Cards manager Tony La Russa was arrested Thursday morning after he was found to have a bac of .093. The legal limit in Florida is .08. The reigning World Series Champion manager was stopped in the middle of the road at midnight in his blue ford explorer. The 62-year old La Russa posted $500 bail and was then permitted to leave.
This is very uncharacteristic of La Russa who has gained the reputation of being an outstanding citizen and manager during his countless decades in baseball.
This story was extremely saddening to me because just last month I was at Cardinals spring training in Jupiter and had the opportunity on three separate days to meet Tony. I perceived him as being a mild mannered man who was kind to the fans and went out of his way to sign autographs even when he didn't have to.
Initially after discovering the news I was shocked to see that La Russa would be involved in legal matters where he was on the wrong side of the law. The Cards manager did release a statement where he said ''It was an embarrassment, so I apologize to anyone that's close to me, members of the Cardinals organization, our fans. I regret it. I take responsibility, and I'm not sure there's anything else I can say.''
The words ''I take responsibility'' and ''I apologize'' were enough for me to hear and I expected that a man who has such a strong character would admit to his wrong doings. Unlike many players, he did not avoid the media because he knew his actions were wrong and he was even ''cooperative throughout the investigation.''
I hope that I never have to associate the words arrested with the Cardinals skipper because he is too much of a good person. Maybe yesterday served as a reality check in that even the best of people can experience road blocks in their lives and maybe La Russa will come out as a better person from this experience.
I hope that for the upcoming season fans don't think of Tony La Russa as the manager who was arrested for DUI, but rather as one of the best managers baseball has ever seen and a person who will one day be inducted into Cooperstown.