ST. LOUIS — Oliver Marmol might be the most talked-about man in St. Louis.
After the abrupt firing of Cardinals manager Mike Shildt in October, Marmol became the next man up as the Cardinals made his promotion from bench coach official.
The Cardinals cited "philosophical differences" as the reason for firing Shildt. Marmol said he's looking forward to being a collaborator with the rest of the organization to take the franchise back to a championship level.
"It's more so building upon the success this organization has had. It really is. There's certain things that are going to take place with modernizing certain strategies and overall decision making, but it's that collaborative nature with the front office and our baseball development department," Marmol tol 5 On Your Side sports director Frank Cusumano on Sports Plus.
With the previous manager being let go due to differences with the front office and management, it's only natural to wonder how Marmol will approach those kinds of conversations.
"For me that's having enough trust to be able to have a conversation and disagree. In this industry, there's a lot of tough conversations that take place. There's tough conversations that take place with management, with staff, with players and it's a two-way street. And being able to disagree on something and figure out at the end of the day we're going to walk out of this room and do what's best for the St. Louis Cardinals, that to me is not personal. That's strictly part of the business," Marmol said. "So at the end of the day it's a matter of collaborating, having disagreements and having enough trust in the relationships and move on and figure out what's best for the club."
At just 35 years old, Marmol is the youngest manager in baseball. But his experience in the Cardinals' organization is expansive.
After being drafted by the team in the 2007 MLB Draft, Marmol spent a few years in the majors before he realized his true calling came as a coach.
"It was my last year (playing). The writing was on the wall. During spring training I remember sitting there and just having the feeling that I wanted to have more of an impact on the coaching side than I did the playing side," Marmol said. "I think halfway through that year sometime in June or July I was released and asked the organization if I could stay on as a coach. But I was just starting to get more passionate about instructing and coaching than I was playing."
But that doesn't mean he still can't prove his playing ability if he needs to. Just ask some of the Cardinals' pitchers.
"Miles Mikolas was rehabbing and he told me I couldn't get a hit off him. So I stepped in and ambushed him on the first pitch for a base hit up the middle," Marmol said.
Even though he's replacing Shildt, Marmol knows he can take a lot from his baseball mentor into the top job.
"I was around him (Shildt) for a long time. Going back to the draft he put his name on me as a player. And then soon after I stopped playing he invested a lot of time on me as a coach," Marmol said. "I was with him in the minor leagues and then as a bench coach in the big leagues, but when you talk about structure and overall attention to detail he's one of the best at that. So if you're asking me one of the things I'm taking from Mike Shildt that's definitely at the top of the list."
Marmol said he knows that being the manager of the Cardinals is a unique responsibility in the world of sports. He's ready for the challenge.
"When you talk about the St. Louis Cardinals, one of the best organizations in all of sports it's incredibly humbling and an absolute privilege. The way we do things here from the minor leagues up is second-to-none. And to be able to lead this staff and these players at this time... I'm extremely excited about it, Marmol said.