I read an article online today about an interesting possibility that I had not considered. The article is here, but basically the idea is that if the Cubs hired Walt Jocketty, the former General Manager of the St. Louis Cardinals, he would in turn hire Tony LaRussa, who would convince Albert Pujols to sign as a free agent. The possibilities briefly sent my mind spinning, but now I’ve had a few moments to digest it.
I don’t think this will happen. I know that Pujols will be the free agent prize of a generation this offseason, and the Cubs would need to commit lots of cash to bring him in. We’re talking nine digits worth, with the first of those digits being a 3. If I could command that type of money, I would do it. And in all likelihood, so would you. Albert Pujols will be able to command that type of money, if not from the Cubs than certainly from someplace else.
But putting Pujols aside for a moment, the prospect of Tony LaRussa managing the Cubs is intriguing. He started off here in Chicago, on the South side, as the manager for the White Sox at the tail end of the 1970s. Yes, he has been doing it for that long. He’s been Manager of the Year in both leagues, has won multiple pennants in both leagues, and–most importantly–has won the World Series in both leagues. The man’s a winner, pure and simple. He’s exactly what the Cubs need.
Yes, he’s been the Cardinals manager for a long time, which has earned him a place of disdain in my heart, and those of many other Cubs fans, too. The epic five-game series in Chicago, at the start of September 2003, was but one example of LaRussa being a schmuck. When the Cubs won 4 of those 5 games, though, everything seemed to fall into place that year. LaRussa’s team was the hurdle, and for once the Cubs were able to overcome it.
I love the Cubs, and have since I was a little kid, but the one thing I want more than anything else in baseball is to see the them winning the World Series. Not only getting to the World Series, but winning it. LaRussa has already done that, and if he’s the guy to do it for the Cubs, I’ll gladly go along with it.
I wanted to title this post “I’d cheer for the devil himself” and insert a picture of LaRussa. That would send a bad message, like LaRussa is the devil himself, so I went another direction with the title. But the feeling is sincere. If Sarah Palin could manage the Cubs to a World Series win, I’d even pull for her. But she doesn’t have LaRussa’s resume of baseball success. She’d probably quit halfway through the season, anyway.
Lou Piniella and Dusty Baker had some managing success before coming to the Cubs, but both of them were beaten down and run out of town without so much as a single World Series appearance. And I can’t imagine that this would happen to LaRussa. So I say to the Cubs, spend the money for Pujols and LaRussa, and Jocketty too. Nothing matters but a World Series title, in my mind at least. And if it all happens this way, I’ll be the loudest person at the victory parade.