Cardinals pitching coach Dave Duncan informed the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on Friday that he will be returning for the 2011 season. And now it looks like manager Tony La Russa is about to make the same call.
According to the Post-Dispatch’s Joe Strauss, a person close to La Russa said Saturday that he would be “very surprised” if the veteran skipper opts not to return to St. Louis next season. Strauss opines that the Cardinals are simply waiting to make the announcement and probably won’t until scouts from throughout the organization convene at Busch Stadium late next week.
La Russa led the Redbirds to a disappointing 86-76 record this season despite two Cy Young candidates in Adam Wainwright and Chris Carpenter, a Rookie of the Year candidate in Jaime Garcia and sluggers Albert Pujols and Matt Holliday.
The 66-year-old battled with young outfielder Colby Rasmus at different points in the season and insisted on giving frequent playing time to mediocre talent — like Aaron Miles and Randy Winn. That commitment to replacement-level players frustrated right fielder Ryan Ludwick, who moved on to San Diego at the trade deadline in search of an everyday role. The Cardinals landed Jake Westbrook in that trade, and Westbrook pitched quite well down the stretch, but he is a free agent this winter and the club may have to let him walk because of a looming extension for the one they call “El Hombre.”
Nonetheless, La Russa was formally invited back by the Cardinals last week and is almost certain to return. As for his coaching staff, including former slugger and steroid user Mark McGwire? It remains to be seen.
The Yankees just released a statement saying that Yankee Stadium will be undergoing “enhancements” this offseason. The enhancements include:
- The Sunrun Kids Clubhouse, which is basically one of those “kids run around and climb on crap play areas” not unlike those you see in the middle of shopping malls. Except, of course, it’s baseball-themed. Parents of little ones will likely appreciate that. People without kids will likely watch from afar, horrified, and will check their bags for hand sanitizer before getting anywhere near it. As someone who has been on both sides of that interaction, it’s all good. It’s how it should be for all involved;
- The MasterCard Batter’s Eye Deck which is, not surprisingly, an outdoor gathering space/bar in center field near the batter’s eye;
- Bullpen landings which are gathering spaces/bars near the bullpens;
- The AT&T Sports Lounge at Section 134 on the Field Level. It’s a bar with big screen TVs showing the game that is going on just outside the bar; and
- Budweiser Party Decks at Sections 311 and 328. Which are hopefully explanatory.
Artist’s renderings here.
The park will lose around 2,000 seats to make space for these additions, but will likely make up for that and then some with added revenue from all of the Yankees fans partying on. In decks.
No surprise here: the Cubs have just named Jon Lester their Game 1 World Series starter.
Lester has allowed two earned runs in 21 innings over three starts this postseason and was the co-MVP in the NLCS. Lester will face off against Indians ace Corey Kluber.
On the season Lester went 19-5 with a 2.44 ERA and notched 197 Ks against 52 walks in 202.2 innings.