Brewers manager Ron Roenicke spent much of last season matching wits with Tony La Russa, right up to the moment when St. Louis eliminated Milwaukee from the playoffs.
Now, Roenicke and La Russa will be working side by side.
Major League Baseball announced Wednesday that Roenicke and Mets manager Terry Collins will serve as National League coaches at the All-Star game next month. La Russa, who retired last fall, will run the NL squad after managing the Cardinals to the 2011 World Series championship.
Royals manager Ned Yost and Oakland manager Bob Melvin will help coach the American League team, which will be managed for the second straight year by Ron Washington of the Texas Rangers.
”It’s an honor any time you’re asked to do something in that type of arena,” Roenicke said, before pausing to reflect on last season. ”It’s also hard when you’re going that hard against someone and then you’re working beside each other.”
Roenicke got the better of La Russa during the regular season last year, leading the Brewers to a 96-66 record that gave them the NL Central title by six games over St. Louis.
The Cardinals wound up winning the wild card on the final day of the season, though, and then beat the heavily favored Philadelphia Phillies in five games to reach the NL championship series against Milwaukee. The Brewers had knocked off Arizona in five games to advance.
Milwaukee took the series opener before St. Louis rallied to win the next two games. The Brewers evened the series in Game 4, but the Cardinals took the final two games to win the pennant and reach the World Series, where they beat the Rangers in seven games.
Roenicke said he’s talked with La Russa about last season, and expects to speak to him several more times before the All-Star game on July 10 at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Mo.
He certainly wasn’t going to divulge the content of those conversations Wednesday.
”Those are going to stay between us,” Roenicke said.
La Russa said during a conference call earlier in the day that he chose Collins as the other NL manager to help him because of his ability to bring a lot of strong personalities together.
”The thing I like, and what we’re really excited about having him on the coaching staff, is he’s got great personality,” La Russa said. ”He really relates to the players. It’s not an exhibition. We’re going to try to win home-field advantage for the National League.”
La Russa’s coaches from last year with the Cardinals will reunite on his All-Star staff. They include Dave Duncan, Mark McGwire, Derek Lilliquist, Dave McKay, Jose Oquendo and Joe Pettini.
Washington will work with Texas coaches Dave Anderson, Scott Coolbaugh, Andy Hawkins, Mike Maddux, Jackie Moore and Gary Pettis, along with Yost and Melvin.
Yost had an inclination that he would be picked simply because the game is in Kansas City, where he’s spent the past couple of seasons managing the Royals.
”It’s always an honor,” Yost said. ”I’ve been to the World Series six times, this will be my fifth All-Star game, and my fondest memories in baseball come from the All-Star games.
”The World Series is great, but there’s so much work, so much that goes on, that you don’t get to enjoy it. The All-Star game is a slower pace,” he added. ”This is going to be equally exciting, if not more, having it in your hometown. I’m extremely honored to be part of it.”