Blame Tony LaRussa …

May 03, 2007 | WNST Interns

When I started my new gig at WNST, Nestor encouraged us to recommend insightful stories and columns we’ve found in various news outlets. I think this is a great idea, regardless of whether an author or outlet is affiliated with us. Sharing views of sports-related topics and stories is universal and makes for good debate.

Thus, I’d like to suggest Buster Olney’s column regarding “Alcohol and Major League Baseball” on ESPN’s baseball page. Upon reading Buster’s column, the seriousness of driving while impaired by alcohol plunged back into the forefront of my mind. For years, I was intimately involved in operations and endeavors aimed at combating drinking and driving. But, with retirement came a devotion to other facets of life.

According to the column, St. Louis Cardinals GM, Walt Jocketty, is now acknowledging that pitcher Josh Hancock’s auto fatality (this past Sunday) may have been alcohol-related. In my opinion, if Mr. Jocketty is in any way obliging this consideration …. it’s with some initial evidence. The “smoke and fire” saying seems poignant in regard to this reference.

In reading Buster’s column, I was reminded that Cardinals manager, Tony LaRussa, was arrested for DUI a mere 38 days prior to Hancock’s fatal accident. Thus, I’m inclined to ask, “where’s the accountability?” If upon investigation, we learn Josh Hancock’s death was alcohol related, should we be surprised? Think about it ….. his BOSS got locked up for DUI and was back leading his young, impressionable subordinates, a day later.

Yeah, yeah …. I know the worn out defenses that LaRussa has not been convicted of anything. Fine – but place him in an administrative capacity (with pay) until his case is resolved. Doing anything less than this sends the WRONG message, and it most certainly sent the wrong message to Josh Hancock. I’d love to know the answer to this question … “Did anyone speak to the Cardinals players about the dangers of drinking and driving, after LaRussa’s arrest?” Rest assured, the next big leaguer who gets arrested for DUI will be back at his position/capacity with the team in a mere matter of days, with or without counseling.

If Josh Hancock was under the influence of alcohol when he died, the St. Louis Cardinals and Tony LaRussa have a hand in it. To cast the blame in any other direction just further compounds and complicates the true root cause of the crisis. These guys …. none of these guys are ever held accountable for their actions, when considering their standing in the workplace. Sadly, somebody has finally paid the ultimate price.