It was a pretty good year

Got a chance to sit down with St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony La Russa on Tuesday to discuss a variety of topics pertaining to his team’s defense of the title and his own motivations as he enters his 29th season as a manager.

As it turns out, a World Series crown wasn’t the only great thing to happen to him in 2006. His Animal Resue Foundation thrived, too.

“We had a hellacious year,” La Russa said.

Three years ago, La Russa caused some mild annoyance among some of his players because he allowed “Friday Night Lights,” author Buzz Bissinger unfettered access to the team during a late-season, three-game series with the Cubs, the result of which was Bissinger’s book, “Three Nights in August.” La Russa later revealed that his main motivation for doing the project was his desire to pay off the $17 million debt on the ARF headquarters, which are located just down the street from the Times.

Well, after the business ARF did in 2006, the debt is under $1 million, and La Russa said it’s expected to be paid off this year. What this means for the future of the foundation, he didn’t reveal, other than to say, “We’ll be able to do some big things.”