Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Morning Briefing Eye Openers

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Morning Briefing Eye Openers

Article excerpt

When TONY La RUSSA, manager of the Oakland Athletics, moves his entourage to spring training in Scottsdale, Ariz., it's a spectacle. The La Russa family does not travel without baggage. Lots of it. The load required two plane flights this year.

If you're scoring at home, here's the lineup: Tony's wife, ELAINE, and daughters BIANCA, 14, and DEVON, 11. Then there's Res, a 2-year-old black Labrador, and Luke and Leia, both poodles. The cats include Tamlin, Lakota, Eddie, Cherokee, Kachina, Misha, Carla, Sierra and Apache. That's not to mention the girls' two pet rats, Kiwi and Jete, which are kept at arm's length from the cats. In all, it's four La Russas, three dogs, nine cats and two rats.

"When we land and depart, we do look like a circus," La Russa told the San Francisco Chronicle. "Every year, we spend a lot of time talking about how we will do it. One year we went in a mobile home. But we usually end up flying."

La Russa is an animal rights activist. He says the idea of putting pets in a kennel for that long is unacceptable.

"You don't leave your children," he said. Children? Try a zoo. It began with two cats. "Then it was five," he said, "then six. Every time we heard a heartwarming story we felt, `What's one more?' "

Every one of the La Russa animals has a story. Take Res, which was found roaming an Indian reservation near the A's workout facility at Scottsdale Community College. Now, Res (short for reservation) is a regular at Phoenix Stadium, chasing fly balls in practices with the aplomb of a RICKEY HENDERSON.

La Russa can't get enough of Res. "GDOAT," La Russa says. "Greatest dog of all time."

The contract BABE RUTH signed in 1930 that was worth a then-record $80,000 has pretty good paper value. It sold at a New York auction for $29,900 Saturday. Ruth was asked in '30 why he should be making more money than HERBERT HOOVER, who was president at the time. The question spurred what probably was Ruth's best line.

"I had a better year," he said.

Montreal Expos trainer DON McCLAIN was told by management to cut costs. So what did he do? He saved $1,000 by not ordering vitamins, sun block lotion, aspirin and other items normally available to the players during spring training. …

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