On a Monday morning when we should be taking the Sultan Of Surly’s advice and closely following the (presumably) ‘roid free Albert Pujols and what looks to be a legit run at the single-season HR record, there’s another soap opera taking place in St. Louis, one that began a decade ago. From the Post-Dispatch’s Rick Hummel.

Cardinals manager Tony La Russa, after reading a story that reiterated Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith’s disinclination to participate in club-related field activities as long as La Russa was manager, said he had changed his mind about inviting Smith to spring-training camp as an instructor.

“Speaking personally, I don’t think he would be good for our ballclub,” said La Russa, who sought out the Post-Dispatch before Sunday’s game. “For him to repeat those comments is really unreasonable. That invitation is no longer there.

“He’s not welcome.”

“When my time is up, they can welcome him with open arms, but I don’t want to be anywhere that he is,” La Russa said. “I won’t ever be around when he’s around. Cardinals fans can embrace him all they want to, and it won’t be uncomfortable because I won’t be there.

“If, as he says, he has his rightful place … when they welcome him back — and he deserves to be there because he was a Hall of Fame player — he won’t have to worry about running into the old skipper.

“I won’t be in the area.”

I do hope La Russa will see fit to turn up the day they retire Royce Clayton’s number, if not Mark McGwire’s.