Well, the big news of the week in Cardinal Nation was Tony La Russa’s DUI arrest. I was certainly surprised by that news. I won’t condemn the guy, although it’s certainly not role-model behavior. I would blame his vegetarianism. He probably didn’t eat much for dinner, so a couple glasses of wine put him over the limit.
I note a sharp contrast in media commentators’ opinions on this incident here in LA vs in St. Louis. In Friday’s Los Angeles Times, T.J. Simers wrote: "According to the Associated Press, when La Russa walked onto the field before the Cardinals’ game ‘many fans stood and applauded.’ Unless they were expressing their appreciation to La Russa for not killing someone while driving drunk behind the wheel, the fans certified themselves idiots, while also giving everyone another reminder how some sports fans consider their sports heroes god-like – no matter what they do." Come on, TJ, "idiots" is a little harsh…and "certified idiots"…geez…
Meanwhile, in the St. Louis Post Dispatch, Bill McClellan argued the arrest would probably gain West Coast Tony some respect from local Bud-swilling fans: "So the news was shocking. It’s a shame, I said to myself, which is what
a sinner should always say when another sinner stumbles. And I thought,
except for the fact that La Russa probably doesn’t have 160,000 miles
on his car, it could have been me."
I’m somewhere in the middle. I don’t think Tony deserved a standing ovation for being a drunk driver, but I do think he deserves our forgiveness and "there but for the grace of God go I" understanding. I think he made a good apology in his statement and took responsibility for his actions. The arrest doesn’t change my favorable opinion of the man. I happened to meet someone at a pub crawl yesterday who volunteers for Tony’s Arf Foundation and attested to what a good guy Tony is and how involved he is in the organization during the off-season. Mindful of this week’s news, I made sure to walk home from the crawl.
Read more about it – The Smoking Gun has copies of the police reports.