Cheap Seats

More observations from the baseball writers dinner

It has seemed over the years like there has been a divsion amongst Cardinals fans with one camp loyal to Hall of Fame Manager Whitey Herzog and his speed-based, on base percentage driven teams and the other loyal to current skipper Tony La Russa's home run-driven offense.

But there was an interesting intermingling of the two camps Monday at the Baseball Writers dinner when La Russa reflected on his early days as the manager of the White Sox.

La Russa said that in those days he leaned on Herzog, then a successful manager with Kansas City and later the Cardinals, for advice and Herzog obliged.

While the Redbirds of the 2000s don't bear much resemblance to the Cardinals of the 1980s -- watching the highlight videos of the 1985 team, slugger Jack Clark looked like he was closer to the size of Brendan Ryan than Albert Pujols or Matt Holliday -- La Russa said he still uses some of the things today that the White Rat taught him way back then.

One example, in all his years of baseball, La Russa has never found a better defense for the bunt with runners on first and second than the one that Herzog showed him in 1979.

It seems like a small detail. But it was interesting and touching to see the two managers from completely different schools of thought -- Whitey the hometown boy who loves to drink beer and eat a big steak and the California renaissance man LaRussa the vegetarian share a moment of Cardinals brotherhood.