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Sandis La Russa

Most people with a reasonable knowledge would find very little in common between St. Louis Cardinals Manager Tony La Russa and former Rangers bum/wino Sandis Ozolinsh. Or Rams DE Leonard Little.

But Little's tale of DWI, where he killed a woman, repented, and then was arrested again on similar charges seems to be appropriate here for a fellow St. Louis sportsman.

Maybe Tony La Russa didn't kill anyone. But he could have. If his foot was heavy against the gas pedal instead of the brake pedal as the veteran manager passed out, the carnage would have been greater.

I can understand that people make mistakes, and that La Russa's BAC level was barely over the legal limit, but part of me feels a little schadenfreude in this. La Russa is revered within the game of baseball, despite having a somewhat creepy demeanor, and he has received great acclaim for his work with animal rights groups.

I'm just not sure I see it. Tony, you have one of the largest contracts for a manager in all of baseball. You've won four Manager of the Year awards. You also just won the World Series for the second time in your career. You can't afford a driver?

Your team drove away 2B Ronnie Belliard for suspected legal troubles. The Cardinals are supposed to be a family organization, dating back to before 1983, when Keith Hernandez was unceremoniously dealt to Flushing in part because of an ongoing drug problem.

Maybe La Russa isn't a drug addict, and maybe he isn't expected to be a role model for millions of kids. However, I tire of the sanctimonious praise that follows him from city to city during the season. Tony does everything right. He's a great manager. He's great within the community. He's an outstanding influence on the community. Doesn't that all look like bullshit now?

Remember in 2004, when the Diamondbacks axed their manager, Wally Backman, after four days on the job in part because of a DUI collar? Imagine if this was Willie Randolph, or Joe Torre. These men are professed as well to be some of the good influences within pro baseball, as well. Wouldn't we, with good reason, be up in arms about the disgraceful conduct of our team's leaders?

What's worse, baseball pundits opine about the extent to which steroids have permeated the game when drunken driving is far more detrimental to society. Steroid use is at least a victimless crime with consequences that solely affect the drug user. La Russa, terribly irresponsible in his conduct, could have killed anyone on the road.

Pardon me if I hope there was animal blood in that wine. Let's debunk this hero. Erase him from the ledger. No more puffball interviews between innings, where Jon Miller and Joe Morgan say nice things. Ask him if he's sorry. Ask him why he did it.

He won't say much. I don't care. Baseball will be one giant ego lighter.

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