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Wednesday, August 03, 2011

ESPN: Cardinals beat Brewers in testy 11-inning game

For better or for worse, TLR, the one-man CIA of the MLB, was up to his usual psychological warfare Tuesday on both the opposition and his own players.

Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols was hit by a high-and-tight pitch. Brewers All-Star Ryan Braun took one in the back a few minutes later. And St. Louis catcher Yadier Molina could face a suspension after making contact in a heated argument with plate umpire Rob Drake.
...
Pujols and Braun each were hit by a pitch in the seventh, and Molina became so incensed after he was ejected in the 10th that Drake had to wipe his face during the argument.
...
“We threw two balls in there real good just to send a message,” La Russa said, raising his voice. “If [Braun] ducks them, it’s all over and we don’t hit him.”
...
Takashi Saito loaded the bases with no outs in the seventh after he hit Pujols on the left wrist that the slugger broke earlier this season… La Russa said the pitch that hit Pujols wasn’t intentional, but he still hasn’t liked the way the Brewers have thrown to his biggest star.

“Real scary. They almost got him yesterday. There’s nothing intentional about it,” La Russa said. “That’s what all these idiots up there—not idiots, fans are yelling and yell. Do you know how many bones you have in the hands and the face? That’s where those pitches are.”

MLB.com: Cards raise issue with Miller Park ‘ribbon’ board

NTNgod Posted: August 03, 2011 at 06:34 AM | 83 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: brewers, cardinals

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   1. Forsch 10 From Navarone (Dayn) Posted: August 03, 2011 at 06:46 AM (#3891626)
This was a ridiculously intense and exciting game. Countless twists and turns and unlikely plays. By the end of the night, I'd completely forgotten Jaime Garcia's first career home run.

As for the controversy of note, I can sorta kinda see the point of the first purpose pitch to Braun, but the second one was over the line, i.m.o. TLR is very good at psych-ops, though ...
   2. cardsfanboy Posted: August 03, 2011 at 07:20 AM (#3891628)
As for the controversy of note, I can sorta kinda see the point of the first purpose pitch to Braun, but the second one was over the line, i.m.o. TLR is very good at psych-ops, though ...


I think once you throw the first purpose pitch and miss and you don't receive a warning, you almost have to force the issue to get the warning issued. It's stupid to be honest but if you don't get the warning it gives the other team a free shot that is almost impossible for you to retaliate.
   3. NTNgod Posted: August 03, 2011 at 07:30 AM (#3891631)
As for the controversy of note, I can sorta kinda see the point of the first purpose pitch to Braun, but the second one was over the line, i.m.o. TLR is very good at psych-ops, though ...


If you're willing, late in a tie game, to put a leadoff hitter on intentionally - it's obvious you're willing to sacrifice the game to make your point. Quite luckily, the Cardinals didn't get burned that inning, but it's not something you do if winning that evening's game is the most important thing.
   4. Walks Clog Up the Bases Posted: August 03, 2011 at 07:40 AM (#3891633)
I was disappointed that I got the Sox/Yankees game on MLB Network over this one. Imagine how I felt after the former turned into a lopsided, rain-shortened affair while the latter was a wild back-and-forth game.

From what I did get to see, this game exhibited the good and the bad of the Cardinals: sound fundamentals (Holliday putting himself into scoring position with the steal) and poor sportsmanship (Molina having a ####### aneurysm over the called third strike).
   5. Sleepy supports unauthorized rambling Posted: August 03, 2011 at 07:47 AM (#3891635)
The Pujols HBP was clearly unintentional, and TLR overreacted. The Braun HPB was insane; putting the leadoff man on base in front of Fielder in a tie game in the middle of a pennant race might be the dumbest thing I've ever seen TLR do. And that's saying a lot.

But Bob Drake's incompetence was really the story of this game. He should never again be allowed to umpire at either first base (last night) or home plate (tonight), in a game that matters. IE, in the MLB.
   6. Sleepy supports unauthorized rambling Posted: August 03, 2011 at 08:05 AM (#3891638)
MLB.com: Cards raise issue with Miller Park ‘ribbon’ board


Also, while we're complaining about the cardinals complaining--the cardinals didn't complain about it, afaik, but it was interesting that they kept moving the roof while the Cardinals were batting tonight (wouldn't have noticed, except the idiotic brewers home team announcers on extra innings joked about it). Not sure if that would give one team an advantage over another, but it has to be at least somewhat distracting. Easily on par with changing the lighting in the stadium depending on who is batting.
   7. Justin T is going to crush some tacos Thursday Posted: August 03, 2011 at 12:22 PM (#3891652)
I wanted the Brewers to win anyway, but I feel like if they already had the series sewn up there was a better chance of them getting frisky today. Nevertheless, the DVR is ready to go.
   8. Dale Sams Posted: August 03, 2011 at 01:12 PM (#3891659)
I didn't see the game so I just watched the Milwaukee feed for the bottom of the 7th. Man, the Brewers announcers are refreshingly brutal. I love it.
   9. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: August 03, 2011 at 01:15 PM (#3891661)
Folks do realize that that there were two men on base and NOBODY out when Pujols was hit by a pitch? That no sane person this side of Roger Clemens would intentionally hit a batter in that situation.

This ties directly to what I and others have referenced with respect to the blatant hypocrisy of The Don. He becomes incensed when anyone pitches to his hitters. Period. It's unacceptable. Meanwhile, his pitchers are supposed to get in a batters kitchen with impunity.

It's to be hoped that RR ignores this nonsense unlike some of his predecessors who allowed themselves to be dragged into stupid macho contests at the expense of paying attention to the actual game.

I was very disappointed in the batting approach by some of the Brewers hitters late in the game. Guys were coming out of their shoes trying to end the contest. Yuck.

The back to back defensive disasters of Hart's awful throw to third followed by Fielder's pitiful toss to the plate allowing Albert to get away with stupid baserunning was incredibly painful to watch in real time. And then doubly so on replay. A reasonable throw in either instance nailes the runner by a mile.

I understand Molina being upset given that the inside called strike three was the first inside strike called all evening. Marcum kept throwing on the black above the knees and not getting the call. Garcia's pitching style is different where the ball crosses the plate at an angle so he would get the inside call but it was coming from a different approach versus Marcum's straight away inside pitch.

Doesn't excuse Molina's bizarre tantrum and frankly he looked for a moment like he was going to strike the umpire. I wonder if Tony's incessant 'us vs. them' mantra might be having the wrong effect on Yadier where he REALLY believes that stuff. Even Tony doesn't really believe the world is against the Cardinals. He's just looking for an edge. If one of his key guys is now a true believer in the conspiracy nonsense Tony might have a brewing situation on his hands.
   10. lar @ wezen-ball Posted: August 03, 2011 at 01:17 PM (#3891662)
@6... It's important to note that, before the roof can be changed, the opposing manager has to agree to it. To close it, it must be in reaction to an immediate weather problem (like the sudden downpour). They then have the right to re-open it (only one time) if it makes the playing conditions better. If you've ever been in Miller Park when it's hot and humid, you know that opening the roof was necessary. Which, I'm sure, is why TLR allowed them to open it.
   11. Ron J Posted: August 03, 2011 at 01:35 PM (#3891666)
#9 Interesting to hear TLR's defense of their actions.

