La Russa retires. Love him or hate him, you gotta love him! -

La Russa retires. Love him or hate him, you gotta love him!

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By KMOV Web Producer By KMOV Web Producer

(KMOV) -- Tony La Russa is out. The St. Louis Cardinals manager is manager no more. Three days after guiding the St. Louis Cardinals to one of the greatest comebacks in all of sports to win the World Series, he announced he's retiring.

The vast majority of Cardinal Nation is sad to see the skipper go yet is happy for him and his family. And then there's a good fraction thrilled to see him gone.

Tony La Russa managed for 16 years in St. Louis. He went to nine post seasons, won three National League Pennants, and two World Championships. Along the way, his style drew many admirers and many loathers. Very few Cardinal fans were indifferent on Tony La Russa. He was a love him or hate him kind of guy.

This Cardinal fan happened to love and hate him along the way. And I'd say even if you've hated him as manager, looking back you'll eventually love him and what he did to further enrich the history of the St. Louis Cardinals. This run through the post season is the perfect way for him to go out.

Any manager's moves get dissected, especially in the playoffs. But Tony's moves seemed to be even more under the microscope. One day he's a genius and the next he's an idiot.

As his team fell off the playoff map in July and August, many fans were wishing his retirement would come sooner. But a hundred hit and runs, a thousand late inning position changes (i.e. Freese taken out for defensive reasons) and a million pitching changes, his team is the 2011 World Champions. Now this Cardinals team will go down as one of the best stories in sports history.

Thanks Tony. We all knew you knew what you were doing even while we were screaming at the TV. You miscommunicated who you wanted to warm up in the bull pen in Game 5 of the World Series? Right. It's easy to look back at this World Series run and call Tony a genius, and I believe that's how his time in St. Louis will ultimately be remembered, even by all the haters.

His numbers speak for themselves and he's a future Hall of Famer. At his news conference, La Russa said he made the decision to retire in August, even before the amazing playoff run. And I couldn't help but notice how much more relaxed he seemed in his playoff interviews. He even brought humor into many of his comments. Maybe he felt like the weight of the baseball world was going to soon be lifted off his shoulders. Either way, thank you Tony for bearing that weight for the St. Louis Cardinals for 16 great years. Looking back, you've got to love him.

--John Knicely, Awake With News 4 

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