St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Tyler O’Neill was benched for Wednesday’s matchup against the Braves. Manager Oliver Marmol publicly blasted O’Neill for what he called lack of effort in the game prior.
The sixth-year player has now responded to the criticism, and he doesn’t seem to agree with his coach’s line of thinking.
During St. Louis’s Tuesday night outing against Atlanta, O’Neill was gunned down at home plate by Ronald Acuna. After reaching base, the left fielder attempted to score from second on a base knock by teammate Brendan Donovan.
While he should be considered one of the more mobile players on the roster, given his 29 steals in his last 37 attempts, O’Neill was thrown out with time to spare on the play. The ball was hit hard, but Cardinals coaches believed the play should’ve been closer than it was.
As you watch Tyler O’Neill round third base, you can understand why his manager may have thought he wasn’t giving 100%. He peers out at Acuna, seemingly more concerned about the throw than getting to the plate. In the end, he was out by at least two steps.
Tyler O’Neill has been benched today due to his lack of effort on this play
“There’s a standard… You don’t meet it, you don’t play.” -Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol told @JohnDenton555 pic.twitter.com/MnBfpQN0AJ
— Talkin’ Baseball (@TalkinBaseball_) April 5, 2023
Whether he was surprised about being sent home, or if Acuna’s throw was just that good, the result was an out and a run off the board for the Cardinals. After the game, Molmar had the following to say about O’Neill’s effort.
“That’s not our style of play as far as the effort, rounding the bag there. It’s unacceptable. … It’s been addressed already.”
The outfielder didn’t seem happy with the benching or the public criticism. Tyler O’Neill responded by saying, “These conversations could have been had in-house and not gotten out on the loose like they have. Should’ve been handled a little differently, in my opinion.”
Fans and media were quick to react on social media.
One person wrote, “This is either going to propel Tyler O’Neill to a monster season or it’s going to create a super awkward vibe in the Cardinals clubhouse. No in between.”
Someone else sided with O’Neill, saying, “I don’t blame him and I hope this turns players against Marmol. He’s out of control.”
It will be interesting to see how this affects the Cardinals moving forward.