The national media is trying to make a story out of a supposed rift between Mark McGwire and Tony LaRussa. I don’t think the rift exists. The story goes like this: LaRussa has told reporters that he would like to activate McGwire on September 1st, when rosters expand, and have him on the bench at least as a threat of a pinch-hitter. McGwire has told reporters that he won’t play until he’s fully healthy, and can play first base for nine innings. McGwire and LaRussa made these statements at completely different times, and without any reference to what the other man had said. The media got a quote from a frustrated McGwire, who wants to be healthy and helping his team, in which he said he can’t help the team while he’s hurt. McGwire was referring to taking a spot on the 25-man roster, when the team needs every last guy available. LaRussa was talking about an expanded roster, when just having McGwire on the bench as a threat might intimidate the opposition. I’m sure if LaRussa asked, McGwire would fill this role. And the media is grasping again for a story where there is none.