In September of 2004 Mike Scioscia requested that the Angels suspend Jose Guillen for insubordination. He was backed up by the General Manager and the owner.
The subsequent frenzy of praise for Mike and his patented chemistry formula The Scioscia Method (tm) overflowed in the mainstream media.
The Scioscia Method (tm) went something like this:
Ballplayers want to play in a clubhouse where dissent is not tolerated, where prima donas are exiled and where one manager ensures everyone plays for a common goal on the same page with the same expectations.
We were told that the 2004 playoff loss (due in part to Guillen's absence) was a small price to pay for what was coming: Players would want to be a part of the "Winning Atmosphere" of The Scioscia Method (tm) instead of the "WHINING Atmosphere" of so many other clubhouses in Major League Baseball. We were going to attract and keep quality players who were "All About Winning" and were the epitome of sacrificing personal glory for the chance at a ring.
Well it is 800 days after that dramatic late-season suspension and Jose Guillen is having the last laugh. Mike Scioscia has come full circle. In a panic over the possible loss of Juan Rivera, the club has done the absolute opposite of everything we were promised on the altar of the lost 2004 playoffs. They have signed a mediocre malcontent, Shea Hillenbrand, as a stopgap veteran, despite the fact that he is a clubhouse cancer and is no better statistically than at least five cheaper options in our system who tow The Scioscia Method (tm) line as the way they have learned to play baseball.
Since the Guillen excommunication, the Angels have not attracted A SINGLE prime free agent because of our clubhouse culture. We overpaid for Cabrera and Finely and Matthews, were turned down by Clement and Soriano and Aramis Ramirez - all in the days after The Scioscia Method (tm) was being hailed by the baseball beat writers as “The Winning Way.”
It was all a crock of shit then and I can admit to being hoodwinked by it and blogging favorably for it, but The Scioscia Method (tm) has now been revealed to be nothing we were ever told, sold or cajoled.
Mike and Bill are improvising without learning, and relying on aging veterans as panicky fixes. The sum of Scioscia's clubhouse leadership is an obtuse orthodoxy of veteran status and deference (think back to rookie Jered Weaver being demoted in favor of a rehabbing Bartolo Colon). We were told that Scioscia's clubhouse embodied winning at the direction of a leader, a manager, a philosophy and a determination to find what works as a team instead of sticking with what seems to have once worked and is paid based on that past performance.
In conducting themselves this way, the Angels are not especially apart from teams like the Dodgers and Yankees, teams with a loyal fanbase and a large media market - they throw money at problem areas based on what they hunch and think they know instead of developing an idea about what works and seeing it through to fruition.
The glass is half-empty. Scioscia slugged a victory chug from it when Arte gave him the blessing to 86 Guillen. The Hillenbrand signing is a glaring indicator that, two full seasons later, nobody has since bothered to ask for a refill.