Meeting Tony LaRussa

My husband and I are going to a benefit dinner this evening and were chosen to get our picture taken with Cardinals Coach Tony LaRussa. Not that we’ll be spending much time hanging out visiting with him, but I was just wondering if anyone has some good ideas about what to say to him, questions to ask, etc. that would be a little more scintillating/clever than the usual I-love-the-Cardinals-I’m-the-biggest-fan types of things that he probably hears over and over again. Thanks!

So how many things did Jose Canseco smash in the clubhouse during his roid rages?

Although you might not be best friends after that question.

I’d ask him what was his favorite city to visit and why, given that he’s job has taken him to the greatest cities in the U.S. and Japan. He’s an intelligent man with a law degree, so I’m hoping he doesn’t spend all his time in the manager’s office at the stadium watching ESPN. At the very least he probably knows the best restaurant in each city.

How about asking him what book he’s read lately or what movie he’s seen, and opinions of either? That’s always a good topic starter.

Ask him about Josh Hancock

This evening, eh? I’d expect him to be pretty worn out after a four-game weekend.

I don’t have a good answer for your question. Maybe I’d have a better idea after I finish the book I’m reading.

He’s dealt with quite a bit this season. After winning the world series in a new stadium last year, he’s dealt with low expectations, not meeting THOSE, the death of a pitcher (the second time it’s happened with him at the helm…Darryl Kile died in 2002), a DUI arrest and a semi-stormy relationship with the local paper.

He seems to be a good guy despite all that, so I’d say go easy on him.

Oh, definitely! I’m just trying to think of a unique conversation-starter. Since I’m a vegetarian and so is he, I think I’ll chat him up about where to find the best vegetarian food in St. Louis.

Thanks for all of the good suggestions.

Uh, yeah, you’re hilarious… Thanks for such inspired feedback…

It was actually a serious question. I’d want to know how that affected the team. The Cards and the White Sox have been two of the most disappointing teams in baseball. I’d want to know if that affected the team.

He is an avid animal lover. Here is his foundation ARF.

Ok. Sorry. I just didn’t think that would be a very good question to pose in the 30-60 seconds we had with him. I did go ahead and ask him about the best vegetarian food in St. Louis. He recommended going to any good Italian restaurant and having them substitute broccoli for the meat. He was quite gracious and it featured a very enjoyable program.

I often hear or read of Tony LaRussa being credited for the “modern bullpen”, i.e., popularizing (if not originating) the idea that relief pitchers should have defined roles and regular appearances based on game situations tailored to their skills (“closer”, “setup man”, “long reliever”, “left handed specialist”, etc.). I’d be interested in hearing his angle on that claim.

Seriously, by most accounts he’s pretty much an asshole (friends with Bobby Knight and Bill Parcells), so I’d probably keep it short and sweet.