Friday, July 29, 2011

The Colby Rasmus Fan Club

If Colby Rasmus was playing for the Red Sox and he didn't get along with Terry Francona, I would have my concerns. If Colby Rasmus went on to disrespect Francona, my blood would boil. If Colby refused to listen to Dave Magadan and instead turned to his own father for advice while batting just .246, I would want him shipped away as fast as possible. However, Tony LaRussa is involved and suddenly I feel like buying a Colby Rasmus jersey.

I am not a big fan of Tony LaRussa, I never have been. I tend to have issues with people who think they are the smartest person in the room when in reality they seldom are. I tend to have issues with people who are grossly overrated. I find the "genius" very easy to root against.

Let's start with how overrated he is as a manager. The Oakland A's were built by Sandy Alderson and were loaded. The genius manager was only able to win one title with them and in the process lost to the 1988 Dodgers and the 1990 Reds. Talent wise both of these teams were not close to Oakland, in fact the 1988 Dodgers might be the worst team in the history of baseball to ever win a World Series.

LaRussa is bad for the game. Proof of that was on display in the epic 19 inning Pirates/Braves game this week. The best pitcher in the Pirates bullpen is Joel Hanrahan who serves as their closer. He never appeared in the 19 inning game because the Pirates were on the road and they were never able to get the lead in any of the would be final innings. It is the dumbest trend in baseball. It is not even a trend anymore, it is part of the infamous "book" that every manager uses and has been using for about two decades now. Tony LaRussa, the cat whisperer himself is the one who started doing it years ago. Dennis Eckersley was the first specialist closer. He would only be used with a lead and only for one inning. Of course it had to be a save situation, if the lead was too big you wouldn't see Eckersley. If the game was tied in the 9th inning or 19th inning you wouldn't see The Eck. These new closer rules caught on faster than alcoholism in the Billy Martin family tree.

Lastly, there is his defense of Mark McGwire. Nothing wrong with defending one of your guys but the way LaRussa did it made Roger Clemens look intelligent. When Jose Canseco came forward with his story about injecting McGwire it was LaRussa who sprinted to the microphone to defend Big Mac. LaRussa called Canseco a liar and lazy. Tony was adamant that McGwire was clean and always had been clean. LaRussa, who has a law degree and reminds you of that in every book that he writes, looked into the camera through those "intimidating" shades and said he would always see McGwire lifting weights. He explained nobody worked harder than McGwire. Lips pursed, the genius manager would talk about how Mac killed himself in the weight room with marathon sessions six days a week. LaRussa would then pause, staring into that camera as if he had just given the ultimate evidence that his boy Mark was as pure as the driven snow. Of course there were a few problems with this theory. The first problem is that most people understand that performance enhancing drugs only work if you are working out. PED's give you the ability to recover faster after workouts enabling you to work out for longer period of times and more frequently. The impassioned speech that the genius gave to defend McGwire just gave more credence to just how dirty Mark was. You would think an intelligent man like LaRussa already knew that. Maybe those drunk nights of falling asleep behind the wheel of his car had caught up to him. The facts are getting injected with PED's and then sitting on the couch for six months are not going to turn you into an impressive physical specimen. Marathon weight lifting sessions six days a week? There is only one way a human being can do that Tony.

The other issue of course is that McGwire eventually admitted to using illegal steroids and performance enhancing drugs. LaRussa didn't have too much to say after that, instead he hired him as the Cardinals hitting coach. Now I don't know what happened between Rasmus, McGwire and LaRussa but I am giving the benefit of the doubt to Rasmus. Can you blame me?

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