There was a long line at the end of the first Cardinals game of the season on Wednesday April 4, 2012 leading back into the club in South Beach-clubhouse that is. After securing the first victory of the season, the line consisted of the Cardinals players wanting to get a glimpse of their new manager with his first win under his belt; great job, Mike Matheny! Lined up as if they were meeting the President of the United States, each player took a turn to give a celebratory handshake and a hug to congratulate him on the win where each of our players played solid defense, made sharp tosses, eyed the pop fly balls in the outfield and tossed a save at ninety nine miles per hour-wow-along with our bats making contact.
Davie Freese was interviewed by ESPN Baseball Tonight at the conclusion of the game where he mentioned how happy and excited the team was to get Mike Matheny’s first win for him tonight. He also state that the team is looking forward to the new season and taking it game by game. Last year was fun; they all played the celebrity role – now it’s back to work on a new year with a fresh start. Each player took the win to heart and let Matheny know how much they cared about the win and how they will continue to perform for him.
Plainly said, I think Matheny has made his presence known for the Cardinals organization – he’s going to win games and he’s going to lose games – just like every other manager. Last night’s win showed a calm composure and demeanor during last night’s game which I see Matheny will consistently use through his coming seasons as manager. He will learn how to argue calls and will become more adept in being more aggressive with his players in hit-and-run situations, etc. The expert in anything was once a beginner.
Best thing I saw last night was how into the game Matheny was from pitch to pitch. He was leaning in to study the plays and assessing each inning. That was wonderful to see. The powerful pats on the back and handshakes from his staff made them feel comfortable with the new manager and had a strong presence that they will stand behind him through thick and thin. If Matheny had any butterflies last night, he didn’t show them – or hid them well.
I’m thinking he knew exactly what he wanted to do with his team. Congrats, Manager Matheny!