While a manager plays many roles throughout the season, his primary responsibility is to put his team in the best position to win the game. Last night, Tony Larussa (“The Genius”) not only failed to uphold this inherent responsibility, he completely compromised the integrity of the game.
If Larussa firmly stands by his elementary decision – and he stares you in the eye and tells you he did everything possible to put his team in the best position to win - then he is in fact telling you that Aaron Rowand is a better hitter than Albert Pujols. Right? What else are we to assume? Do we really believe that Larussa thinks that? Absolutely not. Which then begs the question: What was Larussa really doing? Let’s take a look and you decide.
1). He only selects five starters to the team, while taking six relievers. Six! And Brian Fuentes is one of them? And one of your starters – Oswalt – won’t pitch because he just pitched on Sunday. Yet, he picked him over Chris Young (rightfully voted in) and John Maine – both of whom had far better seasons that Oswalt.
2). He bats Utley eighth, after Russel Martin! Huh?
3). He burns through one pitcher an inning (notice Leyland, with a real chance at a World Series title, preserved his staff, throwing a pitcher every two innings)
4). And of course, Rowand hitting with the game on the line, home field advantage on the line, and not for nothing, a 9 game losing streak on the line - THAT’S YOUR LEAGUE! – while Mr. Pujols, one of the greatest hitters of our generation watches.
Mr. Larussa, you not only let your league down and let Major League Baseball down by not adhering to your managerial responsibility; you let baseball fans around the universe down. You were the only person on the planet at that moment (other than maybe Rowand – even Rowand’s family probably wanted to see Pujols hit) who didn’t want to see a Pujols/F-Rod match up. Even Leyland and the AL All Stars wanted to see it.
Given all of the “evidence” above, I am left to think one of two things, or both maybe: That he was drinking (I’m just saying) or that he was giving a nice gift to his good friend, Jim Leyland. Nice work “Genius”, nice work. Way to represent.