Debate: Maddon v Matheny by Bob Ryan

Welcome everyone to the 1st ever national Managerial Debate between Joe Maddon (Maddening) and Mike Matheny (Manifesto)…topics have been chosen by YOU the fan…so sit back as our crowd of experts throw out their questions


How do you feel is the best way to learn how to manage?

Manifesto….I feel the best way is by playing several seasons ..I played in over 1300 games, caught over 10000 innings, played in 4 organizations and observed closely the managers…it seems to me that playing is the best way to learn to manage. My only previous experience was coaching the high school team that my son played on as a student @ Westminster Christian Academy.

Maddening….I best learned how manage by being a head coach, asst coach in the minors. I actually managed from 1981-86 in low level minors where I learned best of all how to teach, deal with youngsters and saw the “bigs” from the bottom end…then I was a roving minor league instructor saw I developed the skills of evaluating talent, personalities, upside-downside—I did that from 1987-1993…in 1994,I was elevated to being a Coach at the MLB level—I was a 1B coach, bench coach for several different managers and I was able to observe …from the inside …their reasoning in reaching decisions…so it helped me develop my managerial skills.

Manifesto….so…you never really played in the MLB?

Maddening…no…so you never really managed until you took over the Cardinals?

Manifesto…right…but I prefer my’s the professional path

Maddening….while I much prefer my developmental path


Gentlemen…let’s move behind the plate… both of you started your careers as catchers….which current MLB catcher looks reminds you of yourself?

Manifesto…I’d like to say Yadi…after all…I trained him in his 1st year…then his skills “moved me along”….he’s so good at calling a game, throwing, knowing batters and situations and he works very hard on studying tapes…I feel like those were many of my attributes

Maddening…what? You’re taking credit for Yadi because he replaced you…what a stretch..

Manifesto…teaching, developing, tutoring…call it what you want does take place from players to players often…not just top down.

Maddening….well…I don’t know…all of these top current catchers can hit which ends the similarity there for meJ But to think that you’re in the same class as Yadier!


Gentlemen…gentlemen…..let’s move on….we don’ want this to become another mockery like the Hillary-Donald mud-slinging affairs….next question….


What are your strongest attributes as a manager?

Maddening….due to my extensive experience as a manager & coach….I’ve come to realize that there are two completely separate components of managing…on and off the field…you can’t be grinding 24-7, 7-8 months a year…you’ll be a frail as a potato chip….Off the field…during the season…I let each player determine how much BP..throwing, fielding practice they require to remain at their highest level…we don’t’ have an team BP after July 4th….if a player is in a slump and doesn’t work on it….he won’t be here long…of course our coaches are available as much as the player desires their help….we try to keep players as relaxed as possible so that no extra pressure is put on them…prior to or during the game..during the game for me there are many facets…construction of lineup, keeping players fresh, pitching changes, showing confidence in players, looking down the road in the course of the game for possible changes as well as looking down the long-term road in a player’s development.

Manifesto…..1st—I believe firmly in being a strong, positive, clear leader of the team..I don’t praise players just to please them….this relationship with players is my strongest’s who I am…..2nd–I believe in thorough, complete, positive training for each player…we are constantly reviewing players swings..with the player….their positioning, the defensive procedures as the ball is hit to them, the throwing techniques for pitchers, studying opponents hitters…we actually use our plane time to view tape on our opponents…we want to be prepared for each and every possible scenario…we expect our players to do the same. . that’s been the Cardinal way for decades going back to George Kissell.

Maddening…as if the Cardinal way is any different than any other MLB’s way..hah!  


OK…let’s change the tone…. how do you gentlemen relax off the field

Manifesto….well I’ve caught on to chess…it refreshes me.

Maddening…..I’m all for a good glass of wine and some TV….btw…are you chasing the queen or the king?

