I didn’t become an Angels fan until I moved to Orange County in 2005. I missed the fond memories of the 2002 World Series run. I missed the early years of Mike Scioscia. I’ve never met the man Mike Scioscia in person, the man that everyone says is great and loves. I’ve only know the manager Mike Scioscia. The one who in my 13 years of being Angels fan has led the team to 5 losing seasons - including the last 3 straight seasons and 4 of the last 6 years. This is the Mike Scioscia I know.
Sometimes a manager becomes a legend because he brings the first ever World Series championship to a team. A man like Mike Scioscia. But I never really experienced that legend. Instead, I was a fan through a 10-19 post season record. Still, Scioscia had the best interests of the team in mind, he always did. I think his tenure was just too long. Managers don’t often last nearly 20 years on a team with 1 World Series win and 1 league pennant. But Scioscia did.
Owner Arte Moreno is pretty loyal to the people on his staff. 19 years for Mike Scioscia, 15 years for chairman Dennis Kuhl, President John Carpino for 15 years, CFO Bill Beverage for 15 years, SVP Molly Jolly for 18 years, VP Tim Mead since before Arte took the reins, and VP Neil Viserto for 10 years. In many ways, that consistency is good for an organization, and low turnover usually is a sign of an enjoyable work environment. But - when it comes to managing on the field, sometimes change is needed. The game changes, and managers often don’t change - or at least not enough.
When a manager takes his team to the playoffs he’s often a candidate for manager of the year. Clearly, there is some thought that the manager affects the team and has an impact. So when a manager can’t win in the playoffs or barely get there at all, how does some onus not fall upon the skipper? It absolutely should.
Signing Mike Scioscia to a 10 year extension back in 2009 was just bad business. Since then, Arte Moreno has learned his lesson. Josh Hamilton and Albert Pujols say hello. The Angels had a .551 winning percentage under Scioscia at the time of his extension but a .523 since the deal was signed. If you look at the last 6 years, that percentage drops way down to .509. Just barely above average. No one wants to be that team. The “average” team.
Scioscia took the Angels to one more AL Championship series in that contact extension year but over the past 9 years (8 with Mike Trout), they have only been once and were swept out in 3 straight games.
I’m sure Mike Scioscia is an awesome person. I’ve heard all kinds of amazing stories and the players seem to love him. But his time had long been up as the Angels manager
So Long Mike Scioscia, and Thanks for All the Fish.