An amazing music video featuring a World Series game between the Cubs and the A's was unearthed recently.
It was 1992. The Oakland A's, behind Tony La Russa, Rickey Henderson, Dennis Eckersley, and the Bash Brothers, were only a year removed from a three-year run in the World Series. The Cubs, meanwhile, had been to the playoffs once in eight years, and Greg Maddux was only just beginning his stretch as the greatest pitcher alive. Away from sports, Garth Brooks had friends in low places, Pearl Jam was destroying the charts, and Uncle Jesse was breaking little girls' hearts all over the world. Not to be forgotten, Chicago Cubs fan Richard Marx was dreaming of a World Series win for the North Siders.
From this early-'90s potpurri, a music video was born. No, it wasn't "Jeremy" or even that silly Beach Boys video that had Uncle Jesse up on stage drumming. Not even close.
A look at how Tony La Russa was viewed throughout his career on the night of his retirement.
The newly-crowned and paraded World Champion St. Louis Cardinals called a press conference Monday morning. Initial speculation wondered if the Cards had somehow wrangled a long-term contract out of Albert Pujols. Other, more cautious spectators imagined that it was about a contract extension for catcher Yadier Molina. At least one person thought the Cards were making an announcement about the latest Wezen-Ball post.
Instead, the Cardinals shocked the baseball world by announcing the retirement of 34-year-veteran manager Tony La Russa. It would make La Russa the first manager in history to retire following a World Series victory. Considering that the announcement came less than 72 hours after the final out of the Series, it must not have been that difficult of a decision for La Russa.
A humor-tinged recap of one of the most exciting World Series of our generation
Track #1: Iron Maiden: “The Duelist” “Ready to start the duel begins the best man wins in the end.
A lunge and a feint, a parry too late
A cut to the chest and you're down
Seeing the stain then feeling the pain
Feeling the sweat on your brow.”
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In which the manager's decision to yank Jason Motte in last night's ninth inning isn't questioned. No sir, not at all.
As those pundits who reflexively criticize we sabermetric types like to remind us, baseball is not a tabletop game. As Bill James pointed out on more than one occasion, you can actually learn a lot about baseball from running through a few hundred simulated games, but leave that aside for now. The key here is the one thing you cannot get out of two-dimensional player-cards: an insight into their current ability to perform, an instinct, a feeling. The card is always ready to go, but the actual player the card represents is not nearly so dependable. He might have a cold, or a mild groin strain, or a bitter divorce, or a hundred other things that aren’t visible from the press box or your living room sofa.
No baseball simulation that I know of has an option for randomized “not that into it today” diminishment of a player’s abilities, or “severely distracted,” or “slightly out of whack.” In games, they are what they are. In real life, they vary from day to day. We must concede this, as we always have conceded it. Further, we must concede that one of the people in a better position to know these things about St. Louis Cardinals players in particular is Tony LaRussa. His information is more complete than ours. That doesn’t mean he or any manager will always be correct or wise or even lucky, it just means that he’s operating on perhaps one more level than we are.
The foregoing is a preamble to a defense of LaRussa’s decision to yank Jason Motte in the top of the ninth inning of World Series Game Two, a move that was attacked as over-managing the moment that it happened. The difficult thing about being a manager is that you’re damned if you do, damned if you don’t. Back on September 23, I took LaRussa to task for being too passive with Jason Motte in a key game against the Mets. The Cardinals took a 6-2 lead into the top of the ninth at St. Louis, and LaRussa brought Motte in to finish things out:
Today's slate of interleague games was particularly unappealing as only one matchup featured two teams with winning records - the 2008 World Series rematch between Tampa Bay and Philadelphia. Unfortunately, the pitching matchup of Antonio Bastardo (5.21 ERA) versus Andy Sonnanstine (6.60 ERA) left a lot to be desired. The lone National League contest had two winning teams, the first place St. Louis Cardinals and the second place New York Mets, and featured a face-off between two Cy Young winners on the mound: the resurgent Chris Carpenter and struggling Mets' ace Johan Santana. While the mainstream buzz before and after was about the Cy Young matchup, the real story of the game was the showcase of Tony Larussa's incessant managing style which gave mixed results.
One of the longest-lived cliches about sports coverage is the second-guess.
The longer I do this, the more I dislike sitting in front of my computer
and criticizing the moves of people who are very accomplished in their
chosen field. Not because the criticism is undeserved, but because I feel
like it doesn't add anything new to the coverage of the game.
The Mets weren't supposed to get past the Giants, and everyone sort of had the Braves set as the default option to always keep the western world safe from a subway series. Praise be to the power of the unexpected, as two teams built to win this year managed to upset the favorites and tackle each other in the NLCS.