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Tony La Russa whines about his team being accused of whining

Oct 6, 2011, 9:50 AM EDT

Tony La Russa

Tony La Russa and the Cardinals have been vocal about mid-afternoon start times recently.  It started back in the regular season, actually, but this week we’ve once again heard about how the shadows that fall across the field at around 4PM Central time make it difficult for the Cardinals. I suppose it makes it difficult for both teams, but let’s not concern ourselves with that.

We’ve heard the complaint enough that, understandably, some people have accused La Russa and the Cardinals of using the shadows as an excuse. Of — dare I say it? — whining.  Well, La Russa takes exception to his team being called a bunch of whiners. If you’re less charitable than me,* you might even characterize it as whining:

Sensitive to characterizations of his players as “whining” over visibility issues during Game 3 Tuesday afternoon, Cardinals manager Tony La Russa used blunt language to admonish media members for their presentation of the issue … “If you don’t answer the question, then you’re not cooperative. If you do answer the question, you come out like excuse-makers,” La Russa asserted. “That really (angers me). If there’s one thing this team is not it is excuse-makers. … The only thing that can not be ignored, it can be dangerous.”

He later added, “Anyone who would accuse this team of whining has not been around it. That’s an insult to me and to them.”

I get La Russa’s point here — sometimes you can’t win — but at some point you just gotta zip it, because you can’t complain your way out of being accused of being a complainer.

*Oh, wait. Sorry. 

  1. woodenulykteneau - Oct 6, 2011 at 9:56 AM

    On the plus side, sportswriters will have ammo-a-plenty should a team from a state known from its production of cheese face the Cardinals in the next round.

    • woodenulykteneau - Oct 8, 2011 at 8:06 AM

      You read it here first: Cheese meets whine.

  2. paperlions - Oct 6, 2011 at 9:57 AM


    Love it.

    • cur68 - Oct 6, 2011 at 1:22 PM

      Yeah, embracing the overarching concepts of whining; an under-appreciated art. Hats off to Tony.

  3. screename529 - Oct 6, 2011 at 10:03 AM

    Don’t the Cards have to bean 2 Phillies tomorrow? Or do the unwritten rules say wait til next year?

    • delawarephilliesfan - Oct 6, 2011 at 10:30 AM

      If I am not mistaken, the unwritten rules state what ever TLR says the state. I am sure he would glad to yell and scream that point at you.

    • stlouis1baseball - Oct 6, 2011 at 10:47 AM

      One thing I am certain of…had a Cardinals pitcher ran one high and tight right over a Phillies players head…the crowd in St. Louis wouldn’t have cheered the pitcher for it. It would have more like…Ohhhhhh!

      • paperlions - Oct 6, 2011 at 12:53 PM

        Exactly. Philly fans can claim they aren’t jackholes all they want, and I am sure many are not…but when 50,000 people break into cheers because an opponent almost got beaned….well, the Philly fan reputation seems to be well earned….sorry for those of you getting lumped in with the majority.

  4. cardsfanindelaware - Oct 6, 2011 at 10:07 AM

    I believe that I saw Victorino using a solar eclipse viewer when looking in towards home plate everytime they showed him in the field. It is not just the Cardinals that have a problem with it.

    Come next year, this won’t be a problem since they have already said no mid-afternoon games will be played.

    • delawarephilliesfan - Oct 6, 2011 at 10:25 AM

      @cardsfan – first off, shame on you….1) for being a Cards fan and, 2) for stealing my naming convention. Just kidding…..sort of…..

      Perhaps the Phillies had a problem with the start time as well, but they didn’t go on and on about it, hence the reason the Cardinals are being called whiners. And lest anyone think this is some double standard, go back and look at the public shellacking Cole Hamels took from Phillies fans in 2009 for complaining about……you guessed it, early start times!

  5. isdtyrant - Oct 6, 2011 at 10:17 AM

    Tony went on to say that he will be double-switching the whining and complaining for a LOOGY and 5th outfielder.

  6. dailyrev - Oct 6, 2011 at 10:19 AM

    Tony doesn’t stand out here, not even a little. Like politicians, celebrities of every stripe, CEOs, and all wealthy/powerful/privileged people, Tony hates the media unless they publicly adore him and otherwise leave him alone.

    Just the other day, that actor who plays the Caribbean pirate, Dipp or whatever his name is, compared being photographed by those gossip rag camera-heads who follow celebs around to being raped. It reminded me of a comment that Barry Bonds made, oh, a good 20 yrs. ago in the early 90’s, during an interview with one of the cheescake mags, Playboy or Penthouse. Barry compared being in a batting slump to being raped. There was no reaction to it that I can recall. I wrote a furious letter to the editor of the mag (yes, on paper and mailed in an envelope with a stamp) demanding that someone call this idiot out for this insanity. My letter was never published and Bonds’ depravity was overlooked.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Oct 6, 2011 at 10:29 AM

      It was a photo shoot, not being hounded by the paparazzi:

      “Well, you just feel like you’re being raped somehow. Raped … It feels like a kind of weird — just weird, man.” He’ll pose with fans, “But whenever you have a photo shoot or something like that, it’s like — you just feel dumb. It’s just so stupid.”

