In 2002, the — then Anaheim Angels — were lucky enough to add Dominican-born Jose Mota to their team of broadcasters. Jose was first brought on as the Angels’ Spanish-language radio broadcaster. Since becoming the Angels’ Spanish-language radio broadcaster (which he still does), Jose has widened his area of expertise by becoming a co-host of Angels Live on Fox Sports West. I was recently given the honor of conducting an interview with Mr. Mota. He seems like an awesome guy with a great personality. Angels fans should be proud to call Jose a member of the Angel family.
I hope you enjoy!
Halo Hangout: What advice would you give to a kid trying to become an announcer?
Jose Mota: First of all, schooling is important. Going to school and getting an understanding of the different types of media there are now-a-days. Find something that you really love — something that you have a passion for. In broadcasting overall, just make sure you get your schooling done to get a good understanding of what happens behind the scenes… that’ll all help you with your preparation, as well as with your research. And certainly work hard. Dedicate yourself to what you’re doing. Make yourself the best that you can. NEVER, ever, ever, ever stop reading. Never, ever, ever stop asking questions. If you see somebody that you really enjoy on T.V., or you listen to somebody on the radio that you really like, or a particular writer or a columnist that you really like, then find out what their patterns are. Find out what makes them good. Figure out why you like them, and don’t try to imitate them, but at least try to get an idea of why you like them. Always try to learn as much as you can, and expand. Don’t be subject to only one area, there are so many different things you can do now-a-days; you’d be doing yourself a disservice if you only concentrated on one area.
HH:What’s your favorite thing to do in the offseason?
JM: I like to just spend time at home. My daughter is a volleyball player — on varsity — I spend a lot of time watching her games, following her paths. I spend time with my wife… she’s a teacher, so time with her is valuable. I spend time with my son — who’s 23. I like doing my yoga, man. I’ve been doing it for like six years now. I enjoy working out. Of course, part of my job is to make community occurrences, so I always make sure I Set up some time to go out in the community and do some things — even things that are not publicized, but things that are important to me. We have a program where we have established a foundation to help out families in the Dominican Republic. We have collected a lot of living equipment, and food. And, ummm, mainly you know, just catching up with all of the time that you’ve been away from home during the regular season.
HH:What are your most and least favorite things about the minors?
JM: My favorite thing about the Minor Leagues is the passion of the town that you play in, and how they (the fans) pretty much adopt you. They are sooooo enthused with the team coming back from a road trip. We go out and make school appearances, or go to little league clinics, we would speak to different community groups, and that was always a lot of fun. That, and learning how to play the game. Being around a competitive environment. For those Minor League teams, it’s not just about player development, it’s about winning. I really enjoyed the simplicity of the ballparks, the people, the different parts of the country I was in — I was all the way from Niagara Falls to Oklahoma City, to Vegas.
My least favorite thing was the long bus rides. Also, it’s certainly hard to play as a team when there are so many people moving up and down all the time. But overall, those things taught me a lot.
HH: What is your favorite big league stadium?
JM: As a player, I would say the old Jack Murphy stadium. That was where I played with the Padres, and that was my first stop. Even though I don’t have a whole lot of big league experience, that to me will always be a special place. It was fun to say “I was a part of the Padres”, and to play at home was pretty cool, because it was only a couple of hours away from my home. Now, as a broadcaster, I have a few favorites. But if I had to really pin it down, I would always go to Safeco (Seattle). Overall, the whole thing — from the city, to the people, to the ballpark, to the environment, to the weather — it’s… I love going to Safeco field.
HH: What do you enjoy most about the game of baseball?
JM: The uncertainty. It’s so unpredictable. The mystery of the game. You could be beat by a guy hitting .125 today. The guy that comes in with an 11.00 ERA could shut you down. I think that’s what keeps it more fun. It’s not necessarily all about the numbers, or look at the history of this guy. It’s about what can happen that day. Every day is different, every day you learn something.You get to be around fans, which to me is very important. You get to represent your team. I feel very fortunate to be a part of it. The competition I really like. The strategy I really like. On the field, watching guys progress, and watching guys go out there and do their work, watching guys do batting practice and throw bullpens makes it more enjoyable to me. I’m not just an Angels fan, I’m a baseball fan, and I love following players from all over and watching how they’re performing.
HH: How is this year’s team different from last year’s team?
JM: The biggest difference is obviously the rotation. It’s one that still needs to answer some questions. Consider that the pieces have been added. But you’re also replacing a Santana and a Haren, and those are two guys that — even though they had down year’s last year — the Angels still had a chance to win. They both had year’s that they’ll want to forget about, but even with that, the Angels still had a chance to win had they played better earlier in the year. The bullpen is one in which there should be more consistency, not just because of the additions of Burnett and Madson, but also, I think Ernesto Frieri learned a lot. I would not be shocked to see him go out there and take it to the next level, now that he has experience as a closer. And knowing that there’s going to be competition. Competition is good. Adding Hamilton, having a more mature Mike Trout — who is tremendous, having a more mature Erick Aybar — who was so solid after the All-star break, having Pujols, having Howie Kendrick. I mean overall, it looks like a very competitive club from the offensive side with the ability to put up a lot of runs. There are so many great things that can happen. They have Iannetta who will be working with his staff for a second year. I think it’s a pretty complete ball club. I think the biggest question’s are, like I said before, surrounding the rotation. I think with Tommy Hanson, Jason Vargas, and Joe Blanton the Angels can get it done.
