Mike Matheny combats Saturday criticism with a double serving of Sunday swoon
Mike Matheny hasn’t suited up for a full season as a Major League catcher since 2006. But at 41 years of age, Matheny is still a fairly strapping buck. Bear in mind, Tony La Russa was once a face of advertising, so we’ll give the current Cardinals manager a few years of enduring long seasons and sports talk radio clowns before making final judgement on his physical regression.
Nevertheless, one thing is certain: Matheny has stayed fit throughout his first season and St. Louis ladies (read: ladies, men and domesticated animals) have developed an unrelenting crush for the young skipper. However, Matheny provoked some questionable managerial decisions during Saturday’s defeat to the division-leading Cincinnati Reds.
And following the 8-2 defeat, criticism for the first-year manager was reaching a critical mass. #22 regrouped, reached into his bag of tricks and delivered two heaping spoonfuls of swoon in Sunday’s matinee at Great American Ball Park.
Starting catcher Yadier Molina left the game in the top of the ninth-inning as part of a Mike Matheny double switch. His backup, Tony Cruz, made the last out of the previous half inning, so the Cardinals were without someone to promptly warm up new relief pitcher Fernando Salas. Instead of waiting for Salas, Matheny grabbed a mitt and headed onto the field.
Media and fans alike immediately began fawning over Matheny’s self-sufficiency. It’s the first time we’ve seen anything like this and pondered two things: (1) the intense pressure for Salas, to be warmed up by the only guy that could literally say, “Nope, he doesn’t have it today. Give me someone else.” (2) was Matheny wearing a cup?
Even before the aforementioned miraculous event took place, Matheny sauntered out of the dugout wearing knee-high socks. Yes, knee-high socks.
Oh, double swoon.
“High Socks Sunday” is a trend that the Cardinals have adopted over the past few weeks and it’s a movement that we fully support. In fact, some fans are starting to hop aboard the train. But we’ve never seen a manager embrace these insular team activities. Matheny needs a few horizontal stripes on those puppies, but still, we’re impressed.
Three years ago, the Cardinals embraced mustaches as their clubhouse-spawned rally statement. Can you imagine La Russa with a nose beard
Yeah, neither could we, so we did the leg work for you.
Dare you to go eat lunch.