How to spend a spring training off-day? Cardinals manager Mike Shildt is getting married

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Mike Shildt’s calendar is just a little bit busy these days.

On Thursday, his Cardinals played a split-squad doubleheader, at home in Jupiter against the Mets and on the road in West Palm Beach against the Nationals. On Friday, the Cardinals are off. Their manager is, well, not. Or should we say “knot” instead? 

Yep, Shildt is getting married Friday, smack-dab in the middle of a pretty busy spring training schedule. He wouldn’t have it any other way.

“No question about it,” he said with a laugh while sitting in the visiting skipper’s office a little after 9 p.m. local time. “All-day baseball today, get to enjoy a beautiful wedding tomorrow and crank it back up on Saturday.”

​MORE: MLB spring training 2020: schedule, TV channels, live online streams

Shildt didn’t make it through the entire nightcap. Family and friends in town for the wedding — and his fiancee, Michelle Segrave — had a suite at the ballpark for Thursday night’s contest, and they beckoned. 

“I got through five,” Shildt said with a smile, “and then (my coaches) said, ‘You know what? We don’t need you here anymore.'”

So, with team president John Mozeliak’s pregame blessing — he actually tried to get Shildt to take off Saturday for a one-day honeymoon, but the manager politely declined — Shildt slipped up to the suite to join the celebration for the last couple of innings. 

His exit from the dugout coincided with starter Carlos Martinez’s exit from the mound after five brilliant shutout innings. Martinez, who entered spring training trying to reclaim a spot in the rotation, was only supposed to pitch four innings against the Nationals, but he was only at 41 pitches through four, so he went back out for the fifth. The reigning World Series champions didn’t score on him in that frame, either. 

Even though Shildt was in the suite, his attention stayed on the field. 

“I didn’t really miss a pitch,” he admitted. “I got accused of not enjoying the evening, but these are still my guys. Guys that I want to see, who I enjoy watching.”

Shildt’s plan is to be back, watching the game from his normal vantage point Saturday, when the Cardinals take on the Astros. It’ll be nice to see the guys again, after a day away.

“These guys know I love them, but one of the ways you show love is not to feel like they’ve got to, on their day off, go to their manager’s wedding,” Shildt told The Associated Press. “That was my gift to them.”

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