Tony La Russa was ready this week to announce his return as manager of the St. Louis Cardinals. Then the rules of the game changed dramatically.
The Cardinals forced out general manager Walt Jocketty, who is La Russa's longtime ally and friend—and the reason La Russa took the job to begin with.
Suddenly, La Russa put his decision on hold, not because he wants to manage the Yankees but because he wants to know who his boss will be if he returns to St. Louis.
The intriguing development came this week when Cardinals ownership said it couldn't wait forever for a commitment from La Russa. The translation is that ownership would like to start over, wouldn't mind having La Russa leave but doesn't want to be the bad guys by terminating his employment. So ownership is doing everything possible to have La Russa walk away from the contract he has been offered.
Looming in the background is Cincinnati, where a managerial decision is being delayed until the La Russa soap opera plays out in St. Louis.
Despite all the initial speculation about Joe Torre not returning to the Yankees, as the days pass and no decision is made, there's a growing feeling Torre will remain in charge in the Yankees dugout.
Though the Yankees failed to advance past the first round of the postseason for the fourth year in a row, the big picture of 2007 was impressive because Torre was able to get the Yankees back into the pennant race after a horrid start and, more important, worked closely with the player-development folks in adding young players to fill roster needs.
—The Mets could try to steal thunder from the Yankees by offering free-agent catcher Jorge Posada a multiple-year deal, figuring Posada can catch at least two more years and then move to first base for a year or two.
—Torey Lovullo, who managed for Cleveland's Class AAA Buffalo affiliate, has surfaced in the managerial search in Pittsburgh, where former Indians exec Neal Huntington now is the general manager.
—Joe Girardi has been taken off the list as a managerial candidate in Kansas City after indicating he wanted to find out what is going to happen in St. Louis before pursuing the Royals job.
Bob Mohr writes, "Why the late starting times for the NLCS games on TBS? I have many friends who are fans of the Rockies who live on the East Coast, and I've received many e-mails and calls of disbelief about the late start. I agree. I start work at 6 a.m. and live in Fort Collins (Colo.). What is wrong with a 6 p.m. start?"
Bob, it's about viewership, and when two western teams reached the NLCS, the decision was made to try to get the ALCS and NLCS into prime-time slots for their region. As a result, the ALCS games, featuring Boston and Cleveland, both from the Eastern time zone, will be the earlier games when two games are scheduled. The NLCS then gets pushed back to what is an extremely late start on the East Coast but is in prime time in the home TV areas for Arizona and the Rockies.
Face it, Diamondbacks-Rockies is a TV nightmare. That was evident when three of the Rockies' regular-season games originally scheduled to be aired nationally by Fox were canceled. As for the Diamondbacks, they can't even sell out for the NLCS, which says volumes about their fan base.
For responses to other questions, or to ask a question of your own, check out Rockies Inbox and Rockies Pregame Report at RockyMountainNews.com/rockies.
TWO CENTS' WORTH
The race to be first created some misinformed speculation about John Schuerholz's future Thursday morning in Atlanta.
When word came out that Frank Wren would move into the Braves' GM job, a national sports network began hammering on what had driven Schuerholz out. Having failed to get the full story, the network later found out that Schuerholz hadn't been forced out but actually was being handed expanded powers because he was becoming team president.
Liberty Media, which owns the Braves, is not run by fools. They can see the job Schuerholz has done creating classy and successful organizations in Kansas City and Atlanta and realize he is an asset.