Friday, October 21, 2011

Nurse the Hate: Hate Tony LaRussa

I am a baseball fan. Yes, I am one of the roughly 4.6% of the population that is watching the World Series with great interest. Why even more people will watch the Colts play whoever the hell is going to kick the crap out of them on Sunday night is perplexing to me. They will though. A meaningless NFL game will have a bigger audience than the Series in 2011 America. That's a shame. The World Series is for all the marbles baby, and when a story is this big the media has to create some good side stories. My personal favorite is the “Tony LaRussa is a Genius” narrative.

Even if you’re not totally on board with watching the Cards and Rangers play, you owe it to yourself to watch any random 30 minutes of coverage on Fox Television. While Tony LaRussa walks out to make a sensible and routine lineup change, Tim McCarver and Joe Buck act like he may have finally cracked the code for colon cancer.

Tim McCarver: “And there goes the Chessmaster Tony LaRussa to substitute .243 hitter Skip Schumaker for relief pitcher Arthur Rhodes here in the eighth. Look at him pull the strings!”

Joe Buck: “And it looks like Ron Washington is left to scratch himself for fleas like some kind of chimp Tim!”

McCarver: “What chance does Washington have to hope to match up against Tony LaRussa? It’s like he sat down at a chess board with Bobby Fucking Fisher!”

Perhaps the best part is how LaRussa has slipped on this persona like a comfortable robe. He answers questions in a distracted slightly irritated air, as if he has been interrupted doing mental gymnastics on how to gain a slight statistical edge by batting the starting pitcher third ahead of Pujols. Watch the coverage... Two seconds after they speak with the Sage of The Game, the cameras cut to Ron Washington, who is inevitably chewing on a toothpick looking like a guy about to hit you up for change outside the bus station. Frankly, they do everything but flash the word “cocaine” above Ron Washington’s head when he is on camera.

I have seen LaRussa manage himself right out of games, churning through his lineup in 8 innings and leaving himself with a backup catcher on the mound and a trainer hitting cleanup in extra innings. Let’s not dwell on that, or on his questionable results with an unbelievably stacked A’s team some years ago. The World Series is a TV event, and it is important to have an easily understandable cast of characters for the casual fan to tune into and watch Fox sold Taco Bell ads.

Managing a baseball team at the major league level can’t be easy. The players are assholes for the most part. Their agents are douchebags. The fans hate you when you aren’t winning. Newspaper guys take cheap shots. Hell, I’m taking cheap shots and I’m a guy that sings for a rock band. But, let’s have some perspective… Managing a baseball team on gameday is not that difficult. Take the pitcher out when he isn’t effective. If the new guy you put in isn’t effective, take him out too. Your batter doesn’t hit lefties well? Put in one that does. If a guy has hit a pitcher in the past, he just might hit him well again. If the guy you put in gets a hit on The Big Stage like the World Series, you are a genius. What happened Wednesday night? The guy LaRussa put in got a hit to win it. You know what Tony LaRussa is? That’s right. He’s a genius.

Quick Hits: I like Wisconsin -8 tomorrow. Michigan State always folds up like a cheap tent when they actually have something on the line. I think Wisconsin is going to go in there and shove them around… LSU might be better than the St Louis Rams. Then again, so might Auburn. Take Auburn +23…. It’s time for the Chargers to lose a game they should win. Take the Jets +2, even though they are the most overrated team in the NFL thanks to playing in the largest media market on the planet.


At October 26, 2011 at 9:36:00 PM EDT , Blogger Dave L. said...

Dude -
That post turned out to be totally prophetic. Tony LaRussa turned out to have the ability to be a total dope, or he might have early-onset dementia. Either way, he's human, not some baseball genius. Good call.

At October 27, 2011 at 9:00:00 AM EDT , Blogger Greg Miller said...

The guy went from "genius" to "let's put the old man in a home" quicker than anyone would have believed. Then you have a couple off days to talk about how the 8th inning got away from him? LaRussa needs game 6 to start already.

At October 31, 2011 at 7:05:00 PM EDT , Blogger AZ said...

Did I read this on a defend Cleveland Sports by Greg post?


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