The best thing about having the Cardinals around in October is the inevitable moment when La Russa, lineup-card philosopher and Buzz Bissinger's kewpie doll, gets bounced on his ass by a team that realizes the game is baseball, not chess.
I can't wait. And neither can Charles P. Pierce, who remains America's best sportswriter no matter what Rick Reilly writes over and over on his Trapper Keeper:
I first became aware of this particular blight when he worked in Oakland a decade or two ago, back in the days before Beane turned the A's into a mirror with which to show himself his true genius. First thing you heard was that La Russa had a law degree. This was meant to portray him as something of a baseball intellectual, which heretofore had been defined as someone who spit tobacco on his own shoes and not yours. I was fascinated by the fascination with this; I mean, the world is full of lawyers. (So, for that matter, are various low-security prisons, but that's another story.) I wondered how many of his acolytes would hire Tony La Russa and his law degree to defend them on a capital-murder charge. Not many, I reckoned.
Then there was the ballet school T-shirt. La Russa used to wear this all the time in his post-game interviews. This was meant to portray him as something of a baseball aesthete, which heretofore had been defined as someone who put something larger than a $1 bill into the stripper's G-string. This particular bluff worked until the night when, while wearing the ballet-school T-shirt, La Russa bum-rushed an elderly reporter from his clubhouse. This is not something Diaghilev would have done - not even to people throwing apples at his head.
With La Russa's contract set to expire after the season, it's pretty much a given that teevee people will sing hosanna after hosanna to his steel-jawed genius. And if the Cardinals advance past the first round, we could be in for the most insufferable postseason since 2006. Let us pray it doesn't happen. Baseball has enough dilettantes hanging around the ballpark as is. The last thing we need is yet more undeserving praise for a guy who waves around his law degree and demands a Fields Medal because he occasionally bats the pitcher in the eight hole.