(BaseballStL) — The word ‘expectations’ might have been uttered more than 1000 times between Sunday’s workout and Monday’s opening game in Cincinnati.
Media members asked about expectations, players said they don’t focus on them and Mike Matheny said the club makes their own and ignore the rest. Rinse and repeat for 24 hours. With the Cardinals making an unlikely run at the World Series in 2013, being picked to win their division in 2014, and being the odds-on favorite to win the National League, those much-discussed expectations seem to be everywhere.
If you ask John Mozeliak, however, it’s business as usual.
“Frankly I don’t think it’s that much different from any other year,” he said. “Our core’s intact. Our young players certainly defined themselves last year, so expectations should be high.”
Mozeliak has been the toast of St. Louis and the talk of baseball analysts nationwide for his impressive personnel management the past few years.
While focusing on player development, the Cardinal GM has made a series of savvy trades that not only made the Cardinals a perennial contender with an enviable budget, but a well-fortified organization all the way down to single A ball.
He’s responsible for those expectations being so high. Now, perhaps the most highly-touted roster ever in Mozeliak’s tenure is making a NL title defense run. It’s a roster several years, a couple trades and dozens of draft picks in the making, and one the GM said seems special.
“I think it’s the most unique roster in the sense that it has that balance between our pillars- the Molinas the Hollidays the Wainwrights- and just this infusion of young talent that we got to see a little bit of last October,” he said. “One that together, it certainly feels right that it should be successful.”
That certainly sounds like an expectation, but I guess Mozeliak is allowed to have those. He’s supposed to be thinking long term. The day-to-day focus falls to Mike Matheny.
“As a manager his job is to keep these guys on task. It is about today, try not to think too much ahead of yourself,” Mozeliak said. “Understand you have to take it day by day in this business. The moment you start thinking about where this might end up you start losing focus.”
Unless you’re John Mozeliak. It seems like then you don’t have to think about it, because you already know.