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Tony La Russa, future oil baron?

Since retiring from managing the St. Louis Cardinals following their 2011 World Championship, Tony La Russa hasn’t been reclining in an easy chair or tending a vegetable garden.

Among his many activities included working with one of the losing bidders for the Los Angeles Dodgers, assisting friend Jim Leyland with the Tigers during spring training and accepting a role in the MLB Commissioner’s Office. La Russa has been playing in charity golf tournaments and of course, his number 10 was retired by the Cardinals in a ceremony earlier this month.

In addition, the 67-year-old has traveled across the country delivering World Series rings to now ex-Cardinals who were members of his 2011 club. Most recently, he delivered Nick Punto’s ring when the Boston Red Sox visited Philadelphia.

Speaking of Philly, as the Cards were preparing to welcome the Phillies to Busch Stadium for the recently-concluded four-game series, La Russa was on the road again. He wasn’t in St. Louis, however.

La Russa was quite off the beaten path, specifically in Bismarck, North Dakota.

The future Hall of Famer was only the second the biggest thing to hit North Dakota in recent times, however. The recent oil boom remains the big story and apparently TLR wants in on the action.

He was there to attend the Williston Basin Petroleum Conference, tour an active oil well and visit a drilling site.

According to a report in The Jamestown Sun, La Russa had recently been speaking with Continental Resources CEO Harold Hamm about North Dakota oil development and wanted to learn more.

The quote from the ex-manager and long-time animal advocate sounded excited enough, in fact almost too much so. Over the years with La Russa, one could question his sincerity at times with the media. Perhaps not in this case, though.

“I can’t wait,” La Russa told the paper. “I’m just fascinated by it.”

I guess we’ll have to watch to see where this new endeavor takes the skipper, who has also dabbled in movie producing in conjunction with friends and actors Kevin Pollak and Billy Bob Thornton.

“Three Nights in August” is one of Redbird Cinema’s pending projects. Though a screenplay was developed by Thornton and writer Buzz Bissinger, it isn’t clear how the 2010 falling out between the book’s author and the ex-manager might affect this project.

Still, with all this extra time on his hands, could La Russa one day play himself on the big screen? His possibilities in “retirement” seem endless.

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Brian Walton

Brian Walton runs The Cardinal Nation and The Cardinal Nation Blog, covering the St. Louis Cardinals and minor league system.
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17 Responses to “Tony La Russa, future oil baron?”

  1. blingboy says:

    Appreciate being kept up to date on TLR’s doings. Somewhere there’s a joke about him in the middle of nowhere managing a crew of roughnecks.

    I’m assuming Freese will sit out again. It’s kind of interesting seeing what kind of team Mike puts out there lately. He’s lucky to have utlity guys like Descalso and Skip. I’m also getting interested in Greene. He might be coming on.

  2. blingboy says:

    Teusday lineup:
    1. Rafael Furcal (S) SS
    2. Skip Schumaker (L) CF
    3. Matt Holliday (R) LF
    4. Carlos Beltran (S) RF
    5. Yadier Molina (R) C
    6. Matt Adams (L) 1B
    7. Tyler Greene (R) 2B
    8. Daniel Descalso (L) 3B
    9. Jake Westbrook (R) P

    When I saw the lineup, I figured we were facing a lefty, with Yadi and Adams switched and Greene and Descalso switched, but not so. Considering all the carnage, its not a bad lineup.

    I see where the org is promoting guys on the DL and RL. Not sure what to make of that.

  3. WesPowell says:

    Tony was always highly complimentary towards Molina. For some time now he has attained the level of superstar at the catcher position. Now he is closing in on just plain superstar overall.

    • blingboy says:

      A friend who has seen a lot more games than I have this season thinks Yadi’s rise in offense the last couple seasons has been equalled by a decline in defense and throwing. I couldn’t say either way, but thought I’d mention it. I’m sure he remains a master at calling a game and handling pitchers.

      • CariocaCardinal says:

        That was my argument against his contract. Like Pujols offensively, Molina has been in a decline defensively – one that is only likely to get worse over the life of his contract.

        • blingboy says:

          There’s one that got past Molina just now (5th inning), but when you’re a gold glover it gets ruled a wild pitch, even though, if he hadn’t deflected it, it would have hit him in the shinguard, or maybe the ankle.

          Yadi had set up for an outside corner pitch, and it came in maybe a couple inches off the inside corner below the knees. Nothing wild about it, just missed location badly, but totally catchable, and certainly blockable. And Jake doesn’t throw 98 on the gun or anything.

  4. blingboy says:

    I had previously mentioned that according to a Gordon article the Blue Jays staff moved Colby, who was hitting .210, forward in the batters box so he wouldn’t have time to think so much.

    At the time, I wondered if they were on to something and it’s been a week, so I thought I’d check and see.

    He’s had nine hits including two doubles, two homers, a triple, 5 RBIs, and is now hitting .234.

  5. blingboy says:

    I don’t remember if they said Heyward was supposed to have an arm, but if they did they were wrong.

  6. JumboShrimp says:

    Now TLR is retired, he has time for interesting things, he is not tied down with baseball. Petroleum is important and North Dakota is the Saudia Arabia of the United States. Have a great time at the Wiliston Basin conference, Tony! Don’t do anything the GSA or Secret Service would not do.

    • blingboy says:

      I’ve been to Bismark, Jumbo. The Secret Service would refuse to go there, there is nothing to do.

      Years back, we visited a ballpark in Jamestown, down the road from Bismark. Prior to integration, the far north of the midwest was about the only place where integrated teams were seen, and actually were not all that rare. Some of the well known black players played in semi-pro leagues in North Dakota and Minnesota. The park in Jamestown saw Sachel Paige and others, there was an exhibit about that era, which helped with a reserch project I was doing. I’m pretty sure that stadium has been kept up and even expanded, or re-built maybe, and is still in regular use. Can’t remember the name right off.

      The region was pretty bleak back then, dried up towns everywhere. Sounds like things are looking up.

      • JumboShrimp says:

        The liberation and recovery of hydrocarbons from shale geologic formations is one of the most promising lifts to the US economy, amid a worsening recession on a global scale.
        Its not only N. Dakota, but eastern Ohio, northern West Virginia, western NY State, most of Pennsylvania, and parts of Texas and Louisiana. Shale oil and gas are the best news to hit Ohio since the plow.

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