Monday, November 5, 2012

Interview Conducted by Chuck Richter - Executive Editor

As most of you who have followed us over the years know, we had a really strong connection with now former scouting director of the Angels, Eddie Bane. Eddie has since moved on to the Tigers as a pro scout & recently took a job with the Boston Red Sox as an assistant to GM Ben Cherington.

This past weekend I asked some questions to Eddie about some of his former draft selections such as Jered Weaver, Mark Trumbo, Mike Trout and the MVP & Gold Glove snub, along with what went on with him and former Angels GM Tony Reagins. All of that and so much more, so let's get on with it...


Q: - Eddie, so great to be back in touch with you. Angels fans at and Angels fans on the net have really missed the Bane Connection feature we ran monthly during the season.

To kick this off, how was your time in Detroit the past couple years?

A: Eddie Bane - Hey Angels fans.  Hope you are all well and have been safe and blessed over the past couple years. I certainly have been. My time in Detroit was outstanding and it was difficult to leave the Tigers for Boston.  David Dombrowski, Jim Leyland, Scott Reid and David Chadd lead a great group of baseball people and the proof is in the product on the field.

Q: - Tell us about your new job with the Boston Red Sox.

A: Eddie Bane - I am going to be helping the Red Sox GM, Ben Cherington, one of the sharpest people in baseball, in every department.  That means I will be able to get in the hair of everybody and drive them all nuts.  I can do that.  I will be in Boston one day, at an amateur game the next and then off to Korea to see a game.  Lots of interesting stuff is in the future for me.

Q: - As Angels fans, we give you praise for scouting and signing three of the Angels All-Stars this past season in Weaver, Trumbo and Trout. How proud were you to see them in Kansas City along with Paul Konerko who you also scouted and signed as a member of the Dodgers organization?

A: Eddie Bane - I wanted to get all four players on the AL All Stars picture together, but did not get that done.  Konerko is the best person I have ever met in baseball and he is old school and probably would not like a picture taken with a pitcher. That's old school. That was a really proud moment and I am sure the other scouts I run into are really tired of me mentioning that whenever I am around.

Q: - Just looking back this past season of some of the guys you've signed, there were notable performances.

Weaver's no hitter and CY Young effort. Morales incredible comeback. Mike Trout's MVP type season as a rookie. Mark Trumbo's all-star selection and show he put on during the Home Run Derby. Oh and Mike Trout's catches. What stands out to you the most?

A: Eddie Bane - Great year in all aspects, but also getting a chance to be a part of watching Verlander a lot and also being amazed at just how good Miguel Cabrera is when you see him on a regular basis. Morales playing defense really well was a highlight. I grinded on Weaver's no hitter just like his parents were (who I really like from meeting at Angels games).  

Trumbo getting his coming out party in Kansas City after everyone woke up to the true power hitter he is.  Long time readers will remember I always pounded the table for Mark as did his agent Joel Wolfe and his family in Villa Park. Trout was ridiculous. Everyday he did something that was off the charts to win a game. The Trout foam rubber heads were different. The catch in Baltimore was not of this world, but watching Mike hit a triple is the most fun thing I think. That head first slide and then the joy of playing baseball that shows on his face is priceless. I had more than one person tell me that the 2009 Angels draft was the best draft they had ever seen. We had a lot of picks in 2009, but we also hit on quite a few that year and still more are going to come out of that draft.

Q: - The Angels top prospect right now is Kaleb Cowart, your last top signing as a member of the Angels organization. Cowart is easily a top 50 prospect in all of Baseball right now, however some prospect publications questioned your 1st round supplemental selections of Chevez Clarke and Ryan Boldin in that same draft, both of whom have struggled to get past Low-A Ball. As Scouting Director of your last draft with the Angels, were you asked to go after toolsy high risk/high reward players like Boldin and Clarke or were they your selections who you thought you'd roll the dice on, hoping their athleticism would translate to success on the field?

