The night to honor Tony La Russa and retire his No. 10 definitely had its great moments. It had its not-so-great, very frustrating moments too as the St. Louis Cardinals lost to the Atlanta Braves 9-7 in 12 innings.
Here are 10 comments on No. 10’s night.
1. The participants in the pre-game ceremony were a representation of La Russa’s 33 years as a manager, as well as a cross section of baseball history. In addition to Cards Hall of Famers Lou Brock, Bob Gibson and Red Schoendienst, two other Cooperstown inductees who played for TLR were there: Dennis Eckersley and Tom Seaver. It also was a nice tribute that Walt Jocketty returned to Busch Stadium, as well as Joe Torre. Actually, it was great that every one of those people were there — all had a significance to some portion of his career. But when did Matt Morris get so old?
2. Is it a surprise that TLR mentioned David Eckstein (who was there) during his own remarks?
3. The picture of La Russa that’s on the outfield wall with his No. 10 (the same picture that’s on the big screen here) is perfect — sunglasses, intense expression. Nothing else would seem right.
4. Now to the game. The standing ovation for Chipper Jones in his first at-bat was awesome. He looked like he could cry. Classy move by Yadi as well to call time out and extend the ovation.
5. Should we be worried about Jaime Garcia? Ricky Horton spent time talking about his velocity during the game. He’s allowed three, six and now four earned runs in his last three outings, and hasn’t had a scoreless outing all season. His ERA has risen in each of his last three games and is back above 4 again (as it was early on) to 4.09.
6. On the plus side, Carlos Beltran! He is simply amazing. Once again he had a two-homer night — his third in the last 10 days — as well as a double and triple. He had the chance for the single, which would have been the walk-off game-winning kind for the cycle, in the 11th inning … but walked.
7. Speaking of the 11th inning chance to win, there were also chances in the ninth (following a Skip Schumaker headfirst slide into first that worked to lead off the inning) and 10th (bases loaded, David Freese in to pinch-hit). But, this is 2012 and not 2011. No miracle ending in this game (Freese grounded into a double play) nor a Braves collapse. Not in this game anyway. Personally, instead of using Freese in the 10th, I was hoping to see David Eckstein … and a walk-off suicide squeeze.
8. The Cardinals hit back-to-back home runs again tonight, for the third time this week. And Beltran and Allen Craig were involved yet again. Matt Carpenter also had a homer to put the Cardinals on the board in the second.
9. There were 14 pitchers used in the game. That seems like a good TLR tribute right there. The horrible umpiring and inconsistent strike zone? Not so much.
10. A tipsy Tom Seaver would be far more entertaining broadcasting the game than the current Cardinals announcers.
So, just like Tony La Russa endured 2,365 times in his career, it was a disappointing night with a loss.
Tonight is the chance to get things on the right track, with Adam Wainwright facing off against Brandon Beachy. Game time is 6:15 p.m. Central.
Christine Coleman is the senior St. Louis Cardinals reporter for Aaron Miles’ Fastball. Follow her on Twitter, @CColeman802, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Also follow @AMilesFastball for the latest updates.