I don't remember the whole story (because I really didn't care at the time) but I believe the rift between Scott Rolen and Tony LaRussa started in the '06 playoffs when LaRussa sat Rolen in favor of a lefty because he had been struggling. Rolen, as a regular player, felt slighted by LaRussa's meddling (that's me editorializing). The relationship was never really repaired and the Cards traded Rolen.
During Game 2 last night, the announcers mentioned that Rolen had 20 homers during the season, but that 17 had come before (some date, July?) and he only had three homers since. My first thought was, "wow, why is he still in the clean-up spot?" My second thought: Dusty! That's the difference between LaRussa and Dusty. Dusty sticks with his guys, sometimes to a fault (see C-Pat, T-Virus) but sometimes, his faith is rewarded. Where would the Reds be this year if Dusty had given up on Bruce and Stubbs when they struggled? Or benched O-Cab or BP when they struggled? I'm not sure, but not in the playoffs. LaRussa has won a lot of games, but with LaRussa, it's about him; what can he do to win the game? With Dusty, it's about his players; what can he do to help his players succeed? You can legitimately argue about whose approach is better, but for me, this year, I'll take Dusty's.
Mike Mussina, Hall of Famer
4 weeks ago