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Tony La Russa: “I’m embarrassed that I crossed the line”

Oct 5, 2011, 11:51 AM EDT

La Russa

MLB slapped Tony La Russa with an undisclosed fine yesterday for his in-game remarks about the umpiring in Game 2 and the Cardinals manager quietly accepted his punishment, saying he had “no disagreement at all” with the decision.

According to Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post Dispatch the fine was “four figures” after La Russa questioned the strike zone during a between-innings dugout interview with TBS. Here’s what La Russa said about the punishment:

As soon as MLB called, my response was, “Whatever is imposed, you’ll get no argument.” I’m embarrassed that I crossed the line. I know what the line is. I got upset and I crossed the line. If I get a chance, I will apologize to [umpire] Jerry [Meals]. Like I said, I’ve never had any problems with him. He’s a pro. He has my utmost respect. We were competing, and I got upset and crossed the line. So whatever they throw at me I … just take it. I deserve it.

Coming back from an early deficit to win Game 2 probably made accepting the fine a little easier for La Russa, particularly since he prefaced his criticism of Jerry Meals by saying it “could get me in trouble.” Either way, he deserves credit for taking the high road.

  1. zakharovsa - Oct 5, 2011 at 11:54 AM

    I was hoping this would be about his stupid Moneyball comments.

  2. bravesman1983 - Oct 5, 2011 at 11:57 AM

    Another time a line cost Tony some embarrassment? When a police officer in Jupiter asked him to walk along the center stripe of the road for his field sobriety test.

    • hittfamily - Oct 5, 2011 at 12:57 PM

      I bet he wishes he took the high road then too, or frankly any other road than the one that certain police officer was patrolling.

      • presidentmiraflores - Oct 5, 2011 at 8:54 PM

        Well, when you fall asleep at a red light, I don’t guess it much matters what road you’re on.

  3. sgtr0c - Oct 5, 2011 at 12:03 PM

    I am a Phillies fan, but it worked, he got the strike zone moved, he won game 2. I have never seen an ump move his strike during a game, but he did after Tony spoke out. Just part of the playoff drama, it worked cause they won.

    • paperlions - Oct 5, 2011 at 12:24 PM

      Jerry Meals was watching the broadcast? Well, that would explain the “dynamic” strike zone….wouldn’t it.

      • paperlions - Oct 5, 2011 at 12:50 PM

        Is cause and effect really that hard? Or do people think that the “strike zone moved” (in reality, in never stopped moving that game) because LaRussa complained about it on air?

      • bigxrob - Oct 5, 2011 at 1:31 PM

        Actually, he went out to the mound in the 3rd or 4th (can’t remember which) and stood there until the ump came out. At that point you could see him talking to him. At the time, I presumed he ws complaining about the strike zone. The strike zone changed after that.

  4. fearlessleader - Oct 5, 2011 at 12:03 PM

    HBT is my favorite baseball blog by a mile, but the La Russa hatred from the commenters is getting really, really boring. Can you guys get some new material? Or does your obsession indicate a little bit of a crush, perhaps…..?

    Glad to see that TLR handled this situation with some class.

    • halladaysbiceps - Oct 5, 2011 at 12:38 PM

      I agree 100% with your comment. The LaRussa venom is getting old. I wrote about this last night. People treat the guy like he killed someone.

      • okwhitefalcon - Oct 5, 2011 at 1:26 PM

        I agree a 100%, especially from Cards fans – it’s like their blind hatred for the guy makes them lose all track of time, space and common sense.

        The “lose because of him, win in spite of him” mentality is just silly.

        I’m indifferent to the guy, he just doesn’t bother me.

        Do I second guess the “wholesale changes” approach?

        Sure.

        Do I think he purposely overmanages to draw attention to himself at the cost of the team?

        Hell no.

        Dude wants to win more anything, I’m not faulting him for that.

  5. Jonny 5 - Oct 5, 2011 at 12:04 PM

    He should be embarrassed, because up to that point, the calls were good against Carpenter anyway, he wasn’t hitting his spots. You couldn’t call strikes from the dugout if you were Superman (note batman doesn’t have special sight abilities on top of being much weaker so Superman wins).

  6. shawnuel - Oct 5, 2011 at 12:08 PM

    You are right, fearlessleader. I will relent in my LaRussa hate.

    That was a surprisingly non-douchey response from an undeniable douche!

  7. dasher521 - Oct 5, 2011 at 12:26 PM

    I’m a Phillies fan, and not necessarily a LaRussa fan. He comments were right on. Meals had a lousy and inconsistant strike zone. When the ump’s strike zone is inconsistant, neither the pitches nor the hitters know what to do. Good for LaRussa. MLB had to fine him, but for his sake, I’m glad it was a minimal fine. Umpires should be held just as accountable as players and managers. We never see this happen.

    As an aside, I’m tired of MLB trying to be all things to all people. Starting that game at 4:07 PM CST was a disgrace. It isn’t right for either team to play in playoff games with adverse conditions. Playoff games should only be scheduled in the home city at the same times they are scheduled during the regular season. I expected to see the best possible baseball in the playoffs. I don’t want to see hitters not being able to hit and fielders not being able to field due to sun glare. I know it is all about $$$.

    • Chris Fiorentino - Oct 5, 2011 at 12:32 PM

      Come on Albert…we all know you aren’t a Phillies fan.

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