After 33 years and 5,097 regular-season games, Tony La Russa says this is it, and he means it even if some people aren’t convinced.
Tony La Russa admitted he’d missed the competition. That part of it has been hard to let go. Still, he said that the 83rd All-Star Game is absolutely, positively the end of the line for his managerial career. So after all those years in uniform, this final time must have feel mighty peculiar.
When someone ask if he’s positive he’ll never manage again, he left no doubt.
“I believe it,” he said. “I know it.”
“I feel a little strange at times,” he said. “Right now, it’s the same as always. I don’t know what the game is going to hold. They’re going to keep score, and we want to get three outs in the bottom of the ninth. All that’s sort of familiar.”
Asked about his emotions, he said, “I don’t think anyone has made a big thing out of me being back. I’m totally consumed with the game. There’s nothing personal about it. I went through it at least a half-dozen times in September and October.”
When asked again about possibly managing again, he drew a line in the sand.
“I’m telling you, it’s who we’re going to pitch and who we’re going to put in,” he said. “If they keep score, you’re going to try and win. It’s simple. That’s why they keep score.”
He’s working for Major League Baseball, but would probably consider a front office position if it were offered.
“The thing I miss the most is competition,” he said. “I don’t like not competing. But I don’t want any part of the dugout.”
La Russa will be managing his sixth All-Star Game, joining Joe Torre (six), Joe McCarthy (seven), Walter Alston (nine) and Casey Stengel (10) as the only men with that many. This is just the fourth time an inactive manager has managed an All-Star Game. John McGraw retired after the 1932 season, but returned to manage the first NL Team in 1933. Danny Murtaugh managed the 1972 NL Team after leading the dugout after the 1971 season with the Pirates. Bob Lemon manage red the 1979 AL Team after being replaced as Yankees manager.
From an All-Star notebook:
- Ron Washington is the 20th man to manager at least two straight All-Star Games.
- 46 of 82 All-Star Games have been decided by two runs or less, including six of the last seven. Twenty-six All-Star Games have been decided by one run, including four of the last six.
- The National League leads the all-time series 42-38-2. The National League has won consecutive games for the first time since winning three in a row 1994-96.
- The American League is 18-5-1 in the last 24 All-Star Games.
- There have been 685 runs scored in All-Star Games. The National League has scored 344, the American League 341.
- Justin Verlander is the seventh Tigers pitcher to start an All-Star Game. Matt Cane is the seventh Giant to start an All-Star Game.
- Matt Cain and Buster Posey are the first battery mates to start an All-Star Game since 2006 when Kenny Rogers and Pudge Rodriguez got the call.