Here’s something you coulda set your watch to yesterday: as soon as Colby Rasmus was clear of the Cardinals, his father, Tony Rasmus, slammed Tony La Russa. He claimed that, contrary to what La Russa says, he wasn’t working with Colby on his hitting. He thinks that La Russa is simply a control freak who was looking for someone to go after and Colby was an easy target:
“Tony needed pitching and wanted to force the GM into making a trade, so he belittled Colby to the fans … Tony would like to have 25 pitchers, like he thinks he has to put his stamp on every ball game. They had nothing else to trade. I think everyone is better off now … There are three or four guys in the St. Louis clubhouse right now, thinking ‘oh-oh, who is the manager going to pick on next with Colby gone?’
I’m not the biggest Tony Rasmus fan on the planet — parents of grown up major leaguers should be seen and not heard — but it’s not like he’s totally out to lunch on this stuff.
Fact is La Russa has had run-ins with a number of guys over the years. Fact is that La Russa does like to put his stamp on games. Fact is that La Russa probably would like to have more pitching so that he may one day achieve his Holy Grail of a the 27-pitcher, 27-out ballgame. Fact is also that Colby Rasmus probably will do better now that he’s out of St. Louis than he did when he was there.
But seriously Mr. Rasmus: time to zip it. You may have a couple of valid observations about the difficulty some people have with Mr. La Russa, but your comments do more harm than good for your son. And it’s not like anyone is going to win a run-in with Tony La Russa in St. Louis. At some point you and Colby should have probably realized that.
With the Dodgers trying to make it back to the World Series for the second year in a row — and trying to win it for the first time in 30 years — it’s worth looking back at the last time they won it. More specifically, it’s worth looking back at the signature moment from the last time they won it. Which, really, was one of baseball’s all-time signature moments.
Yep, I’m talking about Kirk Gibson’s famous game-winning home run off of Dennis Eckersley of the Oakland Athletics in Game 1 of the 1988 World Series, which happened 30 years ago tonight.
All playoff magic for anyone too young to remember Bill Mazeroski’s homer in 1960 is measured against Gibson taking Dennis Eckersley downtown to turn a 4-3 deficit into a 5-4 win. Heck, even if you were around in 1960, it’s far less likely that you saw Mazeroski’s homer than it was for you to have seen Gibson’s. Nationally broadcast in prime time to a nation of millions who had not yet fragmented into viewers of hundreds of obscure cable channels and various forms of streaming entertainments, it was a moment that sent shockwaves through the world of sports.
For my part, I was fifteen years-old, sitting in my living room in Beckley, West Virginia watching it as it happened. Like most of the rest of the country, I was convinced that the Dodgers had no chance to beat the mighty Bash Brothers and the 104-win Oakland A’s. Especially given that the Dodgers’ leader, MVP-to-be Gibson, was hobbled and not starting. Even when he was called on to pinch hit, I had no faith that he’d be able to touch Eckersley, the best relief pitcher on the planet, let alone hit the ball with any kind of authority.
But, as Vin said when he called it, the Dodgers’ year was so improbable that, in hindsight, it made perfect sense for Gibson to have done the impossible: