McGwire Discusses Managing Someday

By R.B. FALLSTROM AP Sports Writer

ST. LOUIS (AP) - Someday, Mark McGwire might like Tony La Russa's job.

The St. Louis Cardinals' first baseman has never enjoyed daily contact with reporters. But heading into the opener of a season-ending, three-game series against Sammy Sosa and the Chicago Cubs, McGwire said Friday night that things would be different once his playing days end.

``They wouldn't be asking me all these (home run) questions,'' McGwire said. ``It'll be, `Why didn't you bunt, or hit and run?' ''

McGwire, who turned 36 Friday, has no plans to retire anytime soon. Not after hitting a record 70 homers last year and entering the final weekend of this season with 63 - one more than Sosa. He entered the series with 520 homers, one behind Ted Williams and Willie McCovey for 10th on the career list.

But someday he'd like a shot at working with young players.

``I'm definitely going to stay in the game,'' McGwire said. ``I want to teach. I've been on the top of the game, I've been on the bottom of the game, I've had injuries and I've thought about retiring, so I've got a lot to offer. I don't know where I'd start, but this is the only game in town.''

McGwire even said he already has a coaching staff in mind.

``Once, he said I could be his bench coach,'' La Russa said. ``He said he thought I was good enough to do that.''

La Russa, who's expected to sign a contract extension after the season to stay in St. Louis, said McGwire, unlike many star players, would make a good manager.

``He's actually been talking about it for years,'' La Russa said. ``I think he could. Whenever you hear any player that says he wants to coach or manage, especially a star player talking about staying in the game, it gets your attention.''

La Russa said it definitely would be about love of the game, rather than income flow.

``Some guys you might think, `Well, he doesn't have enough money and that's his profession,' '' La Russa said. ``But when a star player with a lot of money does it, that tells you how much he really enjoys the game.''

Both McGwire and Sosa downplayed the home run chase sequel. McGwire, who won 70-66 last year, said Sosa's presence won't greatly affect his game.

``I don't think it's all Sammy that pushes me, it's myself that pushes me,'' McGwire said. ``I think everybody gets motivated from other people, not just in athletics but in life.''

Sosa said he didn't worry about whether he finished first or second. He also said with a bit of sarcasm that he pays attention to McGwire's at-bats because: ``I'm in right field. I've got to watch the game.''

Cubs manager Jim Riggleman downplayed it even more than the stars.

``I can't tell you how uninterested I am in all of this,'' Riggleman said. ``Sure, Sammy's a big reason we win ballgames, like Mark is a big reason they win ballgames. But somebody's going to have to tell me how many home runs they end up with.'

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