Just one thing today. No NBA is making my weekly sports world so slow that I’m considering watching soccer — God help us all.
The passing of the era of Tony La Russa is not just the passing of his own era in which he finishes as the third-winningest manager in baseball history, with three World Series rings. It is also the passing of a certain era of baseball, the last of a certain kind. He started managing in 1979 at the age of 32. After each home game, owner Veeck would assemble his favorite baseball minds in the Bard’s Room of old Comiskey Park, and during wild arguments over the hit-and-run and the bunt and the pitchout, the cigarettes and booze flowed until the wee hours of the morning.
La Russa loved the lore of baseball. He was a romantic at heart, but the best thing about him is that he changed with the game. He still looked for ways to turn baseball on its head with positive results. He still managed every game as if it were the first game he ever managed so he would not get lazy, exhausting to contemplate, given he managed 5,097 games. He also had great respect for the work of the famed sabermetrician Bill James. Just as he also realized that no matter how many numbers you pour into a computer, there will never be a way to quantify the intangibles of heart and chemistry and desire that define the success or failure of all of us.
– Buzz Bissinger, “The Strange Genius of Tony La Russa”
The Daily Beast
I generally disagree with everything Buzz Bissinger thinks, does, and says, along with his general attitude towards people and things. That being said, I do enjoy reading what he has to say. Upon re-visiting “Three Nights in August” over the past month — Bissinger’s hagiography/flat-earth defense about Tony La Russa — I found that if I put my (numerous) factual disagreements aside, it is a fairly enjoyable and interesting book about the mind of one of baseball’s most interesting characters. I would recommend checking it out if you’re interested in how Tony La Russa’s wacky mind worked.