As a major league manager for 33 years, Tony La Russa did it all.
The 69-year-old won three World Series titles, four Manager of the Year Awards, six pennants, 12 division crowns and 2,728 regular season games.
But being a Hall of Fame skipper does not necessarily mean he’ll thrive in his new role as the Arizona Diamondbacks’ first-ever Chief Baseball Officer.
It’s a reality La Russa is fully aware of, but one that also makes the job all the more intriguing.
“I have anxiety that I won’t be able to pull it off,” La Russa told Arizona Sports 98.7 FM’s Bickley & Marotta Tuesday. “It’s the kind of challenge that stimulates and motivates. You cross your T’s and dot your I’s. I think good and bad fear, if you take the bad fear and you pass on it, it haunts you for the rest of your life. The good fear brings out the best of you and then we’ll see if you’re good enough.”
Right now, the D-backs are clearly not good enough, sitting in last place in the National West after 53 games.
The sluggish start has only compounded the franchise’s recent woes, including back-to-back .500 campaigns under the direction of general manager Kevin Towers and manager Kirk Gibson.
La Russa doesn’t have any false pretenses that he’ll be able to serve as an organizational savior, but he hopes that with his presence the D-backs will learn to embrace any and all anxiety and pressure that comes throughout a 162-game season.
“One of the things we intend to bring to our ballclub as far as compete, we have always taught to embrace the pressure,” said La Russa. “We’re expected to be competitive. We’re expected to play for championships…I like that anxiety. I feel it right now.
“I know there have been some skeptics as to whether me personally or somebody, anybody can contribute in this type of role. It’s good. It puts a chip on my shoulder. It’s motivation.”