Tony La Russa: All-Star Game at Kauffman Stadium 'perfect' - KCTV5

La Russa: All-Star Game at Kauffman Stadium 'about as perfect as possible'

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KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -

Tony La Russa donned a Major League Baseball uniform for the last time Tuesday night.

And he went out in style. His National League team beat the American League 8-0 in a game that was never close.

He also heaped effusive praise on Kansas City as a host city during a post-game interview. He even thanked the questioner giving him an opportunity to laud Kansas City.

"I hope somebody will repeat what I say because I think I represent both teams: We were treated outstanding," La Russa said.

He said Kansas City did both the big things and the small things well. He said this included getting players, managers and officials in and out of traffic expeditiously.

"From A to Z, I think I just said today coming to the ballpark, the way they have gone out of their way to make things really flow," La Russa said."Everything about our stay here was about as perfect as possible, win or lose."

He said he wasn't surprised that Kansas City was such a terrific host city.

'I've been in the Midwest for a long time, and that's kind of the way Midwesterners are," La Russa said as he drank Gatorade.

La Russa retired as manager last year after his St. Louis Cardinals won the World Series. He agreed to come back and manage the National League team.

He said normally he gets wrapped up in games and can't enjoy special moments. But with the National League having a convincing lead, La Russa said he did enjoy the moment and appreciated that "this was going to be it."

Another All-Star player said he appreciated Kansas City fans because they were passionate.

Much has been made in the national media after Kansas City fans repeatedly booed New York Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano. As AL team captain during the Home Run Derby, Cano had indicated two weeks ago that he would select a member of the Royals to represent the AL during the Home Run Derby. When he went back on his word and didn't pick Royals designated hitter Billy Butler, fans relentlessly booed him and cheered raucously when he repeatedly missed. He even drew jeers during his pre-game introduction Tuesday and chants of "Billy Butler" when he came up to bat.

That prompted some to rip fans as "royal jerks" and classless. Cano said the fans crossed the line when some harassed members of his family as they went to the restroom Tuesday night.

Another All-Star player said he appreciated Kansas City fans because they were passionate.

But one player and his family were thrilled with their reception in Kansas City.

The Royals traded center fielder Melky Cabrera to the San Francisco Giants. Cabrera drew a warm reception from the fans. He had a great game with two hits, including a two-run home run that pushed the NL's lead to 8-0.

"We are happy to be back here in Kansas City," Cabrera said as he was flanked by his mother and grandmother during the post-game news conference. "The fans treated me very well. I'm also very happy and thankful that the fans in San Francisco voted for me to come and play in the All-Star Game."

Cabrera's mother was visibly emotional during much of the news conference and dabbed her eyes with a tissue at one point. Cabrera said he was surprised to be named the game's MVP and thanked God for the opportunities.

"It's a great gift that the Lord gave me," he said.

Cabrera said he had no hard feelings that the Royals traded him.

"You have to be mentally ready, physically ready for those decisions that you have no control of," he said. "It was a business decision that the Royals traded me. San Francisco is my new team, and I'm very happy to be there."

Cabrera beamed when asked about his neon orange shoes that stood out on the Kauffman field.

"It was Nike that made them special for me," he said. "I bought my own spikes from San Francisco, but I wore them because I think they are cute."

With the NL win, the NL team will have home-field advantage during the World Series. That was key for the Cardinals as they came back to win games 6 and 7 over the Texas Rangers last year.

Home field advantage is a nice extra, but doesn't guarantee victory, La Russa said.

"If you are an October team, you can overcome that," he said. "So it's a nice edge. I'm sure the National League would rather play their home games there. But if you don't have it, you can still win. I mean, it's not a magic bullet. It's just a nice edge."

Cabrera hopes he can push his team into the playoffs and find out whether it's a magic bullet or not.

Copyright 2012 KCTV (Meredith Corp.)  All rights reserved.

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