A USA Today article by Bob Nightengale Shined the spotlightMike Shildt, former manager of the St. Louis Cardinals. He was almost universally questioned about the decision to fire him at the time.
The Cardinals have a long history of success so they still have the benefit of the doubt. It was, however, a strange decision that is still a bit puzzling.
Mike Shildt is, in my view, a sympathetic individual. His success at the Cardinals’ helm was obvious, so Mr. Shildt was surprised by his firing. I highly recommend the article to everyone, it is great writing by the incredible Nightengale.
Tony La Russa, former St Louis Cardinals manager, questions whether Mike Shildt fostered toxic environments
I thought one point in the article was very interesting and merits a deeper look. Former St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony LaRussa, a legendary manager and someone with close ties to recent Cardinals winning tradition, mentioned that someone within the Cardinals organization commented that Shildt was fired because of a “toxic environment”.
I won’t give too much away, like I mentioned the article is well worth reading and goes into so much more. This comment was interesting to me. LaRussa seemed strongly to disagree with this assessment. Instead, he said that if there was a toxic environment, the finger could be pointed more likely at the front office.
It’s clear at this point that Shildt and the front office were not on the same page, but the full extent of that it is unknown. I’m not wanting to stir the pot or try to create drama in the organization if there is none. It’s just notable that someone like LaRusaa brought this comment to light and seemed to redirect it.
The 2022 season has almost arrived and the St. Louis Cardinals are ready for Oli Marmol to take the reins. Marmol’s leadership and enthusiasm are reason to be positive. The dismissal of Mike Shildt will fade into the background if Marmol and his team win. Shildt deserves credit for his success at St. Louis. He may be eligible for another managerial job in the future.
But the potential for a “toxic environment” is something to keep in mind, especially if things don’t go as smoothly as planned and the team starts to struggle.