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Brian Walton's news and commentary on the St. Louis Cardinals (TM) and their minor league system

Tony La Russa Roasted

St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony La Russa was roasted at the Annual Dinner of the St. Louis Chapter of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America on Sunday night.

Among the featured speakers were actor/musician Billy Bob Thornton, college hoops coaching legend Bobby Knight, former Cardinals pitcher Steve Kline, Detroit manager Jim Leyland and Cardinals broadcaster Mike Shannon. The latter two were most tame in their remarks, though Leyland demonstrated a strong singing voice.

The audio (what isn’t censored) will air on KMOX Radio 1120 on Monday night at 7:00 P.M. Central. (The station offers free internet streaming.) FOX Sports Midwest will also be telecasting a one-hour version of the event starting on January 28.

A good time was had by all. There were many awards and positive comments all evening long, but the focus here is on the shots issued during the La Russa roast portion of the program. Here are some of the highlights.

Channel 2’s Martin Kilcoyne took the stage early on. Among his zingers.

Billy Bob was next.

  • The actor and Cardinals fan asked for and received 10 seconds of silence. He announced it was in honor of TLR and Dave Duncan’s personalities.
  • Knight threw Thornton’s chair off the side of the stage in mock anger.

Kline had the sharpest barbs.

  • The lefty noted he is the opposite of TLR’s animal rights advocacy, saying, “I’m a killer, not a saver.”
  • When the name Barry Weinberg came up, Kline looked under La Russa’s table for the long-time trainer and TLR confidant.
  • He suggested that La Russa “does great for animals. It’s people he sh**s on. Ask Scott Rolen or Ozzie Smith.” (Thanks to Dathan7 via Twitter for helping me fill this in.)
  • Kline commented that the manager likes cats, except one. “The only pussy you didn’t like was J.D. Drew.”
  • The former reliever noted the skipper is such a hard worker that he sometimes sleeps in his office, and even in his car. When Shannon says “Get up baby,” he is calling TLR at 3 A.M.
  • In TLR’s next job, he can’t be a Santa since he can’t stand kids. “See what he did to Brendan Ryan.”

The General took the floor.

  • Knight received a fake call from Post-Dispatch columnist Bernie Miklasz, who passed on his regrets as he was attending a Bobby Cox dinner instead (see photo).
  • Dusty Baker made a pretend call to Knight with this message for TLR. “Screw you.”
  • Knight explained his hunting hobby is a humanitarian effort to spare the country from being flooded with bird poop.
  • In his retirement, Knight volunteered to be TLR’s driver, but decided it would be no fun. He would have no one to talk with since TLR falls asleep at every light.
  • The coach admitted he doesn’t care for cats, but he does like dogs. “They point at birds for me to shoot.”

La Russa fired back.

  • He noted that Thornton, who had lobbied to suit up and throw a pitch for the Cardinals, had a better chance of getting Rex Ryan or Ozzie Guillen to play him since they apparently have the personality he doesn’t.
  • TLR said the idea of Kline teaching pitchers (as a minor league coach for the Giants) scares the hell out of him.
  • The manager noted that Kline was too dumb to be afraid on the mound.
  • La Russa thanked Knight for his “outstanding” help in anger management and media relations.

St. Louis Baseball Co-Men of the Year Adam Wainwright and Albert Pujols were last up.

  • Wainwright praised TLR’s decision-making, like when he was taken out of the game with a chance to win his 20th game two years ago. La Russa then passed the pitcher a note suggesting the comment made his opening day starting pitcher decision between Wainwright and Chris Carpenter easy.
  • Pujols took a shot at Post-Dispatch writer Joe Strauss who had presented him the same award the last three years, but was noticeably absent Sunday. “He’s not here because he is writing about my contract for tomorrow.”

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