Redbird's Burden

La Russa endures a hell of a season, escaping the purgatory of tradition

"Being a player rep, it's not like I defused a bomb or something," Kline says. "I was just hearing from a higher power what was going on. My say doesn't mean crap to anybody. I'm just the messenger boy. Everyone wants to shoot the messenger. All the letters I got, and the ones to the other player reps, what can I do?"

Kline was on the mound for the Redbirds' final game last year, which Arizona won. Kline, like the rest of the Cardinal players, is relieved that this season of distress is over and the playoffs have begun.

"I enjoy playing in it. That's the pressure time," Kline says. "That's when people want to pitch. Last year, I gave up the game-winning hit to [Tony] Womack. It's been haunting me. This is the team I want to face. I want to get out there and get them out. He beat me last year, straight-out beat me. I want to try to get them back. That's how simple it is."

Tony La Russa: "I was never really confident the 
wheels wouldn't come off at any one time."
Jennifer Silverberg
Tony La Russa: "I was never really confident the wheels wouldn't come off at any one time."

Playing the Diamondbacks is the simple part.

Getting there was the hard part.

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