Wednesday, March 28, 2007

The Tony LaRussa Incident...

Last night, Sooze from the Babes Love Baseball and I were talking about baseball and various other topics, and the conversation turned to Tony LaRussa.

Unless you have been under a rock, St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony La Russa was arrested Thursday on a drunken driving charge after police said they found him asleep inside his running sport utility vehicle at a stop light.

A day after, he issued this apology:

"I'm not sure what type of statement to give," La Russa said after his team's 2-1 spring training loss to the Florida Marlins on Thursday. "I've been scribbling stuff.

"Last night's situation is the opposite of feeling good. It was an embarrassment, so I apologize to anyone who is close to me, members of the Cardinals organization, our fans. I regret it, take responsibility and I'm not sure there is anything else I can say." (CNNsi)

So, he issued an apology. That’s great.

Tony LaRussa was not fired, reprimanded, or made an example of by the Cardinals or Major League Baseball. As it seems in my eyes, it was more or less that Tony LaRussa said, “sorry” and the media along with fans at this point will forgive and forget.

Let’s just say if it had been the average person, or I, there’s no way we would have gotten off free as he did.

To be quite honest, I would have figured a guy in a position, wealth and influence of LaRussa could called someone to pick him up, hire a vehicle, or make sure that he was taken care of.

I know that Tony LaRussa is a great manager, an advocate for animal rights and also has been a good guy in the community at large; however, when is a drunk driving incident just forgiven and forgotten?

Let’s say he was not asleep at the wheel, but actually driving? What if he drove his vehicle in a ditch, or maimed and injured someone, or the perhaps the ultimate consequence happened?

Why are people not up in arms over LaRussa’s conviction?

Well, I think people have an emotional tie to their sports heroes, emotional, personal or otherwise – especially, those who are winners.

I think the matter of us not caring about LaRussa’s lack of judgment is reflective our society. We think much differently towards or heroes and celebrities towards their indiscretions than those in society at large.

Seriously, in order for people to up be in arms over this incident, does someone in LaRussa’s stature need to commit a crime of O.J. Simpson’s level to get a reaction?

I find the lack of anger over this very pathetic and sad.


Jason McAdams said...

Ya know, it's funny that you just wrote this. I was watching the end of today's game between the O's and the Cards and they panned on LaRussa and I though the same thing. It's like this incident never happened. Really sad.

Sooze said...

Must be nice to be able to make completely idiotic choices which become totally forgiveable just because of what you do for a living... It's a sad reality. If he were anyone else, he'd be getting a beatdown from some angry MADD ladies and attending AA meetings.

iluvbaseball said...

Let me tell you all why you are wrong:

1) This has not been forgotten. LaRussa will face penalties from the Florida judicial system. And to be honest, he will get off, yes. I have a friend who was in the exact same position as LaRussa and got his DUI dropped. So, when it happens, and it will happen, be warned, don't go crying that he got unfair treatment.

2) Just because he is famous, doesn't mean he should face different penalties than the rest of us. Do you all think he should be thrown in jail, beaten, fired for what he did? What can you all possibly want to happen other than the law to take it's course? If you think he should be jailed, then I take it you also think Mel Gibson, Nicole Richie, Vivica Fox, Paris Hilton, etc. should also be in jail????

Third, everyone that drinks has driven illegally before. .093 is a few beers, which I would imagine you all have probably had and then driven. So, don't act holier than thou.

Also, this comment is just plum dumb "If he were anyone else, he'd be getting a beatdown from some angry MADD ladies and attending AA meetings. "

Thousands upon thousands of DUI's are given out every year. It is not mandatory to attend AA meetings, nor do DUI recipients get a "beatdown from some angry MADD ladies." Not knowing you, I don't know how dumb you are, but, for your sake, I'm hoping this is one of the dumber statements you've ever made.

To recap, Tony made a bad decision, we all agree on that, but to crucify him over a mistake is a bit irrational. Mistakes are made by everyone, and they are paid for in some way or another, and LaRussa will pay for his mistake the same way we all would.

Sooze said...

"Iluvbaseball" First off, not everyone who drinks has driven drunk. I don't. Anyone who knows me (which you don't) knows that I'm not dumb enough to put my or someone else's life in danger. Also, I've heard a taxi ride is a lot cheaper than a $7,000 fine (in Minnesota.)

It takes approximately 1 hour for each beer to leave your system. The legal BAC limit in most states is anywhere from .08% to .10%. That's 1 1/2 to 2 beers. Not a few.

Second, get a sense of humor. What I meant by a "beatdown from some angry MADD ladies" is only partly true. When a person gets a DUI in MN, they are to attend a MADD meeting where they are lectured on the consequences of driving drunk by its members. I'm terribly sorry that you didn't catch the sarcasm.

I'm not calling for Mr. LaRussa's crucifixion, either. That's a bit harsh. I think he should be fined by the league on top of whatever he gets by the state, though, as an example to the rest of MLB and to show that the organization takes these things seriously.

Finally, yes. The world would be a much better place if Paris Hilton were in jail.


iluvbaseball said...

I apologize for not catching the sarcasm. And again, we agree that the world would be better off if Paris Hilton was in jail.

