St Louis Cardinals

St. Louis Cardinals: Has Tony LaRussa Secretly Turned the Season's Lights Out?

Lake CruiseAnalyst INovember 5, 2016

Has Tony LaRussa turned out the lights because the party’s over on the Cardinals' push to the postseason? If you ask some of the fans who were in attendance at the game on Tuesday night, then some of their answers could surprise you.

After the blowout loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Tuesday, in what was perhaps the understatement of the night, the local CBS site described the Cardinals as fast-fading. The Redbirds (67-62) indeed flew to a new low of 10 games out of first place behind the Milwaukee Brewers.

The Dodgers (59-69), meanwhile, took advantage of the Cards to move within 10 games of the .500 mark.

St. Louis’ fade has been like lightning. The Cardinals had lost six of the last eight games—all played against losing teams (Pittsburgh, Chicago and the guys from Chavez Ravine). The fade has been ravaging. 

According to the CBS reports, it was the first time the Dodgers had won two games in a row at Busch Stadium since 2003. 

In the game Tuesday night against L.A., with the Cardinals losing 8-0 during the bottom of the fourth inning, LaRussa incredibly elected to leave reliever Mitchell Boggs in the game to bat. There were two outs in the inning, and Boggs struck out on three heaters from left-handed Cy Young candidate Clayton Kershaw.

After that decision, the boo birds rained down on LaRussa’s head. Certainly the loyal fans weren’t booing Boggs, who rarely bats. 

The brainy fans in St. Louis probably realized Skip Schumaker was available to pinch hit, but apparently he was being saved for mop-up duties.

During the ninth inning, Schumaker toed the rubber and gave up a home run to former Cardinal Aaron Miles to give the Dodgers a lucky No. 13 in the 13-2 victory. Following the debacle that posed as a baseball competition in Busch Stadium, Mike Shannon and Michael Claiborne had Dodgers radio broadcaster Charlie Steiner on the postgame show.

The former ESPN anchor Steiner talked about how he, as a youth, hung around Belmont Park in New York—the thoroughbred horse-racing facility and home of the Belmont Stakes—reminding me of legendary jockey Bill Shoemaker. Shoemaker was, of course, a lights-out jockey. 

Speaking of lights, Tony LaRussa comes to mind. LaRussa reportedly filed a complaint this month with MLB about the lighting at Miller Park. The Brewers have played lights-out ball there this year.

The person who looked over the complaint, Joe Garagiola Jr, is the senior vice president of standards and on-field operations for Major League Baseball. He was previously senior vice president of baseball operations, and before that the general manager in Arizona.

His father is a native of the South Side’s the Hill neighborhood and a much beloved figure in the St. Louis area. Garagiola Sr played catcher for the Cardinals and the Pittsburgh Pirates in the late 1940s and early 1950s. He grew up with Yogi Berra, and they played ball on the block.

Garagiola Jr blocked LaRussa’s latest formal complaint. That shooting down of LaRussa’s tactic shows that TLR’s moves are certainly becoming outdated and fast-fading. The grievance backfired and gave the Brewers incentive to turn the lights out on the Cardinals in the standings. 

I’ll tell you where I stand. 

I believe too many beloved St. Louisans are getting caught up in LaRussa’s madness and it has to stop. Ozzie Smith and Albert Pujols and have been wounded. Smith isn’t allowed around the team, thanks to LaRussa’s wishes, and Pujols became a part of what I called the Glenn Beck Affair.

The total opposite of Beck, in the 1970s Garagiola Jr once appeared on an episode of the classic television program To Tell the Truth. To tell you the truth, I hope someday the Garagiolas let the truth spill about what they think of LaRussa’s reign.  

It’d be interesting to hear. I’m sure you, my beloved readers, agree. Do you agree that LaRussa has turned the lights out on this season? I believe the manager of the Cardinals is at least definitely starting to if he hasn't. 

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