Tony La Russa's mysterious eye infection, which has grown less visible but no less painful to the Cardinals' manager since cropping up last month, will be getting the attention of the Mayo Clinic this afternoon, on the team's off-day. Rick Hummel and Derrick Goold's article on the trip—which was apparently previously scheduled as a yearly ARF-related physical—does a good job of showing just how much it's affected La Russa, who has for the most part seemed to fight through it. I don't mean to make light of a very painful infection, but it's been difficult to tell, sometimes, just how much it's hurt, since La Russa has refused to relinquish any of his responsibilities and usually responds pretty sourly to the press anyway.â†µ
But here's hoping that the doctors in Arizona see something the doctors around town didn't; La Russa's head-down performance throughout the ordeal has been impressive enough that it earned a rare non-misanthropic tweet from Joe Strauss. And La Russa's comments about how he's managed aren't quite Hornsby sitting by the window and waiting for spring as far as baseball tributes go, but there's something of a real enthusiasm in them: "It's the before and after that's been the hardest. It doesn't bother you that much during the game. That game is the best time."