HH: Who was your favorite player as a kid? (besides your father)
JM: Mike Schmidt. I really enjoyed watching Mike Schmidt play. He was a powerful 3B, he played good defense, he pretty much exemplified the Phillies uniform.
HH: Do think you would have been as interested in baseball if your father had not played?
JM: It’s hard to say, but I know I would’ve been interested in baseball to some capacity because of where I grew up. I grew up in the Dominican Republic. Whether you have a family attachment or not, you’re going to see baseball, you’re going to be around baseball. Fortunately for us as a family, we were around baseball at a high level. I know I would’ve been interested in baseball no matter what, because I’ve always been so intrigued by the game. I would say at some point and some degree I would’ve been interested in baseball to some capacity.
HH: As a broadcaster, do you do anything to prepare for an upcoming season?
JM: Oh yes. The preparation never stops. The season could be over for the Angels not making the playoffs, and you’re out watching playoff games. There’s something that could be learned by watching those teams, there’s something that can be learned watching strategy, you get an idea about the manager’s, you get an idea about upcoming free-agent’s and how they perform under pressure. The research and the prepertation never, ever, ever stops. The offseason, to me, is not just being around home and having a fun time, but it’s researching, it’s reading, it’s preparing. There’s not a day that goes by in the offseason where I don’t watch a show or read something that’s going to help me in the upcoming season.
HH: Favorite food?
JM: I love my latin food. Beans, rice and Grilled chicken. I like everything though.
HH: What your impression of the WBC is becoming?
JM: I love it. I covered it. I was part of the first one with ESPN and I was a sideline reporter/analyst. It was one of the most fun experiences I’ve ever had. In a national competition to watch these big league players give it all for their Country. To watch a guy like Ichiro… the emotion that he showed playing for Japan. I recently made a lot of friends on the Cuban team. I now understand more about guy’s like Kendrys, and what they have to go through. I feel extremely blessed and fortunate to be a part of the first one. To see the colors, and the flags it the stands… to see how loud it gets in the stands in the very first inning is just great. It’s just been a great thing for baseball. I know there’s been some controversy over certain things, but surely it’s an event that helps to globalize baseball in many ways.
HH: Favorite baseball movie?
JM: I was in For Love of the Game, that was a good experience. In terms of baseball movies, Bull Durham, to me, is pretty awesome. What a great movie that was. Bull Durham exemplifies more of what really happens between the lines. Just the overall feel of how they present that character and all the people surrounding him.
HH: Did Albert Pujols look comfortable during last year’s Spring Training?
JM: Oh yeah, he looked comfortable. It doesn’t matter who you are, where you’ve been, or how many home runs you’ve hit, any time you come into a new situation, it’s an adjustment. It’s not related at all to the size of your contract, it’s related to your comfort level and trying to fit in. He came in to Spring Training last year and told me, “I’m going in with the mentality of making the team. I want to keep it just that simple.” He had a tremendous spring, and obviously he went through a major adjustment during the regular season. The team got off to a slow start. He got off to a slow start. He tried to do a little too much early, but I have no doubt that this guy will continue to be the dominant force he’s always been.
HH: What do you think of Mike Trout?
JM: Talk about a package. And talk about putting it together so quickly. Being an impact on your team, on your city, on baseball, and to do it at such a young age. We talk about a player who maybe had expectations coming from the minor leagues after five or six years, and being 24 or 25, but he did it in his age 20 season, which is just unbelievable. I like how much he enjoys the game. He really is a great ambassador to what we call “having fun”. Performing under pressure, keeping it simple, just going out there and understanding his strengths, working hard every single day. He is absolutely dynamic as a player, and even more so as a person.
HH: Why the Angels?
JM: It’s all about opportunities. Once you try getting into the business, you can’t be picky about where you want to work. Fortunately for me, the Angels presented that opportunity to me. Back in 2002, there was an opening for spanish radio. I knew that eventually spanish radio was going to be a door that opened other opportunities for me, and that’s how it happened. It was the right place, right time, and the Angels were the one’s that opened the door.
HH: What team did you root for as a kid?
JM: The Dodgers. My dad played there, and I was so close to people like: Walter Alston, Tommy Lasorda, Steve Yeager, Steve Garvey, Reggie Smith, Derrel Thomas, Mike Scioscia Mickey Hatcher, and all these other guys… I was always a Dodgers fan. The other team I liked was the Phillies back in the NL East.
That wraps things up. Some interesting answers from Jose. It truly is unfortunate that he was a Dodger fan growing up, isn’t it?