Baseball Prospectus's Jay Jaffe has an NLCS stat that, if you're at all like me, will send you scurrying to the far reaches of the cable box on Wednesday in search of something that does not involve Tony La Russa. (I'm serious. I like baseball as much as the next guy, but I'm not wasting my precious TV time watching unaccountably beloved boobs exercise their putative extrasensory powers. That goes for La Russa, and that goes for Ghost Whisperer, too.)
This is the stat (subscription req'd):
La Russa averaged an astounding 4.7 relievers per game
Ugh. I'll grant that, as rotations go, La Russa wasn't exactly working with the '66 Dodgers back there. But I see that stat, and I get a cold dread about this World Series. You realize what we're in for, right? The La Russalympics. A riot of too-clever-by-half baseball. Bunts and pitchers batting eighth and long, lingering shots of La Russa squinting over the dugout railing as if he were Balboa glimpsing the Pacific.
It will be Tony La Russa's World Series just as surely as last year's belonged to the longitudinal psychiatric study known as the Giants' pitching staff, and it will be miserable. La Russa spent all year playing the role of Tony La Russa so beautifully—the dick-twirling over baseball's unwritten rules, the defenestration of yet another talented young ballplayer—that I see no reason to believe he won't be stamping these next few games with the mark of his intellect, too. Leitch reminded me the other day that La Russa's two Series victories thus far—1989 and 2006—are regarded today as weird little flukes, the first because of an earthquake, the second because of the vaudeville revue the Tigers staged in the outfield. If he wins this thing, and wins it without the aid of any acts of God or Craig Monroe, it will go down as the ultimate expression of his lonely genius. He'll be treated less like a man than something the Borglums might've dynamited out of the Black Hills. God, I'm dreading it.