Saturday Rockpile: Rockies will Follow the La Russa Path to Success

Doug Pensinger

Say what you will about Tony LaRussa's personal failings, but he was an incredibly successful manager in MLB. If Walt Weiss wants to emulate him on the field during his Rockies tenure, I'm all for it.

It will be a quick Rockpile today, as the computer I'm writing on is slower than Garrett Atkins going 1st to 3rd. Both Rox Girl and Andrew Fisher articulated well their feelings about the Walt Weiss hire as manager over the last two days. Add me to that bandwagon. Weiss brings a new attitude and perspective to the clubhouse, plus he also understands the kind of challenges (and opportunities) posed by Coors Field.

In addition to those traits, he played under and learned from a couple of great managers himself in Tony La Russa (with the A's to begin his career) and Bobby Cox (with the Braves to end it). Those are arguably the most consistently successful managers of the last 25 years who weren't given the resources of the Yankees. La Russa won 3 championships and Cox won 14 division titles -- something of which the Rockies have neither.

As such, Weiss wants to transfer those lessons from La Russa to the Rockies. These traits include playing hard until the final out and utilizing all of the assets available to gain an advantage in a game. Yes, that will likely mean more frequent pitching changes next year for the Rockies, but it might also mean that Weiss might say, bring in a lefty to face Ryan Howard with the game on the line.

From Cox, Weiss hopes to duplicate the winning chemistry (Dan O'Dowd, eat your heart out) from those consistently good Braves teams. If only he could duplicate the pitching staffs too.

As for Weiss' coaching staff, Tom Runnells will be back as the bench coach after his failed manager bid while fellow manager candidate Jason Giambi is a hitting coach candidate for Colorado. The Runnells news is in no way a bad thing -- in the NFL for instance, it is often the former NFL head coaches that make the best coordinators (I see you Jack Del Rio). After all, they were competent enough at their position to be promoted to the head job at one point.

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