      And Bonds has said thousands of dumb things. If you get/got angry for every one, you’d still be writing letters now and he hasn’t played since ’07.

      • dailyrev - Oct 6, 2011 at 11:04 AM

        Well the point was and still is that this is something a free press — you know, populated by journalists — is supposed to do. Nowadays, though, the blogosphere covers this function in nearly complete isolation, particularly in sports. Except, of course, when a certain country music star compares the President to Hitler. Then he’s “punished” (we won’t play your song before the football game anymore, so there!)

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Oct 6, 2011 at 12:23 PM

        free press….Except, of course, when a certain country music star compares the President to Hitler. Then he’s “punished” (we won’t play your song before the football game anymore, so there!)

        Come on, make the comparison please!

  7. cintiphil - Oct 6, 2011 at 10:35 AM

    Well, this is all very silly for you Craig. If you Like TLR or not, lets get on with the game. I never head him make an excuse for losing a game because of the start time. This is a non story. Get on with the real stuff after Friday. Then you can write about the Phills great comeback, or their total collapse at seasons end..

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Oct 6, 2011 at 10:47 AM

      I never head him make an excuse for losing a game because of the start time

      A day after Albert Pujols complained about hitting in late-afternoon shadows following a loss to the Milwaukee Brewers, his manager backed him up.

      Tony La Russa said Tuesday he’d been hesitant to criticize conditions after a 4-1 loss because it might be perceived as sour grapes. The Cardinals were 2 for 22 the last seven innings and the Brewers weren’t happy with the visibility, either.

      “There’s something to it, but you’re vulnerable talking about it because it’s the same for both teams,” La Russa said Tuesday. “There is definitely an issue. We’ve just got to deal with it.”

      Did he blame the shadows for the loss, no. However, he’s definitely complained about the shadows/start time more than once.

      • stlouis1baseball - Oct 6, 2011 at 10:52 AM

        “You’re vulnerable talking about it because it’s the same for both teams.” “There is definately and issue. We’ve just got to deal with it.” Complain about it? It sounds like he was asked about (after AP complained) and he gave his answer. Refer to….same for both teams and we have to deal with it. Yeah…that darn TLR. Imagine the gall…to actually answer a question that was posed to you.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Oct 6, 2011 at 12:24 PM

        Tony La Russa said Tuesday he’d been hesitant to criticize conditions after a 4-1 loss because it might be perceived as sour grapes…There is definitely an issue

        Bolded for emphasis

      • paperlions - Oct 6, 2011 at 12:58 PM

        Emphasis fail.

        Within context, the issue referred to is one of safety, not one of competitive bias.

    • stlouis1baseball - Oct 6, 2011 at 11:45 AM

      Rev: My first thought (after ESPN pulled it so quickly)…”so Barry is pulling the strings at ESPN too?” Unbelievable really. There were a whole lot of people comparing ‘W’ to Hitler a few years back but there wasn’t any backlash. Strange….

      • stlouis1baseball - Oct 6, 2011 at 12:45 PM


    • okwhitefalcon - Oct 6, 2011 at 12:10 PM

      Slow news day Craig?

      C’mon, you’re better than that…

  8. WhenMattStairsIsKing - Oct 6, 2011 at 10:48 AM

    Been listening to a little too much Dashboard Confessional there, Tony?

  9. bluesfan58 - Oct 6, 2011 at 10:49 AM

    All that having been said, whether you are a Phillies fan or a Cardinals fan, hasn’t this series at least been entertaining? Yesterday’s game had Jay misjudge the first shot of the game, Victorinio throwing the ball backwards, a ball bounce off the first base bag, a squirrel (again), not to mention some actually dazzling defense plays, clutch hitting, plays at the plate, etc. I think a pitching duel tomorrow night would almost be dull…

    • stlouis1baseball - Oct 6, 2011 at 11:01 AM

      Blues: Just for the record…I have no idea how someone can give you a thumbs down on that post. Most be a pissed off “FAN” who cares more about spewing venhom that actually enjoying the game of baseball.

  10. cintiphil - Oct 6, 2011 at 10:51 AM

    So you agree that he never complained about losing the game, he just thinks the conditions for the game could be better for both teams. Managers have been doing that for a long time. What’s new here? Just because you don’t like the guy, don’t blow up the situation. I can remember many managers suggesting or commenting about playing conditions in key games. they are not whining, but probably answering a question from a reporter about the subject.

