Love him or hate him, Cardinals manager Tony LaRussa is considered to be one of the most innovative and imaginative in the history of MLB. Moreover, LaRussa is a proven winner, earning World Series titles in both leagues, one of only two men in history to have done so.
The four-time Manager of the Year is a marvelous contributor to the game and one of the most enjoyable to play for, as he continuously defends and sticks up for his players, often getting himself criticized or fined in the process.
What makes Cardinals games so fun to watch, however, is the fact that LaRussa is so unpredictable. His unorthodox lineups, stratagems and bullpen calls can all be wondered about and second-guessed at any point in a game, any game in a series. But through it all, there is no question that LaRussa makes these decisions in order to win.
There are very few instances in a baseball game where a manager has a true impact on the outcome, as he cannot control a pitcher’s command, which pitches hitters will swing at and how players field and throw. What he can do is affect the game with minor nuances of how the game is being called, when to hit-and-run and matchups that are in his favor. And, LaRussa is renowned for having thumbprint on the every aspect of a baseball game.
This year has been no different, as the Cardinals overcame some unlikely odds, overcoming injuries and clubhouse friction to take the NL wild card on the season’s last day.
You can never count a LaRussa-led team out, and the Cards’ earned the respect of the league by how they made it to the playoffs.
While LaRussa has already cemented his legacy as one of the greatest managers in the last 30 years, he can build his case to as one of the winningest of all-time with another World Series run in 2011.
Be sure to watch closely, because with LaRussa, you never know what you’re gonna get when watching his teams.