(Reporter) It looked like the intent was to hit Braun.

"You don't think they were trying to throw the ball intentionally up and in?"

"We weren't trying to hit Braun either. We did not hit Braun on purpose. We threw two balls in there real good just to send a message. If he ducks them, it's all over and we don't hit him. The ball they tried to throw on Pujols was aimed right where they aimed it. Did they they try to hit him? No. But there's a small window here. You know how close that is to your face and your hands?
   12. asdf1234 Posted: August 03, 2011 at 02:08 PM (#3891677)
While drilling Ryan Braun has become a pastime for the Cardinals these past couple of years, the timing of the HBP last night was absurd. Tied 7-7 in the late innings of a significant game, and you put a runner on ahead of Prince Fielder? If anything, it demonstrates a truth that's been obvious for at least a decade, namely that TLR doesn't manage to win, but rather to appease his sense of what should occur on a baseball diamond. Reward the Theriots, banish the Ryans, play the Paquettes, bench the Drews.

I'd be willing to see Pujols go elsewhere if that's what it takes to get TLR away from this team and permit me to watch a close game sans dread over what idiotic thing our HOF serial bully is going to do next.
   13. Tulo's Fishy Mullet (mrams) Posted: August 03, 2011 at 02:17 PM (#3891682)
Also, while we're complaining about the cardinals complaining--the cardinals didn't complain about it,

Did this not happen?
   14. spike Posted: August 03, 2011 at 02:30 PM (#3891691)
Reward the Theriots, banish the Ryans, play the Paquettes, bench the Drews.

Banish the Rasmii.
   15. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: August 03, 2011 at 02:40 PM (#3891699)
As for the Brewers success at home, I would merely point to the fact that Milwaukee's offense is completely home run centric and Miller Park while a pitchers park does allow for home runs to be hit. So if you staff that strikes people out (which Milwaukee does), doesn't walk people (again, see Milwaukee) and an offense that hits home runs you will do well in Miller but likely suffer on the road especially in ballparks that are hostile to home runs which is the Crew always crashes and burns travelling to LA, SD and SF.

I know folks can poke holes in this but I believe in broad strokes over the past several years this simple summary is fairly accurate
   16. Mike Emeigh Posted: August 03, 2011 at 02:41 PM (#3891701)
That no sane person this side of Roger Clemens would intentionally hit a batter in that situation.


Are you arguing that Clemens is a sane person (at least when he was pitching)? :)

TLR doesn't manage to win, but rather to appease his sense of what should occur on a baseball diamond. Reward the Theriots, banish the Ryans, play the Paquettes, bench the Drews.


I see this type of comment a lot from Cardinal fans - lately it's been about Descalso's PT, although now that the Cardinals have Furcal we'll see what happens there; I seriously don't expect him to get significant time ahead of Freese as some fans have suggested might happen. I don't think that's an entirely fair statement. Obviously, TLR does have a doghouse, one that I think it's relatively easy to get into and relatively hard to escape, and he does demand that his players play the game his way, but TLR obsesses more about getting his team an advantage on the field than any other manager out there.

-- MWE
   17. How Flounder got here, he hasn't a clue. Posted: August 03, 2011 at 02:42 PM (#3891703)
“We threw two balls in there real good just to send a message,” La Russa said, raising his voice. “If [Braun] ducks them, it’s all over and we don’t hit him.”


Can someone walk me through the logic of this? Is TLR really saying "Its Braun's fault. If he had reacted like a little girl on the previous inside pitches, we wouldn't have had to actually hit him."? I can't think of another way to interpret it that makes any more sense than that.

But nice job of intentionally harming your team's chances of winning in a pretty close to must win game, just so you can prove how big your dick is.
   18. Walks Clog Up the Bases Posted: August 03, 2011 at 02:48 PM (#3891708)
I'll subscribe to that theory, if for no other reason than I frustratingly sat through several Cubs teams that were the same way. The Dusty Baker era Cubs were big home run teams, which was fun to watch in parks such as Wrigley and GAB. But then they'd go to the cavernous West Coast parks and rack up goose egg after goose egg.
   19. hokieneer Posted: August 03, 2011 at 02:50 PM (#3891713)
I followed the box score some while I was watching the Reds game, and it was fairly intense just from that. Can only imagine watching the entire 11 innings.

So glad the Cards won. I hope those 2 teams split their games over the next few weeks, while HOPEFULLY the Reds can take advantage of a very very soft schedule to get right back in the race.
   20. Benji Gil Gamesh Rises Posted: August 03, 2011 at 03:04 PM (#3891723)
My favorite part is TLR saying unequivocally that Pujols getting hit wasn't intentional (and of course he wasn't given the situation), but that they retaliated anyway.
   21. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: August 03, 2011 at 03:08 PM (#3891726)
What's getting missed is that the Cardinals did NOT lose.

Milwaukee had umpteen chances and failed to capitalize.

Yuni hitting a 3 run homer for the temporary lead and then lunging at a 2-0 breaking pitch off the plate and six inches from the ground popping up with the bases loaded and nobody out is a microcosm of his offense as a Brewer.

And stunned that RR did NOT have Lucroy squeeze bunt after Betancourt's failure. The Brewers have been squeeze happy under Ron. And THEN he does NOT bunt?

Fella, dance with the date that brung ya'
   22. Tulo's Fishy Mullet (mrams) Posted: August 03, 2011 at 03:09 PM (#3891728)
It was a very edgy game, part carry over from the night before: umps, ribbon board whining, part roof closed early due to rain on a hot/humid evening, it is not pleasant in there under that scenario, and part TLR general douchiness.

Molina's blowup had to have been set up by some combination of things, of course hard to know which things, as anything said between the two over the past two games was concealed by the masks.
   23. Ron J Posted: August 03, 2011 at 03:27 PM (#3891746)
#17 No he's saying we threw it where he could get out of the way if he felt like it. Presumably there were two pitches in on Braun because LaRussa was counting the previous game's up and in on Pujols as well.

Reminds me of Stan Williams. He kept a notebook of who was "owed" what. Being a generous soul, Williams rounded up.
   24. Dave Spiwak Posted: August 03, 2011 at 03:27 PM (#3891747)
The Braun HPB was insane; putting the leadoff man on base in front of Fielder in a tie game in the middle of a pennant race might be the dumbest thing I've ever seen TLR do. And that's saying a lot.


The unwritten rules are a samurai code of honor for TLR. You hit our star, we hit your star. Situation be damned and we will live with the consequences.

My favorite part is TLR saying unequivocally that Pujols getting hit wasn't intentional (and of course he wasn't given the situation), but that they retaliated anyway.


What I'm assuming he's using as rationale is this: that it doesn't matter that it was unintentional -- retribution must be had regardless of the circumstances.

Great game -- there has been some awesome playoff-like baseball over the past week and it's only the 3rd of August.
   25. How Flounder got here, he hasn't a clue. Posted: August 03, 2011 at 03:35 PM (#3891752)
#23 - Well, then, TLR is lying. Short of backing out of the box as Motte was in his windup, there was zero chance of Braun getting out of the way. The pitch right before was inside enough to have sent a message, and I thought that might have ended the situation. Guess not.
   26. LionoftheSenate (Brewers v A's World Series) Posted: August 03, 2011 at 03:57 PM (#3891765)
The Dusty Baker era Cubs were big home run teams, which was fun to watch in parks such as Wrigley and GAB. But then they'd go to the cavernous West Coast parks and rack up goose egg after goose egg.


