Tony LaRussa: The Puppet Master

Craig BrownCorrespondent IMay 14, 2009

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL - FEBRUARY 26: Manager Tony LaRussa of the St Louis Cardinals looks on during a spring training game against the Baltimore Orioles at Fort Lauderdale Stadium on February 26, 2009 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. (Photo by Rob Tringali/Getty Images)

I'm not what you would call a Tony LaRussa fan.  In fact, the man flat out irritates me at times.

Whether it's his snobbish and arrogant post-game interviews, his constant tinkering of the lineup, or his questionable decision making on pinch-hitters and relief pitchers, sometimes as a fan, he makes me want to pull my hair out.

I guess that's what makes me a fan and not a major league manager.

LaRussa was blessed with another tight-fisted approach from the club's brass this season, despite having gaping holes in an otherwise solid team.

Thirty-five games in to the season, I am again impressed with this man's ability to manufacture wins despite the weaknesses this team possesses.

Troy Glaus remains sidelined from shoulder surgery, yet our revolving door of third basemen has, if nothing else, not lost games for us.

Two of our starting outfielders are now on the DL.  That leaves a rookie, a deficient defender, and a fifth-grader roaming our outfield.

We have a second baseman just learning a new position, who might be pressed back in to service in the outfield.

We've already lost our potential ace to a ribcage injury, and roll out a starting rotation that screams mediocrity.

We have a glut of mid-relievers struggling to settle in to a defined role in the bullpen.

Yet, here we stand 35 games into the season, competing hard night in and night out and stand tied for the division lead.

Tony, for all of your quirks, no one is better suited to lead this team than you.  I commend you on another fine job so far.