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Angels' Next Manager: Day 12: A Heavyweight Clash

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Two of the strongest candidates to top anyone's dream list go at it in today's semifinal match. Who's got more clout?

Oh how well he fits here trying to derail the Cocaine Train...
Oh how well he fits here trying to derail the Cocaine Train...
Jonathan Daniel

After taking a blue-law day, we're back today with the last quarterfinals match!

Saturday saw Darin Erstad advance to the semifinals after defeating Jose Oquendo by a 73-27 vote (73% to 27%), where he will await the winner of today's matchup.

Today's matchup, to move right along, is definitely something--two BIG winners from the preliminaries meet for a "1 vs. 1A" kind of matchup: one former Anaheimian and one man who's reformed three teams in his managerial career. Let's get this thing going right away!

JOE MADDON (TBR) vs. TONY LA RUSSA (RET.)

Joe Maddon is basically the number-one choice on everyone's wish list for manager if they had the opportunity to grab a new one. The reputation he created for being fun-loving yet stern enough to be respected, is something that helped dramatically reverse the course that Tampa Bay was headed down as a franchise. That supposed magic--something that turned top prospects such as Evan Longoria, David Price and Matt Moore into veteran franchise anchors, while reforming reclamation projects such as Fernando Rodney and Cliff Floyd--could be just the ticket for the Angels...but is it just that those specific players receive Maddon's message better? Or could it translate to the Angels just fine?

Tony La Russa is made of managerial legend. No other manager can put on his resume that he turned THREE franchises from bottom-dwellers to contenders of their era, doing so with the White Sox between 1979 and 1983 (before being fired mid-1986), the Athletics from mid-1986 to 1992 (before not having his contract renewed after 1995), and the Cardinals from 1996 to 2011 (seriously, they contended in all but three seasons in that time). When a guy can do that across three franchises, you know he has something. But would it be smart coaxing an already Hall-bound manager out of retirement to risk his managerial record and reputation on an uneasy project like the Angels?

Let's vote and do this. Semifinals start tomorrow! VOTE AND DISCUSS!