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Monday, October 17, 2005

 

Eject Respect, Respect Eject

The more I read and gauge the reactions to LaRussa's temper-tantrum, the more inclined I am to support it. LaRussa exploded for a team that has been rather emotionless and, after close losses, passionless. Our lineup has gone out there for three games now and carried themselves as though they were stuck in some droll, 9-5 world (like the rest of us). Bat. Field Ball. Repeat. The case was made in the comments of this post today over on Birdos, that LaRussa acted, at least in part, to protect his pitcher, Jason Marquis, a pitcher never too many steps away from a mental melt-down. I think that is certainly part of the reason for LaRussa to flip out like that; it definitely may have been the catalyst. What it really represented was the frustration and repressed emotion that had built from the last 24 innings of baseball the team had played. In ice hockey, teams often intentionally use a fight or a bone shattering check into the glass to fire up the players and/or the fans. Last night's tirade by the Cardinal manager was no different. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if one of the other factors contributing to it was the lack of any effort by the players to shift the momentum. As I said in my last post, it damn near worked. That ninth inning near-rally on Lidge would have torpedoed the entire Houston effort had it been successful. In today's box score, the ninth inning can merely be seen as two hits and two rally killing grounders. In spite of LaRussa's effort, the sparks must not have taken with all of the players. Pujols made a "church picnic" slide (see Josh's entry at The Birdwatch) into the plate, Sanders couldn't get a ball out of the infield, and Mabry couldn't get a ball to the outfield grass or find the adrenaline to add half of a second to his dash to first base. Game over, maybe the series too. LaRussa's version of the bruising body check delivered for the sake of his team ultimately fails perhaps for being too little too late in the game, misplaced aggression. The team should have come out seeking a bloodly revenge as soon as they dragged the batting practice nets onto the field. Someone should have retaliated for Lane's "extra" defensive slide into third the night before, sending a Houston player back into the field with his own "deep contusion" from a fastball. It may have put a runner on base, and that was a chance the Cards could afford given Houston's similar penchant for coming up empty with men on base. More importantly, it might have shaken a few Redbirds out of their October haze. Hell, they might have even realized that there was something terribly wrong. Comparing the ability of each lineup, it's no surprise that Houston is leaving runners on base, but with the talent on our team there's just no excuse for the Cards to be doing as poorly as they are with runners on base. Maybe, just maybe, someone (and all we would have needed last night was just one) would go out there and play with their heart on their sleeve. It might be the only juice they needed to drop one into the outfield. Speaking of heart, John Rodriguez has earned a start tonight. I realize he probably won't get it, clearly a manager has to go with the proven guys first. However, every time he's had the opportunity to come into a game this postseason, he has made the most of it. I would have liked to see him have the full atbat that he finished off for Edmonds. He may very well not have the stuff to be a full time major league outfielder, but he's got the heart to be playing tonight. In October, sometimes, passion is all a player needs. If we don't see any of that in the first inning tonight, turn your TV off before the second inning gets underway, go for a walk, start thinking about next season.
Comments:
i oddly feel optimistic about tonight's game. though a lot of it is probably wishing to see the cards play at least one more game at busch.

we can't go out like this ...
 
I almost shut down the TV after the 7th... but as Albert said, it takes 27 outs to end the game. Yes!
 
... we didn't go out like this!
 
that was amazing! I had gone to bed after the Berkman HR, but came back to check just in time!
 
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