JUPITER, Fla. — Just when the Cardinals were probably feeling clear and clear of the Mike Shildt situation after the MLB lockout theater and Albert Pujols reunion, the Cardinals’ ex-manager was not so quick to tell his front office -Friends turned enemies.
Shildt, backed by Hall of Famer Tony La Russa, freshened up a bitter baseball breakup story with comments to USA Today on Thursday.
Shildt, who opened a vein during the Padres’ spring training in Arizona, has a long list of new baseball assignments. But he’s still first and foremost a heartbroken former Cardinals manager, still analyzing his surprise sacking in October, before bench coach Oliver Marmol was promoted to his old job.
Schildt told USA Today he expects to wear the Cardinals’ uniform his entire life. He said his shot after a third straight postseason left him stunned. He said he and Cardinals president of baseball operations John Mozeliak had their differences, but none that merited firing.
People also read…
“I was so loyal to this organization and cared so much,” Shildt told USA Today. “I felt an immense burden to be an administrator of this organization. I ended up putting too much pressure on myself. That was my problem, not anyone I didn’t want to let down Mo I didn’t want to let down my team I didn’t want to let down our fan base now I didn’t want to let down the tradition of the players before us . I was very passionate and involved, and on some level I probably cared too much.
Former Cardinals manager La Russa was more pointed, which shouldn’t surprise anyone. The current White Sox manager described his rear end as “frozen” by gossip he allegedly heard from the Cardinals side about Shildt creating a “toxic” work environment.
“My comment was that if it’s toxic, it has to be in the front office,” La Russa told USA Today.
No one ever accused La Russa of losing his fastball, and he was firing at the same rate while speaking to Post-Dispatch Hall of Fame Baseball writer Rick Hummel in his defense of Shildt.
Here’s my unsolicited suggestion to both sides of this messy baseball breakup: Either follow La Russa’s lead and tell your whole truth, or drop the subject and go your separate ways. Air it out or bury it. The veiled shots thrown back and forth don’t help anyone and make them both look bad. And make no mistake, they flew both ways.
Go back and listen to what Mozeliak said earlier in camp about new manager Marmol’s message to the team about Cardinal culture.
“Either you’re a part of it and you accept that, or you’re probably going to be pushed out,” Mozeliak said. “So when you’re targeting a group of that size, and especially some people who may not be familiar with the expectations here, I think that resonated. It wasn’t complicated. It was very simple, in a nutshell. Use what we have here. But know that we’re not looking for distractions. We’re looking for people who appreciate and embrace our culture.”
Gosh, I wonder if Shildt was referenced there.
Then Shildt, after turning down several opportunities before, during and after the lockout, decided to further discuss all things that had led to his sacking, days after the Cardinals brought Pujols back to kicking the hive.
If Shildt thinks he can prove Mozeliak was wrong in firing him, he might have it cracking, even if it means tearing up any agreement he may or may not have signed before the breakup was finalized. Or don’t and move on, learn from what went wrong and know what to look for and what to avoid in future baseball bosses.
Of course, the best way for Shildt to prove the Cardinals made a mistake would be for him to go back to the manager’s office and win bigger somewhere else and see him drastically improve the Cardinals’ baserunning and defense and more than won 55%. of his games with a squad that has been absent too many times, don’t be surprised if he does.
But one thing that won’t help him move onto his next horse is the fixation on being bucked by his old one. And if Shildt sincerely wants Marmol to succeed, comments like the one posted Thursday don’t help.
I’ve defended Schildt many times in the past. More than most. But these comments have mostly reopened old wounds. Ditto for Mozeliak’s occasional lifting of the lid here and there, after initially being so relentless about keeping all details a secret.
We know that Mozeliak’s initial attempt to classify Shildt’s firing as “philosophical differences” failed from the start; The dismissal was personal. We know that Shildt could get hot and that he clashed with certain front office members and fought trainer Jeff Albert, a Mozeliak employee whom the front office is dedicated to supporting. We know Shildt spoke louder about the front office moves, which he believed would help the club grow bigger. We know he ultimately misunderstood how much influence he had.
“There were just a few things that I felt could be better, and I thought I was in a safe place to share them,” Shildt told USA Today. “I definitely wasn’t.”
Shildt misjudged his staying power and Mozeliak underestimated the public scrutiny he would face after sacking a successful manager without proper public explanation after a historic 17-game winning streak.
The organization was embarrassed by the way the press conference announcing Shildt’s sacking went, and they should have been embarrassed again on Thursday when two of their last three managers, in their own way, called the team’s front office on a national news outlet a week ago from opening day.
Shildt and the Cardinals’ front office have something else in common: they both lose when their controversial breakup is revisited without full details.