This column from Anthony Schafer at The Riverfront Times — analyzing his pitching moves on one recent night — basically records and replays my inner monologue every time I watch a game managed by Tony La Russa:
This isn’t just about two players; this is about who is really important
in winning and losing. What this move says is that the players
themselves almost don’t matter at all, that the only thing that really
matters is how well the manager can fit his puzzle pieces together.
But after I have that inner monologue I always say to myself “man, that sonofabitch sure has won a lot of baseball games.”
I’ll never resolve this conflict. I’ll never know if his micromanagerial moves really hurt his teams long term or if they’re mere annoyances. I suspect they more than wash out with the good things he does because, let’s face it, you can’t be as wrong as I like to pretend Tony La Russa is and have the kind of success he’s had. This is really my issue, not his.
I don’t think enough about La Russa for him to qualify as my white whale. He’s something, though.
(thanks to Sara K — who used to comment like crazy in these parts back when she lived in the hinterlands, but doesn’t anymore now that she’s in California — for the link)