On Sunday, September 30th, Mike Scioscia ended his tenure as the manager of the LA Angels. I was not yet two years old when the Halos hired the longtime Dodger, and I had no idea what impact he would have on my life.
For the first decade of my life, Mike Scioscia made me a winner. When I was just four years old he brought Anaheim and the Angels their first ever World Series title. While they won that historical Game 7 well past my bed time, the feeling of knowing I was vicariously a winner was enough for me to hold my head high going to school the following week.
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And after that it continued. Even while life taught me times aren’t always easy and you lose people you love even at a young age, Scioscia kept me winning. Capturing five American League West titles in six years, I got used to being the best. This was during the time in my life when I began stepping onto the diamond myself.
When I played outfield, I was Darin Erstad. When I stepped into the box, I was Vladimir Guerrero. Coach wants me at catcher? I am Mike Scioscia embodied in an eight-year old kid, and I was not letting anyone by me.
When I was in the dugout watching my team, I pretended I was Scioscia. While I wouldn’t tell my teammates to steal or drop a bunt down third, pretending was good enough for me. As my age went up and my talent wavered, I began investing more time into the Angels. Around this time, the Angels started losing.
This is the part where Mike Scioscia taught me how to lose.
Living in LA, I am surrounded by Dodgers fans. As we know, the Dodgers have had quite the run of success. The Angels have had a plethora of bad contracts, underwhelming seasons, and wasted years with the game’s best player.
And through it all, Mike Scioscia never seemed defeated. He always found the positives in the losses. I learned a lot watching the Angels lose, and Mike Scioscia was a big part of that.
While a lot of fans were ready to see him go, it truthfully was the end of a good thing for the Halos. Mike Scioscia never managed games with fear. He did not avoid the blame throughout his tenure with the Anaheim and LA Angels, but nonetheless he’ll walk away one of the best managers the game has ever seen. Some will say he had been the Angels’ weakness in the twilight of his career.
However, Mike Scioscia is one of the greatest Angels of all time. He taught me some valuable life lessons, and I can’t wait for the day he is inducted into the Hall of Fame.