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St Louis Could Have Learned The Value Of Patience By Looking At The Cubs
St. felt Louis that the decision must be made. After all, the Cardinals had been expecting to make the postseason, as they were just a game over .500 at the All-Star break. So manager Mike Matheny was fired after two straight losses to Cincinnati, giving way to interim captain Mike Schildt.
If the front office had studied very recent history within its own department, perhaps St. Louis has shown more patience. The team the Cardinals are chasing right now was in almost the same situation last season, but thankfully they didn’t fire their manager.
In fact, the 2017 Cubs’ situation was even slightly worse than the current Cardinals’ situation, as Chicago was two games under .500 and had lost three of its last four heading into the Midsummer Classic. Those results were considered unacceptable for the team that seven months earlier had brought home the organization’s first World Series Championship for over a hundred years, and the overwhelming favorites to win it again.
Many fans in the Windy City feared that Joe Madden had lost the managerial magic he had captured the previous season, as his star Cubs spent exactly zero days atop the National League Central division. Not only did the prospect of a World Series repeat seem bleak, but so did even the likelihood of qualifying for the postseason.
General Manager Theo Epstein could have said goodbye to Madden then, just as St. Louis GM John Mozeliak did with Matheny. Instead, Epstein chose to stick with his captain, and that patience was clearly rewarded.
Madden found the Cubs playing much better after the All-Star break, and by September they had passed the Milwaukee Brewers for first place. They carried that momentum through the remainder of the regular season, after which they disposed of the Washington Nationals in the National League Championship Series.
Although they fell just short of winning their second penny in a row, the Cubs still made a great comeback without taking the drastic step of replacing their manager. Chicago would certainly prefer another World Series Championship but, considering how far behind they were in July, it was quite a feat for Madden to get them to the playoffs at all.
There is no doubt that the Cardinals, who have not reached the postseason for two straight seasons now, would love to finish where the Cubs did last year. If their front office had exercised the same patience as Epstein and his staff, St. Louis would have a better chance of getting there.
Instead, they took the easy way out, firing the manager. That tactic is usually one desperate teams turn to, so what does that say about the current state of the St. Louis Cardinals?
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