Talking to Walt Weiss on the phone, I could have sworn I was talking to Tony La Russa.

“I want these guys to enjoy the competition,” said Weiss, the Rockies’ new manager. “It might sound kind of elementary. But it’s really important.”

That’s what La Russa was all about — the competition. Weiss played for La Russa in Oakland at the start of his career. He played for Bobby Cox in Atlanta at the end. And evidently, he learned a few things from the two future Hall of Fame managers.

The Rockies, at 10-4, are one of baseball’s biggest early surprises, maybe the biggest considering that they lost 98 games last season and finished with a 5.22 ERA, the worst in the majors by nearly a half-run.

Health is the primary reason for the Rockies’ quick start — shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, right fielder Michael Cuddyer, right-hander Jhoulys Chacin and left-hander Jorge De La Rosa all are back after missing significant time in 2012.

I know, I know — the Rockies’ pitching could fall apart, as it does seemingly every season. But Weiss — who, like the Cardinals’ Mike Matheny, White Sox’s Robin Ventura and Dodgers’ Don Mattingly, had no previous managing experience — is making a difference, too.