I thought many of you would like these two articles... I don't think they were posted on here before:
Article 2 follows in first reply:
La Russa's arrogant weirdnessposted: Monday, August 6, 2007 | Feedback | Print Entry
There were a couple of huge stories this past weekend, so you might have missed the weirdness in Washington, D.C.
Yes, the Nationals swept the Cardinals. But that's really not so weird, is it? Both teams have won roughly 46 percent of their games this season, and the Nats actually have a slightly better run differential than the defending world champs.
OK, that is weird. It really wasn't so long ago that people were saying "the Cardinals just know how to win" and "the Nationals are going to lose 100 games, and maybe a lot more."
What's also weird is that Tony La Russa batted his pitcher eighth in the Saturday and Sunday games. Why would he do that? Well, he's done it before. Back in 1998, when Mark McGwire was getting all the attention, La Russa figured out a new way to make a batting order. And now he's reinvented his wheel, as the St. Louis Post-Dispatch's Joe Strauss writes:
La Russa said he did that after considering the move since the All-Star break. His team's inability to produce in consecutive narrow losses to the Pittsburgh Pirates and Washington Nationals pushed his decision.
"We pay a lot of attention to our pitching, but our offense has been very erratic," La Russa said.
Second baseman Adam Kennedy was moved to the No. 9 slot.
"I explained to them that in '98 we had some similarities: The offense was struggling, we had some middle-of-the-lineup guys we just weren't getting enough guys on base for," La Russa said. "One thing you try to do is put a legitimate position player in the ninth spot."
La Russa initiated the move immediately after the 1998 All-Star Game. The Cardinals rallied from a 40-46 first half to finish 83-79.
"It's a good strategy to use," La Russa said. "It's not like we're burning up the league offensively."
I was in St. Louis recently and saw the Brewers destroy the Cardinals, 12-2. And La Russa was having an absolute blast. He could do whatever he wanted, and so he did. He shifted Chris Duncan from left field to first base, and back to left field. Kennedy played shortstop for the first time ever. So Taguchi played second base for the second time in his career. For some reason La Russa didn't ask one of his bench players to pitch ... but he got around to that yesterday.
La Russa's most striking personality trait is his arrogance. A few weeks ago, when told that Felix Hernandez had benefited from advice gleaned from a blog (this one), La Russa's response was, "If that's true, then the pitching coach isn't doing his job." Nice, Tony. That's awfully open-minded of you (here's a lot more on that story).
I realize that La Russa's smarter than most of us, and that he's actually smarter than most of the other managers throughout baseball's history. But he's not that much smarter. If batting your pitcher eighth really makes sense, wouldn't somebody have figured it out before La Russa? More to the point, if it really makes sense, why hasn't La Russa done it between 1998 and now? I'm actually thrilled that he's so arrogant and feels compelled to prove to all of us just how smart he is. Makes for interesting material. But that doesn't mean we have to take him seriously when he's obviously just fooling around.