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La Russa on managing: AL game tougher

I'll say this about Tony La Russa: He's been very honest, direct and even a bit self-critical in his pregame and postgame media conferences.

His one before Game 3 was especially good, so I'll just run some of the quotes.

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  • On his role in controlling the running game: "Well, we allow two independent decisions. If there isn't anything that we set up, if the pitcher sees something, he can throw over if he wants to. And more importantly, if Yadi ... sees something, Yadi can call a pitchout if he wants to." La Russa then explained, that there's so much for the pitcher to worry about in just getting the batter out, that those decisions are usually made from the dugout.

  • On Ian Kinsler's steal in Game 2: "I said before, the way that game got away, strategy is strategy. Somebody else could have done something else with the pitching. I did what I felt was right. But I was upset that I didn't make another -- I threw over once -- I didn't defend the running game better because in the end I was more concerned with Jason (Motte) throwing strikes and getting the out that (Elvis) Andrus was trying to give us, and I didn't feel like Kinsler would try it. So that was my screw-up. It comes to the bench."

  • On Arthur Rhodes: "I'm only sorry he was with us for two months. ... Earl Weaver as a young manager said, pay attention to the other guys on the other side and see how they fit in because someday you might have a chance. So for years we wanted Arthur in our ballcub, and it never worked. Now we've finally got him and not only is he an effective pitcher, but he's got a dynamite presence, he's excited about competition, he's fun to be around."

  • On pitching changes in the American League versus National League: "There's an assumption that somehow pitching (changes) in the National League [are] tougher. It's not; it's easier. ... The reason it's tougher in the American League is every decision that you make about the pitcher is based on your evaluation of who should pitch, how long the in there should pitch and who you should bring in. There are times, a lot of times, it's a really close call. You're splitting hairs. In the National League just enough times to make a difference ... a spot comes up and you've got to (pinch) hit, and you don't have to make that decision. You never have that decision taken away from you in the American League."

  • On his relationships with coaches in other sports: "I think it's one of the neatest persks of the time I've been around is that I've established a relationship or a friendship with some of these guys. They're fascinating. They're so much different than they come across. We were talking about (Bill) Belichick in the room. Bill gets in front of his, and he says, yes, no. If you get Bill in a social setting, he is charming, and we have the best time. ... I went to dinner with Rick Carlisle last night and I asked him about what we do to get an edge in this series, and he said, 'Hand the ball to Dirk." And I said, 'I can't do that.' He said, 'This is Dallas. I can't be telling the Cardinals how to beat the Rangers.'"