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UPDATE: Tony La Russa doesn't give a s— what you think

Jan 14, 2010, 10:01 AM EDT

La Russa McGwire.jpgUPDATE:  Readers who heard the un-bleeped version of the broadcast mentioned below are telling me that the expletive in question was “s—” and not “f—.”  I went with the latter earlier because that’s what the linked transcript said, but in hindsight and based on what the readers are telling me, I’m switching.  Whether that changes any of the below analysis in your mind is up to you.

Missed this yesterday somehow, but Tony La Russa has a response for people — like me — who think that his Sgt. Shultz routine with respect to steroids in Oakland and St. Louis is pretty dubious:

“Well they can believe it or not. I don’t really give a fuck shit to be honest. If they think that I’m lying, then they think I’m lying. I’ve tried to build my career on credibility and trust, that’s what we do with our players. I’m telling you – we ran a clean program. That’s the way it is. That’s what I say, that’s what I believe. If they believe differently, that’s America, they can believe anything they want to.”

That came in a radio interview on 101 ESPN in St. Louis with Bernie Miklasz yesterday.  A transcript of his comments — and there were many others — is here. The audio of the whole radio show is here.  It’s worth listening to all of it, but the blockquoted bit comes at the 13:10 mark.

You know that I have something approaching a “who cares” attitude about much of this, but I’m struggling to see why the same people who are so disgusted when Mark McGwire says something incredible (i.e. that he doesn’t think steroids helped his performance); seem to have no condemnation whatsoever for Tony La Russa’s completely baffling denial of reality.

Where is Jon Heyman on this? Where is Ken Rosenthal? Mike Lupica? Dan Shaugnessy?  Why doesn’t Tony La Russa get a scintilla of the heat that his former players get over this? In any other context, be it sports, government or business, the man in charge would be held to answer for the transgressions that occurred on his watch. But not La Russa.

I actually agree with 90% of what La Russa says regarding McGwire in this interview. And I completely understand both the intellectual and emotional reasons for why he defends Mark McGwire. But for him to continue to claim that he had no idea what was happening in his clubhouse without anyone accusing him of incompetence, willful ignorance or tacit complicity is utterly baffling to me.

The only conclusion I can draw is that those who claim L’affaire McGwire is such a big deal are not nearly as serious about the subject of steroids in baseball as they are in scoring easy points and trafficking in phony moral outrage.  Because if the outrage was real, it would be directed at Tony La Russa. And Bud Selig. And the owners, agents, managers, sponsors, reporters and everyone else who either knew about steroids or were willfully blind to the issue back in the day.

UPDATEFOX’s Kevin Hench is on the case at least.  

  1. leftfooted5 - Jan 14, 2010 at 2:52 PM

    blah blah blah……….If McGwire played for the Yankee’s this would have already been water under the bridge. I mean, A-ROD actually said he let someone shoot him up and believed it was B6 or something right? Ridiculous…Cmon, a 15 yr old kid wouldn’t let his “cousin” inject him with a random substance. LaRussa is standing up for his former player and that’s what earns someone respect! Players like that and so do friends. Stand up for your friends, earn respect and win at all times

  2. Lion Woods - Jan 14, 2010 at 2:58 PM

    Kudos to Tony LaRusso. It was an era filled with baseball guys bulking up to the best of their ability. Baseball condoned the use of these substances as MLB was trying to get the fans back in the seats and the longball was the golden egg. That’s just the way it was… so I say to the bleeding hearts out there in baseball land who act as if steriod use in baseball was worse than the use of nuclear weapons on Canada. Get over it, sit down and shut up.

