Acknowledging that his job had been on the line since last season, fired St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Matheny still expressed thanks to his now-former team.
"I've got nothing but gratitude," Matheny told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on Sunday, "and this goes way back. I got two new lives with this organization, first when [manager] Tony La Russa and [pitching coach] Dave Duncan and [general manager] Walt Jocketty gave me a chance to have a second life as a player to play in a place I already called home."
Matheny, who was dismissed Saturday in his seventh season with the club, told the newspaper that discussions about his future began in 2017, as the Cardinals missed the playoffs for the second straight season after reaching the postseason in each of Matheny's first four years as manager.
"This has been in conversation for quite a while," he said. "We had conversations even last season that if we didn't improve the way we went about it, this would be inevitable."
He also said he "shoulders the blame" for St. Louis' 48-46 record entering the All-Star break, leaving the Cardinals in third place in the National League Central and four games out of the second wild card.
Matheny, who also played five seasons for the Cardinals as a catcher, said he holds no ill will and hopes to find another managerial job.
"I saw how good this organization has been to me, regardless of that last game or anything between that and the first day," Matheny told the Post-Dispatch. "This was very special to me and something life-changing."