La Russa: You’re dead to me, kid.
For all the near meaningless outcome of the Sox/Cubs sweeps last month, this weekend’s Cubs/Cards series matters. Tony La Genius’ pissy welcome home of the guy he traded, who put him in a World Series, Jim Edmonds, gives some hint of the tension. WGN’s Lead-Off Man show, ie, the ten minutes of Len and Bob time we get each game, has one feature I like, which is having the various beat reporters, including some non-Tribune Co reporters, up to the booth. Yesterday they welcomed a Trib writer, Paul Sullivan, for a recounting of the La Russa-Edmonds bitchfest. Apparently, even though the Cards dumped Edmonds, La Russa still wants Edmonds to show some respect. Sullivan, btw, was giddy he could report this on Edmonds, who apparently did not invite him to his homecoming 4th bash. Apparently, Sully has been complaining too much about Edmonds “hot dogging” for the Cubs. My only question from the following — did Edmonds really say “sissy?”
ST. LOUIS — The first volley of the Cubs-Cardinals showdown was sent Friday afternoon at Busch Stadium when Jim Edmonds ripped former manager Tony La Russa for suggesting Edmonds wanted to bury his Cardinals past.
La Russa had told a newspaper he was disturbed by Edmonds™ comments to Chicago reporters that he wanted to be accepted as a Cub, asking them to stop associating him with the Cardinals.
œI think we ought to follow his lead, La Russa said. œHis quote was roughly, within a couple of words, ˜I™ve had enough of people asking me about the Cardinals. I™m a Cub now.™
œSo I would treat him like he never played here. I would wait until the end of his career and I would remember he was a Cardinal. I would ignore the fact that he was ever here because that™s what he wants. I would honor his request. Forget the Cardinal days until his career his over.
Edmonds responded Friday afternoon by calling the comments œasinine and œridiculous.
œFor someone to say I don™t want to be affiliated with the Cardinals couldn™t be further from the truth, and could be the most asinine thing I ever heard, Edmonds said. œI was just trying to be respectful to the situation and respectful to the organization I™m in now.
Edmonds said he never said anything that implied he didn™t want to be associated with the Cardinals.
œWhy would I say that? he said. œThis topic never, ever came up, never. It™s the most ridiculous thing I ever heard. Today was the first time I ever heard it, when I saw his comment … I was like ˜Where did that come from.’ I was shocked.
Asked if he would talk to La Russa before the game because he was so upset, Edmonds said: œHe said the same kind of [stuff] when I played here. That doesn™t bother me. He got bad information, and he reacted to it. I mean, we all do ¦ he™s in control. It™s his show, and that™s the way it should be. He™s the manager. He doesn™t want anyone upstaging his team. I™m not trying to do that. I™m here to play, and that™s it.
La Russa told the media he would shake Edmonds hand if he sees him. When told of that, Edmonds replied: œHe™s a [sissy] if he doesn™t.
Edmonds and La Russa had a strange relationship in their eight years together in St. Louis, fighting at times through the media.
œHe not only was what he was to me, but he also was my boss, he said. œI know he likes to have the ultimate say. That™s obvious. This isn™t about me or the team or the coaching staff. It™s not about any individual. It™s just about history, coming back to play against the team you played for. I™ve played with plenty of guys who went to other cities the first time, and no one made a big deal out of it.
œI did as much as I could for this organization, and however they see that, so be it.
Will Edmonds be booed Friday night?
œI can™t see why anyone would boo, other than me wearing a blue jersey, he said. œThis shirt doesn™t make me who I am. I™m still the same person. My name hasn™t changed. I still have the same family. This color doesn™t change the person I am, the way I feel about the city, the money I™ve given back, the restaurant I™ve opened, the house I still have here.
“It doesn™t change. ¦ I mean, if I was wearing pink or purple, what™s the difference?