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Was La Russa Providing Cover?

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He looked to me like a man stepping gamely in front of a bullet. Hell, a hail of ‘em.

Thing is, what if he were covering for someone he adores? His best friend, Dave Duncan? What if the guy on the line from the dugout wasn’t La Russa, but, say, a loyal and enduring pitching coach? The guy whose wife is ill, whose season was creased by trips home to nurse her, whose head is in the game but also must be in a bedside chair, reading her to sleep?

I don’t know. Presumably, only a few do. And La Russa, half-a-day later, would only repeat, “I don’t throw family under the bus,” and then guess that, yes, he himself was probably the one on the telephone when his bullpen came apart, as did Game 5 of the World Series.

He looked to me like a man stuck between the truth and his duty. If that’s too grand, too naïve, so be...

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