Tag: Cardinals

Mike Matheny was a speaker at Olin’s “Defining Moments: Lessons in Leadership and Character from the Top” course. 

“Leadership and high-level achievements go hand-in-hand,” began Mike Matheny during his presentation at Olin’s Defining Moments course in January. Mike is the manager of the St. Louis Cardinals, a role he’s held since 2012. Mike was a professional baseball player, playing as catcher for the Milwaukee Brewers, Toronto Blue Jays, St. Louis Cardinals, and the San Francisco Giants before hanging up his gloves in 2006. After his stint as a professional catcher, he became involved in youth sports, coaching Little League, publishing a book on youth sports, as well as starting a non-profit, the Catch Twenty-Two Foundation, before following the infamous Tony La Russa in becoming the Cardinal’s manager. Mike has won numerous awards and accolades, both as a player and as a coach. He is a four-time winner of the Gold Glove award as well as the youngest and most winning manager in recent history.

Mike Matheny is a high-performer, having achieved the pinnacle of baseball by playing in the Major Leagues. It’s not his position, but his performance that Mike says makes him to be a leader—and he believes that high performers are leaders because others want to follow them. Mike shared with us five attributes that separate the highest performers from the rest. He believes that living a lifestyle of learning, having the discipline and focus to do the right thing, being inherently tough with grit, having positive energy, and selflessness are the hallmarks of high-performing leaders. Matheny goes further to say that showing up with energy and enthusiasm are non-negotiable for any leader, quoting his mentor, Willie McGee: “Some people light up a room when they enter, some when they leave.”

Guest blogger: Tony Nuber is a 2017 MBA Candidate in the Full-time MBA Program at Olin Business School. 

St. Louis is an underrated city. There are great activities going on, competitive sports teams, unique food, and brilliant people. Being so immersed at WashU, it’s easy to forget that there is more than just the campus. After finishing up freshman year and having the opportunity myself to get off campus frequently, it’s something I would highly recommend for five key reasons:

1. You can get involved in the St. Louis business community

Last semester, twice a week, I took the metrolink to TopOPPS, a St. Louis pipeline management and predictive forecasting startup, where I was an Operational Marketing intern. I have also gotten the chance to tour St. Louis incubators T-REX and TechArtista.

Courtesy of downtowntrex.com

T-REX working spaces, courtesy of downtowntrex.com

You don’t have to be interested in entrepreneurship for this to be applicable to you. Interning with a startup can be an incredible opportunity for anybody (that can sometimes even be paid!). At a small company there is a large opportunity to make a difference and get great hands-on skills. It isn’t likely that you could go work for a company with 1,000 employees and have the freedom to get started on a new idea right away, or to work hand in hand with the head of marketing (although if you wanted to go work for a bigger company in St. Louis, I bet you could find success there, too). By working with TopOPPS I learned a tremendous amount about sales and marketing, and the culmination of my time with TopOPPS and within the St. Louis entrepreneurial community has introduced me to some great people over the past year who have taught me a lot, helped me expand my network, and improved my depth of understanding of the St. Louis entrepreneurial and business community.

2. The food in St. Louis is great

Don’t get me wrong, I love what we have to eat on campus. But day after day and year after year, sometimes it can get tiring. Plus, St. Louis was ranked in the top 15 for food by NerdWallet last summer.

The Delmar Loop. WashU photo.

The Delmar Loop. WashU photo.

It’s about the same cost to go out to eat as eating on campus (your 6.50 meal point stir fry is the equivalent of $9.02 if you’re on the silver plan), and it can be as quick as you want–the Delmar Loop, with a wealth of eclectic and traditional dining options, is a short walk away. Some of the best moments I had last semester were going off campus to eat–not only for the great food, but also for the meaningful time spent with whoever I went with.

3. There are great activities going on in St. Louis

First there are sports. Cardinals games are a blast, and the Blues just had one of their most successful seasons ever (RIP Rams). WashU is constantly giving tickets away and there are always deals to get them cheap. Second are the touristy activities, like the Arch, City Museum, and Zoo–all staples of St. Louis. Third are the events in the city. With the second biggest Mardi Gras in the country, great local microbreweries, and streets full of food trucks, there are new things to do all of the time.

Fair St. Louis crowd on Art Hill at Bonnie Raitt concert July 4.

Fair St. Louis crowd on Art Hill at Bonnie Raitt concert July 4.

4. Get a break from the WashU bubble

During the school year most of us spend so much time in the same few places (which, if you’re in Olin, is probably a lot of Simon and Bauer). It’s easy to get tired of the same routine. Getting off of campus not only provides a new and exciting way to spend a day and experience new things, but it also helps get your mind off of your homework and tests. And, you never know what you could learn from meeting others in St. Louis who don’t go to WashU.

5. It’s easy

We get free U-passes, a lot of us have (or have friends with) cars, and the Delmar Loop is a 15-minute walk from campus. Some Olin students might say, “But I don’t have time to get off campus.” And for almost everyone, I am going to call your bluff. Last semester, despite pledging a fraternity and working on my baseball blog, I was able to devote 8 hours a week to my internship plus the occasional Cardinals game or off-campus dinner. Most of us have no class Friday, and sleep incessant amounts over our three-day weekends. It’d be easy to pick one of those days each weekend to wake up early and go explore the city with friends. You’ll create memorable experiences, get out of the WashU bubble, and take advantage of the city that will be your home for four great years. When the year starts up, things will get crazy and it might seem tough to find time, but by making a commitment now that you will get off of campus more, and by prioritizing it when you get back, you’ll surely be able to do so.

Cardsblog logo

Let’s start from the beginning.

