10.27.11

La Russa Knows Art (When He Doesn’t See It)

Posted in Baseball, Cinema at 12:00 pm by

A few days removed from the bullpen phone debacle that put a modest dent in his genius reputation, Cardinals manager Tony La Russa told the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo that he planned to spend last night’s World Series Game 6 rainout at a screening of “Moneyball”, “even though he despises the concept the film is based on.” Not, presumably, the concept of burying Art Howe in multiple mediums.

La Russa said he went once already and walked out on it.

“It’s our tribute to all the scouts and baseball people that were dissed by ‘Moneyball,’ ’’ he said. “That’s why I walked out of ‘Moneyball.’ ’’

Why is he down on the concept?

“On-base percentage is one of the most dangerous concepts of the last seven, eight years,’’ he said, “because it forces some executives and coaches and players to think that it’s all about getting on base by drawing walks. And the fact is that the guys that have the best on-base percentage are really dangerous hitters whenever they get a pitch in the strike zone.

“So if the pitcher knows that and the catcher knows that, they work the edges, and pretty soon it’s 2-and-1, 2-and-1 rather than 0-and-1 all the time.

“You watch your productive hitters in the big leagues, and they get a chance to drive in a run, they look for the first good strike, and the better the pitching, especially this time of the year, you get that first strike, that may be the last one that you get to see. So you’d better be ready to swing early. It’s not sitting up there and taking strike one, strike two so that you can work the count.’’

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