Photo credit: sbnation.com
By: Amaury Pi-González
OAKLAND, Calif. — Chances are very good that this week was the last time we will see Angels manager Mike Scioscia as manager with the Angels at the Oakland Coliseum. During their last home stand of the season and during the penultimate game at Angel Stadium on Saturday, September 29, the Angels will give everybody in attendance a Mike Scioscia bobblehead, a sellout of 45,000 is expected.
As a manager, Scioscia led the Angels to their only World Series championship on 2002 against the San Francisco Giants.
Scioscia is the all-time managerial leader in wins, games managed and division titles. He also was honored as the American League Manager of the Year Award in 2002 and 2009.
I have very good memories and experiences with Scioscia. Not only did I have the privilege of calling the 2002 World Series for the Giants, but during the past eight seasons, I traveled to Anaheim to do the Spanish play-by-play for the Angels at Fox Sports Network with my good friend José Mota, who does commentary. Mota is bilingual and as qualified as anybody I have ever met in baseball.Although this season the Spanish Fox Sports West production of the Angels ceased to exist due to a business decision by Disney, who acquired a ton of regional sports networks, including Fox Sports West. Anyhow, you can still see Mota during pre and post games for the English Fox Sports and sometimes on Angels’ radio and other MLB outlets.
There were many times where I have interviewed Scioscia in Spanish (Scioscia speaks conversational Spanish) for the Fox Sports’ Angels pregame in Anaheim. He was always available to talk baseball. A man that was in the Los Angeles area was always thought to be the perfect manager for the rival Dodgers, a team he played for 13 seasons from 1980-1992. He was arguably one of the best defensive catchers of any generation. To try to score on a close play at the plate against Scioscia was a tough thing to do, he was Fernando Valenzuela’s first and foremost catcher. Fernando has always told me great things on how Scioscia guided him when he was a Dodgers rookie. Preston Gómez, a great pioneer manager and lifetime baseball man, once told me: “Scioscia era el hombre que los Dodgers debían de haber firmando de manager.” Translation: “Sciosica was the man that the Dodgers should have signed as their manager.”
On March 29th when the Angels played the A’s at the home opener in Oakland, Scioscia told me this: “I really like my ballclub this year.” Unfortunately, injuries to his pitching staff, many Tommy John surgeries–all while the news broke that Japanese rookie sensation Shohei Othani, who could be the Rookie of the Year in the AL, was also told he had to submit to the surgery.
The Angels’ best player in the game is Mike Trout. Scioscia and Trout have the ultimate respect for each other. They are both huge fans of the Super Bowl champions Philadelphia Eagles. Trout was born and raised in southern New Jersey and Mike Scioscia hails from Pennsylvania. Obviously, Scioscia’s team was not the one that was going to chase the Houston Astros or even contend for a Wild Card spot.
Scioscia could write his own ticket. I do not know what he will choose to do after his managerial life, but whatever he does, he will be just as good as he has been as the Angels manager for the last 19 seasons–the longest tenured manager in the MLB. He could possibly take an advisory position and assistant to Angels owner Arturo “Arte” Moreno. I can easily see that.
Listen to A’s home games in Spanish on KIQI 1010AM/990AM in San Francisco/Oakland/San José/Sacramento/Stockton.