St. Louis Cardinals: You snooze, you…apologize and move on

CHICAGO, IL - APRIL 17: Marcell Ozuna #23 of the St. Louis Cardinals bats against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field on April 17, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois. The Cardinals defeated the Cubs 5-3. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - APRIL 17: Marcell Ozuna #23 of the St. Louis Cardinals bats against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field on April 17, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois. The Cardinals defeated the Cubs 5-3. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

St. Louis Cardinals’ outfielder Marcell Ozuna was a late scratch from Wednesday’s game against the Royals, but the reason wasn’t known until after the game.

When Marcell Ozuna wasn’t spotted in the dugout prior to Wednesday’s game against the Kansas City Royals the question was, “Where is he?” Then when we found out he was a late scratch from the lineup the question became, “Why?” Ozuna was spotted in the St. Louis Cardinals dugout a little after first pitch, but neither question became clear until after the game.

When asked about Ozuna’s absence from the lineup, manager Mike Matheny simply responded, “Overslept, that’s why he was late.”

Naturally, Ozuna was remorseful for his actions saying, “I feel sorry for that and let’s go forward. I made mistake. Anybody can make a mistake, we’re human.” He also apologized to his teammates and coaches, which was reportedly well-received. But even then, naturally there are those in Cardinal Nation upset with Ozuna. They have every right to be upset, but I just have one message for them: Move on.

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Look, I get why people are upset in the first place. You are expected to show up for work on time and follow rules just like everyone else. It shouldn’t matter if you are a baseball player, a teacher, etc., but for whatever reason we place more emphasis on Ozuna because he is making a lot more money than most of us can even dream of in a lifetime.

But the truth of the matter still remains the same. Showing up on time to work is a clear-cut expectation.

Personally, I think the only reason some people are mad is because Ozuna hasn’t been the player we thought we were getting from Miami. But I’d be willing to bet half the people upset over this wouldn’t give a rip if he was leading the race for MVP in the National League or if the St. Louis Cardinals were up ten games in the NL Central. But hey, you do you.

Meanwhile, I am gladly on the path of forgiving Ozuna and moving on for these particular reasons:

  • The St. Louis Cardinals made sure he learned his lesson and will continue to emphasize being on time with him from now. The Cardinals have a basic rule about showing up on time. If you don’t meet your expectation, you don’t play. I applaud Matheny and Co. for sticking with that rule no matter who the player is. It shows a sense for fairness to all players and makes Ozuna realizes he can’t do it again. And if you don’t think the Cardinals won’t have him set his clock fifteen minutes earlier, then you’re wrong.
  • I’ve seen plenty of players blame others or something else for their mistakes, but at least Marcell Ozuna was big enough to own up to his. Ozuna was rightfully punished and he accepted that. He was remorseful for his actions and apologized to his coaches and teammates. He apologized to the fan base. I mean, what more do you possibly want from him? Do you want him to bat ninth for a week straight so he can’t pad his numbers? Give me a break.
  • We often place athletes in this higher realm of human expectation, but we often forget they are really no different from us when it comes to certain things. If you can’t accept he made a mistake, then that is a tough life to live. Ozuna deserves criticism, but he paid for his actions and he will live with that.
  • Finally, Ozuna himself has moved on already. He wants to move forward and there isn’t any reason we shouldn’t. It was painful watching question after question be about his absence when he had already explained why he was a late scratch. It’s as if asking him the same questions in ten different ways is going to bring out some earth-shattering news none of us wanted to hear. But if Ozuna is ready to move on, I’m right behind. There are other days to worry about that, especially when the team’s offense is struggling.

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Don’t get me wrong. I am disappointed, but not angry. I’ve moved on because we all make mistakes from time to time. Ozuna will continue to be a great teammate and I fully expect him to be better about his sleeping habits as well.