OBSERVATIONS: Why would the Cardinals fire Mike Shildt?

By HAL McCoy

UNSOLICITED OBSERVATIONS from The Man Cave, where I need a new La-Z-Boy because I’ve worn out the old one and my energetic and always curious Havanese pup, The Mighty Quinn, keeps clawing at the leather, obviously thinking there is a dog biscuit under it.

—What in the name of Anheuser-Busch does a manager have to do to keep his job? The St. Louis Cardinals fired manager Mike Shildt, the guy who led them to 17 straight wins in September to pass the Cincinnati Reds and capture the NL’s second wild card spot.

The Cincinnati Reds gave David Bell a three-year extension for almost making the playoffs this year. The Cardinals fired Shildt after he took St. Louis to three straight playoff appearance. And the guy was National League Manager of the Year in 2019. And he should be in strong contention this hear.

But he was fired, unceremoniously told to clean out his office and take a hike, don’t stop until he passed under the Gateway Arch and reached the Mississippi River.


Was his sin that he couldn’t beat the Los Angeles Dodgers, arguably baseball’s best team, in the one-game wild card?

The official reason was, “Philosophical differences.” Does that mean Shildt tore up a few pages from a stack of analytical data left on his desk? If he did, good on him.

There has to be more to it, right? OK, who has the e-mails?

And I’m not spoofing you on who is the early favorite to replace Shildt. His name is Stubby Clapp. . .and I kid you not.

—QUOTE: From fired St. Louis manager Mike Shildt, available on t-shirts, but wearing it in public might be dangerous: “They started some sh – -, we finished the sh – -. And that’s how we roll. No one f – – ks with us, ever. Now, I don’t give a f – – k who we play. We’re gonna f – – k them up. We’re gonna take it to them the whole f – – – king way. We’re gonna kick their f – – king ass.” (The missing letters are included on the $14 t-shirt.)

—Michael Lorenzen was denied his desire to be a starting pitcher for the Cincinnati Reds, mostly due to injuries and a filled-up rotation.

So, as a free agent, he is seeking employment with a team that will afford him the opportunity to make the rotation.

With his ability with the bat, Lorenzen is a poor man’s Shohei Ohtani with muscles, big muscles.

—Full Disclosure: The book I am about to recommend is by Jon Baskin, the editor of my book, ‘The Real McCoy: My Half—Century Covering the Cincinnati Reds.’

But his book is an erudite beauty, all about the genesis and history of Ohio State football. It is jammed with facts and insides never published before and done with a style that is unmistakenly the powerful prose of Baskin, a former colleague at the Dayton Daily News. It is a must for all Buckeye Backers.

—Some of us really old old-timers remember the 1950 Blizzard Bowl in Ohio Stadium between Ohio State and That Team Up North. It should have been called The Punt Bowl.

Ohio State’s Vic Janowicz punted 21 times and had four blocked, one resulting in the game’s only touchdown as TTUN won, 9-3. Why four blocked punts? The blizzard was so blinding that Janowicz couldn’t see his center unless he stood only five yards behind him.

TTUN punted 24 times and had one blocked. Amazingly, the Wolverines won without recording a single first down.

—QUOTE: From Ohio State Heisman Trophy winner Vic Janowicz after the Blizzard Bowl loss to Michigan, 9-3, in 1950: “It was like a nightmare. My hands were numb. I had no feeling in them, and I don’t know how I hung onto the ball. You knew what you wanted to do, but you couldn’t do it.”

—From former colleague and fellow Kent Stater Carl Beyer: “What do Kent State and Alabama have in common?” Well, they both play collegiate football on far different levels, but the answer is. . .they both lost this year to Texas A&M.

A year ago, the University of Buffalo scored 70 points on the Golden Flashes, but last week Kent State scored a 48-38 victory to take first place in the Mid-American Conference East.

Alas, the Flashes were flashes-in-the-pan. They lost to Western Michigan Saturday, 64-31. Do they teach defense at KSU?

In 1961, KSU (Chaos U., we called it) was 2-and-8. As sports editor of The Daily Kent Stater, I suggested in a column that Kent State give up football. College president George A. Bowman saw no humor in it and threatened banishment to me.

—The Cleveland Browns continue to be the most underachieving disjointed aggregation in the NFofL. As one analyst put it, “They are a 6-and-0 roster with a 3-and-3 record. Their playoffs dreams turned into a nightmare Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals.

Their defense resembles a junior high class on a field trip when somebody yells, “Snake.” Everybody runs in a different direction.

Time and again, when the Cardinals snapped the ball, defenders were still running in different directions as if they didn’t know where to be. And they weren’t where they were supposed to be when the play began.

As one observer said, “If they didn’t sack the quarterback, every receiver was wide open and the middle was empty for long runs.”

Browns defensive coordinator Joe Woods must design his defensive schemes on toilet paper.

—QUOTE: From former college basketball coach Don Meyer: “Defense involves three things: courage, energy, intelligence.” (The Browns went 0-for-3 on Sunday.)

—Another school bowed to the PC advocates. The University of Dayton football team plays at Valparaiso on Saturday. When they last played, Valpo’s nickname was Crusaders. Now they are the Beacons. Why? Because, they said, the name Crusaders has been adopted by hate groups such as the Ku Klux Klan.

—QUOTE: From an article written by Dr. Chris Stankovich, ‘The Sports Doc’: “Do Irish people find Fighting Irish offensive? Do steel workers find Steelers offensive? Do meat packers find Packers offensive? Do people from Indiana find Hoosiers offensive? Are we demeaning any of these groups by naming a team after them? I honestly don’t get it.” (Neither do I, Doc, neither do it.)

—As a baseball writer for 48 years, folks think I’m a total seamhead. Not true. Here are things I covered before taking over the Cincinnati Reds beat in 1973:

Dayton Public Schools athletics, Miami University football (Bo Schembechler) and basketball (Dick Shrider, Darrell Hedric), Cleveland Browns (Jim Brown, 1964 NFL champions), Pro Golf (Masters, U.S. Open, PGA), Auto Racing (Indy 500, Daytona 500), University of Dayton basketball (Don Donoher, Don May) and football (John McVay), Ohio State football (Woody Hayes, 1968 National Champions) and basketball (Fred Taylor, Eldon Miller).

Yep, it has been a fun ride and as I often told Nadine, some day I was going to get a real job, but I never did.

4 thoughts on “OBSERVATIONS: Why would the Cardinals fire Mike Shildt?”

  1. Hal, love your column.
    Just a tidbit, #5 is engaged. Wedding sometime in August and probably in California.

  2. Bill DeWitt Sr. Screwed up the Reds. Junior screwed up the Stingers, and now is doing the screwups in St. Louis. Runs (as in diarrhea) in the family.

  3. When asking why certain team names are offensive, you readily agree with Dr Stankovich. So after being a Cleveland Indians fan for years, why is Indians all of a sudden offensive, Hal? And one of your previous articles is titled “They’ll always be the “TRIBE.” Not offensive?

    So which side of the fence are you?

    Have loved reading your column for years. Still do. Just don’t understand which side you’re actually on (yeah, I know you shouldn’t end a sentence with a preposition)?

  4. So the Cardinals fire Mike Shildt (over the phone, no less) and he is a finalist for Manager of the Year in the National League. Are you taking any bets on how soon he gets a new job and are you making any predictions on where he might land?

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