In an article on STLtoday.com last week, Tony La Russa waxes philosophical on what it would take to get him out of managing:
“I've got a contract through 2007, but if I feel, or ownership feels that I'm not putting everything into it, we walk away. That's it,” he said. “I'm not going to take their money if I feel something slipping. And they have the right to pull the plug if they don't like the way it's being handled. It's always been that way for me. I'm sincere about it. Right now, you say no way something like that could happen. But I've seen it happen. You never take it for granted.”
Sounds to me like he can already feel it coming on. I expect we'll start to see the changes in TLR's style pretty soon. At first it'll just be little stuff: getting a decent haircut, taking off the sunglasses, passing up opportunities for the suicide squeeze. But before you know it, he'll be departing completely from his usual self. That's right: this may be the season that we see only three pitching changes in a game.
That's when we'll know we've seen the end of La Russa.