NL manager fears effects of fatigue
Tony La Russa called ESPN's scheduling change "a clueless move."
ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Tony La Russa is miffed that ESPN moved the St. Louis Cardinals' last game before the All-Star break in San Francisco to a night game.
La Russa was so disgruntled Tuesday that he implied he hopes the home run derby the following night on ESPN is a dud.
"I'm saying this a little bit tongue in cheek: It wouldn't bother me to disrupt that home run event because ESPN just pulled a clueless move," La Russa said. "I don't know how they can do that. Any team playing on the West Coast, why would you do that? Do you know what time these guys are getting in?"
La Russa also said, perhaps half-jokingly, that he might find private transportation for his players and "send the bill to ESPN."
As manager of the NL champions, La Russa will manage the National League team in the July 12 game in Detroit. He said he was more concerned about the effects of travel fatigue on his players than himself.
"Since December, the teams involved knew which potential games could be selected for the 5 p.m. Pacific time game-of-the-week window. Ultimately, it comes down to picking the game among the ones available that best serves fans," ESPN spokesman Josh Krulewitz said.
The Cardinals, who had an NL-best 47-28 record, almost certainly will be represented by several players. First baseman Albert Pujols was the top overall vote-getter; third baseman Scott Rolen also led at his position and center fielder Jim Edmonds was second in voting for outfielders. Plus, Chris Carpenter was second in the NL with 11 wins and closer Jason Isringhausen had 21 saves in 23 chances.
"I don't think it's a big issue for me," La Russa said. "I don't have to play the game."
As always, La Russa said he'll be managing to win. Major League Baseball's decision to have the game decide home-field advantage in the World Series is extra incentive he doesn't need.
"It's a competition," La Russa said. "You keep score; you try to win. It's not going to be a problem for me.
"The problem is making sure the players want to win: They're the ones that are playing."