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

La Russa favors post-series handshakes

As a manager, Tony La Russa was known as a fierce competitor, never willing to give his opponents an inch, while constantly seeking methods to motivate his players.

Having retired from his post leading the St. Louis Cardinals after the 2011 World Championship season, the 68-year-old is now a special assistant to Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig. Perhaps that has led to the emergence of a softer, gentler La Russa.

Still, it was with some surprise this week that La Russa came out firmly in favor of post-series handshakes between MLB clubs. Despite being as strong of a baseball traditionalist as exists, he would like to see MLB adopt the long-standing hockey tradition of sportsmanship.

La Russa’s Cardinals once initiated such a move following a National League Division Series against Jim Tracy’s Dodgers, at the urging of Canadian-born outfielder Larry Walker. It was October 10, 2004.

It has not been done in the sport since.

In 2004, some complained about the fraternization, yet times have changed. For example, opposing players chatting it up on the bases is a common sight in today’s game.

La Russa admits he should have pursued continuing the handshakes, but notes the 2004 NLCS was a hard-fought series against “hated” rival Houston and the Cards were quickly swept by the Red Sox in the World Series.

The Cardinals probably did not feel like initiating handshakes following either subsequent series, but isn’t that when it should mean the most?

“For years (the NL Central) was either Houston or the Cardinals, so it was more intense, it was kind of mentioned and it didn’t feel right so we didn’t do it, and it never came up again,” La Russa told “I thought about (doing it again) but I never really followed through on it.

“I have no excuse because it was such a good experience,” La Russa concluded.

Should MLB initiate post-playoff series handshakes?

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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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8 Responses to “La Russa favors post-series handshakes”

  1. blingboy says:

    Even though there is no handshaking in baseball, if individual teams want to go all mamby-pamby why stop them. But if players are going to shake hands, then fans should be allowed to throw hats and octopuses onto the field, and players should only be ejected for 5 minutes for charging the mound.

  2. crdswmn says:

    The PD has promoted Joe Strauss to a columnist and Derrick Goold to lead Cardinals beat writer.

    Not as good a news as Joe Strauss getting a job somewhere else but at least I don’t have to get my Cardinals news from him anymore.

    • blingboy says:

      Strauss: I’m hearing Ankiel is open to giving pitching one last shot since his market as a position player appears minimal. And, yes, I think the Cardinals would be among those open to providing such an opportunity. For now it remains in the rumor stage. Developing story …

      I’m gonna miss that guy.

  3. blingboy says:

    You might be thinking Miami replacing Ozzie Guillon with Mike Redmond is an improvement. If so, you’d be wrong.

    “For five years, whenever the Twins slipped into a deep funk, Mike Redmond(notes), all 200 sloppy pounds of him, would put on batting gloves, socks and shoes – nothing else – and head down to the batting cage for a session of slump-busting nude batting practice.”

  4. blingboy says:

    One in the filter Brian.

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