Diamond Diaries

Cardinal baseball, from the girls

Blame the Manager?

Count me as one of the many who continually find ourselves scratching our heads with the ‘antics’ of one Tony LaRussa. Last night was definitely no exception, as Tony did some more juggling of the lineup, moving the pitcher back into the traditional 9th spot and bumping Colby Rasmus into the lead-off.

Tonight’s shuffling didn’t really catch me off guard, because I’ve been watching Tony long enough to know he doesn’t stick to the same lineup for very long, especially if he thinks he can come up with a better one.

I’ve been candid about my first impression of TLR¬†from when he arrived with the Cardinals. I was a kid who didn’t know him and wasn’t pleased with the fact that he wasn’t letting Ozzie Smith play full time anymore. My dad’s not a big fan of him, and I’m a ‘Daddy’s Girl’, so I was more than happy to take on that opinion as well (Dad – if you’re reading, skip the rest of this paragraph). Over time I have learned, read up on, and psycho-analyzed our manager, which has brought a deeper appreciation and (surprisingly) a feeling of understanding as to why he does what he does. That last sentence might just be me blowing smoke though, because some days I’m just as confused as the next person!

It probably comes as no surprise to hear that Tony is not well-loved among the rest of the NL Central. Despite having several Astro and Cub fan friends in college, I really did not realize just how much other fans hate him until I moved to Wisconsin. Here, Tony is referred to as ‘that hard-nosed, old school jerk who plays dirty, stirs up trouble and tells his pitchers to plunk guys just for kicks.’ That, my friends, is pretty much a direct quote from a life-long Brewers fan. (I’ve kept my opinions on Ryan Braun to myself. People worship that guy here.)

Well, that old school jerk has been managing baseball long enough and well enough to be third all time behind Connie Mack (who owned his team!) and John McGraw. Those two have been out of baseball for 60 (Mack) and 75 (McGraw) years now. Old school? He fits right in. He knows every unwritten rule in the fictitious book. He lives by them, and he expects his players to as well.

We know about all the tinkering with the lineups. Tony’s ‘Crazy 8′ lineups have been the subject of sports radio call in shows and internet pundits ever since the off-and-on again experiment began in 1998. Derrick Goold has (in my mind anyway) the definitive story on the whole situation. To be perfectly honest, with what still looks like a loaded lineup (despite what the numbers are telling us), I didn’t expect to see the pitcher hitting 8th this season. Shows what I know.

Other Tonyisms… it amuses me that a guy who was brutalized for his handling of Rick Ankiel (the pitching version), and has since been hailed as a non-young kid kinda guy, is trotting out lineups like the one we saw on Sunday, where, by my count, Tony trotted out 8 ‘young guys’ in a single game, and the Cardinals scored 11 runs, or the most they’ve scored since Opening Day of this year. I was amused reading reactions to that lineup (as well as last night’s) on Twitter before the game started. Don’t get me wrong – I thought Sunday’s lineup was nuts too, but it’s amazing how many times those ‘nuts’ things work out.

Two more fun facts: not only does Tony have a law degree, but he invented the closer. Sweet.

For games like last night, it’s not the manager I’m pointing blame at. It’s the players.

We’ve been playing around with different topics the past few weeks. Now we want to know – what do you want to see more of on the CDD? Take a second and check out our poll question on the sidebar!

One last note for today…
Dear Brendan,
You look like you could use a hug.

We just wanted to let you know we still love you. Today is a new day/game, and we’re positive that things are going to turn around for you soon. No, really. Any day now.
Love,
Ang, Erika and Chris

2 responses to “Blame the Manager?

  1. Susan May 12, 2010 at 10:29 AM

    >I don't think a manager should be blamed for losses, unless he goes totally berserk and makes incredibly dumb*ss moves. No matter how much managing and coaching goes on, it all comes down to player execution. Hitters must see the ball, and hit the ball. Pitchers need to hit their spots. Fielders must catch and throw the ball accurately. Managers can only show and tell them how to do their jobs, he can't do it for them.Tony is a micro manager, but he thoroughly thinks a move through before he makes it. I didn't realize this until I read "3 Nights in August" which helped me understand how this man's mind works.

  2. Angela W May 12, 2010 at 10:31 AM

    >I agree Susan. I definitely felt like I understood him better as well after reading "3 Nights in August." It put a lot of things he does into a perspective that we the fans don't see.

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