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Cardinals will likely feature ‘Victory Blue’ throwback jersey next season

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Over the weekend the St. Louis Cardinals tweeted the famous photo of Ozzie Smith doing a back flip and said “A big announcement is coming soon… you’re gonna flip!”

That was interesting in and of itself, but the most interesting part of it was probably, that, in the photo, The Wizard of Oz was not wearing the white Cards jersey from the famous photo. Rather, Cardinal GIFSTravis Janik and the account Cardinals Rant noticed, Smith was portrayed wearing the old blue Cardinals road uniforms from 1976 through 1984. Which, by the way, were NOT called “powder blue.” The Cardinals’ then-owner Gussie Busch did not like that name, so he called them “Victory Blue.”

Which, fine. But look:

Same photo, clearly Photoshopped.

As they, and later St. Louis Post-Dispatch writer Derrick Goold, observed, this is almost certainly a case of the Cardinals teasing an impeding announcement — to be made on November 19 — that the team is going to bring back the old Victory Blues, most likely as an alternate. They have, on a few occasions over the years, broke them out on turn-back-the-clock days or as tributes to the 1982 World Series winning team, but never for very long. These will, presumably, be Friday or Sunday home alternates, perhaps, as a lot of teams have done with older or bolder styles.

Personally I think it would be cooler if they used them as true road jerseys as almost all of the blue uniforms were used for by the teams that adopted them back in their 1960s-80s heyday, but let’s not make the perfect the enemy of the good here and enjoy them for what they were. And are.

Cole Hamels done for year after just 1 start for Braves

Cole Hamels triceps injury
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ATLANTA — After making just one start for the Atlanta Braves, Cole Hamels is done for the season.

Hamels reported shortly before the start of a four-game series against the Miami Marlins that he didn’t feel like he could get anything on the ball. The left-hander was scheduled to make his second start Tuesday after struggling throughout the year to overcome shoulder and triceps issues.

The Braves placed Hamels on the 10-day injured list, retroactive to Sept. 18,, but that was a mere formality. General manager Alex Anthopoulos already contacted Major League Baseball about replacing Hamels in the team’s postseason player pool.

“Cole knows himself and his body,” Anthopoulos said. “You trust the player at that point when he says he can’t go.”

The Braves began Monday with a three-game lead in the NL East .and primed for their third straight division title.

Even with that success, Atlanta has struggled throughout the shortened 60-game series to put together a consistent rotation beyond Cy Young contender Max Fried and rookie Ian Anderson.

Expected ace Mike Soroka went down with a season-ending injury, former All-Star Mike Foltynewicz was demoted after just one start, and Sean Newcomb also was sent to the alternate training site after getting hammered in his four starts.

The Braves have used 12 starters this season.

Anthopoulos had hoped to land another top starter at the trade deadline but the only deal he was able to make was acquiring journeyman Tommy Milone from the Orioles. He’s on the injured list after getting hammered in three starts for the Braves, giving up 22 hits and 16 runs in just 9 2/3 innings.

“There’s no doubt that our starting pitching has not performed to the level we wanted it to or expected it to,” Anthopoulos said. “I know that each year you never have all parts of your club firing. That’s why depth is so important.”

Hamels, who signed an $18 million, one-year contract last December, reported for spring training with a sore shoulder stemming from an offseason workout.

When camps were shut down because of the coronavirus pandemic, Hamels was able to take a more cautious approach to his rehabilitation. But a triceps issue sidelined again before the delayed start of the season in July.

The Braves hoped Hamels would return in time to provide a boost for the playoffs. He also was scheduled to start the final game of the regular season Sunday, putting him in position to join the postseason rotation behind Fried and Anderson.

Now, Hamels is done for the year, his Braves’ career possibly ending after he made that one appearance last week in Baltimore. He went 3 1/3 innings, giving up three runs on three hits, with two strikeouts and one walk in a loss to the Orioles.

Hamels reported no problems immediately after his start, but he didn’t feel right after a bullpen session a couple of days ago.

“You’re not going to try to talk the player into it,” Anthopoulos said. “When he says he isn’t right, that’s all we need to hear.”

Atlanta recalled right-hander Bryse Wilson to replace Hamels on the 28-man roster. The Braves did not immediately name a starter for Tuesday’s game.

With Hamels out, the Braves will apparently go with Fried (7-0, 1.96), Anderson (3-1, 2.36) and Kyle Wright (2-4, 5.74) as their top three postseason starters.

Hamels is a four-time All-Star with a career record of 163-122. He starred on Philadelphia’s World Series-winning team in 2008 and also pitched for Texas and the Chicago Cubs.

Last season, Hamels went 7-7 with a 3.81 ERA in 27 starts for the Cubs.