|Fired Cardinals general manager Walt Jocketty says he's looking forward to taking time off|
|Written by Admin|
|Friday, 05 October 2007 13:05|
So far, he's turned them all down.
``Quite honestly, I'm looking forward to taking a little time off, because I'm beat,'' Jocketty said. ``I'm going to take my time and spend some time with my kids, and maybe take up that game of golf again, and relax.''
Jocketty is not sure how his departure affects Tony La Russa, Jocketty's manager the last 12 years of his highly successful 13-year run in St. Louis. He said he'd talked to La Russa a handful of times since being let go and described the manager's reaction as ``surprised, probably disappointed.''
But Jocketty also said La Russa appeared no closer to a decision whether to accept the team's offer of a new deal. Asked whether he thought La Russa was coming back, Jocketty said, ``You know, I really don't know. He didn't give me any more indication yesterday than he had a week ago.''
La Russa said on Monday that he wanted to continue managing, but that he wasn't certain he wanted to stay in St. Louis. He has not answered repeated phone messages since then.
Eventually, the 56-year-old Jocketty wants to be a general manager again. He has the luxury of taking a break because he'll be paid more than $1 million for the final year of his contract.
``I know I'll end up somewhere, whether it's in a month, a week or a year,'' Jocketty said. ``I think with some time off I'd probably have the energy to do it again.
``At some point, I'll have the drive to do it again.''
For now, he craves emotional distance from a season in which a front office rift - old school vs. new-school statistical-based analysis - came to a head while the 2006 World Series champions sputtered on the field. Jocketty's exit centered on philosophical differences with Jeff Luhnow, the team's vice president in charge of amateur scouting and player development.
``I don't want to get into what was and what should have been,'' Jocketty said. ``There was basically a difference of philosophy, no different than if you have a difference of opinion with your wife or your parents or whatever.
``This was one that I just felt I wanted to move on, I just thought it was probably the best thing to do.''
Jocketty endorsed interim general manager John Mozeliak, his assistant GM the last five years, as his successor. He believes Mozeliak often the bridge between he and Luhnow, would be a good fit in the team's restructured environment.
Mozeliak earlier interviewed for GM openings in Houston and Cincinnati.
``I think Mo is very qualified,'' Jocketty said. ``He had a good teacher and he was a good student.''
The day after the season ended, La Russa said he felt ``beat up.'' Jocketty echoed that sentiment on Friday while revisiting a year in which the team was ravaged by injuries, shocked by the death of reliever Josh Hancock, and finally knocked out of the race by a nine-game losing streak in September.
Jocketty said even the good seasons are wearing, with the cell phone constantly ringing even when he was on vacation with his family.
``There's just really no down time,'' Jocketty said. ``You just never get away from it, and it grinds you down.''
Jocketty's acquisitions of several key players, among them Mark McGwire, Jim Edmonds, Scott Rolen, Chris Carpenter, Darryl Kile and Edgar Renteria, produced one of the best stretches in franchise history with seven postseason appearances and the first World Series title in 24 years. His favorite trade, typically, was made the old-fashioned way with the Braves in 2003.
He remembers meeting in John Schuerholz' suite at the winter meetings, each GM surrounded by an equal number of lieutenants, to hash out a deal that brought Adam Wainwright, Jason Marquis and Ray King to the Cardinals and sent J.D. Drew and Eli Marrerro to Atlanta.
``John's a good friend of mine and it was just kind of the old type of give and take,'' Jocketty said. ``It was just like high noon. Very cool.''