Speaking of odd Home/Road splits....I seem to recall the Brewers frequently having dramatic home/road splits relative to their overall record. And I'm not just suggesting they are a good home team either. Some years their road record was unusually good, compared to what is considered a standard home field advantage.
   27. cardsfanboy Posted: August 03, 2011 at 04:53 PM (#3891806)

13. Tulo's Fishy Mullet (mrams) Posted: August 03, 2011 at 10:17 AM (#3891682)
Did this not happen?


Yes it happened and it's referenced in the post you quoted. The post you quoted was saying that the Cardinals didn't complain about the roof opening and closing.

But nice job of intentionally harming your team's chances of winning in a pretty close to must win game, just so you can prove how big your dick is.


This is about as far from a must win game as in existence. There are still ten games remaining with the Brewers, it's not a must win game, it doesn't even begin to smell like a must win game. (I don't have a problem with the other parts of the comment, but seriously this is not a must win game for either of these teams, heck it's not even a series that if you get swept, that it would be devastating.)
   28. Gold Star - just Gold Star Posted: August 03, 2011 at 05:01 PM (#3891810)
The unwritten rules are a samurai code of honor for TLR. You hit our star, we hit your star. Situation be damned and we will live with the consequences.
Why does this remind me of Al Davis? "The othah's tim's quaddaback must go down, and he must go down hod."
   29. cardsfanboy Posted: August 03, 2011 at 05:03 PM (#3891812)
My favorite part is TLR saying unequivocally that Pujols getting hit wasn't intentional (and of course he wasn't given the situation), but that they retaliated anyway.


You have a pitcher like Saito who has control issues(he has nearly the same rate of hits batsmen as Don Drysdale) who is trying to do an action which requires very good control. TLR has ALWAYS disliked any pitcher with control issues trying to go inside on the hands. His point was you don't bring a guy who lacks control and ask him to pitch in a situation where even a little lack of control could end a players season.
   30. Bob Evans Posted: August 03, 2011 at 05:26 PM (#3891851)
His point was you don't bring a guy who lacks control and ask him to pitch in a situation where even a little lack of control could end a players season.

No wonder TLR keeps so many pitchers on staff. You gotta have one control pitcher whose job is just to send messages and get kicked out of games.
   31. I Remember When Posted: August 03, 2011 at 05:36 PM (#3891862)
What I see missed here is that Tony manages for the season first and the individual game second. One game sets up the next as one pitch can set up the next. There are still 10 games between them and 50 games total left on the schedule.

I don't see why scribes or Brew fans would complain that TLR wasn't trying to win the game. He always tries to win - that is why he has more wins than any other living manager. But he'd rather win the NLC than this game.

Now I'm old enough to remember when no warnings or ejections or suspensions were issued for hitting someone up and in. The pitcher has the right to miss inside as well as outside. The batter can hit the dirt if he needs to - but today batters don't think they should have to do anything more than turn away. Its more a matter of what you're used to and what you're prepared for. I don't think we had any more problems then than now. I trace the current situation back to Bonds and his armor and his whining to the press that teams would pitch him inside.
   32. phredbird Posted: August 03, 2011 at 05:50 PM (#3891877)
Reminds me of Stan Williams.


for more on stan williams, check out the article with the ron fairly thread.
   33. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: August 03, 2011 at 06:15 PM (#3891905)
Post 31

I have been watching pro baseball since 1938 and it has always been a big deal when someone got hit in or around the head.

It's only writers, ex-players and faux tough guys who act blase about something that could end a career

John Kruk is a classic example. Nobody b#tched more at umps at pitchers coming inside and now as ESPN doofus pitching to maim is "part of the game"
   34. asdf1234 Posted: August 03, 2011 at 06:26 PM (#3891917)
I don't see why scribes or Brew fans would complain that TLR wasn't trying to win the game. He always tries to win - that is why he has more wins than any other living manager. But he'd rather win the NLC than this game.


The issue is not TLR's desire for victory, but his head--he's often foolish when it comes to in-game decision-making, and last night was no exception. If you absolutely have to drill Ryan Braun, why not wait to plunk him in a game when that single run wasn't hugely important, whether that opportunity came this afternoon or one of the next nine games between the clubs? He's waited a year already to take his revenge on Johnny Cueto despite numerous opportunities to plunk him, and the Cueto melee and its consequences were far worse than what transpired last night. Why behave in such a foolish and self-defeating way last night over a comparatively trivial sin?

The answer is the only one that ever applies to TLR: because the spirit moved him, and because there's no one to stop him. He's done anything he wants sans consequence for the past 15 years, whether it's the unbelievably snide, incoherent post-game interviews, constantly playing people out of position, or the tendency to give away a handful of marginal wins every season or two by running good players out of town. The most annoying bit is how brazen he is in flouting reason and elementary decision-making, and how the media and non-Cardinal fans ignore or excuse these absurdities while criticizing him for being obnoxious and whiny. If whining were the worst of his transgressions, this club wouldn't be 2.5 games out with Corey Patterson and Ryan Theriot sucking up roster space.
   35. How Flounder got here, he hasn't a clue. Posted: August 03, 2011 at 06:36 PM (#3891924)
#31 - I get that. I just disagree (and I didn't really make this point) that nailing Braun has any effect on any game after August 2.

#33- After the way Kruk retired, he should be the absolute* last person ever to lecture about how the game should be played.

*slight exaggeration
   36. SoSH U at work Posted: August 03, 2011 at 06:39 PM (#3891929)
The most annoying bit is how brazen he is in flouting reason and elementary decision-making, and how the media and non-Cardinal fans ignore or excuse these absurdities while criticizing him for being obnoxious and whiny.


In contrast, I'd say the most annoying thing is the Cards fans who whine about how their awful manager is costing them wins every season. Because at least the non-Cards fans and media whining about him being obnoxious and whiny have the advantage of being accurate, as opposed to delusional.
   37. How Flounder got here, he hasn't a clue. Posted: August 03, 2011 at 06:41 PM (#3891931)
To tag onto 34:

Hey, Tony, just because Jay and Patterson are both black CF's, does not mean they are interchangable. Quit double switching them in games where more runs are needed.
   38. asdf1234 Posted: August 03, 2011 at 06:47 PM (#3891933)


In contrast, I'd say the most annoying thing is the Cards fans who whine about how their awful manager is costing them wins every season. Because at least the non-Cards fans and media whining about him being obnoxious and whiny have the advantage of being accurate, as opposed to delusional.


There's a good way to present an argument and a bad way. That presumes, of course, that you even have an argument, as opposed to being a rude brat.
   39. I Remember When Posted: August 03, 2011 at 07:05 PM (#3891946)
Harvey - Sorry if I came across as too blase - it is a big deal if someone actually gets hit. My comment is really about the batters who seem to think that they have a right to stand in and not get hit and lay all of the blame on the pitcher if they do. They have a sensible responsibility to get out of the way. I have seen games this year where the batter is hit and makes no effort to get out of the way and is still awarded first base. Anytime they go to the batters box, they should remember the boy scout motto - be prepared. That way no one is injured.
   40. SoSH U at work Posted: August 03, 2011 at 07:06 PM (#3891950)
There's a good way to present an argument and a bad way. That presumes, of course, that you even have an argument, as opposed to being a rude brat.


