Halfway through the quarters...doesn't that make it something like three-quarters of the way through...or is it three-eighths...or five-eighths...meh. I only ever had a math grade higher than a C once throughout four years of high school, and once thus far in college, so forget the math. Let's stick to the fun.
Yesterday saw our first complete nail-biter of the tournament. Though never holding a large lead, TIm Bogar led most of the way yesterday, but an eleventh-hour surge from Bruce Bochy made things VERY interesting. The match ended with Bochy edging Bogar by a vote of 40-38 (51% to 49%). The veteran, coming into the match the underdog to new-blood Bogar, will advance to face Omar Vizquel (who was once managed by Bochy) in the semifinals.
Today, we begin to figure out what the other leg of the semis will look like. One combatant is still a Halo favorite, while the other is a Pujols favorite. Which prevails today? Let's find out.
DARIN ERSTAD (NCAA) vs. JOSE OQUENDO (STL)
Darin Erstad, an 11-year Halo, was known for two things: firstly, the disappointment of not building on an unbelievable and historic 2000 season, and secondly, the grit and abandon he played with regardless of that disappointment. From 1996 to 2006 he was a fan-favorite presence on the team. He left from 2007 until his retirement after the 2009 season, having stints with the White Sox and Astros in those three final years. Ever since his retirement, however, he's been mentioned often as a potential manager. His head coaching stint with the University of Nebraska has taken a subpar turn, but managing college and managing professional baseball can be two completely different worlds. Erstad's approach of "productive outs" could be redundant on a team that leads Major League Baseball in sacrifice flies and GIDPs (thanks to Josh Hamilton, Howie Kendrick and Albert Pujols for your uber-production of those two stats), but if Erstad had a 2000 season in him as a player, who's to say he can't manage an entire team to play at that caliber?
Jose Oquendo went his entire journeyman career with the reputation of utility pinch-hitter? Why? Because he was a scrapper. He played small ball. He played all nine positions. He played the kind of game that half this team could if they were given half a chance to do something other than acquaint themselves with the fine pine that constructs our dugout bench. An Oquendo managerial tenure could see the rise of players like Andrew Romine through the Angels' organization and into the lineup (and with how Romine's been doing lately, that may not be a bad thing). That favoritism could wind up dangerous (hello Brandon Wood and Jeff Mathis), as we as Angels fans have discovered across 14 years of Mike Scioscia. But the same could be said if Erstad were manager. The differences between the two are one historic season and more games played. But could Oquendo, with almost twenty seasons of coaching experience professionally, be a safer and better choice?
Due to my lack of expediency with getting this next article up, here's how this will go. Polls will be open until midnight tonight, and the tournament will resume on MONDAY. We will have Sunday off (so the rest of you can go to church, watch football, do whatever your Sundays encompass). However, this is a one-time gig. Once Monday's match goes up, it'll be back to business as usual.
Vote and discuss this one below! Winner goes to the semifinals!