Including today, only four matches remain. Two semifinals and one finals match separate the winner of the tournament from a championship bout versus the fourteen-year reigning
scripted champion Mike Scioscia.
But first, let's wrap up the quarterfinals. Yesterday saw Joe Maddon overwhelmingly defeat Tony La Russa by a vote of 81-19 (81% to 19%). He advances to the other half of the semifinals where he will face Darin Erstad.
Before that, however, we have a bit of business to handle: the OTHER semifinals match. One of the combatants in today's match actually once PLAYED for his opponent, if that speaks much for the other's longevity.
OMAR VIZQUEL (LAA) vs. BRUCE BOCHY (SFG)
Omar Vizquel is basically having the stage set for him, in all reality. It seemed clear from the moment he became a roving fielding instructor that Jerry Dipoto wants him for something more than that down the road; possibly a coaching gig at the big league level, maybe a new minor league manager at some point...or, possibly, cutting his teeth directly as the chief of chiefs. Vizquel once played for his opponent, Bruce Bochy, for Bochy's first two years as the Giants' manager (2007-08). As exaggerative as you'd hope that would be for the sake of dramatics, it really isn't; Vizquel isn't that old, and Bochy wasn't the manager of the Giants very long ago. In any case, it'd be fair to say that Vizquel--again, long discussed as a future manager--could've picked some managerial swagger up from Bochy during his time there. The same, however, could be said of his time spent with Ron Washington...and Ozzie Guillen...but hey, maybe the same applies for his final manager, John Farrell? We'll see.
Bruce Bochy is something magical. At least, he is to two NL West teams whom he has led to the promised land before. While not quite completing the puzzle in San Diego (getting swept by the juggernaut 1998 Yankees in the World Series that year), he's done so twice in San Francisco (2010 and 2012) to make up for it. He's had the likes of Trevor Hoffman and Barry Bonds (yes, believe it or not; Bochy's first season in San Francisco was Bonds' last) as his charges, and currently boasts players such as Tim Lincecum, Sergio Romo and the reigning NL MVP, Buster Posey, on his present-day squad. Any guy who can take the PADRES to the World Series deserves some turned heads. Any guy who can win it twice in three years, regardless of team, is definitely worthy of being called talented. He's doing something right. But is the something he's doing, anything close to what the Angels will actually receive?
Let's move this thing along--this will be done by the end of the week! Vote and discuss as you please!