Times have changed.
It wasn’t that long ago when seeing a lede like this on an ESPN.com Cubs story would have warranted a spit take:
The words ‘another’ and ‘World Series’ being especially jarring.
But here we are in 2017 and the Cardinals are starting year 3 of trying to chase down a division rival that has most certainly raised their standards to levels not seen for over 100 years.
Yesterday both the Cardinals and the Cubs hired new pitching coaches.
Jim Hickey (formerly of the Rays) will lead the hurling program in Chicago and Mike Maddux (formerly of the Nationals) will do the same in St. Louis.
The stakes are high for both.
For Hickey, a rare opportunity slash challenge – a pitching coach that is probably under more pressure than the manager.
Pretty much everyone agrees that an above average Cubs staff could lead to multiple championships for the Cubs. No worries, right? Oh, and BTW, the scrutiny from the media and fans will be slightly more intense in Chicago than Tampa Bay.
For Maddux, a different challenge, but equally daunting – chase down a squad that just played your new team to a 14-5 record in 2017.
And barring a monster off-season? Well, you’re probably going to have do most of the heavy lifting with your staff. Good luck!
Both hires have been met with accolades from all corners of the baseball universe.
They are both respected coaches that have a history of delivering results and will be expected to deliver again… only this time, with one of the most celebrated rivalries in sport as the backdrop.
Time will reveal the results… but both teams seem to be gearing up for an aggressive off-season.
The Cardinals current staff as it stands 10/27/17:
- Manager: Michael Matheny
- Pitching Coach: Michael Maddux*
- Hitting Coach: John Mabry
- Asst. Hitting Coach: Bill Mueller
- Bench Coach: Mike Shildt*
- 1st Base Coach: Oliver Marmol
- 3rd Base Coach: Jose Oquendo*
- Bullpen Coach: Bryan Eversgerd*
- OF/Running Coach: Willie McGee*
* New to team/position in 2017
** Cardinals may (or may not) add another bench coach to the 2018 staff
Lastly, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention how weird life is sometimes.
On October 27th 2017, Mr. Mike Maddux is starting his first day as an employee of the St. Louis Cardinals.
On October 27th 2011, Mr. Maddux was pitching coach for the Texas Rangers. You may or may not remember what he was watching his pitcher (Mike Lowe) do that day.