All-Star postgame interview with Tony La Russa

Q. What were your thoughts as you saw Justin struggling right out of the gate tonight?

TONY La RUSSA: Well, he had I mean, his stuff was alive. You know, we fouled off some pitches, even though Melky got a first pitch hit. Ryan just put the bat on the ball, was a great at bat. The backbreaker was Sandoval, picking up that off speed pitch. But All-Stars, somebody is liable to get you and we got them. He could pitch against us five or six times, he would hold us scoreless for an inning or two. Sometimes you have to tip your cap, and our guys just competed and they did a great job.

Q. Is this a perfect capper to your career now?

TONY La RUSSA: Well, Katy (Feeney) did mention a few times that it would be nice to get one for the National League. Just a lot of fun. You know, the guys were not just All-Star talents, All-Star people for two guys. It was just really neat to be around the whole coaching staff, Ron, Terry and myself, we really enjoyed them.

I thought Chipper set the tone. He talked to them at the beginning of the meeting and just -- when I played, we knew how good the American League was. Just got the jump.

Q. Did you ask him to speak?

TONY La RUSSA: I said he didn't have to.

Q. Was there any level of commentary in the dugout about the rarity of the three triples so early in the game?

TONY La RUSSA: I just say, if you look at the lineup we sent up there, they have got great pitching. They could have shut us down. But we have a lot of really good hitters taking great at bats, starting with Melky getting the single.

Guys are going to compete in their at bats and when you have talent, you compete, and sometimes you make it happen. I mean, I don't know if it was expected but we knew it was expected that we were going to compete, and then it worked out.

Q. You see the Giants, living in the Bay Area. A lot was made about the fan vote; can you talk about the Giants, from Matt and Buster, all the way down?

TONY La RUSSA: Well, I had no problem with the vote. I had seen they hung in there with Pablo hurt, and when he plays, the lineup is deeper. You know, Buster, and Melky last year, this year, he's as good a hitter as there is in either league. They have a really solid team, and they have to be really good, because they are carrying Theriot -- that's supposed to make you laugh. I love Theriot. Just kidding.

I didn't have any problem with the voting. You look at it both ways. Either way, if Pablo would have started we would have had a great player in the game.

Q. Did it feel different putting on the uniform tonight and was it emotional for you at all?

TONY La RUSSA: I was aware that this was going to be it. But, you know, this happened a lot last year during the comeback and the playoffs. You just get wrapped up like you usually do in trying to win the game. It consumes you. The last couple of innings, coaches and I talked about it, rarely happens where you can enjoy the moment, and I enjoyed it.

Q. You gestured in the last inning where you let Terry make one pitching change; what was the thinking behind that and why did you want to do that?

TONY La RUSSA: Well, I mean, throughout the game, I was talking to them and asking them, they are very sharp and they had really good stuff. They were into it just like managers, and I can remember one of those early All-Star Games where I was forced to do it, and I didn't want to do it, and just made me part of it and I appreciated it. I wanted to pay the respects for the job they did for our club.

Q. Do you remember what game?

TONY La RUSSA: Maybe '87, John McNamara was the manager.

Q. We talk about the home field advantage element, and you really lived it last year; can you talk about what that could mean for whatever NL team gets to that point?

TONY La RUSSA: Well, the commissioner probably is not going to like this answer a whole lot. If you get to the playoffs, we didn't have home field against Philadelphia and Milwaukee, and that was a big disadvantage against two very good clubs.

If you are an October team, you can overcome that. So it's a nice edge. I'm sure the National League would rather play their home games there. But if you don't have it, you can still win. I mean, it's not a magic bullet; it's just a nice edge.

The reason these games are so competitive, I think both leagues just want a shot at the other one. They just like to compete. And home field is a nice extra, but it's not the major reason the guys are into the games.

Q. With the respect being shown to Chipper Jones, what did you think of Kansas City as a host city?

TONY La RUSSA: From A to Z, I think I just said today, coming to the ballpark, the way they have gone out of their way to make things really flow, like even just getting back and forth to the ballpark, they deserve a huge I'm glad you asked the question. I hope somebody will repeat what I say, because I think I represent both teams. We were treated outstanding. You get stuck in traffic trying to get back and forth to the ballpark, takes a little edge off.

Everything about our stay here was about as perfect as possible, win or lose. Doesn't surprise anybody; it's been in the Midwest for a long time, and that's kind of the way Midwesterners are.