TONY LA RUSSA: Very good question,
because his Minor League record, he's always hit.
And last year, his first full season after a slow start,
he was a good hitter and got it to where he had
very respectful numbers.
I think he had a tough year, and he's used
to hitting and he pressed and a lot of days he's out
there trying to get four hits in three at-bats and he
just got stuck in a lot of at-bats and not enough
hits. I think when he got to the postseason, in my
opinion, he started 0 for 0, and with that fresh start,
he's been more himself.
When you folks took on Jeff Weaver,
was there something that you thought you
wanted to work on with him? What was your
basic overall view of how he got to be -- so he
was even available to you?
TONY LA RUSSA: Well, first thing is that
we had need, you know, so that was important.
Then he was available. We knew that he was a
guy with a track record of success and more
importantly, a very good competitor which I think
counts for a lot. In the final hope we can get him,
just like everything we do with pitching, Dave
Duncan watches tapes, looks like he's healthy,
throwing the ball, stuff-wise, look forward to getting
him. I know we placed a couple of calls to people
that knew Jeff and they said, "He would be good
for your team," and they hit it right on the nose.
This is a little bit off the subject of
this series, but Ken Macha was fired today in
TONY LA RUSSA: I beg your pardon?
Yeah. Obviously news to you. Amid
reports that there was friction between him and
players, etc. My question for you is as a
long-time manager, can you describe your
relationship with players and ideally what it
needs to be. Do you need to be liked by
players, do you need to be just respected, what
is your view on this situation, because as I
said, reports are that there was a lot of friction
in the A's between the manager and the
TONY LA RUSSA: Well, they had such a
great second half, there was friction, how did they
beat Minnesota -- they beat Minnesota, right? How
did that happen.
Well, there's a long way to answer that. I
mean, we don't want to get long winded. I think we
all have an obligation, in the end, you have a
coaching staff, you have front office and your boss
and so forth, but you're supposed to be the
decision maker. And you have to have a
relationship where the players are willing to go in
the direction that -- you speak for your coaching
staff and for your front office and for your
ownership. If you stand and say we need to go
right, and your relationship with players is not one
where they follow, then there's a couple things.
No. 1, that's why sometimes managers don't go
back on their own, because, you know, they just
get tuned out. And that's why if an organization
sees that, then they don't bring them back.
So I'm really shocked by this. I just look at
the season they had. I didn't know that. But I think
what you look for, in the best situations, you have
a personal and a professional relationship with
your players. In my opinion, if it's just an effective
professional relationship, where they respect you,
that's okay. But the dynamics of a baseball team
is from Spring Training to hopefully October, you're
together so much that professional alone, you're
missing edges. It's like the guys that I respect the
most that I've watched over the years, you've got
to add the personal. There's got to be something
personal with your players so that they respect, but
there's feeling and there's caring and there's trust
and all that.
You know, so that's kind of -- that's a little
long winded, but I don't think you can just get up
there and be a great strategist and get it done as
well as somebody -- I use my friend Jim (Leyland).
To me Jim is incredible that way because he's
personally just gets into their hearts and heads and
strategy, he's great.
But you need to have both of them in my
opinion, and I'm surprised, Oakland.
Obviously the way you guys have
pitched to Delgado and some of the damage
he's done, that's been a big theme in the series
so far, what are specifically some of the things
that make him so tough to pitch to?
TONY LA RUSSA: Well, I thought you
were getting ready to get that answer, what are
you going to do to get him out, can't talk about that.
No, what makes him so tough, here is a
guy that's a .300 hitter with power. If the guy is
hitting .300 and doesn't have power, he's got
holes. If a guy hits .300 and doesn't have power
the damage is limited. This guy's got it all. Guys
like that, they have the ability to hit a lot of different
pitches and they make adjustments. That's Carlos
Delgado, can't go to the same place to get him out.
You've got to mix it up and if you've made a
mistake like we've made, he punishes you. He's a
What makes a good coaching staff,
and how much difference can they make on a
team, good, bad?
TONY LA RUSSA: Appreciate the
question, because I really think there's a lot of
respect due to good coaching staffs. As long as
everybody understands, this is a player's game,
but the demands on the players from the first day
to the last are so difficult and they come in so
many forms that a good coaching staff can really
help put players in a position, both psychologically,
fundamentally, you know, strategically.
A good coaching staff knows that they are
there for the players. Same thing as managing.
By the quality of how you are as a person and as a
professional, you earn respect and trust and
caring. So, I mean, we're blessed here. We have
a great coaching staff, and these guys work hard
and they work hard for the players. Nobody is
here -- I challenge you to find one coach that's
generated a headline out here, "I helped Albert" or
"I helped Chris." They just don't do it. You're not
there to be cute with the press. You're there
because you're there to be a friend to somebody,
help guys get into a position to succeed and it's all
about them and not you.
And the other P.S. to that, we talk about
with Red all the time, the veterans here, the last
bunch of years, players get to the bigs here and
they still need to be coached. You used to learn at
all levels of the Minor Leagues but now you come
to the big leagues, even in a good developmental
situation, there's still a lot of teaching, so your
coaches have to be good teachers as well.
Chris Carpenter is the ultimate
competitor. The Mets maybe didn't see the
best of him in this last game. He says that he's
ready to take on this next challenge. Will they
see a different pitcher most likely in the second
TONY LA RUSSA: Well, that's interesting,
you know, they saw the great Chris Carpenter.
They saw a guy that was not the top of his game,
and they couldn't finish him off and finish us off.
That to me is part of why he's great. If he goes out
there Wednesday and he's his normal self as far
as command of his four pitches, they will see the
greatest of the great.
Carpenter's greatness, just like the other
day, the last game in San Diego, they could have
had five or six the first two innings if he had not
been as great as he is, and same thing with the
Mets. Those great ones, when it's not their day,
they give you a chance anyway.
Again it's a small sample on Albert
and his batting average is fine, do you feel like
a power explosion is there, that you cannot go
through a series without him hitting some long
TONY LA RUSSA: We won a couple of
games in this series, one game at Shea, he got a
couple base hits.
We can win with him getting on base,
whether it's a single or a walk or a double. I mean,
you probably noticed, he's laboring when he runs.
His right hamstring is a real problem, his
push-off/drive leg. He can hit some home runs and
catches it right, but he's not going to be generating
as much power but he can still generate base hits.
Just got to be careful running.
Courtesy of FastScripts by ASAP Sports. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.