So sorry that my labeling an argument as "annoying" was brattier than your way of doing the same.

So here goes: I find the idea that TLR is costing your beloved Cards' victories in the W-L column preposterous. While he's probably no longer peak Tony, I believe he's still better at doing what's important - getting his guys to play at or close to their best. While the tactical tics are both annoying and obvious, they don't matter 1/10th as much as getting the most out of your guys, which Tony's been doing exceptionally well for 30-plus years, including whatever black magic he and Duncan conjure up on an almost annual basis.
   41. I Remember When Posted: August 03, 2011 at 07:15 PM (#3891962)
If I didn't make it clear, I am not supportive of purpose pitches up and in. Those should be to less vulnerable areas. But purpose pitches are a part of the game and always have been. But I also have no problem with pitchers who pitch inside and I think that too in part of the game. I think LaRussa has a point that pitchers who lack control shouldn't pitch up and in, but that is part of the game as well. Ryne Duren always seemed to throw one behind the hitter just to make his point.
   42. Drew (Primakov, Gungho Iguanas) Posted: August 03, 2011 at 07:27 PM (#3891978)
TLR sold that lie job about as well as Raffy.
   43. asdf1234 Posted: August 03, 2011 at 07:30 PM (#3891981)

So sorry that my labeling an argument as "annoying" was brattier than your way of doing the same.

So here goes: I find the idea that TLR is costing your beloved Cards' victories in the W-L column preposterous. While he's probably no longer peak Tony, I believe he's still better at doing what's important - getting his guys to play at or close to their best. While the tactical tics are both annoying and obvious, they don't matter 1/10th as much as getting the most out of your guys, which Tony's been doing exceptionally well for 30-plus years, including whatever black magic he and Duncan conjure up on an almost annual basis.


If you don't want to absorb criticism, keep your sneering rhetoric to a minimum.

What makes you think that TLR has gotten the most out of his players? I can understand that perspective re: pitching if you give him credit for Duncan's work, but what is there about TLR specifically that makes you think that he causes players to overperform? Specifically, which players have overperformed, and how did TLR make them overperform? Do you think he's handled his pitching staffs well compared to an average manager? When and which pitchers did he handle well?

I've read this kind of apologetic for years, from mainstream media to Chris Jaffe, and I've rarely seen anything more than conjecture, begging the question, and giving the manager undue credit for his pitching coach's brilliance. Meanwhile, TLR continues to make foolish decisions of every stripe, and all we ever hear is the peanut gallery shouting down anyone who dares to catalog and/or criticize his absurdities, whether he's forcing Rasmus/Ryan out of town this season or forcing his GM's hand to trade young talent for infirm veterans.
   44. Dale Sams Posted: August 03, 2011 at 07:31 PM (#3891982)
He's done anything he wants sans consequence for the past 15 years, whether it's the unbelievably snide, incoherent post-game interviews, constantly playing people out of position, or the tendency to give away a handful of marginal wins every season or two by running good players out of town


Being drunk does that.

ba-bing.
   45. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: August 03, 2011 at 07:48 PM (#3892001)
Tony always pays attention to the details. It's insufficient to pick a scrap with the opposing team. Let's take on the fans AND the media guys. Yeah!!!

And check out the whopper from Molina. Sorry son. Watched in real time. You were spewing even after you got to the dugout. Camels have nothing on you.

"It's going way too far when they start cursing your family and the funniest one, the guy's yelling, 'I hope you get shingles again,'" La Russa said Wednesday. "That's just stupid. But when you watch and you ignore our guy get drilled when the other guy gets a little stinger, it's irritating."

La Russa said that Brewers officials removed several fans near St. Louis' dugout during the game. The 66-year-old La Russa struggled with shingles for nearly two months earlier this season, missing six games because of the condition.

The game turned tense in the seventh.

Pujols was hit on the left hand near the wrist he broke earlier this season. X-rays after the game were negative and Pujols was in the starting lineup for Wednesday's finale. Braun was then plunked by Jason Motte in the bottom of the inning that drew the ire of most of the crowd of 39,393.

"You don't want to get into a bean ball war," Braun said. "That's never fun."

La Russa called the pitch that hit Pujols "scary" but not intentional and they were trying to send a message to Braun by pitching him tight.

"That's what all these idiots up there -- not idiots, fans are yelling," La Russa said. "I don't want to even hear about Braun getting a little pop in the back when we almost lose (Pujols) in several ways."

The manager was also upset Wednesday at the Brewers TV broadcasters after their take on the inning's events.

"You would hope that the guys that work for the Brewers have enough guts and enough integrity to call the game as it is instead of worrying about their paycheck," La Russa said.

Brewers TV analyst and former catcher Bill Schroeder acknowledged he called the situation "bush league" when discussing the inning, but was not directing the comment toward La Russa. Schroeder said he and La Russa spoke by phone Wednesday morning, touching on several topics.

"I have a lot of respect for Tony La Russa," Schroeder said. "I would never call him bush league."

La Russa and Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak also said they had not heard from MLB about potential discipline for Yadier Molina, who appeared to make contact with plate umpire Rob Drake after arguing a called third strike in the 10th inning.

Drake had to wipe his face after it appeared he was hit by spittle while Molina was yelling. Molina maintained he did not spit on Drake, saying he was sweaty and any contact he made with Drake was incidental. Molina was in Wednesday's lineup.
   46. SoSH U at work Posted: August 03, 2011 at 07:57 PM (#3892010)
If you don't want to absorb criticism, keep your sneering rhetoric to a minimum.


I wasn't the one being overly sensitive here.

I've read this kind of apologetic for years, from mainstream media to Chris Jaffe, and I've rarely seen anything more than conjecture, begging the question, and giving the manager undue credit for his pitching coach's brilliance.


Perhaps Chris should do some research before he spouts off his uninformed opinions.
   47. asdf1234 Posted: August 03, 2011 at 08:01 PM (#3892016)
And check out the whopper from Molina. Sorry son. Watched in real time. You were spewing even after you got to the dugout. Camels have nothing on you.


It was an admittedly bad call, but that was one of the more surreal flipouts I've seen in a while.


I wasn't the one being overly sensitive here.


Perhaps Chris should do some research before he spouts off his uninformed opinions.


As I said, there are good arguments, bad arguments, and non-arguments. Good luck figuring out which is which in your future debates.
   48. bads85 Posted: August 03, 2011 at 08:10 PM (#3892025)
Perhaps Chris should do some research before he spouts off his uninformed opinions.


No kidding. First thing I thought when I perused his book is that there simply not enough research in there.
   49. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 03, 2011 at 08:19 PM (#3892029)
I don't have a problem with the Cards retaliating - they probably should to protect their star player. But TLR's whining afterwards and insistence that the Brewers unintentionally hitting Pujols by pitching inside was somehow an offense to the game is beyond stupid.

