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Tony La Russa calls out Nyjer Morgan in his upcoming book

Sep 16, 2012, 11:27 AM EDT

Nyjer Morgan Getty Images

I’m kind of torn here: I find both Tony La Russa and Nyjer Morgan kind of insufferable, so when one calls out the other — as La Russa does to Morgan in his upcoming book — I’m not sure what to do!

“When you play a team 18 times during the regular season, there’s bound to be some sparks, especially when both clubs have similarly aggressive styles,” La Russa says about the Brewers. “That’s good competitive action, but what Morgan said in that same tweet – that we’d be watching the postseason on television – didn’t fit into that category, and neither did his actions in that game. What he did was: Unwise. Uncalled for. Not forgotten.”

After the game, Morgan tweeted taunting words about the Cardinals, including a reference to Pujols as “Alberta.”

OK, I have to side with La Russa. For one thing, even if he annoys me sometimes he’s been around the block and is an all-time great. But more importantly — as I wrote last year — Nyjer was out-of-bounds and was seriously lacking some self-awareness last year when he cranked up that nonsense.

  1. kevinleaptrot - Sep 16, 2012 at 11:33 AM

    T-Plush (or whatever alter ego he goes by these days) was out of bounds when he pulled his crap last year, but La Russa should know better than this too. He’s constantly branded himself as “smarter” and should have taken the high road and ignored Morgan in his book. Really disappointing that La Russa chose to handle this matter like this.

    • paperlions - Sep 16, 2012 at 12:04 PM

      I agree. What Morgan did may not have been the smartest decision, but he is young and did it more-or-less in the heat of the moment. TLR is far more experienced and has had many revisions to decide to remove this silliness, but didn’t.

      What is very strange to me, is how an autobiography that has “Fifty Years in Baseball” in the title bothers to bring up this incident. Does Tony just not remember the other 49 years? Or where most of them so boring that a minor thing like this finds its way into the narrative? Seems very petty…who holds onto such small things so tightly that they have to put them in their autobiography?

  2. Sean Boulton - Sep 16, 2012 at 11:46 AM

    Hey, Tony, you know what else is “unwise”, “uncalled for”, and “not forgotten”? Drinking and driving.

    Sorry, but I have a lot of problem taking Tony La Russa seriously when he decides to weigh in on someone’s incorrect behaviour. Glass houses, stones, and all that.

    • fearlessleader - Sep 16, 2012 at 12:30 PM

      Thanks, Sean, but everyone who reads HBT regularly has already been informed of Tony’s DUI transgression by one million eager commenters who are thrilled to have a reason to cloak their distaste for TLR in sanctimony.

      Have you read the book? Me neither. I’m guessing it will include plenty of self-auditing of Tony’s own behavior, and I’m also thinking that it probably wouldn’t sell very many copies if it had nothing but praise and admiration for everyone whose path he’s crossed during a half century in the game.

      And if we all ceded the right to criticize others’ decisions as soon as we made a bad one ourselves, well, the internet would be a much quieter place.

  3. uwsptke - Sep 16, 2012 at 11:47 AM

    Morgan is what he is: A hockey player at heart playing another sport. He’s overly emotional which gets fans excited in some situations but turn on him in others. He’s Happy Gilmore. LaRussa is widely respected for his managerial greatness, and almost all of those same people would agree that he’s also an arrogant ass.

  4. randygnyc - Sep 16, 2012 at 11:53 AM

    Sean- I have to agree. Larussa comes off as small minded by going out of his way to mention a harmless, perceived slight by another player, all the while, maintaining his own moral failing and criminal blemish.

  5. elmaquino - Sep 16, 2012 at 12:24 PM

    I don’t want to shock anybody, but this comment section mentioned Tony’s DUI AGAIN and AGAIN blames LaRussa for a media- (not self-)made caricature of him being LaGenius.

    Maybe the best manager of all time, yet all people want to do is ignorantly nitpick.

    • ufullpj - Sep 17, 2012 at 8:09 AM

      LaRussa had a very successful career, but he’s nowhere close to being the best manager of all time. Sorry, there’s 140 years of baseball to consider, and while very good, he’s not anywhere close to the best. Sorry.

  6. norcaldeportes - Sep 16, 2012 at 12:28 PM

    Less ex-Cardinals. More Giants.

  7. Brian Donohue - Sep 16, 2012 at 12:35 PM

    Everyone above has nailed it. One of the tough things about retirement is severing the psycho-emotional connections, especially the negative attachments (divorce is the same way). Going public with those attachments just reveals your failure at moving on.

    Back when it was happening, I said: let the players work this one out. In the old days, they’d wait till a speedster like Morgan got on base. Pitcher would make a pickoff throw to first, 1bman would slap a hard tag onto his head or body. Repeat as necessary. No words, no trash talk, just hard tags. Message delivered. I can recall teams doing this to Henderson whenever he acted out.

