La Russa is to blame for Cardinals’ Game 5 loss
– He couldn’t do it. The Genius couldn’t take ownership of the fiasco he oversaw. Of all the places to manage the single worst inning of a career with 50,000 of them, Tony La Russa chose the eighth inning of the fifth game of a dead-even World Series. And as the fallout of his meltdown pervaded a St. Louis Cardinals club still mortified at what had transpired, he chalked it up to three screw-ups, as if the gods had decided to conspire against him.
“On our team, nobody gets thrown under the bus,” La Russa said, and atop that list is him. He wears the genius tag for his strategic savoir faire, wears the salary that accompanies it, wears them so proudly that it wears down all who refuse his Kool-Aid. When it comes to the Cardinals, the bus will roll over everyone before Tony La Russa smells the rubber.
The truth about how Game 5 devolved into an all-time mismanagement of a baseball game may surface someday. It is not material now. What is, and what’s especially relevant to the 107th World Series, is that it happened, and the Texas Rangers stand one game from their first championship with two chances to win it in St. Louis after their 4-2 victory Monday.
To whom it happened: That, too, is of great import. As La Russa played subterfuge artist, offering a story dotted with holes unbecoming of a man with a law degree, it was obvious that he was trying to protect someone, and he would go to such lengths only to save himself. Something jammed the St. Louis Cardinals’ machine, that chugging engine of efficiency and intellect, and La Russa couldn’t swallow the blame even though he’s its architect and supervisor.
All of it was too funny to believe. The malfunctioning bullpen phone. The bullpen coach not hearing a name, then confusing the name “Motte” with “Lynn.” Intentional walks distributed like Halloween candy. Using the pitcher who was told before the game he wouldn’t be used. Sending a left-handed pitcher against a right-handed hitter who destroys southpaws. And everything in the same inning no less, an eighth La Russa wishes he could stick in a sepulcher and forget it ever happened.