Manifesto…of course the king…I wanna win

Maddening…..I thought so…I would have been chasing the queen..any man chases the queen….catch the queen ..board game or real life…..and you’ll get the king…

Manifesto…some board game…chess has been around for’s recognized as a game that requires thinking, planning several steps ahead..

Maddening….strange….you sure don’t do that in the dugout

Manifesto….what are you the lone expert on baseball strategy?….at least I’m not trying to get in the spotlight constantly… I’m not always on the top step of the dugout so the camera gets a good shot of me

Maddening…ur right…ur over there scribbling something to yourself…what…can’t you remember the important stuff long enough to write it down after the game…did all your concussions do that to you?



Maddening….that’s it… I’m leaving…now YOU can have the spotlight

Manifesto….at least you aren’t throwing at me like you do my players….

Maddening…yea..sure…right….your players lunge into the ball and don’t expect any pitcher to ever come inside….this is a big boy game…not a HS game…

Manifesto….we’lll see about who’s the big boy next year….

Both Manifesto & Maddening stomp off the stage in different directions

Now we send it back to the studio to our analysts to assess the debate..

ON our select panel is Pat Hughes (Cubs announcer since 1996) and John Rooney (Cards announcer since 2006)…what do each of you think?

Hughes…well, without a doubt Maddening won the debate…he drove home his main message, used brilliant examples….clearly dominated

Rooney….wait just a minute….Manifesto was on topic, stayed focused, wasn’t so caustic..Manifesto was the clear winner

Well…It appears debates of all types in the USA.. right now.. seem to end up similarly J



Aside from our “debate”…..other recent developments in sports…

….Washington U was just in the national news for the debate but we’ve come to take for granted the excellence …not just the academics…but the athletics….this year the Bears are 4-1, averaging 39 ppg, over 500 yds/game. Head Coach Larry Kindbom annually ….produces a very strong football program in the midst of the academia haven…there is the occasional hiccup like last year’s 4-6 team…but in the 1980’s the Bears won 20 games …in the entire decade….since that time have gone 167-105 in Kindbom’s 28 years at the helm….all in all…this Wash U is a gem for the Lou! Congrats on a job well done!

….the 10 teams in the MLB playoffs were in the top 13 of the MLB in expenditures for the 2016 season! Despite what’s said…. money DOES buy post-season play for teams. Here’s one easy example….Those wealthier teams living on Boardwalk can pick up key, high priced players for the stretch run…the teams living on Baltic Ave can’t do it.

….speaking of being picked up for the stretch run…look at Carlos Beltran … in 2011 he played for the Mets & the Giants(acquired in July but they fell short of playoffs), he was with the Cards in 12 & 13 (both playoff years), the Yanks picked him up for 14 & 15, this year he was sent to the Rangers. He’s made $13-$15mil in every year since 2012….for his career, Beltran has been paid over $200mi…only the “healthy” financial teams can afford him.

…Cardinals are still reassessing their “needs” for 2017….in many discussions about the Cards , many feel like there will be a shakeup involving several players on the current 25 man roster…I hope it doesn’t include another Reuben Tejada episode…Tejada was grabbed on March 19 of last year, put on DL on April 3…as they stalled to figure out how to dump him…Apr 18 he came off DL…on May 28 he was released….about a 70 day Cardinal career…he landed in SF for part of the year but didn’t make it to their playoff ya C em….now U don’t J He’ll be a great trivia question some day!

…Cubs 3rd win over SF and the Montero grand salami in the bottom of the 8th against the Dodgers in game 1 will be remembered for a long time…scoring 5 runs in an inning twice—once coming-from-behind and the other after their ace surrenders a game-tyin hit…it’s so strange to me….many in the Lou really, really hate the Cubs while others are rooting…mildly….for the Cubbies to enjoy a taste of the World Series and a World Championship..which side do you fall on?

