Noted animal rights champion / occassional baseball manager Tony La Russa has organized a benefit show to raise funds for his Animal Rescue Foundation this coming Sunday night in St. Louis.  “It’s been a busy off-season for Tony La Russa ” what with all these great rock bands on tour. In recent months the Cardinals skipper has caught Velvet Revolver, Dragonforce, Joe Satriani and AC/DC in concert, to name just a few” writes the Riverfront Times’ Chad Garrison (link taken from Baseball Think Factory). Hey, if you’d just lost the services of Aaron Miles and observed your GM’s failure to sign any prominent starting pitchers, a Velvet Revolver gig might be preferable to reading the sports pages.  Not on La Genius’ iPod, presumably : Asleep At The Wheel.

Vince Gill will be playing here in St. Louis. We didn’t peg you as a fan of country music.

I like all music. Vince Gill is great. And Lady Antebellum is as hot as it gets right now. But, yeah, my preference is classic rock, which gets me into trouble here with my daughters. They’re into heavy metal. But the whole family, really, we’re all rock & rollers. We’ve been to Metallica and the Scorpions recently. Unfortunately, I missed the Eagles and Journey this past year ” that really bothered me.

Huey Lewis is from the Bay Area. Are you friends with him from there?

Yeah, I’ve known Huey for twenty years. He’s a fan of the Giants, but a lot of the band members like the A’s.

Of course, another famous band from the Bay Area is the Grateful Dead. How many times did you catch them back in the day?

Only a couple. Bruce Hornsby sat in on keyboards with them for a couple years. He is a good and personal friend. But the Dead weren’t on the top of my list. I liked the Doobies better. They were from the Bay Area. Their lead singer, Michael McDonald, is from Missouri. He’s good.

Kevin Cronin and Dave Amato of REO Speedwagon are locals of sorts, with their band starting out in Champaign, Illinois. Any REO songs you specifically identify with? Perhaps “Ridin’ the Storm Out”?

“Keep on Rolling” is good. But they got, like, twenty hits. What’s not to like?

Last question: If you were coaching a celebrity baseball team with Huey Lewis as a weak-hitting catcher and Michael McDonald as his ace starting pitcher, would you still bat McDonald eighth and Lewis ninth, bucking convention?

The idea of hitting a position hitter ninth only works if he is a good batter. The idea is to get him on base, making your third hitter ” Albert Pujols ” your clean-up hitter. You turn the lineup around that way. Now, if Huey was not a good hitter, I would try to find a better hitter and still bat Michael eighth. But I refuse to believe that Huey wouldn’t be a good hitter.