ST. LOUIS -- Back at Busch Stadium for Game 3 on Wednesday night, and you know what that means. ...
Cue theme from The Rocky & Bullwinkle Show. ...
Yes, it's time for the Busch Squirrel to come speeding out across the field at any moment, isn't it?
"The squirrel is the squirrel," an unusually relaxed Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said during Tuesday's off day, before continuing: "I think it's good. The fans are having fun. And I really believe that this is not old school, and I know I am in many ways, but I think there's so much attention and pressure on the players that sometimes they show their unhappiness. ..."
Wait. La Russa thinks something is fun?
Hold your breath, that's not all.
"It's been fun, our fans are having fun, Milwaukee, it's fun for them," he said, referring to the whole Brewers' 'Beast Mode' act. "Let everybody enjoy it. Just don't cross the line."
La Russa smiled after he said let's "just don't cross the line", and the dilemma there, of course, is, where is that line? Because La Russa, in the heat of competition, sets those lines where he feels fit.
But it was all fun and games as the clubs worked out in St. Louis on Tuesday, to the point where the Cardinals announced a guest star who will appear on the 40,000 rally towels they will pass out to fans attending Game 3: The Rally Squirrel.
Yes, you read that correctly.
Both clubs only hope that the fans won't need to use the towels to wipe away raindrops. The run of gorgeous autumn weather in the Midwest is predicted to continue through much of this week, though there is a chance of rain in St. Louis around game time Wednesday night.
Most interesting thing about that is, despite Chris Carpenter's brief three-inning outing in Game 2 of the Division Series in Philadelphia on his first-ever start on three days' rest, La Russa said he will not hesitate to use Carpenter again on short rest if rain shuffles this NLCS.
"I know that Milwaukee and St. Louis do not want to get rained out [Wednesday] and pitch any one of our guys on three days' rest," La Russa said. "That being said, I wouldn't hesitate if he comes out of it and is healthy.
"After watching him in Philadelphia, it was all about his delivery being off. He warmed up right, he had good command and he went out there and ... [was] out of whack.
"We want to play this game [Wednesday] if we have to be here all night, and I'm sure Milwaukee does, too. If Mother Nature takes over, I have no hesitation pitching him on three days' rest."
Likes: Great cheeseburgers at Elsa's on the Park in Milwaukee. The aged Wisconsin cheddar was delightful (hmmm, you would expect that in Wisconsin, wouldn't you?). ... Stephen Colbert's line about ESPN dropping Hank Williams Jr. from Monday Night Football: "Not hearing that song left me dangerously unprepared for some football." Funny stuff. ... Netflix comes to its senses.
Dislikes: Lucinda Williams playing St. Louis on Wednesday night instead of Tuesday. Meaning, opposite Game 3 instead of on the off night before the series. Darn.
Rock 'n' Roll Lyric of the Day
"How can you have any pudding
"If you don't eat your meat?"
-- Pink Floyd, Another Brick in the Wall