We saw a clash of old school and new school yesterday. Today, we will see a battle of even further extremes.
Yesterday, in a match featuring Alfredo Griffin (Mike Scioscia's last remaining original coach) and Tim Bogar (a widely suspected heir apparent), the new school came out on top--largely so. By a vote of 72-36 (67% to 33%), Bogar (or Humphrey, or Casablanca or whatever Bogey pun you want to nickname him) advances to the quarterfinals, where he awaits the winner of today's match.
One has not a single shred of major league baseball experience. None as a player, coach or manager. His furthest baseball experience lies at the collegiate level. The other has a laundry list of major league experience--ten seasons as a player, and almost twenty more as a manager. Which is better suited to our team? Let's find out!
GEORGE HORTON (NCAA) vs. BRUCE BOCHY (SFG)
George Horton has never played a baseball game above the collegiate level. Nor has he coached one above the collegiate level. However, his collegiate managerial career is nothing short of legendary. He played for Cerritos College and CSU Fullerton in his glory days, but after going undrafted, he almost immediately went into coaching. First as an assistant, he coached for Cerritos starting in 1976 and for Los Angeles Valley College in 1978, until 1980 when he went back to his home ground at Cerritos as an assistant for 6 more seasons. From 1985 to 1990 he was the head coach for the Cerritos baseball team, until he was recruited as an assistant (yet again), this time for CSU Fullerton. He would hold this position until the end of the 1995 season, when his head coach left. From 1996 to 2007 he served as Fullerton's head coach in an unbelievably successful run. Baseball America named him National Coach of the Year in 2003. The team made the postseason in every year Horton coached them, including six College World Series berths, one of which yielded a title in 2004. In 2009 he moved on to the University of Oregon, where he is now, where the team has made two NCAA Regionals and one Super Regional, but not gone back to the big dance. Players such as Kurt Suzuki, Mark Kotsay and Ricky Romero have gone under his tutelage. His record of 670-338 (.665 winning percentage) certainly suggests he has a knack working with young talent--a skill craved for any new Angels manager. But will his lack of major league familiarity and ability to handle veterans be a fatal weakness?
Bruce Bochy, while never a very successful baseball player (ten seasons as an unheralded catcher), has been quite a successful manager. In his 19 seasons (12 with San Diego, 7 with San Francisco), Bochy has made the postseason six times, including three World Series berths (1998 with the Padres, 2010 and 2012 with the Giants), and two championships (both with San Francisco). He is also the only man to have a part in all five Padres postseasons (he also spent 1984 with them as a player). After his second World Series championship last year, the topic of his Hall of Fame worth has become an interesting point of discussion, and his worth as a manager is certainly gold-plated. The question, however, is whether or not Bochy has begun to lose his grip in Frisco just as Scioscia has here. Is it simply a change-of-scenery issue? Is this just a hiccup for a talented Giants team? Or is it the beginning of the end--a team ready to get young with a veteran manager in the way? Could he succeed in Anaheim, or would it be Scioscia Part II?
This is certainly one of the most interesting matches we'll see in the tournament. Vote below and discuss!