Friday, October 21, 2011

Making 15 pitching changes a games does not make you a genius

2 blog oriented issues before we get into it:
1. 9 people are following this blog, 3 are named Jessica. I am extremely popular among Jessicas.
2. I purposely went this many posts before a sports related blog and I'm very proud of myself, now prepare yourself for some venom.

I'm going to talk about baseball for a second. It's been almost a month since the worst collapse EVER so my wounds have healed enough for me to finally address this year's playoffs. It appears that the Cardinals have managed to put together a little run and end up in the World Series, well isn't that special? You know what I love about that team? Nothing. I hate that team more than every other sports team not named the Yankees. I hate them even more than I hate the Packers which is saying a hell of a lot. I shall now use the magic of bullet points to explain why I despise them so much. Why bullets you ask? Because that's what I would like to put in the head Fredbird.

  • Who is Fredbird you ask? He's the mascot of the Cardinals. See how clever his name is? They took "red bird" which is what a cardinal is and put an F in front of it. It probably took a marketing team 6 months to come up with this.
  • The media constantly refers to Cardinals fans as the best fans in baseball? Why? Because they cheer for a midget second baseman because he's so gritty? Because they wear all red with their tight rolled jean shorts? There is no rationale for this title but every moron in the media repeats it verbatim.
  • The team is from West St Louis. It's like East St Louis but without all the character. Or roaming gangs of dogs.
  • This franchise is directly responsible for unleashing Joe Buck unto the world. If Jack Buck had not been successful with the Cardinals his dipshit son would have never been forced down our throats. Every time Joe Buck gets to call a Cardinals game you can actually hear his erection. Speaking of horrible announcers the Cardinals are responsible for, guess who played the majority of their career as a Cardinal? Tim Fucking McCarver. Thanks a lot St. Louis.
  • Lastly, the only thing more nauseating than hearing stories about how great Cardinals fans are is having to suffer through tales of Tony LaRussa's "genius."
I grew up an Oakland A's fan so I am a bit of a scholar of the LaRussa genius. No manager has ever been as obsessed with the lefty/righty match up as LaRussa. While managing the A's he would often take out Dave Stewart or Mike Moore an inning or two early to get a better match up. It didn't matter if Stewart was cruising along with a shut out in the 6th, in would trot Rick Honeycutt to give up the game like f'n clockwork. What LaRussa has always done is overmanage the games. He feels that if he isn't messing with the lineup or pitchers every damn inning that he isn't proving to the world how smart he is. Great, you have a law degree and you sent your kids to some ballet school that you mention at the drop of a hat in every post game press conference, no one cares. You know what fans care about? The fact that you managed to have one of the most stacked teams in baseball history (1988-1992 Oakland A's) and you only won 1 World Series. LaRussa's A's managed to win 103 games in 1990 only to be swept by the Reds. Quick, can you name a player on that Reds team for any reason other than that they wore goofy goggles or got kicked out of a game and then watched it while drinking from the Budweiser house? (Sabo and Dibble respectively) No, you can't.

It's actually pretty impressive that LaRussa has been able to maintain the myth that he is a genius. Bobby Cox has always had to live down the stigma of being a choker in the playoffs yet for some reason that has never been attached to LaRussa. The 2004 Cardinals won 105 games yet did not lead for a single inning against the Red Sox in the series. (Interesting tidbit, 2 teams have won the World Series while never trailing in any game, 04 Sox against LaRussa and the 89 A's for LaRussa) With the Cardinals LaRussa has won 1 World Series despite making the playoffs 9 out of 16 years and almost always being predicted to win their division. That 1 victory came against a Tigers team that seemed intent on choking, they made 8 errors in only 5 games. Although it is probably that victory more than any other that gives LaRussa his genius tag, they only won 83 games that year. The fact that they were a playoff team is a bit of a joke yet they managed to become the worst team to ever win the World Series. I still think that when you look at the talent he has managed in their primes (Rickey Henderson, McGwire in both his real prime and his chemically aided prime, Dave Stewart, Mike Moore, Canseco, Carpenter, Wainwright, Pujols, Rolen, Edmonds, Jeff Suppan etc.) it is remarkable that LaRussa's teams have won a measly 2 championships. (And I just included Suppan to piss people off, God did he suck)

Every time I hear Joe Buck gush about the genius of LaRussa bringing in a 4th pitcher in 2/3s of an inning the only thing I can think about is all the years of failure associated with LaRussa, all of the teams that should have done much better, the players he ran out of town for personal reasons (most notably Canseco and Rolen), the 103, 104 and 105 win choking dogs he's managed, his World Series record of 10-15 and the time he fell asleep, drunk, at a stoplight. That doesn't seem like genius to me.

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