The announcement was made last night that Mike Matheny had been chosen by the St. Louis Cardinals to be the 49th manager in franchise history. Today the club introduced their new manager to the press and the fans at Busch Stadium.
Owner Bill DeWitt stressed Matheny's leadership qualities and called him "a perfect fit" for the job of Cardinals manager. General Manager John Mozeliak echoed a similar sentiment, saying that Matheny is "the right person at the right time" for the job, someone who offfered the most "seamless transition" from the stead of retiring manager Tony La Russa and that Matheny would carry on the preparation and hard work that were hallmarks of the La Russa era and have become intertwined with the franchise's identity.
"This is a job about managing people," Matheny said as he stressed the importance of communication and respect in developing a relationship with players. He touched on his role as a veteran on the early-aughts teams when he worked with then-prospect Adam Wainwright (or, as Matheny called him, "Waino") and up-and-comer Yadier Moliana. Matheny acknowledged the high expectations and tradition of "the Cardinal Way" that come with the job, stating that wearing The Birds On The Bat across his chest was something not to be taken lightly. In short, Matheny said all the right things.
The rookie manager's coaching staff has also started to take a familiar shape. The Post-Dispatch reports that, on Sunday, Matheny and incumbent pitching coach Dave Duncan spoke, laying the groundwork for Duncan's return in 2012 as the Cardinals' pitching coach. It seems that Duncan's return is a done deal.