CINCINNATI -- Fans, reporters and those with an affinity for hindsight aren't the only ones who second-guess managerial decisions.
Cardinals manager Mike Matheny does it, too. After each game, he reviews every juncture of the affair in which his input, or lack thereof, could have influenced the eventual outcome.
"I go through every play after the game, every decision, every non-decision," Matheny said, "and figure out, 'Was I prepared more?' and 'Did I go through everything? Did I miss anything along the way that could've helped me make a better decision?'
"It's really easy to say, 'That didn't work, so I should've done something else.' But if I go through the checkpoints and realize I covered the things that I was supposed to cover, then I know that that was the right decision, even if it didn't work out. So I take a lot of responsibility."
The second-year skipper said he learned a lot about decision-making during the Cardinals' recent seven-game losing streak.
"It's amazing when you're going through a rut like that," Matheny said. "Almost every decision you make, it comes down to that touch and feel and it seems to go the wrong way. When things are going right, you throw something out there and it just happens to work."
As a former catcher, Matheny used to have a hand in every pitch his team tossed, which could explain his meticulous managerial habits. Matheny is one of 12 current Major League managers to have played catcher during their professional career.
"There are many reasons why it seems advantageous for catchers in this managerial position," Matheny said. "You go pitch by pitch. You can second-guess 150 particular things that you did that night and every one of them can be very influential in how the game turned out.
"And you learn that if you keep wallowing in those decisions you made that didn't work, then you probably aren't going to get any better and you're not going to be very effective moving forward. So you learn from it, put it in the memory bank and you move on."