I sure missed out on being a member of the I Hate Tony La Russa Club. So let me get out front of the conspiracy theorists and complain that Mike Matheny has done ABSOLUTELY NOTHING since being hired as the new St. Louis manager nearly a WHOLE DAY ago.
When will the madness end?
But seriously folks, I am getting a lot of heat from some people because I said I didn't like the Birds' decision to hire Matheny when he had absolutely no experience as a manager and no real experience in game situations as a coach. Just one more time to be clear: I like Mike Matheny and have tremendous respect for him. I hope he does fine. But I think the Cardinals put him in a bad spot. And this situation, as it currently stands, didn't have to exist.
Matheny said on the radio yesterday (although I think the interview might have been taped from last week when he met the Cardinals to apply for the job that he now has) that he met with the front office types a year and a half to two years ago to express his desire to be a manager or coach. And there is a lot of credible speculation that the Birds planned to hire Matheny when La Russa retired even before La Russa announced that 2011 was his last season. So why didn't the Cardinals start preparing Matheny by sending him to the minors to manage or put him on the coaching staff of the big league club?
The Birds fired bullpen coach Marty Mason last year, so they had an opening for him in the coaching ranks of the parent club... I just think the team would have given Matheny an even better chance to succeed if it allowed him to be as prepared as possible. Being a roving instructor in the minors does nothing to enhance the new skipper's ability to guide his team in a ballgame. The last thing I am worried about is Matheny's ability to coach young catchers. We already saw that when he helped groom Yadier Molina to be his eventual replacement.
I am very eager to see how Matheny runs a game. As has been said in the comments of previous posts, Whitey Herzog once said a good manager can probably steal four or five games a year. The problem is a bad manager can be snookered out of a lot more games. And a manager who has lost the confidence of the fans and the press is going to get blamed personally for ALL the losses the home team suffers.
I just hope, no matter what happens, that I don't have to watch the pitcher bat eighth anymore.