Open Letter

Open Letter To Mike Matheny: We’ve Got To Talk About Your Response

This isn’t for you, Cardinals Fan.

You’re more than welcome to read this, but unless you’re Mike Matheny, Manager of the St. Louis Cardinals, then there isn’t much you can do. In fact, your support of the team over the past 15 years has gotten Mr. Matheny into this predicament in the first place.

 “Not saying that’s surprising. We’ve gone through this the last few years, especially last year with the Cardinal Way stuff getting blown way out of proportion. I think it can put a bad taste in a lot of peoples’ mouth. But in defense of the recognition that our guys have had — whether it’s having a number of guys on the All-Star team — that stuff isn’t just handed out. These guys have worked hard for that. They have deserved it, and they have earned it, and I don’t think that’s anything for us to apologize for.”

Ugh. Was that really your response last night?

Wrong answer, Mike.

Wrong. Answer.

In 2014, if you’re good at something, a whole bunch of people are going to hate you for it. Is it real hate? Nah. Probably not. But everyone is more savvy on the world wide web these days. And hate is easy to package and post. If it’s funny hate (like ‘The Ad‘), it’s going to spread – quickly.

The Twitter and the Instagram and the Facebook have made it a whole lot easier for people to pile on. Make no mistake, Mike, you’re at the bottom.

I get it. What you said up above? That’s not wrong. I believe that you believe that your players have worked hard and deserve All-Star game berths. In 2014, though, playing it right down the middle isn’t how things work. Because as long as you keep winning – and I hope you do keep winning – the trolls are going to be out to get you.

Yes, the Brewers are/were totally trolling you. And it worked spectacularly.

Mike, you’ve got two paths you can take. And you’re going to need to figure out which one to go down sooner than later. You’re causing yourself too much undo stress by trying to be everything to everyone.

Path 1: Be The Death Star

Your team has been to the NL Championship series 3 years in a row. You’ve won the NL pennant 2 of those 3 years. And the World Series once. Any other team in baseball would take this three year stretch. By proxy, any other fan base would as well.

So you know what? S-C-R-E-W them.

When you get asked about that video for the first time, here are some sample responses:

A) I didn’t have time to watch that video, we were preparing to win. Championship teams don’t have time for video gag reels mid-season. But I’m sure it will still be super cute in October, right Milwaukee?

B) I didn’t see it. My NL Championship rings were blocking my view.

Would these comments piss off pretty much everyone? Damn right they would. Ahhhhh – but then a funny thing happens when you’re a big, fat prick – the haters start to like the hate! I know, doesn’t make much sense to me either. But teams, players and coaches can make lots of money being the Death Star.

And sure, this might not be easy to own at first. But you’re probably pissed you have to deal with this stuff anyway, so this method is just asking you to talk candidly. Tell us how you really feel. Don’t put varnish on your words.

You’re the best. Own it.

Path 2: Troll Harder

This isn’t nearly as easy of a path. Knowing everything I know about you, I wouldn’t recommend it. But it’s an option. Really your only other option.

Troll Harder.

See what the Kings did there? That was some Grade A shade being thrown the Kings way. What did they do? Ignore it because it had some cuss words in it? Nope. They trolled harder. They came back over the top. And they have widely been recognized as one of the cooler teams in sport.

Oh, they win championships. And some people are sick of them. But deep down, every fan wishes that their team was a cool as the Kings.

You don’t have time to Tweet for the whole team, though. Wouldn’t expect that. But just like Joe Maddon creates an atmosphere where things can get weird and interesting, you’ve got to set the tone and let the creative minds that work in and around the Cardinals the freedom to craft a response to that ad. Make it so good, that the #PWND hastag is trending.

Now?

You don’t do that.

Either way, Mike, you’re going to have to come to grips with the way that sports works in 2014. It’s not like it was when you were a player or a kid. You’re going to have to game the game a bit.

And if you’re able to do either path well? You might just field less questions about bullpen management.

(See what I did there? You can do it too!)

Photo: Health Coalition

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