a couple days ago the Sports Frog placed all 92 mlb, nba, and nfl franchises into a ranking matrix and spat out the results. the cardinals checked in at #4, behind the lakers, yankees, and celtics and just ahead of the spurs and the packers. the sf giants, dodgers, bears, and cowboys rounded out the top 10. whole lotta mystique in that group --- but what the hell are the san antonio spurs doing at #5? no offense intended --- lovely city, fine team --- but would you consider them a more storied franchise than the packers? the dodgers? the cowboys? i bet jerry jones did a spit take all over his laptop when he read that post. . . . .
bernie cites the cards' tradition as a prime reason that la russa decided to return for another couple of seasons. it's a humanizing piece and worth the read, even if tlr's professions of commitment to youth and statistical analysis ring more than a little hollow:
"As opposed to these guys who got it all figured out," La Russa said. "There's a risk that (the older players) will lose that fire in their gut, because they've already sampled postseason success, they've already achieved financially, they have security.
"So if you ask me, to pick between a team that is just over the edge or brand-new, I'll take the brand-new."
about 10 days ago bernie wrote that "there will be no surprises; La Russa will know in advance who the GM is, and in one form or another, he will have given a thumbs-up." that was consistent with la russa's previous statements that he couldn't commit to returning without knowing who the gm was going to be. with la russa now officially back on board, we can safely conclude that the new gm has been identified. la russa's return has been a fait accompli since late last week --- wasn't official, but the only issues left undecided were the details of the contract; the core issue (stay or go?) had been resolved. at that point, one of the leading gm candidates, chris antonetti, still hadn't been talked to, because his team (the indians) was still in the playoffs. within hours after antonetti's team got knocked out, la russa's deal was finalized and his return as manager was formally announced to the public . . . . .
coincidence? maybe so. here's what tony said during his press conference yesterday (hat tip to Birdland; emphasis added):
TLR: I think the two issues –- what goes on with the front office -– it’s not the issue I thought it would be when we first talked about it. To be perfectly honest -– and he can hold me to it, everyone can hold me to it -– if he hires somebody tomorrow and that guy doesn’t want me, they can tear the contract up and I wouldn’t hold them up. I wouldn’t want to be here. I just don’t think that’s going to happen.
if he's offered the job, i don't see how he can turn it down. the vacancies in anaheim, atlanta, minnesota, houston, pittsburgh have all been filled, and his moment as baseball's "it" boy won't last forever. besides, it's a primo job; we're the #4 franchise in all of sports, dammit. all signs point to this guy. here's an outstanding piece about him posted at USS Mariner last winter. read. enjoy. if it's him, we should know within a very short time.