Before Cardinals fans find this article and rip me apart, please let me explain myself. Last night brought a lot of things to my attention, that had previously not registered in the old cranium. The first thing that I learned last night, the Cardinals are cry-babies. Who files a grievance with Major League Baseball over a team enhancing the lights during their at-bats. Is LaRussa a moth? Knowing Bud Selig, he probably received the grievance and proceeded to shred it. While he’s at it, LaRussa should file a grievance over the cost of beer at Miller Park, because that is the true crime. The Miller brewery is 5 blocks away, but you still have to pay $9 for 16 oz off cold filtered MGD. I digress…
Last night, I saw the MOST bush-league thing in the history of baseball (over my lifetime, that is). Look, I understand that retaliation is part of the game. In fact, I support the “eye ofr an eye” mentality. Takashi Saito hit Albert Pujols, but it was clearly by accident. Saito’s intent was not to harm Pujols. Then here comes Tony LaRussa, who decides to leave his hardest throwing relief pitcher in the game to face Ryan Braun. It was bad enough when the guy clearly tried to hit Braun and missed, that should have proved LaRussa’s point, but it did not…I guess. Very next pitch, the guy hits Braun right in the center of the back. Not only does the umpire not toss the pitcher from the game, he grabs Ran Braun and tries to restrain him from charging the mound. What is wrong with this picture? How am I supposed to feel as a baseball fan? It was at this moment in last night’s game that I realized, Hall of Fame skipper Tony LaRussa is just a big bully.
After the game last night, LaRussa had this to say about hitting Braun.
You don’t think they were trying to throw the ball intentionally up and in? We weren’t trying to hit Braun either. We did not hit Braun on purpose. We threw two balls in there real good just to send a message. If he ducks them, it’s all over and we don’t hit him. The ball they tried to throw on Pujols was aimed right where they aimed it. Did they try to hit him? No. But there’s a small window here. You know how close that is to your face and your hands? I don’t want to hear about our tactics vs. what they did. They did not make an intentional hit, but they tried to throw the ball up and in. It’s a very dangerous pitch and we almost paid a hell of a price. Just look at the location and potential danger of the two (pitches). That’s a dangerous pitch whoever throws it.
LaRussa has a nice career in politics ahead of him. A great liar makes a great politician.
So that whole situation was frustrating, but then Yadier Molina freaked out about a called 3rd strike. Which, in his defense was absolutely a strike, but… the ump had been calling a very conservative strike zone all night. That pitch had been called a ball, multiple times, over the course of the game. I can understand being upset with that call, but to freak out and start spitting at the ump is nothing short of pathetic. Bumping chests and shooting mouth juice at him will only get you suspended. I would think a guy like Molina, who I have unlimited respect for, would know better. Then again, when your team is run by a senile old man, who got drunk and fell asleep in his car … at a stop sign once, these things will happen.
It became clear to me last night, that a great deal of the Cardinals crap last night, is based in fear. I firmly believe that the Cardinals are afraid of the Brewers and that can be a very powerful tool. Last night the Cardinals won because Roenicke got timid. Normally that is not the case, but as the game went on, RR seemed to get more and more conservative. This was a game the Brewers gave away. To have the bases loaded with no outs and score no runs, that is just sad in a lot of ways. You have run the suicide squeeze how many times this year? But instead you let Betancourt, Lucroy, and Lopez go out there and swing away. That just does not make sense to me. Not even a little bit.
I lost a great deal of respect for the Cardinals last night. Even this morning, I am still not quite sure who they think they are? Does LaRussa think that he is above the game and can get away with anything he wants? Maybe. Bud Selig does love to play favorites. Even after everything that happened last night, I still have a great deal of respect for several players on the Cardinals roster. These two teams are destined to fight until the bitter end. The Pirates and Reds just can not keep up with the pace of the Brewers and Cardinals.
Let me leave you with this. Last nights game felt like a playoff game. It was one of the most exciting games I have watched in quite some time. Since I wrote my article last week about this team not having heart, the team has gone 7-1 (including last night’s loss). On Tuesday night I saw heart from this team, probably for the first time all season. There is hope for the Brewers to win this division, but the whole team has to believe in each other. Fans believing in them will not be enough, I’m afraid.
If you are going to the game today, make sure and boo the crap out of LaRussa. Last night in his press conference he called Brewers fans “idiots” . Are you gonna take that from a drunk driving/stopping jerk, who thinks he is above baseball law? I sure as heck wouldn’t.