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With La Russa retired, who manages the NL in next year’s All-Star Game?

Nov 2, 2011, 8:45 AM EDT

2011 World Series Game 4 -Texas Rangers v St Louis Cardinals Getty Images

The guy whose team wins the pennant always manages that league’s All-Star team the following summer.  Tony La Russa is that guy in the NL, but he’ll be playing shuffleboard or something next July. So who gets the gig? Rick Hummel writes about that over at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch today.

Could be La Russa. That’s what Bud Selig, reached for comment on the matter, allowed. It wasn’t some sort of proclamation — Selig doesn’t do that — it was more of a “boy, that would be nice to see,” kind of thing which makes it clear that Selig wouldn’t stand in the way if La Russa wanted to do it.

If he doesn’t want to do it, tradition, such as it is, holds that when the All-Star eligible manager is not active or in the same league the following year, the next-place team in the league from the previous season gets the call.  That would be Ron Roenicke of the Brewers in this instance.  Hummel notes one exception: Pirates manager Danny Murtaugh, who retired for health reasons after the Pirates won the World Series in 1971, came back and managed the NL in the 1972 All-Star Game.

It’s a total hunch, but I get the sense that La Russa wouldn’t do that. He wants a substantive job in baseball someplace. If he got one, he strikes me as the type who would take it seriously and immerse himself in it to the point where he wouldn’t want all of the hubub and distraction of managing the All-Stars.  At the same time, if he doesn’t get a job, you figure he’d feel like the All-Star job was a gold watch of a gig and that he might feel self-conscious or something. La Russa is a lot of things, but an attention whore isn’t one of them and he may feel uncomfortable doing it.

Oh well. It’s probably no big deal. I mean, it’s not like the outcome of the All-Star Game matters or anything. It’s not like it might give the weakest team to make the playoffs home field advantage in the World Series and, perhaps, help determine baseball’s championship.

  1. Jonny 5 - Nov 2, 2011 at 8:47 AM

    Charlie Manuel of course. I mean if it wasn’t for him, Tony wouldn’t have even been in the playoffs…

    • Francisco (FC) - Nov 2, 2011 at 9:01 AM

      LOL! An exaggeration of course. I mean, if the Braves had bothered to win a couple of more games against the lowly fish and mets the sweep by Philly wouldn’t have mattered.

      • Jonny 5 - Nov 2, 2011 at 9:23 AM

        ;>) It’s nice to see some people understand me…

    • stlouis1baseball - Nov 2, 2011 at 10:24 AM

      Hahaha! I will give you 1/2 a thumbs up Jonny. Charlie Manual….AND….the Cardinals going 23 – 9 since August 25th of course.

      • Jonny 5 - Nov 2, 2011 at 10:45 AM

        Yeah, this is true. It took winning, and lots of it. The Phillies and the Braves only opened the door and let in those hooligan Cards, which in hindsight probably wasn’t the best thing to do.

  2. Francisco (FC) - Nov 2, 2011 at 8:59 AM

    Are you saying that La Russa would eschew the opportunity to work a bullpen the size of an Active Major League roster? Wouldn’t the man sallivate at the chance to play one pitcher per inning plus matchups? How many pitchers were on each team this year?

  3. crash1582 - Nov 2, 2011 at 9:02 AM

    Leave it to an active manager… Since the winner of the allstar game determines home field advantage in the World Series… leave it to an active manager who has a chance at being there next year.

  4. kellyb9 - Nov 2, 2011 at 9:10 AM

    La Russa should have the option to manage the team. Otherwise, I can forsee two options… it can go to the new manager of the Cardinals or it should go to the runner up in the NLCS, Brewers (Ron Roenicke).

  5. 1wdmnt - Nov 2, 2011 at 9:13 AM

    Tony LaRussa–why not???? Should be a no- brainer.

  6. 12strikes - Nov 2, 2011 at 9:41 AM

    HOLD ON!

    Everyone that thinks it would be “NICE” to have LaRussa manage may want to re-think, especially if your team is a potential world series team. Should home field advantage be decided by a manager that is not even in baseball? Granted, I’m sure that Tony will be watching baseball, but will he be watching as a fan or manger? Do you want a “Fan” picking the pitchers? Sorry Tony… No way!.

    If Bud wants to make him some type of honorary manager, fine… But NOTHING with any real authority.

    • paperlions - Nov 2, 2011 at 11:29 AM

      It is actually the players that determine who wins games (a crazy perspective, I know), yes managers can have some effect on regular season games….but in the current AS game format, the manager has just about no effect because nearly everyone is going to play no matter who is managing.

      • 12strikes - Nov 2, 2011 at 12:31 PM

        Sorry, have to disagree…. Managers select the Pitching staff, and they decides who pitches and when or if they even do pitch. Manages also decide when to replace the players in the field. I will arguee that manages have to mange equal or more then a regular season game. Managers usually dont make 10 pitching changes a game… well maybe Tony does. Managers don’t usually make 10 or more position player changes in a game.

      • paperlions - Nov 2, 2011 at 1:11 PM

        The managers don’t pick all of the pitchers, the players select 8 of the pitchers….managers consult with the commissioner’s office for the remaining selections….most of which are determined by teams that do not yet have a representative. The order pitchers enter is completely irrelevant compared to the performance of those pitchers.

      • 12strikes - Nov 2, 2011 at 2:09 PM

        So, when it comes to pitchers,you saying that its how they pitch not where they pitch. hmmm. So “starting” a closer and closing with a starter would not make any difference. Maybe , but I don’t think so. Even it you want to eleminate pitchers from the discussion, you did not mention position players. A manager has all the say so. A manager can screw up a game by replacing a guy or not replacing him at the wrong time.

