CHICAGO -- From 300 miles away, the Cardinals gave manager Tony La Russa a little surprise on Thursday afternoon.
Prior to the series finale between the Cardinals and Cubs, acting manager Joe Pettini didn't take the lineup card to home plate. Instead, pitcher Kyle Lohse did -- dressed in a La Russa costume. Lohse wore La Russa's jersey, sunglasses that resembled La Russa's trademark shades, and arranged his hair to look like La Russa's coif. The prank drew huge laughter in the Cardinals dugout, and even the opponents were amused.
"I've been doing the 'Tony hair' for a couple days," Lohse said. "Just trying to keep it loose in here. My hair is getting out of control. I realized that when I didn't gel it up, it hangs over my ears. So you hang the hat on it and you've got Tony."
Pettini at first discouraged Lohse from going through with the joke, but eventually he was convinced to give in. He said that shortly after the game he had already heard from La Russa, who is away from the Cardinals for the remainder of this week while he rests and recuperates from a case of shingles. Pettini joked that La Russa might remove him from his acting managerial duties before acknowledging that the stunt was well-received.
"I think he got a kick out of it. I wouldn't have let it happen at first, but all of them were saying, 'Come on! Tony will get a kick out of it,' and he did. You need to laugh."
Chicago manager Mike Quade also didn't take the card out, instead sending bench coach Pat Listach.
"It shocked me to death," Quade said. "I thought they had him under quarantine. It looked just like him. I was busy getting ready and I'm almost mad I didn't go up there. That was pretty good."