As players warm up for Game 6 of the World Series, many members of the mainstream media are obsessing over the mismanagement of Game 5 by Cardinals’ skipper Tony La Russa. Since we recently started a series on the GotCup blog called “Athlete Arrests,” it makes total sense to write a piece about Tony La Russa’s DUI arrest in 2007. Even though he is mostly known for coaching, he played six seasons for seven different clubs as well so he still qualifies for the series.
Now, we are not saying that he was drunk during Game 5 of this World Series, but he has been arrested for alcohol-related offenses in the past. We are just acknowledging that it has happened.
Arrest Date: March 22, 2007 in Jupiter, Florida
Charged With: Driving Under the Influence
Sentence: Pleaded guilty for DUI. Received six months’ probation, paid a $678.50 fine, had to complete DUI school and 50 hours of community service.
Back story: After going out to dinner during spring training before the 2007 season La Russa was found asleep inside his SUV while stopped at a red light. La Russa had a blood alcohol content level of 0.093% after taking a breathalyzer test according to ESPN the day after the arrest. Video uploaded to YouTube — embedded below — by WPBF television in West Palm Beach, Florida of La Russa’s conversation with officers after the arrest show the manager repeating, “I had a long, long day” multiple times. La Russa is coherent and polite in the video, but some of his conversations with the officers are very fascinating. After being told he blew a 0.093% he asked the officer, “Is that significant?” The officer responded, “It’s over the legal limit.” In typical over-managing La Russa style, he continued to ask, “Is it significant in your opinion?” The officer responded, “It is what it is. The state says 0.08 is the legal limit.”
Fallout: Other than the legal sentencing, the Cardinals handled the situation privately with chairman Bill DeWitt Jr. releasing a statement that said, “We addressed this matter with Tony last season and the nature of those discussions will remain private. We have been satisfied with Tony’s responsible approach to this issue and we respect his decision. With today’s news, our ballclub considers the matter closed.” In 2009, La Russa sued Twitter after a user made a fake account pretending to be La Russa. The user sent out tweets making light of the DUI. According to the Wall Street Journal, the status of the lawsuit remains undetermined.