Early Thursday morning, St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony La Russa was found asleep at the wheel by Jupiter, Fla., police. The policeman smelled alcohol and ordered the skipper of the reigning World Series champs to complete a field sobriety test. Always the strategist, La Russa tried to get out of the jam by performing two pitching changes.
“I asked the suspect to recite the alphabet while standing on one leg,” said Sgt. Josh Spenard of the Jupiter Police Dept. “Before he began the exercise he took out his cell phone, and without dialing a number, asked, ‘is Looper ready?'”
Spenard also followed protocol and asked La Russa to touch the tip of his nose with his finger. La Russa responded by tapping his left wrist with his right hand and screaming, “Gimme the lefty!”
La Russa was taken into custody but later released when his pitching coach and longtime friend Dave Duncan posted bail. The manager will have his day in court next month, although the strange behavior during the traffic stop will not necessarily prove his guilt.
“Anyone who has ever seen a Cardinals game knows La Russa can’t go longer than 10 minutes without making a pitching change,” said Duncan. “Drunk or sober, Tony just needs to feel like he’s in control.”