|Carlos Beltran striking out looking 2006 NLCS|
First some disclaimers. Yes, I am a Red Sox fan. And yes, I am still not over Carlos Beltran striking out looking with bases loaded for the Mets to end up on the short end of the NLCS in 2006 against the Houston Astros.
In the press conference after the game, Mike Matheny stated the following:
|Kolton Wong picked off to end Game 4 WS 2013|
"Well, he knew, we had meetings early on, we go over all these guys," St. Louis manager Mike Matheny said. "We talk very clearly about a very good pickoff move. He was reminded once he got on base, and also reminded that run didn't mean much, [to be] be careful, shorten up. And he got a little extra, then he slipped and the slip cost him."
This press conference statement was lost in the noise of the event. But it was one that struck me as profoundly wrong. Kolten Wong was devastated. He is a phenom prospect with a great future. But this statement did him absolutely no good. It did nothing to build any trust with Matheny. It added to what had already been quite a bad day for Wong. And it showed up as a less than caring manager, simply placing the blame (albeit quite ingeniously) on a rookie base running mistake.
How about we rewind the tape and instead of Matheny making this statement he said instead: "It was my fault. I knew I was taking a chance by putting a rookie in this sensitive situation. In fact, this runner did not matter - the next one was the tying run. So putting in my speedster on first at this time was a dumb mistake on my part."
The same result would have happened in the game. The Cardinals still would have lost. Changing his words would not have changed the outcome of the series. What was done was done. The "slip" did cost the Cardinals the game. But the words that Matheny used cost his team much more and this individual immensely. Choosing a different approach, one where the manager took responsibility for the mistake, would have cemented a bond between a manager who surely wants the most from this promising player in the future. And it would have gone a long way to deflect the criticism that Wong no doubt felt.