Is it just me or does TLR seem to be more irritable the last two seasons than in years past? Just getting old and grumpy?
   50. The Artist Posted: August 03, 2011 at 08:25 PM (#3892035)
Seriously, are the Cardinals (Primarily because of their manager and his incessant whining) the most unlikeable team in the NL right now?
   51. cardsfanboy Posted: August 03, 2011 at 08:29 PM (#3892040)
As I said, there are good arguments, bad arguments, and non-arguments. Good luck figuring out which is which in your future debates.


Good arguments...TLR's career record. Bad arguments "I wouldn't do that if I was the manager, therefore TLR is a stupid poopy head". Non-arguments in relation to his managing ability "TLR is a paranoid drunk".

TLR wins, has always won, gets performance out of players that nobody could have reasonably predicted. The bad arguments are always backchair managers who don't have a clue (Heck last night game alone you had at least four Cardinal 'experts' who wanted TLR to do the absolute stupidest thing in the world and intentionally walk Braun and Fielder with the winning run at third.....I mean seriously how dumb do you have to be to do something like that? In this situation where a hit wins the game and an out ends the inning, you do not want to walk the bases loaded, but tons of moron fans and experts kept calling for those intentional walks.and if Braun gets the hit, they would pretend that their stupid decision would have been the correct call)
   52. cardsfanboy Posted: August 03, 2011 at 08:31 PM (#3892042)
Seriously, are the Cardinals (Primarily because of their manager and his incessant whining) the most unlikeable team in the NL right now?


I think it's a toss up between the Cardinals and the Reds, both teams whine incessantly(the Brewers and Braves are probably a step below) although the Cardinals seem to mostly stem from their manager while the Reds stem from their media/players.
   53. asdf1234 Posted: August 03, 2011 at 08:40 PM (#3892054)
Good arguments...TLR's career record. Bad arguments "I wouldn't do that if I was the manager, therefore TLR is a stupid poopy head". Non-arguments in relation to his managing ability "TLR is a paranoid drunk".

TLR wins, has always won, gets performance out of players that nobody could have reasonably predicted. The bad arguments are always backchair managers who don't have a clue (Heck last night game alone you had at least four Cardinal 'experts' who wanted TLR to do the absolute stupidest thing in the world and intentionally walk Braun and Fielder with the winning run at third.....I mean seriously how dumb do you have to be to do something like that? In this situation where a hit wins the game and an out ends the inning, you do not want to walk the bases loaded, but tons of moron fans and experts kept calling for those intentional walks.and if Braun gets the hit, they would pretend that their stupid decision would have been the correct call)


You and I rarely see eye to eye on Tony, but I think we can both agree that the fact that the Internet has bigger idiots than TLR does not amount to a glowing defense of his abilities.

What percentage of managers do you think would enjoy the same or greater success given the same situation & supporting cast that TLR has had in St. Louis (meaning Duncan and Jocketty/Mozeliak)? I'm not assuming uniform brilliance from upper management (meaning that we still might have dealt Haren & co. for Mulder), but do you think we would have had more success or less if we had, say, kept Joe Torre on all these years?
   54. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: August 03, 2011 at 08:50 PM (#3892061)
And check out the whopper from Molina. Sorry son. Watched in real time. You were spewing even after you got to the dugout. Camels have nothing on you.


Yeah, the Cardinals announcers repeated that whopper during the telecast of today's game, then went so far as to support Molina's claim, as if the spit spraying wasn't recorded in high-def for posterity.

Sweat, my ass ...
   55. bads85 Posted: August 03, 2011 at 09:07 PM (#3892073)
Yeah, the Cardinals announcers repeated that whopper during the telecast of today's game, then went so far as to support Molina's claim, as if the spit spraying wasn't recorded in high-def for posterity.


Plus, even if it were true, it is an inane argument anyway. Getting one's sweat on another person is gross also, especially when one is yelling like a homicidal maniac.

"I didn't spit on him; I just sweated all over face."
   56. SouthSideRyan Posted: August 03, 2011 at 09:10 PM (#3892074)
   57. SouthSideRyan Posted: August 03, 2011 at 09:12 PM (#3892075)
The Cardinals announcers also said Drake pushed Molina.
   58. Shibal Posted: August 03, 2011 at 09:18 PM (#3892078)
TLR has ALWAYS disliked any pitcher with control issues trying to go inside on the hands. His point was you don't bring a guy who lacks control and ask him to pitch in a situation where even a little lack of control could end a players season.


Tony can tell Albert to back off the plate a little if he doesn't like inside pitches. I get tired of Princess Albert ducking away and staring out at the pitcher every single time a high pitch is a little inside. He did the same stunt in the 9th last night, just like a little bltch that Brandon Phillips talked about last year.

Same thing happened against the Royals earlier this year, in the same game he busted up his wrist. KC went up in and, Albert had his usual stare down. Next time Gordon was up, La Russa plunked him.

Maybe Albert could get one of those green jerseys that quarterbacks wear. That way every one on the field will know special rules apply solely to him.
   59. cardsfanboy Posted: August 03, 2011 at 09:21 PM (#3892082)
What percentage of managers do you think would enjoy the same or greater success given the same situation & supporting cast that TLR has had in St. Louis (meaning Duncan and Jocketty/Mozeliak)? I'm not assuming uniform brilliance from upper management (meaning that we still might have dealt Haren & co. for Mulder), but do you think we would have had more success or less if we had, say, kept Joe Torre on all these years?


Currently managing baseball? I can't think of any, if pressed among managers of the past 20 years I think....nope, can't think of any managers in baseball who I think has both the brains for tactics, ability to use the bench and bullpen as well and the force of personality to keep the egos in shape.

Heck the only managers in the past 20 years I like even a little bit are Bobby Cox, Davey Johnson, Larry Dierker, Leyland, maybe, Gardenhire, and I'll grudgingly give Scioscia credit. Beyond that, none of the other managers in baseball are even as good as Whitey Herzog was, forget comparing them to a superior manager like TLR.

I think Torre is an idiot, if we kept him we would never have even posted a .500 record, his skills as a manager is basically to sit around and stay out of the way. Pinella is even dumber than he was.
   60. cardsfanboy Posted: August 03, 2011 at 09:23 PM (#3892086)
Tony can tell Albert to back off the plate a little if he doesn't like inside pitches. I get tired of Princess Albert ducking away and staring out at the pitcher every single time a high pitch is a little inside. He did the same stunt in the 9th last night, just like a little bltch that Brandon Phillips talked about last year.

Same thing happened against the Royals earlier this year, in the same game he busted up his wrist. KC went up in and, Albert had his usual stare down. Next time Gordon was up, La Russa plunked him.

Maybe Albert could get one of those green jerseys that quarterbacks wear. That way every one on the field will know special rules apply solely to him.


Not arguing with that at all. I was just pointing out TLR's point of view on that particular issue.
   61. SouthSideRyan Posted: August 03, 2011 at 09:26 PM (#3892090)
You think if Joe Torre or Lou Piniella managed the 2004 Cardinals that they would be 25 games worse?
   62. Benji Gil Gamesh Rises Posted: August 03, 2011 at 10:01 PM (#3892140)
You have a pitcher like Saito who has control issues(he has nearly the same rate of hits batsmen as Don Drysdale) who is trying to do an action which requires very good control. TLR has ALWAYS disliked any pitcher with control issues trying to go inside on the hands. His point was you don't bring a guy who lacks control and ask him to pitch in a situation where even a little lack of control could end a players season.
So the other team has to bring in pitchers with the best control when the other team's stars are batting? If that really is TLR's point it's a really stupid, arrogant, and presumptuous point.

