Tony La Russa hates the Home Run Derby

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Tony La Russa is happy that his star slugger has decided to skip this year’s Home Run Derby and minces no words when it comes to criticizing the event itself:

“I’m just irritated by how much attention the (Derby) gets. It’s like a big show, and the game is an afterthought,
which is totally ESPN.”

My love-hate relationship with La Russa continues.  I’m in total agreement with him on this kind of stuff, yet I hate his managerial style. I admire his activism on behalf of animals yet I disagree with his position on the Arizona immigration law. I respect his considerable accomplishments as a manager yet I find his personal style, personal habits and selective myopia to be profoundly troubling.

Maybe on balance, though, I have to say I like the guy. Not because of what he says and does, really, but because whether I agree with him or not he plays less of that p.r. game than anyone else.

What other managers are going to call out ESPN like that? What other managers are going to speak their mind like La Russa does, even if his mind is often totally whack? Ozzie Guillen does. Bobby Cox will on some very narrow topics. Charlie Manuel does in my mind. Not too many others will. Obviously that’s a function of job security — La Russa has the closest thing to a job for life as any manager — but it probably has to do with temperament too.  I don’t necessarily care for La Russa, but I’m glad he’s around.

No point to this, really. Twitter has been down for almost two hours now, and I don’t have anyone else with whom to share my lame musings, so you all get it.

Watch: Shohei Ohtani strikes out his first spring training batter

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Sure, spring training games don’t count toward anything “real,” but that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy Angels’ star pitcher/hitter Shohei Ohtani mowing down his first big league competitors.

On Saturday, Ohtani took the mound against the Brewers for his first official outing in an Angels uniform. After allowing a leadoff double to Jonathan Villar, the 23-year-old righty settled down and issued a three-pitch strikeout to Nate Orf, his first of the spring.

It wasn’t the cleanest inning for the right-hander: the Brewers plated their first run on a walk, wild pitch and subsequent throwing error by catcher Martin Maldonado. Ohtani didn’t let things unravel further, however, and induced a pop-up for the second out before catching Brett Phillips looking on a called strike three to end the inning.

While the two-way phenom only lasted another two batters (a Keon Broxton dinger finished him off in the second), he’s already started to look like a formidable presence on the mound. Time will tell whether he can deliver at the plate as well — rumor has it he could feature in the Angels’ lineup as soon as Monday.