…this week’s college football rankings have the usual names in the top 4—Bama, Ohio St, Clemson and Michigan…at #5 is Washington (6-0)—a new name in recent years to be at that lofty level.. other “new kids on the block” achieving top 25 rankings were W. Michigan – #24 and Navy-#25…there were 16 other schools outside the top 25 that received votes…..notable by their absence was Notre Dame…that tells me that Brian Kelly is on the hot seat in S. Bend.

…..Carolina Panthers don’t look like the same team…and they aren’t…without Cam Newton’s unique running, passing and leadership attributes…this is a totally different club

…..ESPN hockey section just chose the Blues for 4th place in the NHL Central Division…they claim that the Blues aren’t as driven to win the division title as they are to go deep in the playoffs…where do you think the Blues will finish in the Central Division this year?

….is it too early to look ahead for Mizzou after the Flordia loss?   Their non-conference foes for 2017 are MO State, Purdone, Idawho and U.Cann’t…I see 4 easy wins there. The real measure of any team is NOT who they lost to…what skill does that show….but…who they beat..none of these early season non-conference foes would be considered “big” wins by any fans or experts.

…remarkably this coming Friday is the final regular season week for HS football in Missouri….the 10th week begins the playoffs….seems like the season begins too early and ends too early to me. Here’s a thought….since the finals no longer must be played on Thanksgiving Weekend @ a dome and you’ll be outside for the finals….stretch em out…go into December….December is closer to football weather than the current starting practice date of Aug 1 and the starting game date of Aug least you won’t be concerned about heat exhaustion in Dec J

….Do you stick with Zac Prescott if you’re the Cowboys?…or does Tony Romo automatically resume his duties? Typical case of injured vet gets replaced by a young rookie who produces….did you say Wally Pipp?   Mr. Pipp led the NYY to 3 consecutive AL titles in 1921-23 as their starting 1B…legend has it that he asked to sit out a game in 1925…Lou Gehrig replaced him for the day and remained there for the next 2130 games! Now I don’t expect any football player to play 2130 straight games…but u’ve got the idea….the complicating factor these days is the salary of the veteran…do you just eat it? Trade him? Play him because of his salary? Split time? …that never works….. wait until the youngster begins to fail or at least falter, then bring back the vet…I think that is the course that the Cowboys will follow….

..there’s no debate on this….we’ve reached the end…thanks for making it this far down the road!



  1. Great post! As for the debate, you’re right, looks like all debates seem to be 100% subjective these days…which proves them to be far from useful to the general public (ok, I’m definitely talking about the presidential debates). Your debate was highly useful, and entertaining.

    To your last point about Prescott, I’d love to see the NFL, or teams, make stipulations for injuries in their contracts to see what would really happen with high $$ players. Maybe smarter play? maybe more drive to recover quickly? maybe less intense spending on individual players? I’m a little out of my realm when speaking about this, but just a thought. Thanks for the great writing as usual!

  2. John Rocco says:

    Bob, good stuff. The debate was funny. Joe M
    is a little to smug for me.
    It will be an interesting off season for the Cardinals.
    Beltran has had a good career. I think it was in the 2004 playoffs against the Cards. He wa with Houston. The Cards won but he was unstoppable.

  3. Chris Millikan says:

    Bob, an entertaining read. I see a reality TV show in Joe Madden’s future. “Mind of Madden”, “Madden of Honor”, or “Hi, I’m Joe Madden and you’re sitting in my chair. And gimmee the microphone.”

    Thanks…Chris(see you Friday)_

  4. Jim Pleimann says:

    I finally got around to this. I was so enthralled by the presidential debates (NOT) that I felt this could never top them. I was wrong. I will say Madden and Matheny are two entirely different personalities and seem to be polar opposites in the way they handle a team. But… both have had success.

    I am a lifelong CUB HATER born and raised!! I hope they blow it in game seven!! I don’t want this 108 year stretch to end. Heck, they are still trying to win their first world championship in their new ball park!! (built in 1914)

    Blues will be a top six in their conference. Just get in….

    Zak Prescott? is he in the NFL? What team does Romo play for? I care so little these days….

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