What I'm assuming he's using as rationale is this: that it doesn't matter that it was unintentional -- retribution must be had regardless of the circumstances.
Yeah, that might also be what he's saying, and if so it's beyond stupid.
   63. Steve G. Posted: August 03, 2011 at 10:21 PM (#3892160)
The thing about La Russa is that he's unabashedly aggressive, from his preparation to his in-game tactics, and that aggressiveness quietly squeezes a lot of value out of a team over the course of a season. More than any other manager that I know of, TLR pushes the numbers -- even seemingly crazy ones like batter vs. pitcher matchups -- as much as he can to gain an edge.

But it also leads to completely stupid situations like today where, after burning through a half dozen pitchers in extras last night, the lack of bullpen depth effectively forced him to offer Edwin Jackson as a sacrificial lamb. 8 ER in 7 IP, including a seventh inning where, despite being clearly gassed, he was left in to face a guy (McGehee) who had already homered off of him twice earlier in the game; it took two pitches for McGehee to plant his third homer of the day over the fence.

It also leads to player management situations where he thrives with stars (Pujols, Edmonds, McGwire) and scrubs (the list is too long), but struggles to coexist with Merely Good/Great players. Ray Lankford, Anthony Reyes (pre-arm-blowout), Chris Perez, and Colby Rasmus are examples of valuable non-superstar players that Tony just couldn't sit still with. And TLR buried all four of them to varying degrees in the press: Lankford struck out too much, Reyes never trusted the sinker, Rasmus wouldn't listen to the coaches, etc.

From a tactical standpoint, burning those players in the press furthered his immediate goals of promoting/motivating improvement. From a strategic view, it also completely ruined the perceived value of those players, so much so that three of the four were traded away for pennies on the dollar and the fourth (Lankford) ended up becoming one of the most criminally underrated players in recent memory.

It's those situations that drive Cardinal fans like me crazy, I think. And, even though he's managed to conjure 80-90 win seasons from 70-80 win teams over the last five years, there's always a question of whether La Russa's aggressive blitzkrieg tactics are also mortgaging a bit of the franchise's long term health for a short term run of moderate-but-not-great success.

EDIT: Also, Tony has been borderline irrational about bean-ball stuff for years. It's difficult to tell whether it's just blind machismo or cunning manipulation of the narrative to motivate his team (the whole "us vs. them" crap), but both possibilities are equally unsavory, if you ask me.
   64. hokieneer Posted: August 03, 2011 at 10:23 PM (#3892162)
Did McGehee really hit 3 HR today? Maybe this is Milwaukee's year.
   65. asdf1234 Posted: August 03, 2011 at 10:31 PM (#3892168)
Currently managing baseball? I can't think of any, if pressed among managers of the past 20 years I think....nope, can't think of any managers in baseball who I think has both the brains for tactics, ability to use the bench and bullpen as well and the force of personality to keep the egos in shape.

Heck the only managers in the past 20 years I like even a little bit are Bobby Cox, Davey Johnson, Larry Dierker, Leyland, maybe, Gardenhire, and I'll grudgingly give Scioscia credit. Beyond that, none of the other managers in baseball are even as good as Whitey Herzog was, forget comparing them to a superior manager like TLR.

I think Torre is an idiot, if we kept him we would never have even posted a .500 record, his skills as a manager is basically to sit around and stay out of the way. Pinella is even dumber than he was.


Whitey was a little unusual in that he was also GM for the foundational part of the Cards' 80s run and semi-GM for the rest of his tenure with the club. While LaRussa has always had various degrees of semi-GM status with the Cards, I doubt that he's ever had as much power as Herzog wielded, just because it's hard to imagine a more influential or powerful manager than 80s Herzog.

Torre was the longest interim manager in Cardinal history, but I don't think poorly of his skills as a handler or motivator. He made some poor macro decisions (moving Zeile to 3B was a disaster for all parties, and the Whiten flirtation never amounted to much), but he also stayed out of the way of success and was present for the development of one of the most impressive young outfields of the era. When you look at his win totals from '91 to '93 and the pitching staffs he was working with, I think you have to be impressed that he enjoyed as much success as he did. He carried over the same steadiness to the Yankees, where he managed to keep mercurial personalities in line without harming the team's overall win total. Can you envision any circumstance in which TLR would be capable of handling a team with Paul O'Neill or David Wells without selling them for pennies on the dollar? And Torre doesn't strike me as anything special in terms of managers--as you say, his chief traits were that he was boring and mostly stayed out of the way of his talent, which would've been nice while LaRussa was racking up the same kind of mediocre or downright bad seasons that got Torre canned.

And I tend to think that Torre or most of the other managers you mentioned might've enjoyed significant success once Edmonds/Rolen/Pujols/Morris and co. arrived.
   66. cardsfanboy Posted: August 03, 2011 at 10:33 PM (#3892170)
So the other team has to bring in pitchers with the best control when the other team's stars are batting? If that really is TLR's point it's a really stupid, arrogant, and presumptuous point.


I might have misstated it, you don't bring in a pitcher who lacks control and asks him to pitch high and in, if he can't control the ball he should avoid pitching high and in.
   67. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: August 03, 2011 at 10:34 PM (#3892171)
Steve

I have written this previously but Tony's teams are always TOUGH. Chicago, Oakland, St. Louis. The recurring theme is that a LaRussa team plays tough. They take out the middle infielder on the DP. The pitchers come inside and are ok with hitting guys (gasp!). They run over the catcher or their catcher blocks the plate like he's a hound dog protecting his food dish.

If you are a laid back guy who will give good effort but cannot display the edge Tony wants then f*ck you. You have to be REALLY good for Tony to not get that edgy approach. McGwire hit 500' home runs. Scott Rolen was all world at third base. Lance Berkman is leading the NL in home runs. Tony will accomodate to SOME degree.

Otherwise, you better show up ready to knock someone on their *ss.

And in the 21st century that really stands out and is a DISTINCT competitive advantage. Guys play hard but most have latent concerns about injury and are sensitive of that fact to the opposition. Tony doesn't give a rat's *ss about the opposing team's health. That is THAT manager's problem. So his guys push the envelope in today's world where in days gone by the gap in toughness would be much smaller.

It's interesting that such a smart guy would take a base approach to gain the upper hand. But kudos to Tony for exploiting a true market gap.
   68. cardsfanboy Posted: August 03, 2011 at 10:51 PM (#3892185)
And I tend to think that Torre or most of the other managers you mentioned might've enjoyed significant success once Edmonds/Rolen/Pujols/Morris and co. arrived.


