Leyland is one of La Russa's closest friends in baseball, if not the closest. They talk frequently during the season. So it was to be expected that following the Tigers' Game 5 American League Division Series win over the Yankees on Thursday, they talked. What might not have been expected was that La Russa also called repeatedly before the game even finished.
"I talk to Jim [more than] I talked to my family, I think," La Russa said. "We're close, so I was watching the game closely. And when they went to the bottom of the seventh, I left him a message on his phone, you've got nine outs to go, then six, then three. He called me back around 2 or 3 in the morning, so we talked, and he talked to me a little bit ago."
The two veteran managers don't always talk baseball, but this time around, they noted the similarities between their clubs' positions. Just as the Tigers did on Thursday, the Cardinals face a heavy favorite on the road on Friday night.
"We both agree that one thing we have in common is that the home club -- there are a lot of expectations," La Russa said. "The Yankees have expectations; the Phillies won 100 games. They've got a great club, representing the league, and that's a tough burden, but we also agree that they have Roy Halladay."