St. Louis Cardinals Mike Matheny sees a new edge in his players and isn’t worried about the Cubs muscling up.
When it comes to giving lengthy media sessions, St. Louis Cardinals manager likes unleash poetic and sports movie like monologues. He may be answering a question in reality, but in some other universe the man is tracking down an inspirational hook to the story. In his mind, the Cubs muscling up only supplied the Cards with more vigor and ammunition to prove the crowds wrong. How does it feel to be called underdogs?
“They call us a lot of things. We get called interesting things all the time. It doesn’t affect us. We could get up there use it as motivation but that’s a waste of time. It’s more about what we expect of ourselves.”
Wait a minute, didn’t the Cardinals win some games last year? “It’s semi entertaining after we won the most games of any team last year.”
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Matheny thinks the incoming weapons like Mike Leake, Jedd Gyorko and Brayan Pena along with a healthy Adam Wainwright are being overlooked. “We are looking at things that we brought in that we believe will enhance what we have. We don’t have guys like to make bold predictions. Just go play the game.”
Are the Cards now chasing other teams? “If you believe those things, you are setting yourself up for a roller coaster. You never know how teams are going to handle success or failure. Our club have been in similar water and they get the job done. Hot stove talk drives this game, but it doesn’t help us. We need to get to work.”
Matheny does think this team has an unusual edge. “I’m sensing an edge to this club. You take talent and mix it with fire and…heads up. A lot of it is that last memory from last year. The things you can control are your attitude and how you play the game. The times you don’t are huge learning opportunities.”
Like it or not, the Cubs got the best of the Cards in 2015 in the end. That can be fuel for the next season and with spring training a month away, the Cards have to store that in their mind. The past doesn’t have the weight to stay close to the present but that doesn’t mean it disappears completely. The NL Central will be an arms race and if the Cards have that newfound edge to go with the talent Matheny and Mo see right now, 2016 could be a fun ride.