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Brian Walton's news and commentary on the St. Louis Cardinals (TM) and their minor league system

Could a World Series win drive La Russa and Duncan out?

Some of us are in the major league clubhouse periodically during the season, while beat writers are among those there every single day. Yet absolutely no one better understands what is going on within a team than its own members.

Problem is they can’t disclose what is really going on behind the scenes or they would be ostracized or perhaps even put out of a job before they knew what hit them. It would be a capital sin to break the silence about the inner workings of the team.

That hasn’t stopped most of us that watch the St. Louis Cardinals from speculating publicly or at least privately about the future of the team’s manager and pitching coach, Tony La Russa and Dave Duncan. Neither is under contract for 2010 and beyond.

A recent Post-Dispatch article went into considerable detail about the new, shiny, improved relationship between La Russa and his boss, general manager John Mozeliak. The unwritten implication is that a continuation of the relationship into the future seems more likely than perhaps previously.

No such articles have been written about Duncan lately, as fully understanding how deep and long-lasting his wounds are over the treatment of his son Chris by the club and its fans as well as other smoldering factors should run into the off-season.

Yet rather than media speculation, one member of that very clubhouse day in and day out during much of 2008 and all of 2009 until late June has offered his opinion.

Former Cardinals pitcher Chris Perez offered his articulate thoughts to Traded to Cleveland in the Mark DeRosa deal, the reliever says he would not be surprised if both La Russa and Duncan leave St. Louis for good after the season.

“I had a feeling during spring training that this might be their last go-around, just the way they were interacting,” said Perez. “They seemed to be more happy, excited to be there, like, ‘It’s our last go-around. Let’s have a great year.’ I kind of got that feeling from both of them.

“They’ve been at it a long time. Thirty years is a long time to be away from your family, always on the road. It’s a grind. Always competing. Always expecting to win. Having expectations with your teams. I could see them both leaving, especially if they win (the World Series). I think they’d both like to go out on top.”

Perez also noted the Chris Duncan situation could make it more likely his father decides not to return to St. Louis.

Could Perez be wrong? Of course, he could. On the other hand, he is the most credible source yet to weigh in on the situation publicly. That caught my attention.

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Brian Walton

Brian Walton runs The Cardinal Nation and The Cardinal Nation Blog, covering the St. Louis Cardinals and minor league system.
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