SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – To former A’s and Cardinals manager Tony La Russa, playing for a pennant contender can be the tipping point in picking an MVP.

LaRussa told John Madden and the KCBS morning crew that’s why he favors Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera over Angels rookie Mike Trout in the American League.

“If you have any doubt, (Cabrera) is playing for a team that won the division, so that should tip the scales in his favor,” La Russa said. “You certainly don’t want to disrespect (Trout), but I think that Trout can win the rookie of the year, and I just don’t know how you can take away what could be the triple crown winner and the year that Miguel has had.”

Giants catcher Buster Posey is among the favorites to win the National League MVP.

“It sure looks like Buster has done what he had to do,” La Russa said. “In the second half of the season, he’s come up really, really big.”

La Russa said his former catcher, Yadier Molina, may be Buster’s best competition for the award, but conceded that Buster likely has the edge following the NL West title.

La Russa said he’s excited by how well the A’s have played, clinching at least a wild card spot Monday night.

“Every time I go there, I’m just impressed with, for one thing, how tough they are to hit,” La Russa said. “They’re really pitching well. But the enthusiasm — these guys are really getting after it, so it’s fun.”

Madden asked La Russa if he misses managing since retiring last year after his Cardinals won the World Series.

“I miss the teammate thing. I miss getting ready, but I didn’t miss the dugout,” La Russa said. “I will say that as we’re getting into October, I enjoy the post-season so much… I don’t have a regret, but it would be exciting to be part of one of these ten teams that are going to play in October with a chance to win the championship.”

In the NFL, the Chicago Bears beat the Dallas Cowboys 34-18 in Texas Monday night.

“There’s just something wrong with that Cowboy team,” Madden said. “Maybe the expectations are too high and the reality could be that they’re really not that good. But in watching that game — and forget the five interceptions by (Dallas QB) Tony Romo – I never at any time felt that they were going to win that game. I always felt that somehow they were going to find a way to lose this one. And I don’t know that they don’t feel a little that way.” (8:10)

Listen to the John Madden segment live weekday mornings at 8:15 on KCBS All News 740 AM/106.9 FM. And catch John’s extra report at 9:15 a.m. Mondays and Fridays during the NFL season.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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