The guy whose team wins the pennant always manages that league’s All-Star team the following summer. Tony La Russa is that guy in the NL, but he’ll be playing shuffleboard or something next July. So who gets the gig? Rick Hummel writes about that over at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch today.
Could be La Russa. That’s what Bud Selig, reached for comment on the matter, allowed. It wasn’t some sort of proclamation — Selig doesn’t do that — it was more of a “boy, that would be nice to see,” kind of thing which makes it clear that Selig wouldn’t stand in the way if La Russa wanted to do it.
If he doesn’t want to do it, tradition, such as it is, holds that when the All-Star eligible manager is not active or in the same league the following year, the next-place team in the league from the previous season gets the call. That would be Ron Roenicke of the Brewers in this instance. Hummel notes one exception: Pirates manager Danny Murtaugh, who retired for health reasons after the Pirates won the World Series in 1971, came back and managed the NL in the 1972 All-Star Game.
It’s a total hunch, but I get the sense that La Russa wouldn’t do that. He wants a substantive job in baseball someplace. If he got one, he strikes me as the type who would take it seriously and immerse himself in it to the point where he wouldn’t want all of the hubub and distraction of managing the All-Stars. At the same time, if he doesn’t get a job, you figure he’d feel like the All-Star job was a gold watch of a gig and that he might feel self-conscious or something. La Russa is a lot of things, but an attention whore isn’t one of them and he may feel uncomfortable doing it.
Oh well. It’s probably no big deal. I mean, it’s not like the outcome of the All-Star Game matters or anything. It’s not like it might give the weakest team to make the playoffs home field advantage in the World Series and, perhaps, help determine baseball’s championship.