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Leadership seminar popular with Cards' players

Dozens attend Matheny's special event featuring a guest speaker
MLB.com @LangoschMLB

JUPITER, Fla. -- The Cardinals invited well-known author and speaker John C. Maxwell to their complex on Tuesday to host a seminar on leadership. Dozens of players attended, something that both surprised and pleased manager Mike Matheny, who is hoping to see the team's leadership core evolve.

The organization held a similar session last season, though it was an invite-only affair, where Matheny selected players who he thought showed the qualities of a future leader. This year, he left the invitation open to all.

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JUPITER, Fla. -- The Cardinals invited well-known author and speaker John C. Maxwell to their complex on Tuesday to host a seminar on leadership. Dozens of players attended, something that both surprised and pleased manager Mike Matheny, who is hoping to see the team's leadership core evolve.

The organization held a similar session last season, though it was an invite-only affair, where Matheny selected players who he thought showed the qualities of a future leader. This year, he left the invitation open to all.

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"Last year I made the mistake of kind of singling out guys," Matheny acknowledged. "I was fortunate that a few of them said, 'I would have liked to be a part of that; I read his book.' Now, just like we've done all spring, it's opt-in on some of the work and development. Whether it's personal development or if you're thinking of yourself as a leader, I don't think we can understate the value of what that means.

"To watch the guys crowd that room, I mean we had guys out in the hallway. They were engaged, which was cool. They asked some really well thought-out questions, and it was just very special for our club to be able to experience that."

Matheny likes operating with a leadership core that can handle issues within the clubhouse and serve as a liaison between the staff and players. Last year, that core included Matt Holliday, Adam Wainwright, Yadier Molina and Matt Carpenter. With Holliday now in New York, the Cardinals are looking to fill a void.

Dexter Fowler is a likely candidate to slide in.

"He certainly has a voice," Matheny said of Fowler. "The influence is something that we look for, and Dexter can be a positive influence on this team."

After Tuesday's meeting, Matheny was not only encouraged by the interest, but by the impression it left on Maxwell.

"It's interesting because he sees something different with our team, too, just how engaged our guys are and the questions they're asking, their willingness," Matheny noted. "It's fun to challenge the guys."

Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Read her blog, follow her on Twitter, like her Facebook page and listen to her podcast.

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