In late July of 1999, KMOX sportscaster Randy Karraker was asked if the St. Louis-area media coverage of Tony La Russa has been fair.
"I don't think we've reached a point yet, where Tony is on the hot seat.
"Most of what is talked about now, as far as Tony is concerned, is conjecture.
"I think that he legitimately wants to do what's best for this organization. I'm guessing, because he hasn't signed that contract extension, that he isn't quite sure, at this point, whether or not he is the best guy for the organization.
"But as far as the quality of managing, and you can go back and forth, all day and all night long, about the quality of managing, but as Willie McGee mentioned the other day, [La Russa] does not have the horses to compete.
"Jim Leyland is not a bad manager, despite the fact that his team is in last place.
"Felipe Alou is not a bad manager, despite the fact that his team is racing for the worst record in the National League.
"Joe Torre did not become a good manager when he became the manager of the Yankees."
Karraker was also asked whether La Russa gains favorable coverage from the first-tier, overly-friendly media.
"I don't think so.
"Maybe there are some people like that.
"But I don't think that Tony goes out of his way to be a real media-friendly guy.
"After games, after losses, he can really snap at people, if he doesn't like the questions they've asked or if he just happens to be in a bad mood.
"I've had several occasions in which he's had a disagreement with me and called me into his office and tried to explain himself.
"He says, 'Look, if you criticize me that's fine. I'm the manager, and baseball is second-guessing the manager...and that's part of what the deal is.'"
"So I don't think that he tries to set himself up so that he's beyond criticism.
"What he has done is become the active win leader among all managers...he probably will wind up third, all-time, in managerial victgories. He's won five division titles, he's won a championship, and he's been in three World Series.
Karraker was then asked if media, in the process of covering La Russa, get too close to him so that it becomes impossible to criticize him and his managerial decisions.
"I would've said that with Joe Torre, because Joe Torre is one of my favorite people in baseball.
"I would have been reluctant to criticize Joe, because I don't think that Joe would have come to me and said 'I heard what you said...and let me explain myself'. I think I treated Torre kid gloves more than I do with La Russa, because I know that I can second-guess Tony La Russa because I know that he's listening and I know that respects me.
"No, I don't think I'm too close to La Russa to be able to criticize him."