The world found out about the 2012 MLB All-Star Game rosters on Sunday, and as always happens following those announcements, fans took to identifying worthy snubs. But it wasn't only the fans who had some bones to pick with the selections -- Reds manager Dusty Baker didn't understand why Tony La Russa left off both Johnny Cueto and Brandon Phillips. Cueto has a 2.26 ERA! Phillips has ... numbers that are all right! How dare that old man!
There have been explanations offered for La Russa's decisions, including those offered by La Russa himself. Some have sounded more reasonable than others. Over at StLToday, Bernie Miklasz chooses to have some fun with the whole story. I wonder if Miklasz has gotten any feedback for this piece. I wonder if any people have opinions about it.
Baker blamed La Russa for the exclusion, accusing TLR of carrying a grudge from the famous Cardinals-Reds brawl in 2010.
The power of Don Tony lives on.
Even after he's gone, and out of the way as a threat in the NL Central, the Reds are obsessed with La Russa. They're still taking him on.
La Russa still lives in Baker's head, still exists in the Reds' collective consciousness. La Russa is the ghost in the big red machine. The Reds lead the NL Central, and La Russa is a civilian. But TLR has changed the rules of engagement, and he's clearly winning the psychological battle with Baker.
I don't know which I enjoy more -- the thought of two old men fighting physically with one another, or the thought of two old men fighting with mind games with one another. Perhaps this reflects poorly on Baker. Or perhaps this is more like Baker's comfort zone, where he can act like a rival of La Russa again after months upon months of feeling lost and alone.
Nobody's going to care about the All-Star Game, but at least it's providing us all with some entertainment in the lead-up.