It probably won’t be the first thing everyone remembers when all is said and done, but the 2012 season has been a relatively peaceful one for the Brewers. The club has certainly had its share of ups (the amazing and still-in-progress run that has gotten them back into the wild-card picture) and downs (the entire first four months of the season), but the Crew has largely avoided most of the minor controversies that were constantly popping up with last year’s upstart squad.
A year after seemingly being in a constant state of feud with the St. Louis Cardinals over something the latter found annoying about the Brewers – “Beast Mode” celebrations, immature tweets, a stubborn refusal to leave the Cardinals’ lawn – both sides have more or less grown up and most of the bad blood has subsided. Some of this is the result of the Brewers not being very competitive for most of the year (the relative silence of Nyjer Morgan for the majority of 2012 probably helps, too), but the main cause of all this level-headedness has to be the retirement of that formerly esteemed adjudicator of baseball common law, Tony La Russa.
Unfortunately, La Russa hasn’t exactly faded out of the public eye just yet. He has recently finished writing a book, and apparently still has some more to say about the Brewers, among other things. Here’s a brief recap of the excerpts that have made their way on to the internet in the last couple days:
– La Russa was critical of Nyjer Morgan, who, according to this article on the JS, received a good deal of the blame for the Brewers/Cardinals rivalry getting out of hand. He described Morgan’s actions (sending some inflammatory tweets about Albert Pujols, throwing a wad of smokeless tobacco in Chris Carpenter’s direction, and saying the Cardinals would be watching the playoffs on TV) as “Unwise. Uncalled for. Not forgotten.” and suggesting Morgan would have not acted in the same way had he known the Cardinals were about to mount the incredible comeback they did.
In retrospect, Morgan’s antics did cross the line – hell, they were both unwise and uncalled for – on more than a few occasions, but singling him out as the cause for the heat between Milwaukee and St. Louis seems misguided. Morgan’s team is not the one that has averaged about one full-blown feud per playoff appearance in the last decade.
– Apparently, La Russa is also still unhappy – he used the word “livid” – about Adam Wainwright not winning the NL Cy Young instead of Roy Halladay in 2010. Most of his anger was targeted towards ESPN writer Keith Law, who left Wainwright off his ballot in favor of Tim Lincecum. (Law actually had Wainwright third on his ballot, and he wouldn’t have won even if Law had voted him first.)
In my opinion, Halladay wasn’t at all a controversial choice for Cy Young in 2010 (the season La Russa seems to be talking about). The facts are slightly cloudy here, but going after Law in this case makes no sense. – We already knew most of this stuff from La Russa’s previous dealings with the media, but I did see one new revelation: The former manager is a big fan of Nickelback. La Russa’s musical taste doesn’t affect any of our lives at all, and I don’t really expect athletes to be fans of the exact same stuff as me, but it’s almost like he’s just trolling at this point.
La Russa has a way of annoying Brewers fans with pretty much everything he does, and a year without him has done wonders for Brewers/Cardinals relations. Hopefully, after this, he won’t find his way into the headlines any more, but this is not the first time I’ve said that.