MLB Network will feature an in depth interview with the four big league managers and former members of Scioscia’s staff…It airs this Friday (1/27) at 6 PM Pacific. Set your DVRs!
A representative from the MLB Network contacted me today and provided me with a teaser of what's to be aired Friday at 6 PM Pacific time on the MLB Network. Check it out!
On coaching together
Bud Black: The broad base of knowledge is so immense here that on the pitching side, here I am in charge of the pitchers, and these guys all had opinions about the pitchers. … I learned so much from these guys about pitching.
Mike Scioscia: We challenged each other. … There’s no doubt that these three guys challenged me and I would challenge them, just with a conversation to make sure we were moving in the right direction. That’s how a guy like David Eckstein ends up playing shortstop for us. Alfredo Griffin was in the room and we were all looking at each other like, “You are kidding me.” Alfredo’s saying, “This kid can play shortstop.” I said, “What are you smoking? There’s no chance, Alfredo.” And he stood up, he said, “I’ll tell you guys right now, this guy can play shortstop,” and he was so adamant about it that we said, “We have to give this a shot.”
Ron Roenicke: We butted heads at times but even when we got mad which happened once in a while, we were such good friends and had such respect for each other that when we left that room, honestly there was no bad feelings at all.
Joe Maddon: Organizations miss that when they don’t have the ability to have that discussion, sometimes heated, and then be able to walk away as friends. Too many times in today’s world, people take it way too personally. It’s not a personal attack, you’re just trying to get this right, and I think we did that really, really well.
Scioscia on the 2002 World Series team: We talked about it afterwards, is that the team that’s going to spoil us. It happened in our third year and it was the first championship for the Angels. That was such a team in every aspect of the word. I played on the ’88 Dodgers and this even went deeper. These guys were just talented, we had every component that you could want, and the team kind of evolved as the season went on. It changed, it morphed from the bullpen to some of the things that happened with the rotation, to the lineup. I just think, if you talk about Game 6, we were actually down to eight outs. The first guy makes an out in the seventh inning, so we’re down to eight outs now and we end up scoring six runs within five outs and get a lead. [It’s] probably the most exciting game I’ve ever been a part of, outside of Kirk Gibson’s home run in ’88, and it rivaled what happened this year in the World Series. … That was a special group of guys.
Maddon on his least favorite part of being a manager: I don’t know if there’s a difficult part, they’re just different. I enjoy all the different components of what we do. Obviously it starts off with the planning during the day on a daily basis, whomever we’re playing. The first game of a series is always a little bit more vital. I would say that the part that takes you away from what you’d like to do best is maybe the media kind of stuff. At the end of the day though, quite frankly, I do enjoy the exchange with a lot of our guys, media-wise. Actually a lot of times they may point something out in conversation that you haven’t even thought about yet that can kind of push you in the right direction, too. So I do enjoy that, but that’d probably be the part that you least like to do during the course of the day. You want to do the rest of the stuff.
On what they love most about managing
Scioscia: I think it’s an outlet to still compete. I love it. It’s fun, there’s a definite comfort level I have with going into a clubhouse and bringing guys together and hopefully working towards a goal. I just think it’s still baseball.
Maddon: Everybody benefits when this thing turns out well, so I think you have this responsibility to try to drive it in that direction.
On whether managing players now is different than what it was when he was playing
Scioscia: Baseball is baseball and this game will humble anyone making $30 million a year or anybody making $10 a year, it doesn’t matter. If you’re playing this game, this game will refocus you and humble you if you’re not applying yourself. Obviously there’s a lot more zeroes after some of the salaries now, but I think that grassroots game is the same in the way you go in there and you want to teach and you want to set that environment so guys feel they can achieve.
Maddon: The social perspective is different with the Twitter accounts and whether you’re Facebooking or you see your guys sitting at their chairs in the locker room all on their iPads maybe playing Words With Friends across the room. So all that stuff is a little bit different but at the end of the day, the way I want the Rays to play, the way [Scioscia] wants the Angels to play, etc., is pretty much the same as it was 50, 60, 70 years ago. I think that’s where it’s the same, but there are differences too.
On what’s ahead for each in their careers as a manager
Roenicke: I hope that I have the choice that I can retire when I want to. When you start off managing, you’re just looking forward to hopefully getting the chance to do it for a few years. Mike’s certainly getting close to that area where he’s got so many years in that he can make decisions on what he wants to do and when he wants to finish up managing. I’m just starting out so I’m looking forward to getting those years. You look at La Russa this year and what he did and certainly 5,000 games, during the season I looked at it and I think about 5,000 games managing, that’s incredible.
Black: It’s a great challenge and I think we all thoroughly enjoy it. I’d like to do it as long as possible. When I look at [Tony La Russa, Joe Torre, Bobby Cox, Lou Piniella], there wasn’t a better day for me to look over and see Bobby or Tony or Lou or Joe. You felt that you were in a special place in a ballgame with those guys. I think we’re all lucky to be where we are and I don’t think any of us want to shut it down anytime soon.
Maddon: I want to do it as long as they’ll let me. You work very hard to get to this particular point and for me the word “retirement” is not a very desirable word. So, for me, I’d like to be able to do this as long as somebody will have me.
Scioscia: This game never gets out of your blood. I think all of us in some capacity are going to stay in this game until we still have a breath left. I’m 53, we’re all about the same age, and if we have a crystal ball, and you look 25 years in the future and you say, “What did I manage? Was I 70 when I stopped managing?” I can’t imagine that. I’m just going day to day but I don’t know if I’m going to have the staying power that Bobby Cox or Tony or Joe Torre [did]. These guys are approaching 70 and these guys were strong all the way through. I don’t know. I love it now. All I can say is I love it now, I love the challenge now, I’m not looking that far ahead. This game’s in our blood though, that’s for sure.