This CBSsports.com article on Mike Scioscia, linked here the other day, is well worth a read-the-whole-thing. Like the best Scioscia profiles, this one made a couple of points that are always worth repeating:
1) Scioscia didn't just change a few emphases and a few players, he changed an entire organizational culture.
The Angels discovered that early on, shortly after hiring Scioscia. The club was preparing a letter that was headed out to prospective season-ticketholders before the 2000 season. In that letter, something was written about the Angels' plans to "compete."
"I remember him saying, 'Tim, I understand what's going on, but 'compete' isn't the word to use. 'Contend' is,'" Mead says. "He wasn't being critical at all. But he differentiated between the two words: In 'compete,' there's a little bit of hope. 'Contend' is an expectation.
"Even though, in 2002, he was the manager of the year and we won the World Series, in my mind 2000 was still his greatest year of managing because he had to turn the direction of an organization."
2) Far from being a straight Tommy Lasorda disciple, Scioscia is the sum of many, many different influences, largely composed of Alston-era Dodger personnel and Walter Alston himself.
Scioscia learned from guys like Maury Wills, Lou Johnson and Jim LeFebvre while maturing in the Dodgers' organization. Donald LeJohn, his Double-A manager in 1978 at San Antonio. His big league manager, Tommy Lasorda. And a couple of other managers with whom he's spent time, the late Walter Alston and Sparky Anderson, who lives not far from Scioscia in Westlake Village, Calif. Behind the plate, he learned from guys like Del Crandell, Johnny Roseboro and Roy Campanella.
"I think you take little pieces from everybody," Scioscia says.
3) He is even-keeled, and definitely not super-intimate with his players on a day-to-day basis.
As outfielder Torii Hunter says, "You can't read him sometimes. You don't know if he's happy, or if he's upset."