        Bottom line is that the AS game is not just a fun time game any more. “It means something” and the outcome of the game should not be put into the hands of someone that has no worries about the results. Change the game back to a fun time game, and I would drive Tony to park to manage.

  7. fanoredsox - Nov 2, 2011 at 9:50 AM

    Simple…. The Manager with the best record at the break gets the nod!

  8. unlost1 - Nov 2, 2011 at 9:51 AM

    ….and if he already has a job in the american league that would be a great incentive to screw up the national league’s chances of winning!

  9. jeffthomasb - Nov 2, 2011 at 9:52 AM

    Craig, I love you to death, man, but “the weakest team to make the playoffs”? I know you’re being pretty rhetorical in that section of the thing, but it seriously reads like you think some travesty has occurred. So they had the worst record going in– I’m sure one of the metrics guys has a stat for TRAFRFP (Team Record Adjusted for Ryan Franklin’s Presence) that would put the Cards ahead of at least the Rays and D-backs, if not the Tigers. And it’s pretty unlikely that the weakest team is going to survive three rounds of playoffs– the competition is just too stiff.

    But, to the point, no way will TLR manage the All-Star Game– you’re absolutely right– the man’s no attention whore, and it doesn’t seem like it would be his style to show up in the dugout in a shiny new uniform.

    • stlouis1baseball - Nov 2, 2011 at 10:26 AM

      I couldn’t help but notice that too Jeff. Hell…it slapped me right in the face. LOL!

    • 78mu - Nov 2, 2011 at 10:41 AM

      Just as in 2006, the team got healthy at the right time. They got rid of the deadwood in the bullpen and brought in arms that could put out rallies instead of extending them. And they got someone that could make the tough plays at SS (albeit while making a bushel of errors).

      And if TLR really decided in August to retire, his famous intensity may have been dialed down a bit and loosened up the team enough to perform better.

      The team in September was different enough from the team in May that it’s hard to say they were the worst team in the playoffs.

    • bluesfan58 - Nov 2, 2011 at 10:51 AM

      I love Jeff’s new metrics stat. It is absolutely true. With over 25 blown saves (admittedly not all by Ryan F)this year, if the team converts just half of those — like, say, a 6-2 lead over the Mets going into the 9th — the Cardinals wouldn’t have been a wild-card team, but would have won the division over the Brewers by 6-7 games or more. So no, they were hardly a “weak” team…

      • jeffthomasb - Nov 2, 2011 at 11:06 AM

        You’re absolutely right, Blues Fan– I’ve been saying this to people all year (and surely boring them to death). Just do the math, the Cardinals convert half of those games and they finish with 102 wins and tie the Phillies for the best record in baseball. I pick on Franklin, but he was just one of many problems in that bullpen. The Cardinals might not have been a classic powerhouse, but they had a lot of the pieces, and certainly weren’t the worst team that made the playoffs, and even more so not at the time they made the playoffs. Remember that in the last month or so of the season they took 5 of 6 from the Brewers and 3 of 4 from the Phillies.

      • paperlions - Nov 2, 2011 at 11:44 AM

        The Cardinals led the NL in offense while playing in a pitchers park. They scored the most runs, had a huge lead over the next best team in wRC+, led in wOBA, OBP, and were tied with Milwaukee (who play in a hitter friendly park) in SLG. They were an offensive power house, but for some reason, people didn’t realize it.

        In the NL, Cardinal pitchers were 7th in FIP and 6th in xFIP. They led the league in GB% and issued the 3rd fewest walks.

        In other words, they had above average pitching and as good an offense as anyone in either league (if you remove the hitting stats for the pitchers)

      • spudchukar - Nov 2, 2011 at 12:35 PM

        Plus with the addition of Furcal, and a healthy Punto they played great defense, with a couple of Game 6 boners excluded.

    • cintiphil - Nov 2, 2011 at 12:22 PM

      Jeff, I have to agree with you one this. I watched as the Reds got weaker and weaker and the birds got stronger during the season. Our staff in Cinti was very strong and lights out in the first two months, and then with injuries and other matters going on, we had failure after failure. I watched the Cards get more help in the BP, and as little as it seemed, that Dotel did a lot to solidify the pen. The Reds staff except for Cueto, fell apart and the Cards got stronger. That is why, at the end of the season, they were the best team in the MLB, not the worst as Craig points out. They were better than the Phills or Brewers or Rangers in September and October. And, that is what counts. Now, I hear that Chapman has arm trouble in the winter league. More bad news for the Reds. He was set to start for them next year.

    • xmatt0926x - Nov 2, 2011 at 1:57 PM

      Ohh you oversensitive Cardinals fans!!!! Just kidding, obviously. just a little revenge for having to hear about how oversensitive Phillies fans are every time we argue on behalf of our team after one of the bloggers perceived insults.

  10. brucewaynewins - Nov 2, 2011 at 10:49 AM

    Pete Rose!

  11. cintiphil - Nov 2, 2011 at 12:13 PM

    It will probably be the next redbird manager whomever that is. However, the good news is that we have one down and one to go. Now, lets get Albert out of the central division. the Reds and Brewers may have a chance then!

  12. okwhitefalcon - Nov 2, 2011 at 12:23 PM

    I’d prefer the above, whomever the Cards name as manager would be fine.

    It would be cool if MLB would allow TLR to appear in an “honorary coach” scenario if he hasn’t landed with another organization but that’s it – there’s no sense having an Executive VP of the Chicago White Sox be on the bench for the National League.

  13. xmatt0926x - Nov 2, 2011 at 1:58 PM

    Has anyone considerd having Hank Steinbrenner as the NL manager?

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