After the St. Louis Cardinals and Boston Red Sox went through a bean ball contest, Bernie Miklasz followed up with Tony La Russa to check and see whether the baseball code applied to the actions of the St. Louis Cardinals.
Bernie gets right to the point:
We reminded the Cardinals’ manager that he has an established history of protecting his hitters. In fact, La Russa all but published an official position paper on the subject, having collaborated with author Buzz Bissinger to devote an entire chapter of the book “3 Nights in August” on the protocol of revenge. It’s certainly unusual for a baseball manager to so openly document his philosophy on this baseball taboo.
This is awesome. This is what sports columnists should do. Put the screws to the local sports figures when necessary.
The book doesn’t apply in this situation. You have to believe it was intentional, and that’s when you respond. And I didn’t believe what the Red Sox did was intentional. That’s the way the game has been played for 100 years. That’s how I learned it. And that’s the way it’s always been taught. This is nothing new. In the book, I just explained something that all baseball people believe in. It didn’t fit this time.
I wish I had a blank stare icon. For the love of all that is great and good, please follow-up, Bernie.
Who could blame La Russa for refusing to turn the other cheek by sticking up for his team on Tuesday? Boston has a fresh and blatant history of nailing opposing hitters. And in this case, Boston initiated the HBP nonsense after the Cardinals carved out a big lead for the second consecutive game.
La Russa knows what can happen to a ballclub’s morale when these first strikes go unanswered. In 2003, Tino Martinez confronted pitching coach Dave Duncan and demanded to know why Cardinals pitchers wouldn’t stick up for their teammates after they were victimized by a flurry of HBPs. It’s no coincidence, or secret, that relationships were strained late in that 2003 season.
Bernie didn’t follow-up.
This is how Bernie closes the column:
Despite the anecdotal evidence in “3 Nights in August,” La Russa insists that he did not put “The Code” in place against the Red Sox on this one night in June.
This could have been one of his best columns ever, but Bernie didn’t follow-up and push La Russa for an answer.
Score: 1 out of 10.