By now you’ve probably heard about the profanity-laced video of St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Shildt addressing his team after it defeated the Atlanta Braves in the National League Division Series.
Some folks are upset about the salty vocabulary. But, despite its R rated content, I have to say that I bleeping loved it.
Why? Because too often these days it seems like the fans in the stands care more about if their favorite team wins or loses than the players on the field. Regardless of if you approve of his choice of words, it’s pretty obvious that the skipper and his players are pretty invested in the outcome of their games.
When players make millions of dollars, it’s easy to be content with their lifestyle. But these guys have some fight in them. I love it!
They stood up for each other when things got chippy on the field and Shildt made it clear he’d accept nothing less.
There is no “we’re just happy to be here” Bill. The Cardinals are in it to win it and, no matter who they play, I’m confident we’re going to get their best.
It’s obvious that the speech was prepared with the thought that the Cardinals would face the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League Championship Series. But Shildt rightly said St. Louis doesn’t care who it’s going to play because it expects to beat anyone in its way. That’s the attitude!
Make no mistake — the Washington Nationals won’t be an easy foe. They obviously had the pitching and the offense to turn back the mighty Dodgers. This is no time for the team to let its guard down. Shildt’s speech wasn’t only a pep rally, it was a call for accountability. No matter which team St. Louis faced, Shildt said he expected his club to find a way to win — no excuses. The Cardinals aren’t happy just to be here. They want the big prize.
That’s a sentiment that needed to be shared. Reports that came out Thursday indicated that, in addition to the Cardinals suffering their first postseason non-sell out in the history of Busch Stadium III, but television ratings were down, too. Fans just have been slow to warm up to a team that struggled to find its groove. It’s hard to blame them with what it costs for regular season tickets, much less the price of admission for playoff games. Shildt’s remarks suddenly made the Redbirds must-see TV again in St. Louis.
Another thing about Shildt’s rant: I’m tired of the goody-goody image of the Cardinals. Former manager Mike Matheny may very well have let loose the same way behind closed doors. But the outward image is that the Cardinals thought they were morally superior to everyone else. Shildt made it quite clear that he just cares about being superior at baseball.
Outfielder Randy Arozarena likely got in some hot water for broadcasting the private words of his boss on social media. But I’m glad he did because it gave us a glimpse of the soul of this team.
Might this speech end up as locker room inspiration for the Nationals? Maybe. But at least it’s honest: we think we can kick your butt and we’re going to try like the dickens to do it. This is the NLCS. It’s no time to lower the bar or expectations.
One way or another, in a month the Cardinals will be looking for the players of 2020. It was no secret free agents didn’t want to play for Matheny. After hearing what he had to say, who wouldn’t want to play for Shildt?