I have a type of manager I like, Torre is not it. I do not like a manager who believes in a set lineup, or believes in rigid bullpen roles(outside of closer), I don't want a manager who will kowtow his lineup to a players preferences, who isn't afraid to experiment(the fact that Jeter has never played a game anywhere other than shortstop is a crime---does anyone really think TLR wouldn't have moved Jeter? )

The reasons I like TLR's managing at least tactically is that he has no problem with batters who strike out, he is by far the best manager in the game at using his bench(after watching Tom Lawless make the opening day roster and spend 3months on a bench and getting 16 at bats--not exaggerating--, it's nice to see a manager who actually uses his bench, and one who manages to get strong second half performances out of his players) I want a manager who isn't afraid to buck convention, especially when I agree with it; Pujols should bat third or if he ever gets really gutsy 2nd, the thought of batting Pujols fourth sickens me, yet there is an entire faction of Cardinal fans who think that is the only place he should be batting; the pitcher batting 8th is something I love. The fact that he isn't wasting the number two spot with bat control contact hitters is awesome, This is the first year in a long time that he's been pretty horrible with the hit and run, usually he's been outstanding, the fact that he hates the intentional walk, that he rarely sacrifices with the good hitters, that he more often than not follows the Weaver approach and goes for the big inning over one run(there are times I disagree with this personally, but not nearly as much as the dunderheads that make up the "Faction") the fact that nearly every single one of his moves, even if you disagree with, is easily explainable and defendable. The fact that he thinks long term instead of today, which many fans can't even grasp. The fact that he treats the first half as the time to experiment and figure out things instead of just accepting things as is(he'll use his lefty specialists more in the first half of the season against righties to see if they have developed a skill to get them out, that type of thing, heck he'll play Alan Craig at second base and Pujols at third...how many managers would even consider that?)
   69. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: August 03, 2011 at 11:01 PM (#3892191)
Well, if playing guys at positions to which they are ill suited is a good skill then the Brewers manager is a bloomin' genius
   70. Dr. Vaux Posted: August 03, 2011 at 11:13 PM (#3892198)
I think he may have squandered last year's division title by managing some first half games the big picture way. I don't disagree with managing that way, but it does occasionally backfire.
   71. cardsfanboy Posted: August 03, 2011 at 11:22 PM (#3892207)
I think he may have squandered last year's division title by managing some first half games the big picture way. I don't disagree with managing that way, but it does occasionally backfire.


It's probable, I can't remember my complaints about last year, but I know I thought it was arguably his worse managed first halves ever. It's arguable he might have cost the playoffs this year because of him going back to Franklin time and again, although considering that all the relievers have sucked at some point in time it's not like he had much of a choice.
   72. asdf1234 Posted: August 03, 2011 at 11:32 PM (#3892212)
From a tactical standpoint, burning those players in the press furthered his immediate goals of promoting/motivating improvement. From a strategic view, it also completely ruined the perceived value of those players, so much so that three of the four were traded away for pennies on the dollar and the fourth (Lankford) ended up becoming one of the most criminally underrated players in recent memory.

It's those situations that drive Cardinal fans like me crazy, I think. And, even though he's managed to conjure 80-90 win seasons from 70-80 win teams over the last five years, there's always a question of whether La Russa's aggressive blitzkrieg tactics are also mortgaging a bit of the franchise's long term health for a short term run of moderate-but-not-great success.


Since my foundational memories of TLR are his first years as a Cardinal manager (96-99), it has always been apparent to me that TLR's "genius" is a product of 1) his association with Dave Duncan, who both friend and foe alike will name a true genius, and 2) a handful of incredible Jocketty trades, the most important being the one that brought Edmonds to STL. I'd be willing to give TLR some of the credit for those, as it seems reasonable to me that he (or anyone else) might want to bring in 4+ win players like Edmonds or Rolen. Outside of having the good sense to have Duncan on his staff, I see no reason to give Tony credit for his pitchers' talent jumps, and his in-game manipulation of the pen and bench are generally not good (or at least not particularly important in comparison to the talent levels of his players). Does anyone believe that TLR could've transformed Kile, Carpenter, or Woody Williams into the pitchers they became without Duncan? Is there anyone who thinks that it was TLR's guiding hand that led to the development or success of Pujols, Edmonds, and Rolen, compared to, say, their arrival in a baseball-friendly town?

I've spent my entire adult life as a Cardinal fan in the TLR era, and in that time I've seen a 75-85 win team ('97-'99) transformed into a 90-100 win team following the arrivals of Edmonds (7 wins) and Pujols (8.5 wins) in particular along with Rolen (9+ in 2004), Drew (3.5 per season despite being platooned, jerked around, and frequently injured), and countless Duncan projects. When you take a mediocre team and add multiple superstars, farm successes, and Duncan retreads, doesn't it make sense that it would become a good or even great team? And then, when much of that talent grows old or leaves sans star replacements, that it would become a middling, 85-win team? Intangibles and personal preferences such as perceived toughness and creativity aside, is that not exactly what has happened during his career as a Cardinals manager? Has LaRussa ever taken a bad or even average team and led it to overperform?
   73. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: August 03, 2011 at 11:45 PM (#3892217)
Is there anyone on this board--anyone at all--who believes that TLR could've transformed Kile, Carpenter, or Woody Williams into the pitchers they became without Duncan?

Would Duncan be as successful without LaRussa? Pitching coaches aren't magic bullets. Look at what happened to Leo Mazzone in Baltimore. That team's September ERA was the worst one-month ERA any team has had in the last 80 years. (That sentence is literally true). And in late August they lost a game 30-3.

You want to argue LaRussa is part of a system/organization and he derives a lot of his success from it? Absolutely. Want to argue that a pitching coach is a magic bullet whose effective in no way relates to the system or organization he's working in? It doesn't work that way. The Duncan/LaRussa working relationship is one of the most effective coaching relationships in sports in the last 50 years, but it's not just one guy. Want to give Duncan a majority of the credit? Fine, but don't pretend he's some magic bullet and that the manager is some indifferent bystander.

You're absolutely right that aRussa benefits from the system and organization he's part of. But if on the one hand you note he's part of the system, then on the other hand you should give him some credit when the system is consistently successful.

Over 30+ years and 5,000 games with three franchises, and his teams keep doing well. A month ago I talked with someone who argued that Tom Glavine was just the luckiest pitcher who ever lived and not very skilled. I thought that was a bit bizarre. One or two seasons, maybe, but 20 years and over 5,000 innings? At a certain point in time, sample sizes mean something. No one has a bigger sample size than LaRussa, and it's a pretty damn good one.
   74. Sweatpants Posted: August 03, 2011 at 11:52 PM (#3892222)
Has LaRussa ever taken a bad or even average team and led it to overperform?
If I recall correctly, good things were not predicted for the 2008 Cardinals, who went on to win 86 games. It wasn't just the pitchers; they got 37 home runs from Ryan Ludwick, 27 from Troy Glaus, 25 from Rick Ankiel, a .300 average from Skip Schumaker (it was his first season as a regular), and a .300 average from Molina (although his was even emptier than Schumaker's, keeping his OPS+ below 100). A lot of position players on that team did better than expected. Even if you don't think that the performances themselves were flukes, LaRussa deserves credit for putting these guys, many of whom hadn't had many chances before that season, in starting roles.

I don't really have much of an opinion on LaRussa; this was just a year in which I thought that his team played better than people thought that they would.

