ST. LOUIS — A year ago, as the bench coach for the St. Louis Cardinals, Oliver Marmol watched as his team was eliminated in a one-game Wild Card matchup in Los Angeles against the Dodgers.
Now, one year later, as he prepares for his first game as the St. Louis Cardinals manager, the 36-year-old Marmol says that the postseason journey he and his team are about to embark on “feels no different.”
The youngest manager to lead the Cardinals since Marty Marion in 1951, Marmol has plenty of history in St. Louis, spending the past five seasons as the team’s bench coach (three years) and first base coach (two years). However, things changed when Marmol inked a three-year deal before the season to take over as the team’s skipper.
St. Louis Cardinals manager Oli Marmol shrugs off any postseason pressure
Prior to Friday’s Wild Card opener against the Philadelphia Phillies at Busch Stadium, Marmol shrugged off the thought of any nerves or butterflies before his postseason managerial debut.
“I was just talking to someone in the office about it,” Marmol said about his first postseason game as manager. “I’m sure it’ll switch over here in a little bit. It feels no different than a regular season game at the moment.
“Even last night as I was going to bed, I thought I’d be kind of racing through different situations. But the reality is our staff feels really prepped. And at the moment it feels no different. So I’m sure at some point that’ll switch over, but not yet.”
But did it “switch over” last season when he was the bench coach in the postseason?
“I mean, a little bit at first pitch just because you’re waiting to see like what’s about to happen, but not a whole lot more than usual,” Marmol said. “And the reality is I feel like the last week or so just with everything going on here and the crowds, it’s been playoff baseball as far as just the overall environment and the excitement. So to this point, it feels pretty normal.”
Marmol and the Cardinals have experienced plenty of excitement at Busch Stadium as Albert Pujols has chased career home run number 700. There have also been plenty of emotions with Pujols and Yadier Molina entering their last season, and last postseason experience. Those moments could well pay dividends for the Cardinals this postseason as the electric atmosphere brought to the stadium by Cardinals fans continues this weekend at Busch Stadium.
Big games? Postseason jitters? For Marmol and Cardinals fans alike, after an emotional September, it could well feel like the same old thing this weekend in the Gateway City.