Fall 2021 SS Magazine

Putting his faith first, Mike Matheny hired as K.C. Royals manager

Mike Matheny is back managing a Major League Baseball team after one year as a special adviser for the Kansas City Royals. The Royals announced Matheny as the 17th manager in franchise history on Thursday, filling the vacancy created by the retirement of Ned Yost.

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After a 13-year MLB career, Matheny retired prior to the 2007 season. He was named the Cardinals manager in November 2011 and led the team to a 591-474 record in his six-plus seasons at the helm. The Cardinals made the playoffs in each of Matheny’s first four seasons, reaching the World Series in 2013, where they were defeated by the Boston Red Sox in six games. St. Louis parted ways with Matheny on July 14, 2018, following a 47-46 start.

Matheny’s managerial approach starts being unashamed about his faith.

“First, my faith has been clear and open,” he said in an interview with The Gospel Coalition. “Every year at spring training I explain to my guys I stand for certain things as a follower of Christ. But you’re never going to hear me preach this at you or hold you to any sort of moral obligations that I try to hold for myself. That opens a door so when they ask me a question, they know the foundation of the majority of my answers. It opens some great opportunities.”

Matheny accepted Christ as a child and has been walking with Him ever since.

“I was fortunate in that I was raised in a strong Christian home where my parents surrounded us with great examples of what it should look like to live out the Christian life,” he told Sports Spectrum in 2015. “And, like a lot of kids, I found myself almost religious at a young age. But then I got really convicted at one point, and I will never forget that day. It was a revival at an independent Baptist church and we had a guest preacher who came in and started pounding on his Bible and he really called us all out, even the people who had been there a long time and who were there twice every Sunday and on Wednesday night. And he called us out to who we were in our own faith and who Christ was to us.”

For Matheny, everything starts with having a healthy fear of God.

“I believe that the fear of God is the beginning of all understanding and that’s a love-based fear,” he said. “I know that His eyes are always on me, and I don’t want to disappoint anyone. I want to be the husband and father that God wants me to be, plus I want to be the manager that my players need me to be.”

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