Maybe I’m the only one reading it this way, but does anyone else think that LaRussa is really going out of his way to try to take Rolen down a peg? I really don’t know why, but the whole tone of the article and quotes from TLR give that impression to me.
As I noted yesterday (and other times before) at the Clubhouse, for all this talk about Rolen being a bad presence and he should grow up and keep quiet, you very rarely hear anything directly from Scott. Even in this article, the only statement he had was the following:
“These are matters that I never discussed publicly and are matters that should have remained private,” Rolen said. “I will not dignify Tony’s comments with any response at this time.”
Tony seems to have a personal grudge against Rolen now.
“He’s got a contract to play, and we need him to play,” La Russa said Wednesday at the baseball winter meetings. “And he’s going to be treated very honestly. If he plays hard and plays as well as he can, he plays. And if he doesn’t, he can sit. If he doesn’t like it, he can quit.”
Rolen’s effort has never been questioned, I don’t think. He may not have been physically able to perform at the level he has in the past, but no one has ever said, “Man, Rolen is really dogging it out there.”
It seems to me that TLR really didn’t like the fact that Rolen was the only one that didn’t necessarily want him back when he was deciding during the offseason. I’m not sure why TLR thinks he can have everyone behind him–it’s not terribly surprising that a hard-headed, competitive man would rub another hard-headed, competitive man the wrong way. Besides, as Casey Stengel said,
“The secret of successful managing is to keep the five guys who hate you away from the four guys who haven’t made up their minds.”
My guess is that TLR thinks if he puts public pressure on Rolen, he’ll get him so fired up that he’ll play great to spite the manager. I’m not sure it works like that. Like I said, Rolen has played hard ever since he got to St. Louis. TLR wouldn’t have that World Championship without him, because Rolen should have been the MVP of that series.
Now, obviously, we don’t know what’s gone on behind the scenes. Perhaps Rolen ate a big steak in front of TLR. Maybe he kicked a puppy, which is where Brad Thompson got the idea. It just seems like something that professionals and adults would keep behind the scenes instead of continuing to fan the flames in public. Rolen has done that. TLR has not.
And how much do you bet Mozeliak calls TLR into his office and says, “Hey, Tony, you know, if you really want Rolen gone, keep your mouth shut. You drive down his value every time you talk about it. Right now the best offer is two packs of gum and we pay Rolen’s salary.”
We’ll see how this develops but chances are that even in the heat of a St. Louis summer, that clubhouse is going to be pretty cold.
Couple of general notes: First off, here’s a good recap of the Cardinal rumors right now. Colon might be interesting, other than that, not so much. And why would you talk to Rowand? He’s going to get big bucks and he plays center field, where your top prospect plays. I guess they could move Rasmus to a corner, but I don’t know how he’d adjust. Anyway, it’s out there.
Second, it’s a little long for a name, but Tom at CardinalsGM has a suggestion for the United Cardinal Bloggers.
Cardinals United Blogging Society: Some Understand Cardinal Knowledge.