MLB All-Star Rosters 2012: Tony LaRussa's Lame Excuse for Excluding Johnny Cueto

Illya HarrellAnalyst IIJuly 2, 2012

Was Tony LaRussa drunk again when he tried to explain why Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher, Johnny Cueto, was not on the National League's All-Star game roster?

According to John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer, LaRussa said, "If Dusty (Baker) had been more interested in Cueto being on the team, then he wouldn’t be pitching him on Sunday. Cueto probably would be on the team if he wasn’t pitching Sunday.

"The fact is that Cueto is going to be pitching on Sunday. Some other day, he’s probably on the team."

Cincinnati has yet to announce it's Sunday starter. Yes, Cueto is slated to start on Tuesday in Los Angeles—meaning his next scheduled start would be on Sunday.

However—and LaRussa knows this as well as anyone—the Reds' skipper is a die-hard player's manager. He would have been elated to juggle his rotation to ensure Cueto a chance to pitch in his first mid-season classic.

Why did LaRussa omit Cueto?

Was it because of the 2010 brawl where Cueto was penned against the net and used his legs to protect himself from being crushed like a post Halloween pumpkin? That probably played into the decision.

Or is it jealousy? Jealousy of a man who could play and manage baseball.

Dusty Baker had a 19-year major league playing career. His resume is littered with accolades including all-star appearances, a Gold Glove and Silver Slugger Awards. He finished fourth in the 1980 NL MVP ballots and seventh in 1981.

By contrast, LaRussa struggled as a 15-year minor leaguer with six brief stints in the bigs where he compiled a career .199 batting average in 176 at-bats.

After his final April 6, 1973 game where he saw one game as a pinch runner, he spent the rest of the 1973 season and four more years riding minor league buses.   

LaRussa's playing career looks that of a bitter English professor who sends his short stories to small, unheard of magazines only to have them rejected. Baker's looks like Shakespeare when compared.

Managing? There's little doubt LaRussa will be a first ballot Hall of Famer.

In his 33-year managerial career, LaRussa won 2,728 games, ranking him third on the all-time list. Baker ranks No. 20 all-time with 1527 wins while currently in his 19-year career as a manager.

So why did LaRussa leave Cueto off the roster?

Sour grapes, baby.