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ST. LOUIS (KMOX) - Less than 24 hours after showering their heroes with love – and a lot of ticker-tape - during the Parade of Champions, members of Cardinal Nation are in numb shock.
Longtime manager Tony La Russa announced he’s stepping down after 33 years as a Major League Baseball manager, the last 16 with the Cardinals.
“I just think it feels like it’s time to end it,” La Russa said of his career Monday morning at Busch Stadium.
Click the link below to listen to Tony La Russa entire press conference
Chris Carpenter reacts to Tony La Russa’s announcement
The announcement did not come as a surprise to team management.
La Russa said he told them sometime in late August, right around the time the Cardinals were at their low point more than 10 games out of the Wild Card race, that he was contemplating retirement.
Winning the World Series was icing on the cake, but La Russa said he was prepared to retire no matter the outcome of what turned out to be a magical 2011 post-season run.
TLR informed his players of his decision after Sunday night’s spectacular Parade of Champions and fireworks show at Busch Stadium.
He says some of them cried, and he also shed some tears.
Why come back the very next day after such a joyous celebration to drop his bombshell?
La Russa said he felt compelled to pull the trigger right away.
“The clock’s running on a lot of important stuff,” La Russa pointed out during his press conference, not the least of which is attempting to sign Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols to a new long-term contract. “So I was just trying to be fair to the organization.”
La Russa, who guided St. Louis to nine post-season appearances, three pennants and two World Series titles, said it wasn’t an easy decision, especially after feeling the love from hundreds of thousands of fans Sunday.
“The support that you get here (in St. Louis), and Jack Buck used to talk about it all the time, is not just a passion it’s a fairness,” La Russa said.
He choked up on at least one occasion during the lengthy news conference, but remained composed as he talked about his future plans.
“Maybe buy a minor league team,” La Russa speculated, while also leaving the door open for a front-office position with Major League Baseball, or some other position connected to the game of baseball.
“I don’t know anything else,” he concluded.
No word yet on the timeline for a search to replace Tony La Russa as manager of the St. Louis Cardinals.
OUR EARLIER STORY:
After winning the World Series, St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony La Russa is retiring.
The announcement come at a news conference Monday at Busch Stadium.
The World Series win over Texas was the third for the 67-year-old.
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