By La Russa, Tony; Hummel, Rick; La Russa, Tony

The mythical baseball supervisor takes readers backstage of the St. Louis Cardinals' 2011 season, detailing a trip that led to probably the most dramatic global sequence of all time.

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With six Pennants, international sequence wins, 4 supervisor of the 12 months awards, and thirty-three years of expertise, the writer conscientiously thought of his team's personality and competitiveness and searched Read more...

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Additional resources for One last strike : fifty years in baseball, ten and a half games back, and one final championship season

Sample text

Then we established the priorities we wanted to focus on in the camp and throughout the season. For example, the way 2010 had ended, we wanted to improve our situational at-bats, beginning with better strike zone discipline, so we structured drills and constantly emphasized it in camp in 2011. The same was true with one of the keys in pitching—first-pitch strikes. On defense, we wanted to continue our defense-first mentality. Last but not least, we were going to drive home the point about maintaining our competitive urgency.

Guys get fried. You try to rest them to help them take a fresh approach to the game. But when the same drop-offs happen with greater frequency, then the first thing that pops into your mind is that the team, individual by individual, is not as excited about competing to its best level. That’s one of the things we demand of our players, and that’s one of the things that was elusive about 2010. Because our intensity was down, the executions were not as good as we were capable of. After the All-Star break, we had the last of our four regularly scheduled team meetings.

I couldn’t help but think about the nature of that radio signal’s interference and how it affected communication. I wondered if maybe I hadn’t done the right things to get through to people. You know, there’s the expression that managers have to push the right buttons. Well, with the exception of the ones they wear on their uniforms, players don’t have buttons. They aren’t machines. They’re human beings, and increasingly the number-one duty of a baseball manager and staff is to understand and relate to the diverse personalities of the players.

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