Tony La Russa has confidence in Bobby Valentine, Red Sox
|08.27.12 at 4:19 am ET|
Tony La Russa knows a thing or two about managing a successful baseball team.
After all, the former Cardinals, Athletics and White Sox manager was doing it for over 30 years before retiring after last season, winning three World Series titles and four Manager of the Year awards in the process.
La Russa knows what it takes to build a baseball team to the top, even if it requires some difficult times along the way. So when he watches this 2012 Red Sox team fail to meet expectations like it has, he knows what he’s talking about. And when he hears people calling for Red Sox skipper Bobby Valentine to be fired because of how disastrous his first season in Boston has been, he can definitely relate.
“I think it’s very upsetting when somebody tries to tell an organization what they should be doing,” La Russa told WEEI.com before Sunday’s game at Fenway Park. “I never liked it when I was with the Cardinals, the A’s, the White Sox … this is what Tony should do. The Red Sox know what they’re doing.”
Being in the game for so long, La Russa knows Valentine well, going back to when his Cardinals teams and Valentine’s Mets teams squared off in the 2000 NLCS, which Valentine and the Mets won. He knows how qualified Valentine is, even if this year’s results aren’t exactly indicative of it.
“He’s a really bright guy. And this has been a tough situation and they haven’t caught a lot of breaks, and everyone needs to catch breaks,” La Russa said. “They’ve had health issues of some key guys since day one.
“It’s a very proud franchise and he’s aware of it. The one thing about Bobby, he’s not afraid to go out there in front and say what he thinks, which is part of what makes him good.”
Naturally, more and more people have called for Valentine’s head as the season has progressed and the Red Sox have continuously regressed. And naturally, speculation of a new manager to fill his shoes has also increased because of that, which has led to speculation of La Russa returning back to managing.
But La Russa, who retired after winning the World Series with the Cardinals last season, said his managerial days are over. He’s not returning to the dugout any time soon, if ever.
“I don’t have the first regret about not managing,” said La Russa, who now works for Major League Baseball as commissioner Bud Selig’s assistant for special assignments. “I miss the winning and losing. I’m very pleased that the commissioner has given me the chance to stay close to the game. I don’t miss the dugout, that’s done.”
For now, La Russa is confident that Valentine is the right man for the Red Sox job, high praise from one of the best managers in baseball history.
“What I said about Bobby is what I believe. I think he’s very qualified, very talented,” La Russa said. “It’s been a real tough year. The organization, just like the trade, they know what’s best for the organization, they’ll do what’s best.”
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