St. Louis Cardinals: Five things for an unsuccessful season

ST. LOUIS, MO - APRIL 4: Manager Mike Matheny
ST. LOUIS, MO - APRIL 4: Manager Mike Matheny /

As Spring Training closes, the St. Louis Cardinals look to 2018 with promise but not everything can go positively and certainly not if these five things occur.

The St. Louis Cardinals can proudly tout that they sit firmly atop the NL-Central division (along with the other teams in the division). Can they sustain this accolade? Or will forces already on the team derail them from the tracks to the postseason once more?

Look, let me say this immediately before driving this truck forward: I do NOT want to see the St. Louis Cardinals fail this season so don’t come at me for this article. Let me also admit that a major portion of this article – while containing truths – is satirical in nature. There. Now, let’s proceed.

Failure number one: Mike Matheny

If you’ve read anything I have written, thank you, but this also means that you know of my fond dislike for Mike Matheny as the St. Louis Cardinals manager. So with that firmly planted in the consciousness of this article, I feel compelled to say that the St. Louis Cardinals MAY fail in 2018 at the hands of Matheny.

Specifically, I feel that the Cardinals stand to fail thanks to Matheny’s lack of in-game management skills. I have said it before, and continue to agree with it, that Matheny seems quite competent in the managing-on-paper aspect of the game but suffers miserably at managing during a game.

Failure number two: Mike Matheny

Another way that Matheny may lead the team into disaster comes from his overabundance of man-love. We all know that Matheny has his bromances with particular players and will ride those horses into the ground.

In the past several seasons, Cardinals fans have had to watch Matheny stick with Matt Carpenter even when he was injured. Another such example can be found in Matheny’s insistence on using Kevin Siegrist to the point that Siegrist couldn’t muster a pitch.

Failure number three: Mike Matheny

Are you catching a pattern here? Again, let me insert here that I am honestly and wholeheartedly working to not allow my own dislike of Matheny to color this editorial but to find actual evidence of Matheny’s blame to any failures (note: I realize that Matheny is not the sole reason the St. Louis Cardinals might or might not fail).

In this installment of Matheny’s failures, I am highlighting Matheny’s apparent inability to pull a starting pitcher when the going gets rough. I have always been a little surprised at this failure since Matheny was once a catcher and should have better insight than many others for when his starter(s) is struggling.

And yet, Matheny has often left the likes of Adam Wainwright on the mound to suffer. Oh, and don’t get me started on the schlacking that Matheny allowed on Mike Mayers in his debut; how cruel was that?!

Failure number four: Mike Matheny

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Yes, Mike Matheny might be the cause of yet another failure. This time the failing will befall Matheny if he fails to listen to his subordinate coaching staff. Put simply, Matheny has now been surrounded by intelligent, professional baseball minds and not done accidentally.

Past seasons have hinted that Matheny likes to surround himself with ‘yes’ men. That said, past seasons have also landed the St. Louis Cardinals watching the postseason from home. Enter then John Mozeliak and the return of Jose Oquendo (and Willie McGee), the addition of Mike Maddux, and the maintenance of Mike Shildt and Matheny has a strong coaching staff to guide the team to victories– numerous ones at that.

Bottom line, Matheny needs to listen to the smarter people who surround him. If he simply seeks agreeableness (e.g. John Mabry) then Cardinals Nation should prepare themselves for the same-fated October as those of past seasons.

Final failure (number five): you guess it… Matheny

I’ll make this brief: Matheny will be the cause of failure if he doesn’t get out of his own way. I’m always intrigued by personality and Matheny seems to me to be a man who tries too hard to contain his personality rather than letting it flow.

On the positive side of things, reports from Spring Training (if they are to be believed) indicate that the clubhouse atmosphere has been one of actual enjoyment and fun, not the typical shirt-buttoned-all-the-way-to-the-top style of Matheny. This has come from fun players and the camaraderie between players and coaches. But maybe not Matheny. Maybe.

Next: 10 bold predictions

All joking aside, I believe that Mike Matheny has grown and will continue to grow and hopefully we will see the positives of this growth this season. Look to the outcomes to truly test Matheny.