Wednesday, January 25, 2012

When La Russa Manages the All Star Game

The St. Louis Cardinals won the 2011 World Series and though that team's Hall of Fame manager, Tony La Russa retired immediately after, it's only fitting that he be tabbed to manage the NL All Star team in 2012. According to the linked article describing La Russa's appointment, this is the first time a retiring manager has managed an All Star Game since John McGraw did so in the 1933 classic. It's a fitting tribute and will provide a symmetry of sorts as this will be La Russa's third NL All Star manager appearance equaling the amount of times he did so as an American League manager. 

The announcement could lead to some interesting results for the National League team when they play as the visiting team in Kansas City this July. Since this is La Russa's last shot at holding the reins in the dugout, expect the unexpected. What follows is a peak at some of the things you could see.
  • After facing two batters in the first inning, Clayton Kershaw is stunned to see La Russa on his way to the mound. "But, Skip, I only faced two batters." La Russa responds by telling the pitcher that he doesn't like the match up.
  • At some point in the contest, one of the NL outfield All Stars will play second base.
  • Before the game, La Russa will not name the NL's closer. Jonathan Papelbon will still think it should be him.
  • In the seventh inning, La Russa will set an All Star record for most pitching changes in an inning. The television network broadcasting the game will be delighted with the three extra commercial breaks.
  • With his new gig in the MLB front office, La Russa will instantly punish an umpire who makes a bad call. Don't be surprised to see one of the men in black doing push-ups on national television.
  • When La Russa presents the line up card to the home plate umpire before the game, the umpire will be embarrassed to tell La Russa that pitchers no longer hit in All Star Games. La Russa sees all his double switches go up in smoke and will have to rethink the eighth place in the NL line up.
  • At least one NL pitcher will make his only All Star Game appearances as a pinch runner.
  • Tony will mess with Ron Washington's mind by having a pitcher in the on deck circle. Washington will hastily make a pitching change and La Russa will cackle like a hyena.
  • If the game goes into extra innings, the game will have to be called because Tony will run out of players as Charlie Manuel refuses to let La Russa play Cliff Lee in left field.
  • Yadier Molina will catch the entire game.
  • Ryan Braun will be given the sign to sacrifice a runner to second. When Braun swings anyway, he'll deny seeing the sign.
  • Joey Votto will stew in the dugout after playing two innings while Lance Berkman plays the other seven.
  • Tony will intentionally walk Albert Pujols twice, Miguel Cabrera once.
  • Prince Fielder will not face a right-handed pitcher.
  • After Yu Darvish accidentally knocks down Jimmy Rollins with a pitch, La Russa will instruct his pitcher to knock down Derek Jeter. When the benches clear, La Russa will get in the pitcher's face and call him, "Yu Devil."
  • At least one squirrel will interrupt the game.
Hey, this will be one All Star Game we won't sleep through. Can't wait!

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