Before he was officially introduced as the interim manager for the St. Louis Cardinals, Mike Shildt met with the players in the clubhouse, excited to roll out his plan for the team over the next several days.
“I think the biggest thing is about being more consistent and appreciating what we do well,” said Shildt. “There’s been a lot rightfully said, written, talked about in every circle around this team about what isn’t right and what needs to be improved–and we get that, but there is a lot of things that are positive. I think we need to get back to that mindset and we need to get back to more consistency in different areas of the game and we’re going to think about how we’re going to attack that strategically.”
This will be Shildt’s first experience managing in the big leagues, but he won championships in two of his eight seasons as a manager in the Cardinals minor league system.
“Honest and positive in communication style, inclusive–we’re going to work through this together,” answered Shildt when asked about his style. “To be number one, which is what we’re seeking to be, a world championship caliber club, we’re going to be one. So, everybody working together. Pulling together. And then during the game, my job is to prepare the guys to play and they go play. And the staff does the same thing. I stay engaged in the game.”
“There’s one thing that’s important to Mike Shildt and that’s winning a baseball game after nine innings, regardless of what that takes,” shared Harrison Bader, who played under Shildt in Memphis during 2016. “That’s the most important thing moving forward.”
“I’m pretty calm by nature, it may be different today, who knows,” smiled Shildt. “You’re going to always have your moments, but more less, pretty even keel. Just try to stay present, what’s going on in the moment while thinking ahead.”
So how will Schildt look at players now that he’s in charge of the roster? Is it a clean start or…
“I think there’s some combination,” said Shildt. “You can’t ignore what’s taken place over the course of the season, but you also look at it as a fresh start and you look at the big picture.
In his first comments as manager of the St. Louis Cardinals, Shildt was respectful for the transition the organization was going through expressed appreciation to Matheny, Mabry, and Mueller. But as he closed the press conference, there was no mistaking his joy at realizing a lifelong dream.
“It’s a passion of mine,” stated Shildt. “Look, I’m sitting here the manager of the St. Louis Cardinals, one of the most storied franchises in all of sports. I’m grateful for that. I see it as an opportunity, not a threat. So I’m going to appreciate when I’m in that dugout what I have and be grateful for it. So yeah, I’m blessed beyond belief.”
photo credit: Brian Stull/STLBaseballWeekly.com