  3. Greg - Jan 14, 2010 at 3:41 PM

    That was my point Moses. He isn’t an alcoholic. you are equating a DUI to alcoholism which is not accurate.
    leftfooted – good point about Arod. And what about Andy Pettit? And some are saying Alomar should be in the hall who has admitted to steroids. What makes him exempt?
    And Tim, concerning Rolen, he was just as much to blame if not more. The whole incident was bizarre and I felt LaRussa could have handled it better. But, there is one manager on a team and it wasn’t Rolen. Rolen was playing horrible because of his injury and it was Larussa’s right to make a managerial decision to pull him. Then Rolen threw a year long temper tantrum.
    If LaRussa is such a bad manager and players can’t stand him, why do Pujols and most of the players say they want to stay and play for him. In fact most of them have made statements praising him. Your accusations about players hating him and him being one of the biggest drunks are groundless, bordering rediculous. The only other real confrontation that was publicized was Ozzie disgruntled due to being forced to sharing playing time with Royce Clayton. Which I hated because Ozzie is certainly one of the best SS ever. Your statements are just another set of statements from a Larussa hater with no backing. None of what you have said is published.

  4. willmose - Jan 14, 2010 at 3:54 PM

    Since when is it a manager’s job to police the fucking off the field activities of his players? Is he their fucking father? Is that why we have fucking sportswriters and bloggers? Why should any manager give a fuck about what any sportswriter or blogger thinks? How many fucking games to you think a manager wins by listening to a fucking blogger. Withhold your fucking vote for Tony when it comes HOF ballot time. Until then shut the fuck up. Oh, am sorry, substitute pooh for the word fuck.

  5. shelbydawkins - Jan 14, 2010 at 3:56 PM

    The more I think about this story, the more I think why would anyone want one of the POSTER CHILDREN for the steroids era back in baseball?
    Please just go back into your exile and stay there!

  6. Phil - Jan 14, 2010 at 5:38 PM

    Fun fact : In Goodfellas Joe Pesci uttered the word “fuck” or variants thereof 422 times. It would have been more but David Mamet didn’t write the screenplay. So, willmose, you going for the CTB record?

  7. whocaresanymore - Jan 14, 2010 at 7:42 PM

    where were (are) all the brilliant investigative reporters from the “steroid era” and why didn’t they report on it back then? if they are now so incensed about the cheating, I guess it wasn’t cheating in the past and not their responsibility then …

  8. Moses Green - Jan 14, 2010 at 8:52 PM

    Now THAT’s fucking funny shit right thur.

  9. Greg G - Jan 15, 2010 at 7:09 AM

    Jeff – I don’t give $hit what you say. You are not a true Cardinal fan and have no idea of the greatness of TLR! You loser, you! Go cheer for the bleepin’ Cubs. They’re losers like you!

  10. Greg G - Jan 15, 2010 at 7:13 AM

    Actually to ALL of you TLR bashers – GO FUCK YOURSELVES! And while you are at it, switch teams to cheer for. We don’t need you. Those lovable losers in Chicago could use some more town drunks to cheer for them, so pack your bags and hit the road.

  11. Joe Runner - Jan 15, 2010 at 7:46 AM

    Tony LaRussa is like other experienced managers in that he purposely stays out of the players clubhouse. His ‘ignorance’ is both real and willful. Like everyone else on the planet he knew about steroids, etc. but made sure he didn’t know what anyone in particular was doing. He never saw anyone juicing and most likely never discussed it with anyone.
    Is willful ignorance culpable? Depends. Ya wanna win?

  12. Zorro - Jan 15, 2010 at 3:10 PM

    …has any one asked Dusty Baker about ‘Barry’? I’m guessing he would be no fun for the media.

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  19. aquaria40 - Jun 5, 2014 at 9:49 PM

    Oh look at all the Cards fans defending filth like La Russa, who most certain DID know that his players were juicing, but will use a hyper-technical definition of “knowing” about it to CYA.

    And to stupid filth like Zorro, two wrongs don’t make a right. Moreover, Baker didn’t coach TWO teams with major league juicers, stupid. LaScumbagRussa DID. Furthermore, McLiar was a juicer ALL of his career. At least Bonds had over a decade of HoF playing to his name.

    Try to keep up.

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