A few weeks before coming to WashU, I noticed a post on the “Class of 2019” Facebook page by a recent graduate, Michael Fisch. He was looking to pass off a Cardinals baseball blog, Cardsblog, which he had co-founded with fellow grad Steven Hirsch while at WashU. I’ve always been big into sports and loved the Cardinals, so naturally I reached out.

After lots of back and forth and working through the details, in November, myself and Sam Pointer, another Olin freshman, acquired the blog. At the time, Cardsblog had a great domain name, a website built out with almost 1,000 articles, a program set up with Washington University that allowed students to earn credit for contributing to the site, and a list of contacts accumulated by Steven and Mike.

The issues: new content had not been posted in almost a year, the site’s appearance wasn’t up to our standards, and spring training was right around the corner.

So we got to work. Sam and I found three great writers to bring on board, redesigned the entire site, and, with the help of the team, became active on Twitter to hype up our March 1st relaunch.

The launch was a success, and throughout March we focused on drawing people to the site, growing on social media, and continuously posting good content (at a rate of two new articles per day).

Cardsblog announces a content partnership with KSDK on their website.

Cardsblog announces a content relationship with KSDK on their website.

Toward the end of March I reached out to a variety of St. Louis news stations with our story, and caught the attention of the Digital Executive Producer at KSDK Channel 5, a St. Louis NBC affiliate. After checking out our site and content, the producer, Jordan Palmer, graciously asked if we wanted to form a content relationship with KSDK, to which of course we said yes.

Currently KSDK puts our articles up on their website and gives us credit for the writing, and we are in the process of continuing to build our relationship to benefit both sides.

So there’s all the good stuff. But there must have been some bumps in the road too right?

Absolutely. The bumps and lessons we learned are why we aren’t getting as much traffic to the site as we had been hoping, but also why we’re excited for the future of Cardsblog, because we know there’s so much we can build off of. Here’s what we learned:

1. Content is key

It doesn’t matter how good the site looks or how many people you can draw to it if what they are coming for (which in our case is to read articles) isn’t up to par. We have (especially recently), been making a very conscious effort to put up interesting, thought-provoking, and unique content for our readers.

2. You only get one launch day

There has to be a balance when launching a new product. On one end, you can’t wait for the perfect product because, A). nobody knows what “perfect” means, and B). The start date will keep getting pushed back. But on the other end, the quality is crucial because a launch will generate more hype for a company than at almost any other moment (we hit almost 1,000 page views on the site on our first day).

So setting a date to launch and sticking to that date is key, but it’s also important to do everything possible to have the best product by launch (and that part, I believe we could have done a better job at). When we launched, the site looked good and content wasn’t bad, but the site was moving slowly and we had no incentives in place to make people want to come back. We later realized the speed was a minor fix, and we are in the process of putting together an incentive and referral program to keep people coming to Cardsblog—two things we definitely could have had done by launch that would have made a large difference.

3. Social media can be your best friend 

Since mid-February we have gone from 150 Twitter followers to 788, and since launch 44% of our site views were referred via social media. Connecting with people through platforms like Twitter and Facebook can be a huge benefit, especially given that we are focused on connecting with younger audiences who aren’t as easily engaged in baseball these days.

4. You can treat anything like a business 

We run Cardsblog like a business, and because of that, it has made the experience that much more fun, serious, and educational. Sam, our original team of writers—consisting of WashU freshman Issa Cook, Perry Gordon, and Eddie Liu— and I all have official roles for the blog. Sam is Director of Outreach, Issa is Editor-in-Chief (as well as a co-owner of the blog), Perry is Director of Programming, Eddie is Director of Communication, and I am Director of Technology and Strategy. The point is we each have concrete tasks that we are expected to complete on a day-to-day basis, improving operations, allowing for more innovation, and creating a professional atmosphere that incentivizes effort and quality work. In running Cardsblog in a professional manner, and being one of the co-owners, I (as well as Sam and Issa) have learned a lot about what it takes to run a business (which I’d be happy to discuss further if you reach out).

Moving forward:

As we reach the end of month #3, we couldn’t be happier with the progress made thus far. We have added four more great writers (Jack Stephens, Matt Heiken, Tyler Brandt, and Adam Kaufman), we attended the 2016 Cardinals Blogger Day, content is improving everyday, site speed is up to par, and we’re in the process of putting together new ideas and initiatives that we hope will drive more traffic to the site on a consistent basis. Some of these ideas include a referral program, guest contributors, and getting more involved with charity organizations and local restaurants and bars in the St. Louis community.

It’s been a great learning experience thus far, and myself, along with Sam, Issa, and the rest of the team are very excited to continue working to make Cardsblog the #1 baseball blog in St. Louis.

If you have any ideas, thoughts or suggestions, or just want to chat, feel free to reach out! You can find our website here.

Thanks for reading!

Before the September 24th Cardinals game against the Milwaukee Brewers, fifteen members of the Olin Sports Management Organization (OSMO) had the unique opportunity to hear from several members of the St. Louis Cardinals baseball operations team, including Mandy Marino, Supervisor, Ticket Development.  It was another great outing for the OSMO group as the Cardinals won the game 7-3 behind pitcher Michael Wacha. Go Cards!

The Associated Press reports that the St. Louis Cardinals have signed a deal with Fox Midwest Sports to broadcast the team’s games through 2032. Financial terms of the 15-year agreement were not released.

Patrick Rishe, director of the Sports Business program at Olin, told the AP, “Baseball is not America’s pastime anymore, it’s football. But it’s still a very valuable sports property, especially in the summertime, when there’s very little competition for the consumer’s attention.”