From the third most wins in the history of professional baseball, to a man who has never coached a professional game in his life...
Mike Matheny has been appointed the next head coach of the St. Louis Cardinals. He will be officially introduced Monday late AM via press conference. (The third straight Monday that a STL team is having a press conference on coaching matters, FYI.)
Obviously, we don't know what the hell to expect from Matheny. He played for the Cardinals from 2000 to 2005, let to walk to San Francisco when Yadier Molina needed to be promoted and get playing time in the bigs.
From 2003-2005 he won the Gold Glove 3 times, before gutting his way through a concussion plagued 2006 season that forced him to retire about the time that the Cardinals were celebrating their first World Series win since 1982.
Now's he back with the club, a year after another World Series celebration. Let's hope this isn't an indication of his timing, right?
We know that Matheny is going to have the Cardinals respect from the jump. He was a team leader in both St. Louis and San Francisco. He has worked the past couple of years amongst many charities in St. Louis and, by a majority of accounts seems to be a good man. He knows the organization and the fans and isn't that far removed from the demands of what it's like to be an MLB player. Many have been quoted as loving his managerial chops.
He's also never managed a team before. A team that's going to be expected to be in the playoffs in 2012.
There really isn't a precedent for this in baseball, at least not in the modern post the 1970's. Avery Johnson left the NBA court and jumped right into coaching a few years back and had some success with Dallas without any formal training. But other than that, it's not something that really happens. Coaches almost always have to pay their dues in baseball and Matheny is eschewing protocol and inserting himself into the fray without a background.
I don't know how this will play out.
I do know that it's going to be interesting to find out.