St. Louis Cardinals right fielder Dexter Fowler (25) is congratulated by manager Mike Matheny

(Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports)

Players Take The Blame: 'This Has A Lot To Do About Us'

"The only sense I have is that I need to do better myself. As a group, I think that's what we all had a sense of."

July 16, 2018 - 11:18 am
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ST. LOUIS (KMOX) - The St. Louis Cardinals players recieved the news the same way as the fans. Either it was a text from a friend or relative, through a tweet or you maybe have been watching the late-night news on T.V. 

Related story: Matheny Found New Love For Baseball in Managing, Wants Another Chance

Immediately following the news that Mike Matheny had been fired as manager, many of the Cardinals players were invovled in a group text which second baseman Kolten Wong says was all about "us stepping up, playing better." 

Here is the reaction by some of the players, as they described it to us in the Cardinals clubhouse, Sunday: 

Yadier Molina: 

"I got a text from Mike (Shildt) explaining what happened. You never want to hear and see that but I guess it's part of the game, you know, it could happen to anyone. Just some bad news." 

Molina says he first saw the news on T.V. Saturday night, before the text came in from the interim manager, Shildt. He was asked what kind of message that personnel move sends to the rest of the Cardinals players. 

"When you see that happen it's because us as players, we are not doing our job. I hate to say it, but that's what it is. We're not doing our job and the blame is on us."

Dexter Fowler: 

"I respect the hell out of Mike, like you said, he's a winner. You don't coach that long in the big leagues if you don't know what you're doing. Obviously we had our ups and downs, but at the end of the day he's a good man." 

Fowler was one of the players involved in recent off-field headines, when his "effort" and "energy" were questioned by general manager John Mozeliak in an interview on KMOX's Sports on a Sunday Morning. The relationship between Folwer and Matheny has been, as stated in some media outlets, to be very rocky. Most recently the former manager and right fielder were described by The Athletic to not be on speaking terms. 

Matt Carpenter: 

"Ultimately (Matheny's firing) falls on us regardless. Players are the guys who have got to go out an compete and make things happen, both good and bad. It's no different no matter who is managing, players have to be held accountable for quality of play." 

Jose Martinez:

"I wasn't expecting that at all ... Let me put it like this, if the manager is not here, maybe me too, maybe somebody else. Because even though I'm not doing my job hitting, I'm not doing my job defensively. So whatever change, whatever move, anything can happen."

Kolten Wong: 

"It wasn't the best of news because we knew that we just weren't doing our jobs. We had a group texting going last night that we wanted to come together and know that even though Mike lost his job, this has a lot to do about us. It's about us stepping up, playing better, playing more collectively as a team and trying to do what we can to redirect the path we were going on." 

Harrison Bader:

"It's an unfortunate event obviously, you never want to see a guy lose his job or anything like that. But from my perspective, there's a game to play today and that's all I'm focused on." 

Greg Holland: 

"The only sense I have is that I need to do better myself. As a group, I think that's what we all had a sense of, was there's a collective unit but individually if we all do better we are going to play better. So for me it fell on me and I felt it like it was a 'what should I have done better?'"

Jedd Gyroko:

"It was kind of shocking, I know I didn't see it coming. It's just tough, you feel bad for Mike, you feel a little guilty. He's not out there making pitches, swinging the bats, so I personally feel like I let him down. You feel like if maybe you had played better than this wouldn't have happened."