La Russa said heckling went too far in Milwaukee

August 3, 2011 - 1:59 PM
APTOPIX Cardinals Brewers Baseball

St. Louis Cardinals' Albert Pujols is hit in the hand by a pitch during the seventh inning of a baseball game against the Milwaukee Brewers Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2011, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said a fan told him he hoped he would get shingles again and that others took insults too far in St. Louis' 8-7, 11-inning victory over the Milwaukee Brewers.

La Russa appeared to briefly engage in some banter after Tuesday's win, then called the fans "idiots" in comments after a game in which Albert Pujols was hit with a high pitch in the seventh inning. Brewers star Ryan Braun was plunked in Milwaukee's next at-bat.

"It's going way too far when they start cursing your family and the funniest one, the guy's yelling, 'I hope you get shingles again,'" La Russa said Wednesday. "That's just stupid. But when you watch and you ignore our guy get drilled when the other guy gets a little stinger, it's irritating."

La Russa said that Brewers officials removed several fans near St. Louis' dugout during the game. The 66-year-old La Russa struggled with shingles for nearly two months earlier this season, missing six games because of the condition.

The game turned tense in the seventh.

Pujols was hit on the left hand near the wrist he broke earlier this season. X-rays after the game were negative and Pujols was in the starting lineup for Wednesday's finale. Braun was then plunked by Jason Motte in the bottom of the inning that drew the ire of most of the crowd of 39,393.

"You don't want to get into a bean ball war," Braun said. "That's never fun."

La Russa called the pitch that hit Pujols "scary" but not intentional and they were trying to send a message to Braun by pitching him tight.

"That's what all these idiots up there — not idiots, fans are yelling," La Russa said. "I don't want to even hear about Braun getting a little pop in the back when we almost lose (Pujols) in several ways."

The manager was also upset Wednesday at the Brewers TV broadcasters after their take on the inning's events.

"You would hope that the guys that work for the Brewers have enough guts and enough integrity to call the game as it is instead of worrying about their paycheck," La Russa said.

Brewers TV analyst and former catcher Bill Schroeder acknowledged he called the situation "bush league" when discussing the inning, but was not directing the comment toward La Russa. Schroeder said he and La Russa spoke by phone Wednesday morning, touching on several topics.

"I have a lot of respect for Tony La Russa," Schroeder said. "I would never call him bush league."

La Russa and Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak also said they had not heard from MLB about potential discipline for Yadier Molina, who appeared to make contact with plate umpire Rob Drake after arguing a called third strike in the 10th inning.

Drake had to wipe his face after it appeared he was hit by spittle while Molina was yelling. Molina maintained he did not spit on Drake, saying he was sweaty and any contact he made with Drake was incidental. Molina was in Wednesday's lineup.