Edit: Aaron Miles had a 99 OPS+ that season in over 400 plate appearances! I don't know if LaRussa deserves credit for playing him, though; he had more plate appearances in each of the previous two seasons, despite the fact that he wasn't a good hitter in either.
   75. cardsfanboy Posted: August 04, 2011 at 12:08 AM (#3892232)
I don't really have much of an opinion on LaRussa; this was just a year in which I thought that his team played better than people thought that they would.


In another thread someone pointed out to the predictions of the 2004/2005 team wasn't that positive either. Heck his '96 team was somewhat of a shock also.
   76. salvomania Posted: August 04, 2011 at 01:11 AM (#3892282)
the predictions of the 2004/2005 team wasn't that positive either.


I recall the Diamond Mind 1000-season simulation had the 2004 Cardinals consistently winning over 100 games.
   77. asdf1234 Posted: August 04, 2011 at 01:31 AM (#3892300)
Would Duncan be as successful without LaRussa? Pitching coaches aren't magic bullets. Look at what happened to Leo Mazzone in Baltimore. That team's September ERA was the worst one-month ERA any team has had in the last 80 years. (That sentence is literally true). And in late August they lost a game 30-3.

You want to argue LaRussa is part of a system/organization and he derives a lot of his success from it? Absolutely. Want to argue that a pitching coach is a magic bullet whose effective in no way relates to the system or organization he's working in? It doesn't work that way. The Duncan/LaRussa working relationship is one of the most effective coaching relationships in sports in the last 50 years, but it's not just one guy. Want to give Duncan a majority of the credit? Fine, but don't pretend he's some magic bullet and that the manager is some indifferent bystander.

You're absolutely right that aRussa benefits from the system and organization he's part of. But if on the one hand you note he's part of the system, then on the other hand you should give him some credit when the system is consistently successful.


LaRussa is an employee of the baseball club, and his contributions are individual and discrete. His interaction and responsibilities to the players are generally managerial rather than tutorial, so outside of usage, tactics, employee satisfaction, and limited input into personnel decisions, I'm not inclined to give him bonus points for the work of other employees. He gave Duncan a job with the White Sox and has had the good sense to keep him around for nearly 30 years--that deserves credit, as it would for any manager who keeps valuable employees happy. It is possible that Duncan would not enjoy the same degree success under any other manager, but it's also possible that he'd thrive even more under someone else; the only thing we know for certain is that Dave Duncan has been a HoF-caliber pitching coach for his entire career, the vast majority of which has been spent under TLR. So yes, credit where credit is due--Tony is good at keeping Duncan happy and effective, which may or may not be a skill unique to LaRussa. Going a little further, TLR has been retained for the same reason that most managers are retained--he kept the confidence of his employers, he has headed a team that has provided a product that is generally consistent with the boss's expectations, and he hasn't sparked an all-out revolt among his employees or customers despite the occasional embarrassment in the media and strained relationships with local press (which is not notable for its negativity).

If he's going to receive credit for keeping some temperamental employees happy, he's also going to have to accept blame for alienating others, and that's where he loses a massive amount of value. We can agree that TLR has demonstrated that he cannot coexist with a certain breed of player regardless of talent level. This year's examples are Brendan Ryan (a ~3-win player) and Rasmus (a ~3-win player at 22/23, presumably more than that going forward), though there might be others that aren't coming to mind at the moment. We don't know how much value we might lose or gain if we had another manager surrounded by the same coaching staff, senior management, and players. We do know how much he's costing us, and it's far from insignificant.

At what point does the presumption that TLR possesses a unique skill to placate Duncan and other employees begin to give way to the brute reality that his insistence on Theriot over Ryan--a drop in the ocean that is TLR's history of personal conflicts--has cost the Cardinals 3 marginal wins already in 2011 alone? At what point do we put aside his speculative value, toughness, and all the other intangibles and admit that TLR's personality has a unique and significant cost in terms of team performance?
   78. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: August 04, 2011 at 03:58 AM (#3892381)
I recall the Diamond Mind 1000-season simulation had the 2004 Cardinals consistently winning over 100 games.

The 2004 Diamondmind projections were for the Cards to win 92.3 games. Can't find a link for it (RLYW archives now only go back to March 2010?!?), but I have it in an excel file. At THT, they were the consensus pick for third place. Craig Burley said they'd come in second. Every other person there had them coming in third.

His interaction and responsibilities to the players are generally managerial rather than tutorial, so outside of usage, tactics, employee satisfaction, and limited input into personnel decisions

Why? Because you say so?

Just because you deem the above to be the only reasons a manager impacts his players doesn't mean that's so. If your theory clashes with reality, that doesn't mean you're right and reality is wrong.

Twice at SABR conventions I've heard GM panels asked straight up what the most important qualities a manager should have to be sucessful. These are guys who should know a few things about what helps make a successful manager because they're the ones hiring/firing them. Tactics, and usage weren't the main ones brought up. Leadership. Communication. Prioritization. Self-awareness. These are the things that get brought up first and foremost.

If he's going to receive credit for keeping some temperamental employees happy .. . . .. he presumption that TLR possesses a unique skill to placate Duncan

I'm running two quotes together because they both operate under the same assumption: working relationships only matter to unusually temperamental people and have nothing to do with the effectiveness of normal human beings. This makes me wonder how much experience you actually have dealing with other human beings. People are complicated. You can't treat them as if they are as simple as an abacus and expect them to operate in a rote, basic way.
   79. backupcatcher Posted: August 04, 2011 at 04:08 AM (#3892385)
"heck he'll play Alan Craig at second base and Pujols at third...how many managers would even consider that?"

Joe Maddon

"If he's going to receive credit for keeping some temperamental employees happy, he's also going to have to accept blame for alienating others, and that's where he loses a massive amount of value."

Totally agree. you can't say TLR gets the most out of his players when he runs 23 year old [potential] future stars out of town. Regardless of why the relationship went sour, it's his job to get the most out of that potential star, to help turn that prospect into that star. He failed in that regard and has failed in that regard over and over again.
   80. bads85 Posted: August 04, 2011 at 04:10 AM (#3892387)
It has been a crazy last week for MLB umpires --- thirteen ejections in the last seven calendar days --- 21% of the season total.

Edit -- wrong percentage -- 9%; I was only looking at player ejections.
   81. Sleepy supports unauthorized rambling Posted: August 04, 2011 at 05:08 AM (#3892407)
At what point does the presumption that TLR possesses a unique skill to placate Duncan and other employees begin to give way to the brute reality that his insistence on Theriot over Ryan--a drop in the ocean that is TLR's history of personal conflicts--has cost the Cardinals 3 marginal wins already in 2011 alone? At what point do we put aside his speculative value, toughness, and all the other intangibles and admit that TLR's personality has a unique and significant cost in terms of team performance?


Also, Ryan Franklin. And Batista.

A 100Mish payroll in the NL central, with Albert Pujols on a way-below-market salary, and no obvious albatross salaries, should be enough to allow an average manager to make the playoffs more than once since 2006.
   82. hokieneer Posted: August 04, 2011 at 05:37 AM (#3892424)
Please disregard #19. I should have known the Reds would have lost 2 one run games in losing a series in Houston. It's over, and no amount of run differential, soft schedule, hoping luck will swing around, AAA callups, or fanboy optimism can help.
   83. McCoy Posted: August 04, 2011 at 05:43 AM (#3892426)
Dusty Baker will break your heart everytime.

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