TONY LA RUSSA: Well, I think I heard
the Commissioner say yesterday something that
seems to make a lot of sense, and that is however
the game is played, even if there's delays, you
want to have, as best you can, reasonable playing
competitive conditions. So part of that is not
burning a starter, but sometimes you're in an area
where squalls come through and -- you play in
Florida, you can't wait for three-hour breaks there
sometimes. But I think the idea to play nine
innings in October as best you can as opposed to
just trying to survive it, seems to make sense.
Still keeping your options open for
the Game 6 starter?
TONY LA RUSSA: No, we're going to go
ahead and pitch Weaver tomorrow. Weaver will
pitch Game 5.
How about after that?
TONY LA RUSSA: We'll be consistent.
We know we're going to play two more games, and
then see how our staff shakes out.
Is it hard for your pitchers,
especially the younger guys to wait a day,
maybe they don't warm up, but they're
motivated, they're excited about pitching and
then they have to wait?
TONY LA RUSSA: What are you talking
about, our relievers? Our starter, Supp, has
I think generally maybe the veteran has a
little more experience. There's such an excitement
of being here that you deal with some of the
interruptions and distractions and when it's time to
go, the excitement and the enthusiasm carries you.
Do you think you could have played
TONY LA RUSSA: No chance. I was
downtown late, they had no chance to play. If it
had been anything other than a World Series
game, they would have bagged it earlier. They did
the best they could.
What made you go with Weaver over
TONY LA RUSSA: I think it will be his
natural day, I think. The way he's pitched for us
makes sense to go, and we keep Anthony ready
for whatever we need.
How much do you think it ate away
at Scott Rolen the struggles in the '04 World
Series, and not being able to make it up with
the last post-season? How much do you think
that's helped with this postseason?
TONY LA RUSSA: I think with Scott, he
hadn't been healthy much in October. And the one
time I think whatever it was, was it '01, I think it's
'01 where he started off really good against the
Diamondbacks, the first game and a half, and got
blasted and that was it for him. And every year
after that he gets to the end of the season he's
pretty well beat up.
I liked his quote, since we've been playing,
he said he thinks he's got a fighting chance, and
that's all it takes with him.
Your only other World Series was
'89, can you talk about how that experience
affected your view on baseball and life?
TONY LA RUSSA: Well, I'm not sure I
really want to think about it, because this is 2006
and it's completely different. We're just trying to
But I remember that was a really talented
club, and it's a coach's dream to have that kind of
talent peak, and we were peaking as we got -- we
beat a really good Toronto team. So all of a
sudden you play two games, we were playing as
good as we could play, pitching as good as we
could pitch, and you have to wait. But looming
over it all is people were killed, loss of property,
injured. It was a devastating hit to the Bay Area.
And there was some attempts to make us feel
guilty for wanting to continue it, but I looked around
and everybody else, every other form of
entertainment -- we were out 10, 11 days,
whatever it was, but I think we're all capable.
As a club we concentrated on
professionally this is an opportunity. In that
clubhouse there were very few guys with World
Series rings, very, very, few. This was their
chance. On the personal side we were careful not
to celebrate. We didn't have a parade. We didn't
have champagne, stuff like that.
One of the things Jim Leyland said
yesterday is that your club's familiarity with
Polanco very well could be playing a role in the
fact he hasn't hit, how true could that be?
TONY LA RUSSA: Let me ask you, if Poli
goes out and gets two or three hits, what happens
That's what Jim said.
TONY LA RUSSA: I know that's what Jim
said. He said it could be.
I think we pitched him really tough. I think
he's had a couple of pitches where he had real
good swings, he fouled them off. I also remember
against Chris he had a line drive on a 0-2 pitch to
first or second. Was that the one Albert had to
dive at or something?
He's going to get his hits. I think in a short
series sometimes, averages don't count for lots.
It's at-bats, and we're really worried about him,
whether he hits third or seventh.
Do you, yourself, or any of your
baseball friends, colleagues, ever wonder out
loud about the TV ratings and how that plays
against the record attendances and all these
teams that thought two million was
unimaginable when you were growing up, and
three million and four million, and the ratings
go down and down, do you think about it at all?
TONY LA RUSSA: Well, I can just speak
for myself, it's not something we talk a lot about in
the clubhouse. It's really concentrating on playing
the game. Everything else like that takes care of
itself. I read once in a while if one of the New York
teams had gotten in or both New York teams, so
maybe that's a function of it.
The way I look at it, if you're anywhere
from a casual to a great baseball fan, and you've
got the Cardinals and the Tigers with the history
both these franchises have, it's a must see World
Series. That's enough for me.
Baseball, generally, what's
happened to the first two spots in the batting
order? It used to be leadoff guy was the guy
that just got on base, and the second guy was
a bat handler. And then you made the No. 2
spot a power position, how did that all evolve?
TONY LA RUSSA: I didn't make that. I
learned it. Everything I do I've learned from
somebody. I tell you who taught me that one, but
-- I don't know. I can remember didn't Bobby
Bonds strike out a lot, and that was years ago.
You look at the players you've got, the
best players for the position, and you start
configuring them in the lineup. In '89, Bo Jackson
led off, because you had to put him somewhere.
And guys like can Kirby were needed other places.
So I do think that -- it's the only thing I've said for
years about our -- I've been very fortunate in the
three places I've been, I have always had a three
hitter that was a real problem for the other side,
from Harold to Jose to Mark to Albert, and when
you've got that kind of problem for the other side
(crossing fingers) makes sense.
Some of this stuff I run by Dave. It makes
sense to put some extra-base pop in the two spot.
I will say the best comeback we had here was in
2001, we were eight or nine games down to
Houston in August, we came back to tie for the
co-championship. The guy that hit second did
more to trigger our spurt, his name is Placido
Polanco. He was a classic Ted Sizemore kind of
I think the big thing if you think about it
strategically, if you have this dynamite guy hitting
third, and you do the traditional thing where you
use the second guy to get him in scoring position,
open base, you put the guy on, you take the bat
out of his hands, so it doesn't make a lot of sense,
unless you can get him to third, which is something
we try to do once in a while.
With the stay in St. Louis lasting
about a week, do you think it's an advantage
for your players home in their own beds rather
than in a hotel and just trying to get through
TONY LA RUSSA: That's a good
question. I think the mindset is so strong on both
sides -- I know the Tigers are one of the best road
clubs in both leagues. They're going to handle it, if
we beat Detroit, guys are mentally set to play out
their best shot. I think it is a problem, I don't know
if -- because it happened to us, it happened to the
Mets and there was a possibility that guys, some
guys had to change rooms, not the players, some
guys in the organization, because you had to stay
over an extra day.
But it's not going to be a factor either way.
What role do you see for Anthony
Reyes in this series or what role would you like
to see him in for the rest of the series?
TONY LA RUSSA: There's so much
uncertainty about how long the series is going to
go, with the weather, what days. He's going to
throw a bullpen today and we'll see how long this
thing goes. And there's a reasonable chance that
he will get -- he's not going to start in the St. Louis
portion, but there's a chance he would start in
Detroit. So we're going to get him ready for that.
Courtesy of FastScripts by ASAP Sports. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.