Young managers Matheny, Counsell face off

44-year-old skippers oppose each other for first time

Young managers Matheny, Counsell face off

ST. LOUIS -- The Cardinals received a visit from first-year Commissioner Rob Manfred on Monday before opening a series with the Brewers at Busch Stadium, but he did not offer any batting tips like former commissioner Bud Selig once did for St. Louis manager Mike Matheny.

While talking about first-year Brewers manager Craig Counsell and the unique batting style Counsell employed as a Major League player from 1995-2011, Matheny shared an anecdote from his playing his days, which spanned 1994-2006.

"Bud Selig told me one time, sent a message down through the batboy, that my hands were too low," Matheny said. "So I fixed it."

Matheny said that he imitated Counsell's hand placement, "the real high one," to compensate.

"It didn't work, either," he said.

As for the note from Selig, Matheny said he's never heard of a player receiving a similar note from the commissioner before or since.

"I think he denies it, too," Matheny said.

Though Matheny and Counsell, both 44 years old, met numerous times as players, this week's series between the Cardinals and Brewers is their first meeting as opposing managers, and they greeted each other before Milwaukee's 1-0 series-opening win on Monday.

"I talked to him and just congratulated him on the opportunity," Matheny said. "He's one of the guys that is well-respected in the game."

Counsell remembered Matheny the catcher as one of the most difficult to bat against. He sees Matheny the manager as someone he respects for how he carries himself.

"If it was a possibility for me [to manage], he was the person that you kind of watched," Counsell said, "just to see how he handled situations and challenges and things like that."

David Cobb is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.