I’m just going to come out and say it: I don’ t like Tony LaRussa. I think he’s a conceited jerk who has a wee bit too much confidence in his own intelligence and morality. Here are his comments on last night’s Cards/Braves game.
We had Mondesi struck out twice [in that inning] and we had Chipper out on the same pitch. …[The umpire] Scott lost the aggressiveness of his strike zone.
I watched the whole game, and I admit I thought the balls and strikes were not called well all night. Although, I think the calls were universally bad for both teams. I recall, in particular, that Pete Orr took a crucial called strike-two that was nowhere near the zone. Pete’s pretty much a free swinger and the replay showed the ball to be low and inside. LaRussa also forgot to mention that Chipper should have been on first in any event since Chipper was hit by the pitch in his injured foot. The umpire somehow thought Chipper’s jumping around in severe pain must have been an act.
But, you know, that kind of comment doesn’t bother me. All managers complain about umps, so that’s fine. But LaRussa’s next statement requires a personal apology to Bobby Cox.
The only thing they [Braves] should not be respected for is the way they [complain] and moan and beat the umpires down. That’s beneath the class of their organization.
What? Give me a break, Tony. Did you you see Chipper complain when your pitcher hit him in the foot? No. He stood in there an earned a walk. I understand Tony was upset about having two runs taken off the board when the umps determined that a ball had struck the baserunner Pujols. But, the replays seemed to confirm that the ball did hit his player. Shouldn’t the call be reversed? Nope, it’s those whining Braves who are at fault.
This reminds me of an article that appeared in Sports Illustrated about a month ago. In an excerpt from the recent book written about him (I won’t link to it deliberately), LaRussa philosophizes about his decision to plunk Luis Gonzalez in the ribs in a situation that really hurt his own team. I was embarrassed that LaRussa thought he’d reached a decision based on anything but spite (“It’s not personal, Sonny. It’s strictly business.”). I felt like vomiting at the end. I hope Gonzalez spits in his face the next time they meet. And I won’t be surprised if LaRussa orders a cowardly plunking again today.