"La Russa Becomes The First Manager to Think for the Cycle"

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"La Russa Becomes The First Manager to Think for the Cycle"
That's the line one of the best baseball writers on the planet, the Seattle Times' Larry Stone, uses to talk up the intelligence of the animal rights activist formerly known as Cards manager Tony La Russa in his always-hilarious "Power Rankings" column.

Stone happens to think pretty highly of the Redbirds: he has them and their 17-8 record sitting atop his weekly rankings.

Are the Cardinals really the best team in baseball right now? The Dodgers or Red Sox probably deserve the nod, but the Mariners' (and this writer's) hometown columnist has no doubt been impressed by St. Louis' improbable one-two punch of ex-Mariners pitchers Joel Piñeiro and Ryan Franklin.

Piñeiro, perhaps the most-loathed M's hurler this side of Bobby Ayala (or Carlos Silva, for that matter) is now 4-1 despite striking out only ten batters on the season. And Franklin, who never really found his niche in five seasons in Seattle, has suddenly morphed into the second coming of Dennis Eckersley, closing out all the games the Cardinals couldn't finish last season.

While the Mariners are easily the most improved team of 2009, seeing yet another pair of underachievers succeed elsewhere is like the depressing icing on the sad cake that has been Seattle's maligned 2008-09 sports year.

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