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Mike Matheny Named Manager

by: Brian F. Logush


In a move that came as a surprise to some, Cardinals General Manager John Mozeliak named former Cardinals backstopper Mike Matheny as the next manager of the eleven-time World Champions. Matheny was selected over current third-base coach Jose Oquendo, former Red Sox manager Terry Francona, scrappy Joe McEwing, and Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg (which, by the way, would have pissed off every Northsider, and made the hiring that much more worth it).

This is considered a dangerous play, seeing as Matheny has no professional managing experience. Sure, he has been a bench coach, and he is the coach of an eighth-grade boys baseball team, but this is just slightly different. Being the manager of the most decorated National League team, and second-most decorated team of all-time, is going to be more of a challenge than anything he has seen in his career.

Personally, I would have liked for The Secret Weapon to get the job. He's been in the organization for a long time, has been learning from LaRussa, and, in all honesty, could be the key in persuading Pujols to stay. Not that I'm worried about the Marlins courting him. That's asinine.

Matheny must prove that Mozeliak made the right decision. I don't expect everything to go perfectly during his first-year. There will be a learning curve, and he will make mistakes. What matters, and what is most important for the team in the long-term, is that he learns from them. While under more scrutiny and pressure, being a player and being a manager are really not that different. To succeed, you have to adapt. As a hitter, you study an opposing pitcher, learn his timing, and wait for that breaking ball that you know is going to hang for just one more moment, and blast away. As a catcher, you follow your pitcher, see how he controls himself, his timing.

Being a manager, I imagine, is more of the same. Every opposing club has trends, and players and traps that need to be avoided. Notice that Ryan Braun has been expanding his zone, and encourage more sliders. David Wright has been hitting to right field more often this year, so don't put too severe of a shift on. Tim Lincecum has won six straight, so have a clubhouse attendant put an eighth in his locker, just to dull his reflexes. Hey, you have to (ab)use home field advantage however you can.

I wish Mike Matheny all the luck next season. I have no doubt this will be the most challenging part of his baseball career. But I have two tips for Manager Matheny:

1.) Instead of using the phone to call the bullpen, just send a text. I'm sure bullpen coach Derek Lilliquist can read. But check to see if your carrier gets decent service inside Busch III first.
2.) Stay away from hunting knives. We don't need you missing the postseason because of an injury. You just got the job. Play it safe, Mike.

I'm ready for the 2012 season to begin. Carpenter, Freese, Holliday, Molina, Motte, Wainwright, and your starting first baseman... Lance Berkman!!

What? What'd I say??


I am now on Twitter. Feel free to follow me @Brian_Logush for all things St. Louis sports, current events, and mild insensitivity. #nofilter

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