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.

Dodgers to retire Fernando Valenzuela’s No. 34 this summer

Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports
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LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles Dodgers will retire the No. 34 jersey of pitcher Fernando Valenzuela during a three-day celebration this summer.

Valenzuela was part of two World Series champion teams, winning the 1981 Rookie of the Year and Cy Young awards. He was a six-time All-Star during his 11 seasons in Los Angeles from 1980-90.

He will be honored from Aug. 11-13 when the Dodgers host Colorado.

Valenzuela will join Pee Wee Reese, Tommy Lasorda, Duke Snider, Gil Hodges, Jim Gilliam, Don Sutton, Walter Alston, Sandy Koufax, Roy Campanella, Jackie Robinson and Don Drysdale with retired numbers.

“To be a part of the group that includes so many legends is a great honor,” Valenzuela said. “But also for the fans, the support they’ve given me as a player and working for the Dodgers, this is also for them.”