A: Eddie Bane - Kaleb Cowart and Taylor Lindsey are two premier hitting prospects that are coming fast for the Angels. Both are pluses across the board and not far away. Chevy Clarke is still a guy. We have to remember that Mark Trumbo took two years at Cedar Rapids (Low-A) before getting on the train. Ryan Boldin was my biggest regret. I had other guys I was considering, but I selected Boldin. He could wake up tomorrow and decide he wants to put every single ounce of effort into being a major leaguer, but so far he has not. Cam Bedrosian will follow his father into the big leagues and have a long successful career. It's just taking a different path for Cameron because of the TJ surgery. I was never asked by anyone with the Angels to take a certain player or certain type player. I think they knew that we (me and our staff) were really good at what we did and they were smart enough to let us do our job.

Q: - Do you still keep in touch with former Angels players/prospects/personnel you've scouted and worked with since you've left the organization?

A: Eddie Bane - Kathy Mair, the assistant baseball player person in the office is one of the top 2 or 3 people I have ever met in my life in baseball or out of baseball. She is incredible in the job she does in baseball and we still keep in touch.  Ric Wilson and Jeff Malinoff are two of my best friends in the entire world and they continue to do a nice job for the Angels. All the scouts with the Angels, (with only a few exceptions) have kept in close touch and text or call even when they are not looking for a job (laughter). One of the neat things about the players I helped sign is that they still call or text. That is really classy of them.

Q: - We were all bummed to see your contract not renewed a couple years back, as I'm sure you were after so many successful drafts. Many of us have read or heard rumors about a struggle between you and former Angels GM Tony Reagins which possibly led to your contract not being renewed. In your own words, what can you tell us about that in an effort to clear the air about what's truth or fiction.

A: Eddie Bane - Tony and I did not like each other. I was told my contract was not being renewed.  I asked why and he said he did not like the past couple of drafts (I assume he meant the '08, '09 and 2010 drafts). I said nothing and simply walked out of the room. A couple of days later I came to the ballpark and cleaned out my office. I was not very happy at the time because I loved my job and the Angels, so it was best if I just stayed away. But, I never wanted to pretend that Tony and I were buddies. We were not and there was a lot of tension in the office at that time.

Q: - Your ex Florida scout while director of scouting for the Angels Tom Kotchman just resigned out of nowhere, leaving many of us Angels fans with that what the fill in the blank look. What happened with coach Tom Kotchman?

A: Eddie Bane -That is probably best left to Tom, but what I do know is that I feel that Tom Kotchman and Bart Braun are the two best area scouts I have ever been around. Tom is also, in my mind, the perfect manager for players early in their professional baseball career. Incredible teacher and incredible area scout.

Q: -  I know you're just getting started with the Boston Red Sox, but how different were all the organizations you've worked for this past decade? What were some of you're finest and not so finest moments with the clubs you've worked for as a scout and director of scouting?

A: Eddie Bane - Guys, I have had a God Blessed ride in professional baseball. Watching some of the drafts make it to the big leagues is an unbelievable rush. People do not understand how many nights the area scout grinds on the computer to see how his "Little Joey" from the 18th round did that night in Cedar Rapids.  But, my personal top and bottom moments happened in two consecutive days. In 2004 a pitcher in the NE was a top 5 pick. In the middle of the scouting season he got injured and was going to have Tommy John surgery. I think most teams took him off the board. We drafted him in the mid-teens as a precautionary pick to see what happened knowing that he was not going to be able to pitch. We went into the house and presented an outside the box offer to the young man. We told him about Dr Yocum, the Angels rehab facility, his college payment and why the Angels were the best place to do his rehab. He accepted our offer and the industry generally laughed at the signing. He rehabbed from a high school pitcher to two years later pitching in the major leagues. While he still would have been in college he pitched in the major leagues. In the middle of April he started a major league game and dominated at the major league level. He had arrived and everyone from his teammates, to his family, all of us in the Angels minor leagues and scouting were thrilled that this young man had made the jump from high school pitcher to a starting pitcher in the major leagues. The next morning while driving from Baton Rogue to Houston I got a phone call telling me that Nick Adenhart had been killed in a tragic automobile accident. Top of the mountain to a bottomless pit in a 12 hour period.  That was just an awful day and a tragic end to a great young man's life.

