Friday, October 21, 2011

The Managerial Secret of Tony LaRussa




“He’s on a whole different level. He thinks about stuff nobody else is thinking about. I played for him, I know how he is. He’s one of a kind.” 
--Darren Oliver, Texas Rangers pitcher, discussing St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony LaRussa.   
Tony La Russa has been a major league manager for 33 seasons.  In the opening game of the 2011 World Series on Wednesday night against the Rangers, La Russa pulled the right levers with his bullpen, making five changes. Each move went his way, and the Cardinals won the first games of the series.  3-2 in front of 46,406 at St. Louis’ Busch Stadium.
LaRussa emphasizes caring as a key component of this managerial style. 
“There’s a lot of smart baseball people around,” La Russa said. “Nowadays, with all the distractions, you better get kids that care for your message. And how do you get them to care? You care for them as people.”

It is not easy and it takes time. 

“Our staff, we believe in being very personal, up-close with our players,” La Russa said. 

“It’s not a line drawn and you rarely step over it. We really believe in a lot of intermingling and making each other personally accountable to each other. In other words, you care for your players. Actually, it’s a harder way to lead, because you spend a lot of time as a staff thinking about each and every guy, every day.”

Excerpts from the NYTimes.com (10/19/2011).
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