I find it hard to believe that in MN cabs are abundant. Where I live, AR, it takes approximately half an hour (plus or minus half an hour) to hail one. So, if you want to go out on a Friday night, it's rather difficult to have a few drinks first and then get a cab, since you never know when they will show up. Thus, it's not logical to get a cab. So, if you're going out, you're going to have a few in you...not drunk, but most likely over .08.

I'm glad that you realize in some states .093 isn't even illegal, so to say he was smashed, is a bit illogical. The bigger problem is that he was tired and driving. ANy day of the week i would rather drive around .093 people than sleepy people.

My whole argument is that he shouldn't be treated any different than anybody else. Same as every case. The law should be blind to who is on trial.

And you can argue that mlb should set up a "morality" clause (to punish it's employees when they are arrested for anything) as most professional firms do and I would agree with you. However, there isn't one in place, so you can't just arbitrarily punish LaRussa now and it will never happen because the player's union is too strong.

Jason McAdams said...

A few thoughts...

Firstly, iluvbaseball wrote -

"Where I live, AR, it takes approximately half an hour (plus or minus half an hour) to hail one."

Well where I come from, "hailing" a cab means you put your arm up and wait for a cab to pull up. A half hour is quite a long time to have your arm up in the air. You don't "hail" cabs in AR, you call and wait. Go to NYC and see how people "hail" cabs.

Secondly, iluvbaseball also wrote -

"Not knowing you, I don't know how dumb you are, but, for your sake, I'm hoping this is one of the dumber statements you've ever made."

According to this online source that ranks the "Smartest States" -

Maryland ranks #18 and Arkansas ranks #32 so already you lost the "dumb" argument.

And take it from me, Anthony is no dummy.


I can think of a lot of places I'd like to put Paris Hilton, but for now, jail will do just fine.

iluvbaseball said...

Okay, I apologize. I should not have used the word "hail." Nevertheless, I believe it got the point across, so please forgive me. You are correct, it would be extremely difficult to hail a cab for an hour. And you are correct, you do call and wait; the problem is, however, that you never know how long you have to wait.

Either way, your point of Maryland being ranked the 18th smartest state as compared to Arkansas at 32nd is moot. Sure, it shows that the average adult in MD is smarter than the average adult in AR. Does it in any way show "sooze" is smarter than I am? No.

And to illustrate why not, let's look at income. The highest income per capita place is Jupiter Island, FL at $237,080 per person. New York, New York isn't even in the top 100. So, does the average person in Jupiter Island, FL make more than the average person in New York, New York? Yes. However, I think you'll agree with me that there are people in New York that make more than $237,080. So, simply because "sooze" is from a smarter state in no ways proves that he/she is smarter than I.

"Maryland ranks #18 and Arkansas ranks #32 so already you lost the "dumb" argument."

I think everyone will agree that I did not just lose the "dumb" argument.

Sooze said...

Minnesota is the 13th smartest state, so I guess that makes me the smartest one in this joint. :)

I kid, I kid. What makes me smart is that when I choose to go out and drink, whether it's one beer or seven Jameson 7's, I either have a designated driver or I call a taxi. It's that simple. It doesn't matter how long I have to wait, I'd rather not risk being arrested.

If we ranked everyone's intelligence on the comments they make on blogs (mine are hardly ever serious) we'd be surrounded by idiots.

Sooze said...

...all this coming from a girl who's drinking from a flask in that picture.

I didn't drive afterwards, it was my wedding day. ;)

ian said...

Where is the love? I say we all go out drinking and see who can get a cab the fastest.

This is from the guy who comes from the 3rd smartest state.

Maryland Orioles' Fan said...

Lord Have Mercy!

I go offline Friday at noon, and you kids decide cause a ruckus!

Very bad Sooze, Jason and Ian.

ILuveBaseball, I have never driven drunk.

In fact, I don't even drink at all.

In all seriousness, I wrote the piece on LaRussa, because in my honest opinion, someone in his position needs to once in a while be called on his mistake.

He's a no doubt prominent person, and a role model, but his peers seem to have turned a blind eye and not think it's a big deal.

Again, if he had hurt someone, it would be a far different story.

Maybe it bothers me because there are tens of thousands of incidents a year where young kids, mom and dads going home or families killed on our highways because some fool could not take the intiative to call a cab or arrange for a ride.

The courts in Florida will take care of him, and he'll no doubt get off, but I am tired of people who act on their own selfishness.

To be honest, a drunken person with a vehicle has a weapon in their hand. Basically, what LaRussa did is not different than me just randomly firing a weapon in a crowd.

He's extremely, extremely, lucky that no one got hit and all that happened was a brief snippet on ESPN.

Alas, the next day, the incident was forgotten.

iluvbaseball said...

"Maryland Orioles' Fan"-- I don't know what you want. Was it a good decision? No. I agree with you. I further agree that MLB should have a policy in place that punishes it's employees for being arrested, regardless of the crime. However, they don't, so to say LaRussa should be punished beyond what the policies he lives by dictate is just plain wrong in my opinion.

I don't know the laws in MD, but in Chicago they have a law that you can not drive and talk on a cell phone at the same time unless the phone is equipped with and you are using Blue-Tooth. They passed this law because their stats suggested that driving and talking was as dangerous as drinking and driving (this is their argument, not mine).

So, let's say Carlos Zambrano is pulled over and fined for driving while talking on the phone. Should he face stiffer penalties than simply paying the fine and whatever other legal action is brought on him simply because he is a high profile figure in Chicago?

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