The New York Daily News’ Bill Madden and Corky Siemaszko cranked up speculation earlier today that Tony La Russa will succeed Joe Torre as Yankee manager, a possibility that has the Journal News’ Peter Abraham scoffing “If the idea is to start over, La Russa would be an excellent choice. Half the players will be lining up to looking to start over someplace else. So would the GM.”

It™s hard to imagine a worse candidate than La Russa, an overly sensitive control freak and steroids apologist who thinks boorish Bobby Knight is good company. By all accounts, he lost the clubhouse in St. Louis this season. This is a guy who yelled at a reporter from the St. Louis paper and nearly got into a physical confrontation with him because of a poem the paper published making fun of the Cubs.

Not his team, the Cubs. A poem. Sure, bring him to New York. We only have eight papers and everybody writes nice things all the time.

As for the St. Louis side of things, La Genius seems to be preparing his version of a goodbye speech. From the Post-Dispatch’s Joe Strauss :

Sitting in limbo somewhere near East Bay, Calif., Tony La Russa emphasized Tuesday that he won™t commit to another term as Cardinals manager until chairman Bill DeWitt can at least provide direction where the club™s general manager search may end.

“When you think about it, that™s the sensible thing for the organization,” said La Russa, who acknowledged a Monday conversation with DeWitt on the matter. “The GM is the guy I would work for directly. So why would I get in a situation where the manager is not the guy who (the new general manager) would hire?”

La Russa remains sensitive to the matter because of events that culminated in his firing as Chicago White Sox manager more than two decades ago. When Ken Harrelson replaced Roland Hemond as White Sox general manager, “Hawk” inherited La Russa as manager. The situation deteriorated rapidly and La Russa was let go 64 games into the 1986 season.

“I™ve already had that experience. I don™t think that™s good for the organization,” La Russa said. “That™s an important position.”

La Russa said he has been in contact with some of his coaches the past two days. He also emphasized that no other club has contacted him about assuming its managerial position.

“I™m just here cleaning litter pans,” La Russa said while driving toward his Animal Rescue Foundation headquarters.

Shortly after Walt Jocketty™s firing last Wednesday, La Russa said he emphasized to DeWitt the necessity for quickly finding a successor.

Told that a search could take another 2-3 weeks, La Russa thought the time frame too long.

“If it takes 2-3 weeks to fill that position, we™re 2-3 weeks behind what has to be done,” La Russa said. “The GM is the guy who takes charge in that thing. I would be surprised if it™s not done in 2-3 weeks. I don™t know what the process is like. I know there™s work to be done. Whoever you offer the job to has to have a manager and coaches in mind. . . . I don™t want to get in the way of that.”