World Series notes: La Russa never kissed off season
The Cardinals opened spring training eight months ago by sending their ace pitcher, Adam Wainwright, off to have season-ending surgery. So, Manager Tony La Russa was asked Thursday, if someone had told him then that his team would be in the World Series, playing Game 6 at home, how would he have reacted?
“I would have kissed your butt at home plate opening day,” he said to laughter.
“We’ve mugged a couple of chances to be in a better position. But … we’ve had a lot of fun. We’ve popped champagne three times.
“Postseason never disappoints, even just getting in and playing the division series and losing. You get to the World Series, this is the most enjoyment you can have. I’m enjoying it more than ever.
“I don’t know if this makes a difference, but I always enjoy this part.”
The Texas Rangers clearly benefited from the Cardinals’ bullpen snafu in Game 5, when La Russa had the wrong pitcher warming up in the eighth inning. Texas Manager Ron Washington said he’s been there and done that.
“One time, my rookie year as a manager, I just forgot to tell someone to get someone up and I got caught,” he said. “But the rest of that, there's no perfection in this game, so sometimes things get a little confusing. And that's the beauty of baseball. Sometimes things just don't work the way that you would like them to work.”
Show me the money
Even the tiny handful of St. Louis residents who don’t care about the Cardinals were rooting for the team to extend the Series to a seventh game Thursday. And with reason, since each World Series date is estimated to be worth more than $2.5 million to the city’s economy.
That’s according to the St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission. Regionally, each game is said to be generating about $6 million in revenue, said Ruth Sergenian, chief economist for the St. Louis Regional Chamber and Growth Assn.
Tourist-related industries such as restaurants, hotels and taxi services are typically the biggest winners in events such as a World Series. But sporting goods stores in the metropolitan St. Louis area are also doing very well selling Cardinals World Series merchandise.
Even a seven-game World Series wouldn’t match the financial impact the 2009 All-Star game had on the area, however. Sergenian said the weeklong activities surrounding that event were worth an estimated $60 million.
Regardless of what happens in Game 6 on Thursday, this year’s Fall Classic is already among the longest in several years.
The 2009 Series between the New York Yankees and Philadelphia Phillies is the only other Series to go six games since 2003. And since the World Series returned after the 1994 lockout, only seven Series have gone this far.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Wednesday’s Game 6 delay marked the eighth time in history that a potential Series-clinching game was postponed. The last time it happened was in 1986, when Game 7 between the New York Mets and Boston Red Sox was postponed a day. The Mets went on to win the title.
The Phillies’ clinching game over the Tampa Bay Rays in 2008 was also hampered by rain, but that contest was suspended in the sixth inning with the score tied, not postponed. After waiting a day for the weather to clear, the teams picked up where they left off, with the Phillies winning their second-ever World Series title.
-- Kevin Baxter, reporting from St. Louis
Photo: St. Louis Cardinals Manager Tony La Russa. Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki / U.S. Presswire