JUPITER, Fla. _ Former manager Tony La Russa was at the Cardinals’ complex today on the day it was announced that the 2014 option had been picked up on the contract of La Russa’s successor, Mike Matheny, and that general manager John Mozeliak had been extended three years through 2016.
Addressing both contract situations, La Russa said, “I think it’s well-deserved, an outstanding move.”
La Russa was in the company of Major League Baseball senior vice president Peter Woodfork and umpiring supervisor Ed Rapuano as that trio tours camps to instruct teams on rules and rules changes. One rule that will be changed this year is that there will be no fake throws to third base available to pitchers who, on managers’ instructions, would use that deke and then try to pick a runner off first base.
That move now will be a balk but it was one of La Russa’s trademark moves.
La Russa said, “I’m a defensive guy and (the move) had a strong defensive influence.
“They would say, ‘Ah, it never works,’ but the fact is that the (manager) in the other dugout did not steal second base at times, worried about that play.
“Now, it’s a good move. There will be extra stolen bases because of this.”
This is La Russa’s second year working with the commissioner’s office following his retirement from managing a few days after the Cardinals won the 2011 World Series. He declined to say whether he ever had been offered a front-office position to his liking but he unequivocally stated he would never manage again.
“No. No. That baton has been passed,” said La Russa, 68.
“I’m not going to manage anymore.
“I don’t miss the dugout. Every coach and manager will tell you that you suffer the losses more than you enjoy the wins. That is universally true unless you’re a coach or manager that doesn’t have a clue.
“Therefore, I’ve suffered more than I’ve enjoyed it. You can’t put the losses away and the wins are gone.”
This doesn’t mean that La Russa, third on the all-time wins list, doesn’t still strategize.
“Every game I’ve gone to I’ve managed,” he joked. “I second-guess everybody I see. I’m actively managing as a second-guesser and as a fan.”