Thursday, July 03, 2008

Tony La Russa slobber-fest: exhibit 3478

Cardinals manager Tony La Russa can do the follow things, if all the features on him are to be trusted: 
cure cancer
fly (more like a glide, but still amazing)
manage the shit out of teams
eat a 60 oz. steak and still be hungry

That last one may or may not have a feature on it. 

Gerry Fraley, go where hundreds have gone before.

Tony La Russa has pulled every gadget from his managerial bag of tricks:

Batarang, shoe phone, water squirting flower, new iPhone, helicopter hat, he's got it all. 

A total of 74 lineups. Pitchers batting eighth. Relievers in the rotation.

Dog and cats living together. Mass chaos. 

But really, pitchers batting eigth!? Oh. My. God. What a fucking maverick. La Russa can't be held down by your laws of "common sense" and "good decision-making." Unless you have a badass hitting pitcher (i.e. fat, like Zambrano or Sabathia) and a really terrible eight hole hitter, this is stupid. It isn't genius.

Nine starting infielders. 

But you only need four! 

The Red Sox and Yankees have had like six+ starting IF. So have the Mets and probably a bunch of other teams. This means little.

Eight starting pitchers. Seven starting outfielders.

Yankee starting pitchers:

That's nine. Girardi is a damn savant.

One standing ovation.

Of all the articles I've picked on, this is the front-runner for "cheesiest soft lead." If I was lactose intolerant, that line would have killed me.

At various times the DL has included a Most Valuable Player winner in Albert Pujols,

Losing Pujols for any stretch sucks, but I would take ~120 games of Pujols over like 90 percent of MLB first basemen. Oh, and you're managing the best friggin' hitter in baseball.

a pair of All-Star starting pitchers in Matt Clement and Mark Mulder

Both of whom suck now.

"It starts with our leader, number 10," Isringhausen said. ... 

La Russa wears number 10.

Thank God that was cleared up. I would have thought an actual player was number 10, you know, someone who can affect the outcome of games. 

Every manager must live with setbacks. It is, as they say, part of the game. La Russa has also dealt with unspeakable that were not part of the game.

Which I will now speak about.

He has twice had a player die: Darryl Kile in 2002 and Josh Hancock last season. 

I am not sure what's worse, bringing these two unfortunate stories up again or using them as ammo for why La Russa is a great manager. 

If ever there was a good reason for a team to curl up into a ball and melt away, it came in those seasons.

If ever there was a muddled metaphor in this article, it came in those lines.

The Cardinals essentially have only three every day players: catcher Yadier Molina, third baseman Troy Glaus and Pujols.

*walkie-talkie voice* Breaker breaker, we got a cherry picker on your six.

This is bullshit. So any player who is somewhat platooned is not an "everyday player?" The Red Sox have an OF rotation of Drew/Crisp/Ellsbury/Ramirez. Does that mean none of them are "everyday players?" No. That is dumb. 

Rick Ankiel and Ryan Ludwick have more than 15 homers each. They are everyday outfielders. Tons of (every?) teams rotate players to keep them fresh/keep them away from lefties or whatever. The Reds have like 10 outfielders. The Mets have used a bunch too. Who cares.

Each [of a variety of mediocre baseball players] goes in and out of the lineup as La Russa weighs who is hot against who could suffer from overexposure.

Why not just say cold? You've already used the "hot" cliche, just run with it instead of being quasi-clever/confusing. "Who's hot versus who has below average body temperature."

The best thing about that line is there is no way to prove the right-ness or wrong-ness of it. Ankiel could have just gone 5-for-5 with five homers and 12 RBI and if La Russa sat him for a game because "he was getting overexposed" and then puts him back in the next game and he goes 5-for-5 again with five homers and 12 RBI, he's a genius. He's a great manager of player feelings - a baseball player whisperer, if you will.

The Cardinals have obvious holes. The most glaring need is a big bat to provide lineup protection for Pujols.

Two guys with 15+ homers (whom you mention like 10 paragraphs earlier) not enough?

"Everybody knows how we player the game," Pujols said. "Everybody knows we're not afraid."

No. 10 wants it that way.

With a gin and tonic please. 

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