    • natslady - Sep 16, 2012 at 12:53 PM

      Or you could take Jayson Werth’s approach and get the guy traded. That’s how we got Cutter Dykstra in the Nats’ farm system.

      • uwsptke - Sep 16, 2012 at 2:19 PM

        I’m not sure that “getting” Cutter Dykstra in your farm system is any type of feather in your cap. Acquiring Morgan for Dykstra was a very shrewd move on Melvin’s part since he played a huge part in getting the Brewers to the playoffs. Is it a win on the Nat’s part last year to rid themselves of a guy they were sick of? Sure, from their perspective. But let’s not pretend the Brewers slipped up and sent you Jay Buhner.

      • natslady - Sep 16, 2012 at 3:48 PM

        You didn’t notice the /sarcasm on Cutter Dykstra?

      • Chip Caray's Eyebrows - Sep 16, 2012 at 4:23 PM

        You’ve really got this whole “crowbar a Nationals reference into any and all topics” thing down to a science.

  8. hodaghunter - Sep 16, 2012 at 1:58 PM

    If anyone has actually been paying attention this year, Njyer Morgan has scaled it back this season. Changing his attitude and has been fully accepting of his role on the team. There is no more talking out, etc..

  9. jdhein22 - Sep 16, 2012 at 2:55 PM

    The excerpt also contains La Russa admitting to intentionally having Ryan Braun hit in retaliation of Pujols getting hit. And it contains an admission that La Russa trains his pitchers on hitting players. Keep this in mind if La Russa serves an official function for MLB in near future. Both would carry suspensions if he was still coaching.

    • okwhitefalcon - Sep 16, 2012 at 3:10 PM

      If you don’t think every organization has the same type of “training” you’re kidding yourself.

      Retaliation and accepted ways to go about it have been in the game forever and they will always be in the game.

      And for the sake of accuracy, LaRussa already works for MLB in an official capacity.

      • ufullpj - Sep 17, 2012 at 8:17 AM

        Officially? No, they don’t. Do they teach guys who’ve been drilled to go hard into 2nd, etc.? Yes. And most players know when they are drilled on purpose. With all of the monetary and suspension factors in play now, even compared to 20 years ago, you don’t see the amount of retaliation in today’s game that you did in the past – and that’s just a fact.

        As for LaRussa drilling Braun, that’s what made him both successful and hated. Pujols was NOT drilled on purpose in that game – there’s no way he was. But Braun was obviously drilled on purpose, and the next game, before a pitch was thrown, both teams were warned. Milwaukee was essentially cut-off from retaliating.

        My problem with that situation is that MLB chose to ignore the obvious intentional drilling of Braun. For those that don’t remember, he brought in Lance Lynn, who actually had to thrown at Braun TWICE to drill him. Had it been another manager, there would have been a suspension. There were definitely the “LaRussa Rules”.

  10. Presidents Race Fan - Sep 16, 2012 at 3:17 PM

    Anybody who has paid attention to Nyjer Morgan’s career knew that his one clutch hit in last year’s playoffs amounted to his 15 minutes. It’s all downhill from here. He doesn’t have a champion’s temperament. Any 10-year old fan watching him for a season could tell you that.

    May he have a long career as a fiery color commentator.

  11. randygnyc - Sep 16, 2012 at 4:01 PM

    Funny how there’s some here that think pointing out Larussa’s obvious hypocrisies mean that we “hate” him. He was one of the greatest baseball managers in MLB history. His record and hardware speak to that. His legendary status will be remembered forever. Nyjer, on the other hand, will be forgotten almost immediately. That is, unless he commits a horrible crime, off the field, before he retires. Strange that his only shot at immortality can happen if he kills someone or rapes an underage girl.

  12. Chip Caray's Eyebrows - Sep 16, 2012 at 4:20 PM

    I’ve always kinda liked Nyjer Morgan just because TLR and most Cardinals fans hate him.

  13. maynardstool - Sep 16, 2012 at 5:40 PM

    Boy I’m glad Sean Boulton has never done anything wrong! Because it would be oh so hypocritical of him to comment on Tony Larussa DUI if he’s ever had a alcoholic beverage and then drove.

  14. churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Sep 16, 2012 at 7:34 PM

    Here it is, just Tony being Tony:

    So many things wrong with this statement, I don’t know where to begin…

    • saints97 - Sep 16, 2012 at 10:33 PM

      Final moments? How long is a moment in your world?

  15. makeham98 - Sep 17, 2012 at 9:04 AM

    Was Larussa the godfather of steroids or inexplicably oblivious? That’s greatness.

  16. avietar - Sep 17, 2012 at 1:40 PM

    With his intemperate and ill-considered comments, Nyjer Morgan’s probably just trying to make a case that he deserves to be Mitt Romney’s White House Press Secretary, should Romney be elected president.

    The two self-obsessed, incompetent loudmouths obviously deserve each other.

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