you have something to contribute and then maybe you get more responsibility. That’s the way it is supposed to be, so I am not asking for any favors; just a chance.”

It sounds as if while La Russa is done managing, he isn't necessarily done being involved in baseball operations. Retiring as manager allows La Russa to do something different, as well as travel less and not have to worry about the day-to-day demands of a manager, but it's clear that his fire has yet to wane, if it ever will. La Russa, who began his career as White Sox manager, has been linked to the White Sox in an advisory capacity given his strong relationship with Chicago owner Jerry Reinsdorf, but La Russa doesn't see a fit in Chicago given the talent in the front office.

"I think they are really set up. I think that’s the problem," La Russa said. "You don’t want to go into some place that already has it figured out. They got it figured out.”

While La Russa waits for a job, he will be dropping the ceremonial first puck on Friday in an NHL game, when the St. Louis Blues host the Vancouver Canucks.

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Posted on: November 3, 2011 3:50 pm
 

Rangers moving visitor's bullpen

Tony La RussaBy C. Trent Rosecrans

The visitor's bullpen at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington will be reconfigured next season to run parallel to the left center field fence, the same as the Rangers' bullpen, as opposed to perpendicular as it currently stands.

The noise in the visitor's dugout, of course, was a major sticking point in Game 5 of the World Series when Cardinals bullpen coach Derek Lilliquist couldn't hear manager Tony La Russa's instructions to get closer Jason Motte warmed up in the eighth inning of the Cardinals' loss.

CBSSports.com senior writer Danny Knobler wrote after the incident that one American League coach told him he understood how the mixup could happen, noting the bullpen at Rangers ballpark is hidden and there's no TV in the dugout showing who is warming up, as there is in other bullpens hidden from the dugout, like Cleveland's Progressive Field.

The team announced other changes, including new restaurants and a kids zone, as well as replacing some bleacher seats with individual seats.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com