    • stlouis1baseball - Oct 6, 2011 at 10:55 AM

      Yep…as I just posted myself. The nerve of that guy to actually answer a question. Then to have him openly state he is hesitant to talk about it because it is THE SAME FOR BOTH TEAMS. Sounds like we have a whole lot of TLR envy that is manifesting itself into a bunch of haters.

      • delawarephilliesfan - Oct 6, 2011 at 11:27 AM

        “TLR envy”? Oh get over yourself!

        If you want to defend him that’s your prerogative, but he was not simply “answering questions”. He has been complaining about a lot. Just like Cole Hamels was not simply “answering questions” when he complained about early start times “throwing off his rhythm” in 2009. That wasn’t an answer, it was a complaint. Phillies fans ripped into him for that for a whole year.

        If you want to see how to answer questions without whining, here is a sample:

        Q. In the first did you think that Pence got in with the tag? And either way did it seemed like a pretty significant turning point to you?

        CHARLIE MANUEL: From where we stand, it’s hard for us to really see because I got blocked out by the third baseman, and actually I didn’t really get to see the play real good. But our guy said he was safe. We were running there a 3 2, but it looks like a straight steal. He’s trying to actually steal a base. It’s not just because it’s 3 2, we’re running. Also, he’s not trying to steal a base and looked like he I kind wanted to push the game there, too, because we had just scored and we needed a guy in scoring position, but he called him out.

      • stlouis1baseball - Oct 6, 2011 at 11:34 AM

        Delaware: Once again…“You’re vulnerable talking about it because it’s the same for both teams.” “There is definately and issue. We’ve just got to deal with it.” Complain about it? It sounds like he was asked about it (after AP complained) and he gave his answer. Refer to….SAME FOR BOTH TEAMS and WE HAVE TO DEAL WITH IT. Drama…drama…drama.

      • delawarephilliesfan - Oct 6, 2011 at 11:45 AM

        Rule #1, never give a thumbs down to a rebuttal post and thumbs up to your own reply early on, it makes it obvious…..come on, now!

        TLR has been complaining – strike zones, start times, and public perception. These are facts. Hopefully he will devote more time and energy on these poitns over the next 2 days

      • paperlions - Oct 6, 2011 at 1:02 PM

        I have anti-TLR envy….I am envious of any team whose manager 1) doesn’t sac bunt, 2) IBB guys, 3) do double switches (they have this great thing called a pinch hitter, that allows you to leave your best players in….I’m serious, it is legal to pinch hit for a pitcher WITHOUT taking out another player…look it up), or 4) constant R-L matchup-driven changes…and that instead just plays his best players as much as possible.

      • stlouis1baseball - Oct 6, 2011 at 1:23 PM

        Paper: Come on…I don’t want to re-hash it. But you are forcing me.
        1) How did the IBB to Howard work out in game #3?
        2) When runs are at a premium (i.e…the pitchers are dealing and it’s hard to get a guy in scoring position)…that (1) run potentially generated by a sac bunt can absolutely win you the game. There is a reason why a Sac fly also reflects better in the scorebook.
        3) Double switches (when used correctly…like TLR does) allows you to remove the pitcher’s order from the equation late in a game. Yes..point taken about the pinch hitter. But there is a reason a guy is a pinch hitter and not a regular lineup guy. When he is bringing in Schumaker, TheRiot, Freese and/or Descalso…I like it. Last night is a fine example…he double switched to bring in D.D. and what do you know…he was the next batter. Did he get a hit…no…but he roped the ball to Pence. When Patterson and Chambers are brought in…yeah….not so much. Unless Chambers hits a triple of course. LOL!
        Just for the record…I want to state again that he does drive me crazy at times. Primarily those occassions when Lance, J.J’s (or Freese’s) bats aren’t in the lineup late in a game.

      • paperlions - Oct 6, 2011 at 1:36 PM

        It isn’t about individual outcomes, it is about the general approach.

        If a team NEVER IBBs a guy, all else being equal, that team will allow fewer runs than teams that do IBB guys. Again, decades of data supports this. Yeah, it “appears to work” often, because in baseball great hitters fail to get on base 60% of the time…it is a game of failure…but again, it is not about individual occurrences, but the effect those decisions have on winning via allowing runs or scoring them. IBBs increases the likelihood of allowing runs. Sacrifice bunts decrease the likelihood of scoring runs.

        Are there very specific times when these strategies have a place? Sure, when you need only 1 run, when the next batter is extremely inferior to the current batter…but those occasions are actually pretty rare.

        Last night Tony could have left in Freese and just pinch hit with Descalso, thereby maintaining a more dangerous lineup in case more runs are needed….and the pitchers spot would have come up instead of Freese in the bottom of the 9th. Although Descalso looks great in the field, Freese is better (or at least as good)…it isn’t like Freese is a defensive liability. All that move did was decrease the offensive potential if they would have needed more runs….which happens quite often.

