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Wednesday, bloody Wednesday

Finding blog topics in the middle of the week is a challenge, but one I’m going to try and answer to the very best of my ability.

Let’s start with Tony La Russa, the manager of my beloved St. Louis Cardinals. In case you haven’t noticed, the Cardinals hit a wall about a month ago and have played uninspired baseball since. They’ve fallen out of the race in the NL Central and are just playing out the string.

La Russa isn’t a guy who knows how to play out a string and his frustration is obvious.

I think La Russa has been a great manager in St. Louis, since 1996. And if he returns in 2011, I would be happy with that.

However, I’m thinking more and more that he shouldn’t come back. It looks to me like La Russa’s voice is no longer being heard inside the Cardinals’ clubhouse and that a team made up of a lot of veterans – La Russa loves veterans – is just playing old.

After 15 seasons as manager, La Russa looks to me like he could use a new challenge and the Cardinals look to me like they could use a new manager.

It pains me to write that. In fact, I’m in tears (not really, but there should be an element of drama in every blog.)

Who would I like to see manage the Cardinals next season?

Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon is at the top of my list. He’s done a fantastic job with the talented Rays, who are barely noticed in Tampa. Crowds are ridiculously sparse and the ballpark isn’t a ballpark at all. Maddon would, in my mind, be thrilled to have a shot managing the Cardinals.

I also like the Angels’ Mike Scioscia. I would be intrigued by Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire. Eric Wedge would pique my interest.

Yes, the more I think about it, the more I believe La Russa’s time in St. Louis is near an end.

I am nearing my first trade as a fantasy football league owner. My good friend, Pastor Mike, has offered me running back Darren McFadden for Colts receiver Austin Collie, who had a huge game against the Houston Texans on Sunday.

I need a running back and McFadden was good in the Raiders’ opener, though it was a one-sided loss to the Tennessee Titans.

I really like Collie, but Peyton Manning has so many weapons that I doubt he can repeat his Week 1 performance consistently. And McFadden was also a nice target out of the backfield for new Oakland quarterback Jason Campbell.

Like the trade? Hate it? I’m an owner who listens to the fans.

Reading Clinton Portis’ comments regarding female reporters in professional football locker rooms, I’m starting to think all professional athletes should stop talking. It’ll make our job as reporters more difficult, but some of these athletes are just – to be kind – not very smart.

My baseball postseason team is the Minnesota Twins. I’m a big Gardenhire fan. He met his wife while playing in the National Baseball Congress World Series for El Dorado Coors and they spent their first 10-15 years of marriage in Wichita.

One of the best things about the baseball postseason is that Chip Caray will not be calling television games for TBS. He’s one of the worst and will be replaced this year by the great Ernie Johnson Jr.

Yes, it’s time once again (every Saturday and Wednesday) to highlight one of my Facebook friends. I’m not sure why I started doing Facebook a couple of years ago – it goes against a lot of what I think about myself. I’m not a touchy-feely kind of guy. But I do enjoy Facebook because of the people I’ve re-connected with and the people I’ve come to know. A couple of times a week, I’m highlighting one of my Facebook friends here on the blog. Walter D. Bettis This summer, Walt invited me to join him and some other guys (one of whom is also a Facebook friend) for a round of golf at Flint Hills National. My opinion of him went up greatly. He’s a good guy, a North High grad (1977) who works in publishing. Here’s what he has to say:“My defining attitude is a real belief in the value of friends and family. Friends ground me and they open my world up to new experiences and learning, etc.Kind of sounds like a load of crap, but the above sentiment is true…“My Facebook friendship with you Bob is one out of respect for you as a true professional. You make me think with your perspective on sport & life. I certainly do not agree with you 100% of the time, however that difference of opinion fuels the friendship.”I did not require that Walt compliment me to be featured on my blog. But it certainly didn’t hurt his chances.Thanks, everyone, for another fantastic day on the blog.

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