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Mike Scioscia: Skipper Confidence

One month into his his twelfth major league season as manager, Mike Scioscia is six wins away from 1,000 for his career.

It seems just like yesterday that the Disney Corporation was cutting costs associated with the team and took this outcast Dodger, fired for the sole reason that he did not sufficiently suck up to Kevin Malone, as what appeared to be a combination Stopgap / PR move.

The Angels had an eerily consistent pattern in their history when it came to managers. There would be the first season where any level of results was allowed. Then a second (and possibly third) season where pressure to do well also seemed less a priority than in getting things together. In the third or fourth season though, once things seemed to be heading on the wrong course, the Angels powers that be never seemed to allow the skipper to right the course that his ship was sailing. The panic button sent the manager off and the chaos of bringing in a new boss meant the cycle would be repeated immediately.

It was worse in the 1970s where Lefty Phillips was not renewed after three seasons. Former Angel Del Rice got one year, then Bobby Winkles got 73 and 74. He was canned for the four game bait-and-switch of Whitey Herzog in order to capture Dick Williams. Such a prize, he was canned in 1976 and replaced with Norm Sherry, who didn't complete a season, managing in part of 76 and part of 77 before being replaced by Dave Garcia. Dave's quick departure led to the return of Jim Fregosi to Anaheim and a division title. I can still recall where I was when I heard that Fregosi had been fired and my brother in-law Joe Bartolone mumbling "Bavasi should fire himself, Bavasi should fire himself". It was a mantra.

This pattern recurred with Doug Rader, Buck Rodgers and Marcel Lachemann and the Terry Collins disaster in the 90s. In a season where the Angels are trying to sell us a sugar-coated franchise history, they are ignoring the fact that in their first 39 seasons they hardly ever poured a managerial foundation on which to build fan confidence. For all his minor flaws, Mike Scioscia has been a rocksteady source of reliability in an organization that never won consistently. Our confidence in our team rests on our faith in him.