Saturday, September 17, 2011

La Russa and Manuel are two different managers, but both are successful




Tony LaRussa is an overachiever, he sometimes is accused of over managing baseball games. He’s been with the Cardinals forever it seems, and he started out his managerial career in 1978 with the Chicago White Sox organization in Double-A ball.


La Russa is a thinker, and a mover and shaker. He has a law degree from the Florida State University College of Law, though his passion is baseball. He’s accumulated quite a stack of awards over the years for being a baseball manager.


Part of being a manager in baseball is luck, and another part is skill. Knowing when to push the right button at the right time is the gentle art of managing with a bit of luck thrown in and of course having the good players on the team as well. You can be one of the best managers ever and without the proper personnel, you would sink to the bottom of the deep dark MLB ocean of teams that could have, should have, but did not.


Manuel is the opposite of La Russa’s ‘hands on’ approach


Charlie Manuel is the direct opposite of La Russa. Manuel prefers to let the game play on most of the time. He makes moves but not in a calculated or flashy way. Manuel has been a player over in Japan(with great success) and with that wise knowledge of the game, he puts it to use when he needs to. Some would argue Manuel relies on “playing the game out” instead of making certain moves that other more cerebral managers would make.


Some people call this method that Manuel employs as ‘playing baseball the right way.” Not sprinkling it with sugar coating or trying to make moves that involves making the manager a key part of the ballgame.


LaRussa is the longest tenured manager in the MLB


For the moment now, La Russa is the longest tenured manager in all of baseball. That title used to belong to Bobby Cox with the Atlanta Braves. Tony La Russa has been a manager in the MLB since 1979. He’s been with the Cardinals since 1996. La Russa also has a one year mutual option to return to the Cardinals in 2012. No announcement yet if that contract will be renewed by the Cards, but there is not reason to believe they wouldn’t want him back.


Phillies Magic Number to clinch NL East in 2011 is now at 1


Charlie Manuel has had a great past 5 seasons as manager of the Phillies. He has enjoyed first place finishes in the NL East for what today could be the 5th in a row. The Phillies are just 1 game away from clinching their 5th straight NL East title with either a win tonight or a loss by the Braves against the Mets before the Phillies game even starts. Manuel’s managerial career started in the MLB in 1983 as a minor league manager. He was a well accomplished player in Japan, hitting home run titles and was dubbed, “Aki-Oni” or ‘Red Devil’ by fans in Japan and other players there.


It just proves that there are different ways to go about things in baseball and both these managers from the Cardinals and the Phillies prove that. Manuel has more of the ‘go out and beat ‘em with what you got’ attitude and La Russa reserves the right to make some aggressive managerial moves during some games. You need the good players though, for without them a manager is just a man without an identity. When was the last time you read anything about the manager of the Kansas City Royals for example and could you even name him? That is what brings the manager the accolades, as he can’t win a ballgame by himself.

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