Q: - Kole Calhoun was one of your draftees out of Arizona State. Do you believe Calhoun is a future major league starter in the outfield, or a solid 4th outfielder? What are some other ball players you've drafted and signed while with the Angels that we should keep an eye on as Angels fans?

A: Eddie Bane -That is really an Angels question that kind of gets into what I am doing with Boston now so I have to keep that just in my mind. Kole has made a rapid jump from the 2010 draft to now. Where Kole ends up is in Kole's hands. Angels have an incredibly tough of to crack but Kole will never lack in effort.  He is a true Sun Devil. Keep watching because that ASU football team is going to be really good in a couple years. Go Sun Devils!

Cowart, Lindsey, Tillman, Grichuk and others will show on the boards before too long. Travis Witherspoon may pop. Couple of Willie's (Ric Wilson) drafts look like keepers also. Willie and Jeff Malinoff are outstanding scouts. If given the chances I had they will put in more strong crops of players. The Angels have a lot of homegrown talent on the field right now. Unfortunately some of it got traded -- Jerry did a great job in taking Skaggs and Corbin -- and they're performing for other teams. Miguel Gonzalez with the Orioles, Will Smith with the Royals and others are in the big leagues with other teams.

Q: - For our Baseball enthusiasts & Tigers fans out there, give us a few names of young ball players you've drafted and signed the past couple years that we should be seeing in Detroit soon.

A: Eddie Bane - Chuck  I got to see a ton of big league games so now I have a pretty good idea of what it takes and why a major league player is so special. All the guys that make it to the big leagues should be proud of the accomplishment. I had nothing to do with the Tigers draft but Drew Smyly is a major league lefty and Nick Castellanos is the Tigers answer to Kaleb Cowart. Both knockout prospects at 3rd.

Q: - OK, non-Baseball related question. How the heck is Eddie Bane the person doing? How's the family? What does Eddie Bane do these days when you're not busy with work?

A: Eddie Bane - I am totally blessed.  I have four great kids.  Jaymie, Kacey, Corey and Veronica and they are all four really neat individual kids that love each and even their dad. Also four grand kids. Carter, Keirlyn, Bennett and Isabelle. I like to play golf, but only when nothing is going on in baseball. Our job, if done correctly takes up quite a bit of time. Only negative this year was that we lost the greatest dog that God ever put on this earth, Sven Bane. I never knew how much I loved that dog until he passed and I cried like a little baby for days after Sven was gone. But, as that movie says, "All Dogs Go to Heaven" and now they have a leader in Sven.

Q: - Lastly, did Mike Trout deserve to win the Gold Glove & would you pick him over Triple-Crown winner Miguel Cabrera for AL MVP?

A: Eddie Bane - Yes, Mike should have won the Gold Glove in center. Not close. The only one that could possibly take it away is on the Angels bench, Peter Bourjos. Triple Crown and a 20 year old battling for MVP. That's good enough for me.  Mike tied or broke records this year held by Rogers Hornsby, Ty Cobb and others. That's ridiculous. Cabbie did what Yaz did a long time ago. Give out two MVP's. Give one of them the NL MVP. They had the two best years in baseball. 

--I hope people understand that the NL comment is a joke--

Thank you very much Angel fans for letting me spend some time with you guys. Best of luck in the off season. Jerry Dipoto is a good man and really knows the game. Obviously, your manager is at the top of the game and Ric Wilson has already given the fans Maronde and has CJ Cron on pace. Keep up the faith and next year 3 of the 4 playoff teams will be Boston, Detroit and the Angels. 

God Bless and safe travels. Fans: If you have other questions that you might like me to answer I am sure Chuck will find a way to track me down and ask.  I will do my best to give my honest answer to any of those questions.  Thanks again.
Love to hear what you think!

Listen to "A Fish Like This" Tribute song to Mike Trout's Greatness

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