      • delawarephilliesfan - Oct 6, 2011 at 1:50 PM

        @paperlions, you missed the #1 reason to have “anti-TLR” envy

        (low blow alert)

  11. philly4lyfe - Oct 6, 2011 at 11:18 AM

    “We have to beat these guys. I hate the Cardinals. All they do is bitch and moan about everything, all of them, they’re little bitches, all of ’em. I really hate the Cardinals. Compared to the Cardinals, I love the Chicago Cubs. Let me make this clear — I hate the Cardinals.”

    • stlouis1baseball - Oct 6, 2011 at 11:26 AM

      Yep…and then all hell broke loose about (12) hrs later when his thug ass tried to tap Yadi like they were homeboys. I can’t imagine why. I mean…it isn’t like he disrespected the entire team or anything huh? Litte Joanie tries to bob and weave his punk ass around the crowd trying to sucker punch someone and goes spikes up to LaRue (career over). Drama…drama…drama.

    • stlouis1baseball - Oct 6, 2011 at 11:54 AM

      Delaware: He mentioned the two strike zones and Bob Brenly (who I am not really a big fan off)…immediately agreed on National freaking TV. Your boy Charlie ALSO agreed when asked right after the game. Does this make it a little easier for you now? Knowing Charlie agreed? Charlie gave his approval…so it has to be okay. Right?
      As for thumbs up and/or down…I could give a shit about anyone giving me either of them. I am confident enough in myself to not worry about it. I do like clicking them for others though when I feel they are justified. Mental Note: Delawarephilly always gets thumbs down regardless of the post.

      • delawarephilliesfan - Oct 6, 2011 at 12:11 PM

        Er, uh…..I’ll assume you mean this for the other string.

        You seem tense, breath easy. These are posting boards

      • stlouis1baseball - Oct 6, 2011 at 12:52 PM

        Not sure what you mean with regards to the “string comment” so I apologize if I missed someting. Tense…hardly. The Cardinals evened things back up and are now headed back to Philly. I have nothing to be tense about. I do sometimes get a little tired of hearing all the whinning and bitching about TLR and the Cardinals supposed whinning and bitching. We have a country of people who can’t seem to think for themselves and jump on the trendiest thing of the moment (whatever it may be). Griping about TLR and Cardinals seem to be en vogue right now (sorta’ like whipped cream on top of the fu fu Coffee at starbucks).

  12. metalhead65 - Oct 6, 2011 at 12:04 PM

    is he serious? that is all that team does. or is it only when theyplay the reds? you the mound is to hlgh or the balls are to slick or the pitcher is cheating. things you never hear from any other team. brandon phillips was right

    • okwhitefalcon - Oct 6, 2011 at 12:14 PM

      Brandon Phillips went bowling last night and tweeted about it because he had nothing better to to do – like win a post season game.

      • stlouis1baseball - Oct 6, 2011 at 1:00 PM

        Hahaha!..Yeah…he is still waiting for that “homeboy hookup.”

    • stlouis1baseball - Oct 6, 2011 at 12:58 PM

      He is definately serious. As Craig mentioned…sorta’ of rock and a hard place type thing. As Craig stated…TLR is better off just not commenting (zip it is how I think he put it). But on the other hand…our Jerry Springer society would then be left without the drama.

  13. cintiphil - Oct 6, 2011 at 12:08 PM

    Get over it all of you guys. It will be all over in about 36 hours or so. Then you can talk about it. We will all know if the Phills are crashing or not, and if Carpenter can pull through for the cards or not.

    • stlouis1baseball - Oct 6, 2011 at 12:55 PM

      I expect another hard fought…nail-biter. Good luck to both teams (I just hope the Cardinals have more of it).

  14. stlouis1baseball - Oct 6, 2011 at 3:14 PM

    Paper: In my opinion…it most definately IS about individual outcomes. You don’t like his approach and I can appreciate where you are coming from.
    Walking Pence to face Howard worked.
    Bringing in “Scrabble” to face Howard worked (Lefty vs. Lefty).
    If matchups didn’t work there would be no need or desire for switch hitters.
    Freese is NOT a defensive liability (per se)…but he can’t hold D.D.’s jock when it comes to defense.
    Other than Yadi…D.D. is the best defensively on the entire team.
    The kid can also play SS for crying out loud. He is an abosolute stud defensively (hence the reason he is in the big leagues to begin with cause’ it sure as hell isn’t his bat).
    Sure…sometimes these things fail. Ben (I haven’t hit a HR since May) Franciso comes to mind.
    These things not working all the time is simply Baseball….and one of the many reasons I feel it is the best sport on the Planet.
    We are going to have to call a truce and agree to disagree on this topic.

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