Recently ‘Retired’ Tony La Russa Already Eager for Next Challenge: “I need to get back into baseball somewhere.”November 4, 2011 – 7:00 am by Steven Cuce
Tony La Russa may be one of the few managers/coaches, who finally got it. You might as well go out while the going is good and not hang on for too long. Right?
While La Russa had made the decision to hand in his working papers in St.Louis during the summer, he could have never imagined how this fairy tale season would have turned out for the Cardinals. The Cards were not only on the verge of missing the playoffs in early September or on the verge of elimination twice in game six of the World Series, but so was their manager. He never made the story about himself.
La Russa sounds very content with his decision to retire from his managing duties, but seems to be itching already to be back in baseball in some capacity. Where will he go next? Only time will tell.
Tony La Russa joined ESPN Chicago with Waddle and Silvy to discuss retiring as a World Series Champion, the idea of joining the Chicago White Sox’s front office, leaving the St.Louis Cardinals with any kind of recommendation for the next manager, the next job he would want in baseball and the Chicago Cubs having any chance at getting Albert Pujols in free agency.
How do you even wrap your brain around the finish to the St.Louis Cardinals season and you going out on top as a champion?
“Believe me it is not something as you can tell that happens very rarely. It’s a matter of history, but you just keep it simple. The club kept it simple. We wanted to get back into the race and then we got into the race and then when you get to the finish line, once you are in the tournament then let’s just play the game as hard as we can. We got hot at the right time. We were fortunate. I decided about mid-summer that this was going to be it, so I was lucky to make this last season the one that has so many good memories.”
Are you entertaining the idea of joining the Chicago White Sox in any capacity going forward?
“Well I don’t know how to answer that. I think they are really set up. I think that’s the problem. They are really [set up in the front office]. They got their structured players in place. Kenny [Williams] does a good job. He’s got Bill Hahn…is it Rick Hahn? [Hosts: Rick Hahn] Rick Hahn. Right. They are really set up. I think I need to get back into baseball somewhere, but you don’t want to go into some place that already has it figured out. They [Chicago White Sox] got it figured out.”
As you left the Cardinals did you leave a recommendation as to who should get the job? Maybe Jose Oquendo or someone else?
“No. I got too much respect for Bill DeWitt, Jr. and John Mozeliak. That’s the reason I gave them a heads up, so they can start to prepare and they’ll work the process. They are really sharp. They know our organization. They know our players and they don’t need any input. They know I am pulling for them to make a great choice and it’s a great job. They’ll figure it out. They are very sharp.”
In your next role do you want to be hands-on after all these years as manager? Do you want to be on a day-to-day staff? Is that what you are looking for?
“I think I don’t really want to retire immediately and just make a ceremonial visit here and there. I don’t want some kind of idle job that doesn’t do anything. I like responsibility. I like to wake up in the morning with something to do, so if there some fit there somewhere hopefully you get an opportunity then you prove you are really willing to work and you have something to contribute and then maybe you get more responsibility. That’s the way it is supposed to be, so I am not asking for any favors just a chance.”
Do you think the Chicago Cubs have an opportunity to get Albert Pujols or will he stay put?
“Well I don’t know how to answer that. I just know that Albert [Pujols] is great. The Cardinals are great and they are going to try to make it happen and then it is wait and see. I don’t know and I can’t begin to speak for what the Cubs are thinking about either. I’ll stay away from that one.”
Listen to Tony La Russa on 1000 ESPN Chicago here [Interview begins at the 31:50 mark in the podcast]