Next to taking his team all the way to Game 7 of the NLCS in his rookie year as manager, it seems that Mike Matheny had a larger impact on Major League Baseball as a whole.
He's inspired teams to reconsider all these guys who've managed before and have experience leading a team and instead take chances on former players who had smarts and brains on the field.
The Miami Marlins have replaced Ozzie Guillen with Mike Redmond (also a former catcher) and now the Colorado Rockies have stepped up to the plate — semi-pun intended — and have signed former popular shortstop Walt Weiss to head their team after Jim Tracy decided to resign.
Now Redmond has a great managerial reputation in the minor leagues, so moving up to the majors to manage the team he won the 2003 World Series with will have it's expected challenges, but nothing like Matheny had in 2012. He had no professional managerial experience whatsoever. And neither does Weiss.
But just like Matheny, Weiss should be a feared competitor who's going to do everything to win. Like Matheny he's going to look like he's been managing for years, when in reality he's just going to be a young pup at the helm of a Major League Baseball franchise.
Just about every manager Weiss played for in his career, they were respected, smart baseball men and knew how to win when given the right group of players.
Weiss, again like Matheny, also played for Tony La Russa (only it was in Oakland) where he won the 1989 World Series. He played for Don Baylor as a player for the Rockies where he was part of the 1995 Wild Card team and he played for Bobby Cox in Atlanta between 1998 where there were several postseason and World Series appearances.
Yes, Walt Weiss hasn't managed, but he's quite the prodigy in the baseball world. And if you ask me, he just may have a step above Mike Matheny. Just a small one. Weiss did play on more postseason teams and for more well-known managers, but Matheny surely has an organizational advantage. The Rockies may need some time to develop some players under Weiss and may need some time to make so deals where they're a contender in the future, but the Cardinals don't have to worry about that. Their organization is packed with a lot of skill deep into their farm system.
I'm not going to make any predictions, but I can say this, I don't see Colorado finishing in last place. I think they're going to be a challenge for teams this season, but it's too soon to predict how they'll finish. They could be like Oakland was this year and have it all come down to the last game of the season. They could finish at .500 and display progress. You just don't know in baseball, and that's the best part of watching and waiting. You keep a close eye and enjoy it all as it unfolds.
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