(La Genius, shown thinking)

Between that Mets front office apology and Tony La Russa’s press conference today, this Cub fan has to ask, doesn’t anybody know how to lose any more? What happened to a defiant, “Wait’ll Next Year?” MLB.com today recounts a still stunned La Russa not quite getting the hang of an October where he has some time on his hands.

La Russa, who led the Cardinals to the postseason seven times in 12 seasons, gave no hints at his future.

“I keep going back to two guys like Dick Vermeil and Bill Walsh,” La Russa said. “They both made decisions they regretted because they made them in times when they were beat up. I feel like I’m beat up. It’s been really, really draining, more so than last year’s World Series year. … I don’t want to say I’m back and then regret it because I wasn’t ready to come back and I don’t want to say I’m done and then say I’m just tired.”

La Russa said he wanted to manage again, joking that it was the only thing he knows how to do, but also acknowledged he may change his mind about managing again.

The only thing anyone can tell for sure is that this season has been difficult on him.

Coming off three consecutive division championships and the organization’s 10th World Series title, the Cardinals dealt with La Russa’s DUI in Spring Training, injuries to Chris Carpenter and Scott Rolen and others, the death of pitcher Josh Hancock, Scott Spiezio’s leave of absence for substance abuse problems and Juan Encarnacion’s career-threatening injury after being struck in the face by a foul ball.

“This was the toughest,” La Russa said. “I’ve always gotten to the end of the season, even last year, and felt ready to go and really not that tired. This year was very draining for all of us, everybody involved with the Cardinals. There were issues all the time, mostly baseball-related, but it ended up affecting us on the field.”

The Cardinals won their final five games of the season to finish with a 78-84 record, which was good for third place in the National League Central Division, seven games behind the Chicago Cubs. St. Louis finished 11 games back of San Diego and Colorado in the Wild Card standings.