'It's like group therapy': How a rookie skipper won over the Cards' clubhouse
When St. Louis manager Mike Shildt took the reins at the All-Star break, he had no major league managerial or playing experience. But he did have a yellow notepad.
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Somehow, Mike Shildt got the St. Louis Cardinals to buy into “Ball Talk.”
It would’ve been all too easy for the Cardinals players, especially the veterans, to roll their eyes. After all, Shildt had never played a single inning of professional baseball. He had never managed in the majors. But there he was on the first day of the second half of the season, fresh off replacing longtime skipper and former big leaguer Mike Matheny, who had been fired by the club after a 47-46 start, telling his new charges that team meetings would become a regular thing. Not once a series, like every other club in the majors, but once a day. Before every single game.
Operating under the name of Ball Talk, the Cards’ position players all huddle up in a room and brainstorm. While the time varies (after batting practice at home, before BP on the road), the content does not: They discuss what went well the day before, what they need to