Tony La Russa: will he or won’t he return for another season as manager of the Cardinals?
Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch is about as close to the team’s thinking as a columnist can get and passes along some insight in his Sunday edition of “Bernie’s Bytes.”
First, Miklasz says that the decision to return or not to return will be up to La Russa himself. Cardinals chairman Bill DeWitt III and GM John Mozeliak are firmly in the skipper’s corner despite a disappointing 2010 finish and a highly publicized mid-season rift with star center fielder Colby Rasmus.
If La Russa leaves, it will be because he wanted to go. If he stays, it will be on his own terms.
By all accounts, the 65-year-old La Russa should commit for at least one more season in St. Louis. He’ll have a roster in 2011 that includes this generation’s greatest hitter in Albert Pujols, two Cy Young candidates in Adam Wainwright and Chris Carpenter, and a well-paid and highly-productive left fielder in Matt Holliday. Oh, and let’s not forget about young left-hander Jaime Garcia, who might win the National League’s Rookie of the Year this season.
La Russa also ranks third on the list of all-time managerial wins with 2,628, behind only Connie Mack (3,731) and John McGraw (2,763). It’s feasible that he will catch McGraw and move into second place all-time with just two more years on the job. That might not be the most important thing to La Russa, but he’s certainly not immune to the lure of establishing a long-lasting legacy.
La Russa has been operating on one-year contracts for a few seasons now. If we’re to believe the current indications, he will likely ink a similar deal before winter fully sets in.
David Ortiz had a whale of a final season with the Red Sox. It was so good that he was asked, many, many times, if he was thinking of reversing his retirement decision and coming back for 2017. Ortiz always said no, he was still retiring, occasionally making mention of his aching feet and the physical grind his 40-year-old body was undergoing.
We now know just how much of a grind it was. Indeed, it was extreme. We know this because Dan Dyrek, the Red Sox’ coordinator of sports medicine services, tells it to Rob Bradford of WEEI. Dyrek says that the injuries to Ortiz’s feet, which were often referred to as achilles tendon problems, were way, way more complicated than that, affecting every muscle, bone and tendon in his feet in chain reaction fashion. Dyrek:
“He was essentially playing on stumps. Instead of having this nice, flexible, foot, ankle, calf mechanism to act as a shock absorber, he was playing on stumps. And you can do that for only so long. He was in warrior mode trying to play through this. Once we diagnosed him and saw what was going on and started explaining things to him, there was actually a sense of relief because now he had an explanation of what he was in such excruciating pain.”
That Ortiz was able to even walk through what Dyrek describes is pretty amazing. That he was able to put up a near-MVP season with all of that pain is incredible.
For all of the ups and downs of his personal and professional life, Charlie Sheen is and always has been a passionate baseball fan. Sheen once bought out an entire section of bleachers for an Angels game so he could catch a home run ball (he didn’t catch a home run ball). He starred in “Eight Men Out” and, more notably, “Major League.” That latter film earned him the love and admiration of Indians fans which lasts to this day.
Indeed, the love continues to be so great that, right after the Indians clinched the American League pennant, they began lobbying for Sheen to throw out the first pitch of a World Series game in Cleveland. Yesterday afternoon Sheen took to Twitter, posted a pic of his baseball alter ego, and said that, if called upon, he would serve:
While it’s a big broad comedy, the scene in “Major League” in which Sheen comes out of the bullpen to “Wild Thing” blaring and the fans going nuts is legitimately chill-inducing. The fans at Progressive Field are already going to be amped up for the World Series as it is, but imagine how nuts the place would be if they recreated that scene.
Do it, Indians!
UPDATE: Wait, on reflection, don’t do it, Indians. Sheen is sort of a Trumpian figure in that his high profile craziness often causes us to momentarily forget his legitimate badness. We don’t need a guy like that tossing out the first pitch at the World Series.