Depending on who you ask, the Cardinals hire of Mike Matheny to be the next team manager is a great thing or a huge risk. Matheny, who was the best catcher in baseball from 2000—2004 while with the Cardinals, knows the game well. Around twenty-one percent of current Major League Baseball managers are former catchers because catchers tend to know the game better than any other position player. Matheny is well respected and knows St. Louis baseball as well as anyone.
So why are so many people uncertain? Matheny has never managed at the major league level…or the minor league level for that matter. While the team from the south side of Chicago (White Sox) has recently hired a manager in the exact same circumstance (Robin Ventura), there is no doubt justifiable concern.
Only time will tell how Mike Matheny will produce as a manager.
In the long run, Mike Matheny will be just fine. The Cardinals have a team loaded with young talent, a few key veterans, and now a young coach who loves the game of baseball. If the Cardinals turn out with a 62—100 record during the 2012 season there might be cause for concern. However, with the roster the Cardinals have, they could play next season without a manager and still win 80—90 games. Don’t be surprised to see the Cardinals will 100 games in 2012.
What Mike Matheny has unlike many in the game of baseball is first and foremost a love and passion for the God of the universe. This has shown itself in the way he has handled himself as a person, a family man, and a baseball player all while in the public’s eye. Matheny is known as a man of integrity that returns the love and respect of nearly everyone he comes into contact with. I have no doubt that his faith with be clearly evident as a manager as well.
While it is bittersweet to see the Tony La Russa ride come to an end, I am both excited and anxious for Mike Matheny to take the reigns of Cardinal baseball. Mike, may your faith lead you in representing Cardinal baseball and Cardinal nation well, but above all may your life of faith be a living Christian witness to the millions and millions you will influence through your position.