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October 20, 2004

Tony La Russa


THE MODERATOR: We'll take questions for Tony La Russa.

Q. How do you keep it "just another day"? Do you just get lost in the routine?

TONY La RUSSA: Yeah, I think that's one of the comforts that you have. You have to win a lot of games to get to this point. You have a certain routine, whether it's a hitter to get ready or a pitcher to get ready or a team to get ready. But what you don't think, "Let's do something extra," because if we need to do something extra, well, that means you weren't seeing our best shots before this. So I think we'll rely on getting ready the way we think we should.

Q. Do you have to fight the temptation to change your lineup to get some guys going or spur anybody?

TONY La RUSSA: Well, you consider, I mean, I think you have an obligation to consider things. The guys that are hitting 2, 3, 4, and 5 are getting base hits. I mean, I don't think you should mess with that too much. You have Edgar (Renteria) struggling. I thought about moving Edgar to leadoff, moving Tony (Womack) down, but decided against it. I know Reggie (Sanders) has one hit in this series, but in the game that was played - what was it? - Game 5, best hitter on our team was Reggie. He had the best swings. So, I mean, he'll rise to the occasion.

Q. Would you like to see Tony be a little more patient or maybe a little more creative at the plate?

TONY La RUSSA: Well, he doesn't need more patience. What's consistently happened in this series, they've gotten strike one. He always has swung early in the count, probably a couple, three times. In fact one thing, I think he could mix up his game; swing early, that way they don't throw fastball, strike. He hasn't attempted a bunt, and that's a good point. If he gets it down, as long as the third baseman stands where you are, it's tough to throw him out. It's something to consider. He feels it. And if he doesn't feel like it's there, he doesn't do it. But that's not a bad idea.

Q. Mitchell Page said yesterday you weren't going to do anything different with your approach in the game. Why do you think that approach works?

TONY La RUSSA: For one thing, I don't think it's real smart to be giving scouting reports about what you're doing different. That doesn't mean you're not doing anything different. I think the guys that have made outs, there's certain things Mitch and the hitter looks at. Trying to work on having a better swing, better approach. But at this point, extra hitting is probably one of the worst things you can do.

Q. What did you think about the fine to Tavarez?

TONY La RUSSA: Well, I was hitting fungos five minutes ago, Dave Duncan came up to me asked me if I heard about it. I said I have not. Since then we have been trying to verify it. Have not had it verified. If it is actually fact, you know, I know I've said about how we get treated. That is so much a great example. This guy didn't get even warned. He didn't get ejected, did he? They think it was intent - he would have been banged out of the game. The umpires were there. It's not possible. Where did you hear about it?

Q. We were asked about it earlier.

TONY La RUSSA: Who said it's true?

Q. We have to find that out.

TONY La RUSSA: I can't believe it's true.

Q. I read it online this morning.

TONY La RUSSA: You believe everything you read online (laughter)?

Q. Not everything, but this was a fairly credible site. I think it was an AP story.

TONY La RUSSA: Well, you talk about precedent, so when a ball is thrown in that area, gets away, $10,000 from now on? They're going to go back and nail guys? I mean, that is so ridiculous. In that game he's going to do something like that? I even said it, I said it looks bad, there's a lot of balls that get thrown out there that don't look good. That better not be true.

Q. Did your hitters learn anything the first time against Munro?

TONY La RUSSA: Well, I think we learned as much as we learned against Backe. Once you get a look at him, you get a better feel for his delivery point, the type of movement his pitches have; and as Backe showed you, if he makes outstanding pitches, guys don't center it. I mean, those other guys have seen Woody (Williams) 60, 70, 80 at-bats and he shut them out. If Munro is hitting his spots, there won't be a lot of runs scored. But we will have a better chance because they did see him recently.

Q. The other side of the question about Tavarez, how is he? Can he pitch? And the same thing for Steve Kline.

TONY La RUSSA: Well, I think it's probably one of those coach tactics where you don't want to let the other side know who's available, who's not available, all that. I said that with Steve clearly it would not be fair to put him in a clutch game situation unless you had no choice. I mean, that's just asking him to do something that's not fair. In Tavarez's case, it's a good question. I mean, I just talked to Dave about it. We were watching him play catch. His arm is fine. Can he catch the ball back? That's one of those that you're going to get into the game and you're going to pay attention, look at it really closely, and is there a different way to go and weigh the risks of sending Julian out there. I don't know how to answer that except there is a definite issue there. This is different from the formula that we had; he was our eighth inning setup guy. I don't think we can necessarily go in there thinking we have the formula working. We can give him a hitter and see how he looks and bang him right away, and see how he is. A no-brainer would really help.

All the St. Louis media in this room is nodding, "Yeah, it would really help. I know."

End of FastScripts...

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