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Joe Torre’s MLB job “informally offered” to Tony La Russa

Jan 14, 2012, 11:13 AM EDT

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

When Joe Torre stepped down as Executive Vice President for Baseball Operations a couple of weeks ago, I said this, based on nothing other than me speculatin’ on a hypothesis:

If baseball is smart they’d give the job to Kim Ng full time because someone needs to break up the boys club. But if they don’t do that, the permanent replacement has to be Tony La Russa, right?

Last night, Bob Nightengale of USA Today tweeted this:

The MLB job vacated by Joe Torre has been informally offered to Tony La Russa, but he has shown no inclination in taking the position.

Hey, if he doesn’t want it he doesn’t want it, but it makes so much sense for him.  My sense of that job is that it is sort of an, I dunno, royal position with a healthy does of p.r. being part of it. I don’t mean that to belittle it — important decisions like discipline and many key on-the-field issues flow through it — but it’s kind of a two-headed monster.

On the one hand you have the essential but kind of tedious work of the position. Reviewing precedent to see what happened in the last big beanball war to see what sort of punishment is necessary. Reading the reports from the umps following off-the-field incidents. Being on the phone with the National Weather Service for four hours to figure out if the playoff game is gonna get soaked or not. That job, I hear, is largely done by the second-in-command. Most recently that guy has been Sr. Vice President Peter Woodfork, who is said to do a hell of a job with all of that.

But that’s not the part we see. We see Joe Torre — or La Russa or whoever — meeting the press and saying so-and-so is going to happen as a result of the brawl or the playoff game is going to be postponed or that Joe West and his friends are gonna sit down shut up and accept the new robot umpires (allow me to dream).

I’m not saying they are figureheads — I’m sure Torre made the final calls and La Russa certainly would if he took the job — but they are definitely most useful for their gravitas and experience. They have to wade into controversial issues and give MLB’s official position, and it’s way more useful for seasoned, respected people who are used to dealing with a press gaggle doing that than someone of lesser public stature.

La Russa said when he retired as the Cardinals manager that he still wants to work a real job as opposed to being some whatever emeritus ambassador type.  If that’s the case, I couldn’t imagine a job he’d be more suited for than this one. He’s probably the most intelligent ex-manager going. He’s prickly, sure, but there probably isn’t anyone who is more capable of wading into the kind of controversial things the Executive Vice President for Baseball Operations has to wade into.  The job is made for him.

Plus, I don’t know what I’m gonna do if I can’t make Tony La Russa jokes next season. So do this for me, Tony. Will ya?

  1. cur68 - Jan 14, 2012 at 11:27 AM

    In a way this makes a kind of poetic sense. He gets to deal out punishment for managers who comment publicly on the officiating while at the same time telling off Joe West and his ilk from a position of authority. I wonder if he can throw West out his office? I hope so.

    Take the job, Tony!

    • crisisjunky - Jan 14, 2012 at 12:14 PM

      For any and all reprobate umpires, I propose mandatory $5ooo fines….
      payable to the nearest Humane Society affiliate.

      • paperlions - Jan 14, 2012 at 2:00 PM

        how much is $5ooo? is that similar to $5000?

      • lovesmesomeme - Jan 14, 2012 at 2:45 PM

        What a tool

      • crisisjunky - Jan 14, 2012 at 3:48 PM

        sorry typo,$5000

      • crisisjunky - Jan 14, 2012 at 4:00 PM

        and Loveme; does tool refer to:
        B) me for typing o’s instead of 0’s
        C) Paper for calling me out….
        or just an instant irrepressable epiphany of self-realization

  2. kiwicricket - Jan 14, 2012 at 11:28 AM

    Open the ‘blast doors’ on the bunker Mr C, it’s Saturday….

  3. kiwicricket - Jan 14, 2012 at 11:32 AM

    Only TLR gets high appointments ‘informally offered’ to him. Would gently stroke and soothe his ego I would imagine.

  4. plmathfoto - Jan 14, 2012 at 12:30 PM

    Let’s see hyprocrisy, ego etc right up TLR’s alley. The height of hypocrisy would be the supposed war on PEDs that Mlb has now and TLR always turning a blind eye, no wait a minute, it’s not a blind eye when he blanketly denies any use by his guys, and he’s always had the most obvious offenders.

    • paperlions - Jan 14, 2012 at 2:02 PM

      Number of managers, GMs, MLB execs, player reps, scouts, reporters, and agents that turned a blind eye to steroids for over a decade: all of them….every single one.

  5. mogogo1 - Jan 14, 2012 at 12:51 PM

    “I’m not saying they are figureheads…”

    Fine, then I will say it. Whenever 95% of the job is done by an underling, there is no other word for it. Baseball wants it to be a figurehead job and I fully expect it to be a revolving door as guys use it for easy money and media exposure while waiting to land other jobs, just like Torre did.

  6. lovesmesomeme - Jan 14, 2012 at 2:08 PM

    Dear Bud,
    I will take the job if:
    1) I can have a well stocked bar in my office
    2) I can have Glenn Beck and AP’s bat-$hit crazy wife as my 2nd in command.
    3) “Waist-ed away again in Margaritaville” on an endless loop in my office
    4) The office mantra must be “its five o’clock somewhere”
    5) And finally tell Chris Hansen to leave me alone


  7. okwhitefalcon - Jan 14, 2012 at 2:31 PM

    TLR’s obviously a lightning rod for debate on many fronts, no doubt about it.

    That said, his care for the game and ability to lead are unquestionable.

    He’s a perfect choice for the job.

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