HOUSTON -- St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony La Russa was
ejected in the seventh inning of Game 4 of the NL Championship
Series Sunday, apparently for arguing pitch calls by home plate
umpire Phil Cuzzi.
The Cardinals also lost center fielder Jim Edmonds when he was
tossed for questioning a pitch during his at-bat in the eighth.
La Russa stormed onto the field after reliever Jason Marquis
walked Lance Berkman on four pitches to load the bases with one
out, and carried out lengthy arguments with both Cuzzi and then
crew chief Tim McClelland, the third base umpire. McClelland
shielded La Russa from Cuzzi for several minutes, towering over him
as the pair moved in lock step, before the manager finally walked
off the field.
After a delay of four or five minutes, the next batter, Morgan
Ensberg, hit a sacrifice fly to give the Astros a 2-1 lead.
La Russa's argument appeared to be a cumulative matter given
that none of the pitches to Berkman appeared to be close calls. La
Russa approached Cuzzi after the first inning, apparently to
discuss low strikes that were called, and throughout the game he
had been yelling at the umpire from the dugout.
Before Game 3, La Russa cast a pre-emptive strike at Wally Bell,
the plate umpire in Game 3 on Saturday, when during his pregame
interview session he said he hoped that Roger Clemens wouldn't get
any breaks. After the game, La Russa made certain to compliment
Bell for an evenhanded effort and ended his interview session by
making certain the media knew about it.
"It will be interesting to see if it's reported that I
complimented Wally Bell on an outstanding game," La Russa said.
"All I said yesterday was if he gives him the inches we're in
trouble, and he didn't.
"He had a consistent strike zone for both pitchers the whole
Edmonds was batting with a 3-1 count and a man on in the eighth
when he disagreed with a high pitch that was called a strike. He
was ejected and replaced by John Rodriguez, who flied to deep
center, with Willy Taveras running it down just in front of the