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The real story on why Mike Shildt was fired

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We have gotten audio tapes of what really happened.

St Louis Cardinals v Chicago Cubs Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images

There has been a lot of speculation on why Mike Shildt got fired. “Philosophical differences” isn’t really a satisfying answer even if it might be true. So it’s caused a lot of people to speculate on what happened behind the scenes.

Until today. VEB has acquired the audio tapes of how the firing went down, and we’ve posted the full audio below. This is exactly as it transpired. We did not make any edits to the material. I’ll just let the tape recordings speak for themselves.

John Mozeliak: “Okay, end of season review. First off, I want to congratulate you all on a great season. We made the playoffs for the third straight year. Haven’t had a losing record since 2007. And it’s truly a team effort, a collective group where every member is essential to the success of this ballclub. So let’s all give ourselves a round of applause for another successful season.”

(Everyone claps politely)

“First order of business: who to bring back. Free agency is approaching, and any potential free agents should be our top concern right now. So Mike, being the manager, and in day-to-day contact with the team, why don’t you get the ball rolling?”

“And we won’t address the players under contract for next year yet?”

“Yes, we’ll assume they’ll all come back, unless in a later discussion, we decide they may be expendable in a trade. Or as a candidate to get designed for assignment. For now, let’s focus on who to bring back.”

“Just making sure. Well, my absolute top priority is to bring back Justin Miller, let’s get that out of the way.”

“Who?”

“Justin Miller, our relief ace.”

“Justin... Miller. Not ringing any bells. But you know what, I’m prone to forgetting, lot of names to remember. Girsch, any thoughts on Justin Miller?”

Michael Girsch: “I’m not familiar with the name.”

“Okay, how about you Mike? Surely you’ve worked with him?”

Mike Maddux: “Justin Miller, Justin Miller... yeah I’ve never heard this name in connection with the Cardinals in my life.”

“Guys, am I crazy? Justin Miller. You know, one of our shutdown relievers?”

(Shildt looks around frantically. He hones in on bullpen coach, Bryan Eversgerd.)

“Bryan, back me up here. Justin Miller, one of our top priorities right?”

“Do you mean Andrew Miller?”

“NO. JUSTIN MILLER. DID YOU GUYS EVEN WATCH THIS SEASON? JUSTIN MILLER. Killer slider/fastball combo. Little on the old side, but he can keep this up for a few more years.”

Mo: “Okay Mike, give me a second let me pull him up on Fangraphs real quick. Oh. Okay he does exist... and he did play for the Cardinals in 2021. Huh?”

“I was starting to think I was in the Twilight Zone there guys. Whew. Alright, so top priority-”

“Now hold on. Justin Miller with the 6.16 ERA? The going to be 35-year-old in the middle of the season next year?”

“Well, I did say he was a bit on the old side”

“Him being on the old side is not the relevant part of what I said.”

“Okay he had a few bad outings. But he looked strong most of the year, and I think he can be the future closer.”

“The future closer?!!! He gave up five home runs in 19 innings. He had a higher FIP and xERA than his actual ERA.”

“Okay, his stats are bad. I won’t dispute that. But his stuff, my god. That’s future closer stuff right there.”

“Think I’m going to have to disagree with you on that one.”

“Okay fine, he won’t be a future closer, but we got to at least bring him back.”

“We might throw him a minor league deal, we’ll see how the rosters end up shaking up.”

“NO. HE NEEDS A MAJOR LEAGUE DEAL. HE’S IN HOT DEMAND GUYS. WE CAN’T LOSE HIM.”

“I think we can lose him and I don’t think there’s a current role in the bullpen for him.”

“THIS IS HORSESHIT! HOW CAN WE NOT BRING BACK JUSTIN MILLER?”

“Very easily, Mike. Can we move on to the next player?”

“NO, WE HAVE NOT FINISHED DISCUSSING JUSTIN MILLER”

“I think we better move on. We have many things to discuss today.”

“WE WILL NOT MOVE ON. I WANT TO HEAR YOU COMMIT TO JUSTIN MILLER RIGHT THIS MINUTE, MO!”

“I will not be doing that. Let’s be reasonable”

“DON’T TELL ME TO BE REASONABLE, YOU BOWTIE WEARING FUCK! ALL I ASK FOR IS ONE RELIEVER AND YOU’RE BRUSHING ME OFF.”

“Mike, let’s MOVE ON PLEASE. We can’t get this heated up about every fringe reliever we talk about?”

“FRINGE RELIEVER? YOU’RE CALLING JUSTIN MILLER A FRINGE RELIEVER”

“I mean I guess he’s more of a minor league reliever”

“MINOR LEAGUE RELIEVER?! MINOR LEAGUE? JUSTIN MILLER IS A MINOR LEAGUER RELIEVER??”

“... Yes?”

“HE’S WORKED HIS ASS OFF. HE’S ACCUMULATED 4 YEARS IN THE BIG LEAGUES SINCE 2014 AND HE KEEPS WORKING HIS ASS OFF EVEN THOUGH NO TEAM BELIEVES IN HIM. HE DEBUTED AT 27 AND KEEPS GETTING THE PINK SLIP AND KEEPS WORKING HIS ASS OFF-”

“This does not seem like great evidence to keep him”

“I WILL NOT LET THE CARDINALS BE ANOTHER ONE TO GIVE UP ON HIM”

“Well, we are. So, next player”

“OKAY, I DIDN’T WANT IT TO COME TO THIS. BUT NUTS ON THE TABLE. JUSTIN MILLER OR ME? THAT’S RIGHT. I’M PULLING THIS CARD”

“You’re pulling the him or me card for... Justin Miller? Are we sure this guy’s real? What’s happening?”

“HIM OR ME”

“I’m honestly convinced someone put a fake person on Fangraphs just to see if they could.”

(Shildt calmly sits down, takes a drink of his water, and speaks in a calm voice. Then he starts laughing maniacally.)

“I got you guys! I really got you. Oh I had you going so bad there. He’s not real. I had the computer guys put his name in there. I wanted to see if I got away with it. I actually had you convinced a Justin Miller pitched on the Cards this year.”

(Mo humorlessly responds)

“That was funny. Anyway, let’s move onto the next player. Mike, take over.”

“Okay, sorry couldn’t help myself. I probably took it too far. But you know me and my practical jokes. But I had to sell the joke. I’ve never seen you laugh so hard, Mo? Okay, in all seriousness, the top priority player we need to bring back - and I realize he’s in Memphis right now, but it’s honestly, I think we’re going to need an MLB deal or he’ll leave us.”

“Mike, we’re not bringing back Tyler Webb.”

(Shildt throws binder at Mozeliak)

“THIS IS HORSESHIT”

“STOP THROWING BINDERS AT ME. THIS IS THE TENTH TIME AND YOU’RE REALLY PUSHING YOUR LUCK.”

“I HAVE A LIMITLESS SUPPLY OF BINDERS TO THROW AT YOU AND I WILL NEVER STOP. NOW TAKE THOSE GLASSES OFF AND SHOVE THEM UP YOUR ASS.”

“Mike...”

“OH I’M SORRY DEWITT’S HAND IS ALREADY THERE, YOU PUPPET.”

“MIKE! We’re not giving Tyler Webb an MLB deal just because he’s your son. I mean we kept him way longer than we should have, let’s be real.”

“How di- HE’S NOT MY SON! We just bear a weirdly striking, purely coincidental resemblance to one another. We need to bring him back.”

“No.”

(Shildt, somehow with another binder in his hand, throws it at Mo again.”)

“Okay, that’s enough. You’re fired.”

And that folks, is the real story behind Mike Shildt getting fired.