If you haven’t already seen Tony La Russa’s post-game interview after a disappointing loss to the Pirates on April 6, 2011, here is your chance. For your entertainment.
Battle lines will be drawn faster than a Hatfields and McCoys family reunion. The scribes will lick their wounds, feign innocence and declare that La Russa’s overreaction was inappropriate. The La Russa haters will be coming out of the woodwork to attack the Cardinals skipper.
If you actually listen to La Russa’s answers to the questions, you might get somewhat of a different perspective. Yes, the Cardinals offense has layed an egg for the first six games of the season. Yes, it is disappointing. Maybe even a bit embarrassing. But La Russa has a point that will probably not be found in tomorrow’s recounting of the event. Look at the calendar – IT IS JUST THE FIRST WEEK OF THE SEASON.
I might take a bit of exception to La Russa’s rebuttal that he expects Theriot to hit, but the skipper is spot on with the others. The big bats are not producing, and we know that they are capable. Yadier Molina, Albert Pujols, to a lesser degree David Freese all have a track record of being able to get big hits, and they will come. These less-than-Mendoza averages will all be sorted out before last sun sets on the month of April.
What La Russa should have done is throw some of the high points back at the sports writers in attendance. Specifically
- Colby Rasmus is looking like a mature professional batter this season. This is the player we hoped Rasmus might become, but were afraid we might not see with any regularity.
- Chris Carpenter, Jaime Garcia, Kyle Lohse and Kyle McClellan have thrown gems to start the new season.
- Brian Tallett looks like a totally different pitcher in the Cardinals bullpen.
- The Cardinals aren’t going to be giving up any defense on days that Yadier Molina takes off. Gerald Laird has a cannon of an arm.
- Daniel Descalso and David Freese have played a slick hot corner. Both have made some web gem quality picks, and Descalso has shown off an arm that we didn’t know he had.
- Allen Craig is finally starting to hit like a player who is trying to shed the AAAA label.
- Lance Berkman and Skip Schumaker are hitting.
Yeah, a 2-4 start is not quite what we expected when we looked at the early part of the schedule and saw San Diego and Pittsburgh. But it is too early to hit the panic button.
And if somebody continued to ask me the same question over and over, I’m not sure that I would have handled it much differently than La Russa did.
I will leave you with two parting thoughts.
If Tony La Russa was not agonizing over the current performance of the team, he would not have reacted as he did. He would have shrugged it off with some well thought out and calm reply, as he does often when a caller to his weekly radio show asks a ridiculous question. The fact that he’s a bit hot under the collar and has such an obvious hot button is a very good thing.
Finally, La Russa did not over-react. If you need a frame of reference, watch this 1993 gem from Hal McRae. Parental warning before you hit play – this one is not PG-13.
Although, should Tony La Russa decide to have an epic meltdown, remember that Phil Wellman is the Springfield Cardinals (AA) hitting coach. If you don’t remember Wellman, check out this video.