The St. Louis Cardinals, which entered the second week of September with a measly 69-68 record, miraculously clinched an NL wild-card berth by winning a franchise-record 17 games in a row. And somehow, this feat wasn't enough for manager Mike Shildt to keep his job.
In a stunning move, St. Louis fired Shildt on Thursday due to "philosophical differences" about "where we saw the team going," according to president of baseball operations John Mozeliak. Shildt had signed a three-year contract extension after the 2019 season.
"I don't think anyone had a clue this was coming, just because they went on such a great run and seemed like they got it together and played some good baseball," MLB Network Radio host CJ Nitkowski told the Tiki and Tierney show on Thursday. "And everything we're reading right now has a lot to do with organizational philosophy, which really gives you a feel for how the game is played today, how the game is managed, and that front office influence...
"You've got to be a good solider. I think a lot of these guys who take the jobs know that. You don't see managers going to the minors and getting groomed to become big league managers. That's not the process anymore. You learn how to manage people -- which is really important, and that's a big key part of the game -- but you also better be ready to take a lot of cues, not a few, a lot of cues from the front office. And it sounds like that was the problem."
Shildt, who took over as the Cardinals' full-time manager in 2019, led them to three consecutive postseason appearances, including one trip to the NLCS. This season, St. Louis finished 90-72, and lost a thrilling NL wild-card game to the defending champion Los Angeles Dodgers on a walk-off home run. Shildt went 252-199 in three-plus seasons at the helm, and was named NL Manager of the Year in 2019.
According to multiple reports, St. Louis requested permission from MLB to announce Shildt's dismissal today, as the Dodgers and San Francisco Giants are set to play Game 5 of the NLDS tonight. As for who will replace Shildt, Mozeliak told reporters that the team will consider several internal candidates, though this doesn't mean that they won't look outside for names.
The entire MLB conversation between Nitkowski and Tiki and Tierney can be accessed in the audio player above.