What Gives The Angels Their Edge? Manager Mike Scioscia
- Updated: June 2, 2010
The longest name in sports franchise history has suffered a large share of personnel misfortunes due to a variety of causes on and off the diamond, yet they are still consistently expected not only to contend, but to win the American League West. Why? Two words:
Owning two World Series rings as a player (1981 and 1988) and another as Halo manager (2002), it can be argued that he is the best skipper in a dugout today. He has always been a man of loyalty, giving it and deserving it. He has more to do with the look of The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in more aspects than any other field commander. After years of Dodger Blue, he removed any shade of that color from his new teams’ redesign. Front office decisions go through him. A players’ manager, he takes the blame for loses and credits his team for all accomplishments. This is a confidently centered man; a man players want to play for.
In recent years, they have been the one team that could tame the Titans of the East and of budgets–eliminating both Yankees and Red Sox in October. However this year, they lost in New York and rejuvenated the Fenway faithful falling to a four game sweep. But Playoff Baseball is four months away.
The tragic death of young phenom pitcher, Nick Adenhart early last season still echoes not only in the clubhouse, but the actual pitching progress of future rotations and call-ups. Dropping K-Rod to the Mets last year didn’t hurt as much as the absence of John Lackey gone to Boston as in 2010.
‘Big Daddy Vladdy,’ Vladimir Guerrero is now hitting well for division rival Rangers, but this Memorial Day weekend saw Scioscia’s team clean the clock of their own clean-up hitter, Kendry Morales as he pounced on home plate following his walk-off Grand Slam Saturday afternoon, May 29th. At this writing, the surgery for his broken leg must wait a week for the swelling to go down. It’s possible that he might see action before season’s end in September.
“It’s sickening to lose a player in the way that we lost Kendry,” Skipper Scioscia said. Roughly 24 hours later, the crowd in Anaheim saw the adjustment as Howard Kendrick crossed home plate after a walk-off three run blast. Teammates stayed out of his made plenty of room and hugged lightly with little bunny hops. Outfielder Torii Hunter was only half joking about a three jump maximum.
This years’ big acquisition, 2009 Yankee WS MVP Hideki Matsui has shown flashes in red, but hasn’t filled Brian Cashman with regret. He did homer Sunday in Morales’ vacated 4 hole, but isn’t guaranteed that place in the batting order.
Rumors swirl that former White Sox slugger, Jermaine Dye could finally find a job in Orange County. Farmhands are less likely. General Manager Tony Reagins did call up Scioscia’s pick Robb Quinlan Sunday, but called Mark Trumbo, a .275 hitter with 11 roundtrippers in only 47 games: “an option, but not our first option,” surmising that more time in Salt Lake will actually sweeten his swing.
The division itself is part of the Angels’ story. Seattle was poised in the spring to resurface, but dwells in the cellar. Billy Beane’s ‘Moneyball’ A’s surprise possibly everyone but Billy, leading the AL West and second place Texas by a half game. Still, Halo fans can take heart. This is a winnable division and despite all obstacles, they are still picked to win it.
I wouldn’t advise betting against Mike Scioscia.