Monday, October 31, 2011

TONY LARUSSA AND THE END OF LAISSEZ FAIRE BASEBALL MANAGING

Much will be written about Tony LaRussa, what he's done and what he's won, but his legacy is likely to be something a bit different.

Nobody has ever managed regular season baseball like LaRussa. He literally contested every out. He did not wait for the day's pitchers to dictate the environment of a particular game. He sought to define it. Sparky Anderson would contest early matchups, but not every out.

Before LaRussa there was the belief that, if a team burned too brightly early in a game or early in a season, there would be a price to be paid for it later. Tony seemed to feel like the only game he could win today was the one scheduled for today and he would pull out all the stops to win that game and concentrate on future games in the future.

In the near term, that will be the fashion but it takes an intellect and demeanor like LaRussa's not to have that approach self-destruct. It remains to be seen but LaRussa will be baseballs version of Bill Parcells. This means his approach will be both successful and difficult for an ordinary man to duplicate.

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