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Whack Job 

Phoenix columnist howls in protest at La Russa's threat

In Jane Eyre, Rochester has nutty Bertha under lock and key. Goofball ex-presidential candidate H. Ross Perot keeps crazy aunts in basements. Michael Jackson lives in Neverland.

Here, in the NT Media family of newspapers, the Worm's wacko relatives work and play out west.

Take Bob Nelson, ace columnist for our oldest sister paper.

Nelson, in a blistering column in the Phoenix New Times, says the Cardinals should sack manager Tony La Russa for, of all things, having "ordered a hit" on Phoenix shock jock Beau Duran.

As St. Louisans remember, Duran is the 22-year-old sack of protoplasm who, in a KUPD-FM radio stunt, asked Darryl Kile's widow for a date to a division series game. Slimebag to Flynn Kile: "I saw you on TV -- you're really hot."

Flynn, who buried Darryl in June, wasn't in Phoenix to make a love connection.

Shaken, she called La Russa.

"Whoever is responsible," La Russa fumed at a press conference, "should suffer severe and dire consequences. If we could get our hands on them, we would deal with them physically. It was so brutal that something should happen to them."

Ordinarily Tony's a mellow dude. A philosopher. A vegetarian, for chrissakes!

It didn't take La Russa long to chill and rescind his call for retribution.

But angry fans buried Duran's station with calls and e-mails. Beleaguered, the folks who paid Duran to be obnoxious, caved. First they suspended him. Then they fired him.

So it should have ended.

Stories have shelf lives -- and this one's expired when Duran filed for unemployment.

Enter Bob Nelson. Bob's in a bad mood. Bob's got space to fill. So last week, Bob dusted off a yet-unexplored news angle: jackass as victim.

Phoenix's "best morning show lost an integral cog" when Duran was pink-slipped, Nelson writes. It's all La Russa's fault.

For real.

See for yourself at www.phoenixnewtimes.com.

According to Nelson, La Russa's "hit" could even get Duran killed. After all, the ex-jock's received "numerous death threats."

"It's time for Tony La Russa to say he's sorry to the employees of KUPD," Nelson writes. "Then ... La Russa should be fired for putting people's lives in jeopardy just to win a baseball game."

Wrong. If La Russa gets fired, it should be for leaving relief pitcher Rick White on the mound for one too many pitches in game four against the Giants.

Bad baseball trumps a fatwah any day of the week.

This is America, after all.

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