La Russa expected to return to Cardinals for 2011

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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 Marlins are going to reveal new uniforms today

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The Miami Marlins’ makeover has led them to get rid of the home run sculpture, add a party section in the outfield and paint the green outfield wall blue. As of today it’s going to include new uniforms.

The Marlins Twitter account has been teasing it for a couple of days now:

Based on that it would seem that the primary colors will be black and that, I dunno, royal blue? Dark aqua? I’m not sure what it is, but it’s not the old teal and certainly not a navy. There will be red and white accents too. There will also, apparently, be a new fish logo, a bit different than the old realistic one and the newer stylized one. You can see what that’ll probably look like here.

We’ll reserve final judgment for the overall look when it’s revealed, but for now I’m sorta torn. On the one hand, no, it’s not like the Marlins created any indelible historical moments in the 2012-18 orange and rainbow getup. And, if the stuff was selling like hotcakes or otherwise taking off locally in Miami, they likely wouldn’t be changing it.

On the other hand: we have too much blue — and red and black — in baseball these days. Most teams have it and far fewer teams than ever go off in some new direction. I wrote this seven years ago when the last Marlins uniform was unveiled:

Said it before and I’ll say it again: the hell with the haters. I like ’em. I like that they’re doing something fresh and new. There was a time in this country when we didn’t look backwards all the time. We looked forward and tried stuff and didn’t care all that much if, in a few years, we realized it was a mistake.

Leave the understated block letters to the franchises crushed under the weight of their own history.  If your team is less than 20-years-old, let your freak flag fly.

I stand by that, both with respect to the old Marlins uniforms and with the philosophy in general.

Like I said, I’ll give the Marlins’ new uniforms a chance, but I fear that it’ll be a look backward into some sort of baseball traditionalism that, while a lot of people seem to like it, doesn’t suit a team with such a short history and doesn’t attempt to be terribly creative. I hope I’m wrong.