Mike Scioscia should ride off into the sunset with his head held high.

HOUSTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 22: Manager Mike Scioscia #14 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim looks on from the dugout during the first inning against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park on September 22, 2018 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 22: Manager Mike Scioscia #14 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim looks on from the dugout during the first inning against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park on September 22, 2018 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images) /

For the past two decades Mike Scioscia has been Angels baseball for better or for worse. We have seen a team with not much history of success achieve baseball’s top prize and have an 8-year run like none other in club history.

Yes, the Mike Scioscia years were the best of times and the worst of times, but when you look at his full body of work, there was much more good than bad times. On Sunday afternoon, the Angels showed that same fight that has pretty much always been present in Mike Scioscia teams.  The Rally Monkey was born in the summer of Scioscia’s first year at the helm of the Angels, but it was the attitude that he instilled ed in his teams to never give up no matter what the situation is.

It was fitting that in his last game as the Angel skipper the Angels pulled off one final rally. With the Angels trailing 4-2 in the bottom of the 9th Jefry Marte started out with an RBI-Double driving in Shohei Ohtani who led off with a single to cut the A’s lead to 4-3.  Up stepped Taylor Ward and he delivered his biggest hit of his Angels career a two-run walk off homer to left-center to give the Angels a 5-4 victory.  The Angels sent Mike Scioscia out on a high note winner of his final game of his managerial career in Anaheim number 1,650 of his career.

Scioscia will now head off into the next chapter of his managerial career.  Where that will be is anyone’s guess.  While residing in Thousand Oaks Scioscia grew up back East in the Philadelphia area.  So if an East Coast team came calling Scioscia would consider going.  A team like the Baltimore Orioles who lost 115 games this season could be a good fit for Scioscia.  He could also look at getting a front office job somewhere as well.

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More than likely Scioscia might take a year off before putting his hat back in the ring.  As far as his time in Anaheim Scioscia has nothing to be ashamed about.  While the last nine seasons have not been nearly as good at the first nine, Scioscia has still provided the Angels organization with stability and direction influencing many young players by showing them how to be professional.

You never heard Scioscia bad mouth or blame his players for anything even when they screwed up. He also never let a bad apple poison the rest of the bunch (Jose Guillen and Josh Hamilton come to mind.)  In what may have been one of the most defining moments of his Angels tenure.

Scioscia  benched Jose Guillen who was one of the most productive players in the 2004 season for the final week of the season when the Angels were three games out of first place trying furiously to catch the A’s. Guillen had been a loose cannon at times that season and had blown a gasket when Scioscia pinch ran for him in the eighth inning of a tie game against the A’s much to the dismay of Guillen who threw his helmet in the direction of Scioscia and cursed at him.

I remember watching that game on national TV that day and you could see it happening on TV.  So what did Scioscia and then general manager Bill Stoneman do they got together and decided the best course of action was to suspend Guillen for the rest of the season without pay for violating player conduct rules.  The Angels proceeded to rally and win the division title their first in 18 years.  Unfortunately Boston swept them out of the playoffs, but a message was sent loud and clear ‘No man was bigger than the team’.

Mike Scioscia always operated with class and dignity with very few exceptions. This is not to say that Scioscia would sit around being silent if he felt his team was being hosed by an umpire, but he always seem to do it in a classy way and was very rarely ever ejected.

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He always had his players backs and did not publicly criticize them in the media even if they may have deserved it.  When you saw controversy coming such as a player filling in and doing a good job while another player was injured he would be asked who would be the odd man out when the player got healthy and returned.  Scioscia’s standard answer which I heard many times “We will cross that bridge when we come to it.”

You could also see Scioscia joke around at a press conference such as his final one on Sunday when a reporter’s phone kept ringing Scioscia said “Let me talk to them” or “You want to get that”.  He handled the Shohei Ohtani phenomenon with class and grace even when it seemed he might be a little weary of some members of the Japanese media.  He would try to say certain things in Japanese to reporters asking the translator how to say them.

I for one will miss Mike Scioscia as he always treated me well the few times I had the chance to interview him.  He was never rude and would always answer your questions unless it was one that he did not want to give an answer to at the time such as the situation I mentioned earlier about asking him who would remain when a player would come back from injury.

Mike Scioscia leaves with 12 winning seasons in 19 years. His team’s won six division titles which was double what the Angels had won before Scioscia. His team’s won five playoff series reaching the ALCS three times and the World Series once.  Scioscia’s crowned jewel was winning the Angels only World Series in 2002 with a cast of no real stars.

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He passed his mentor Tommy Lasorda in career victories as a manager which was special to him. He is now 18th on the all-time wins list with only 390 wins to go to move into 9th place overall.  Scioscia could achieve that in five years or less depending on the team he would manage. He averaged almost 87 victories per season.

So as Mike Scioscia rides off into the Pacific Ocean sunset, he should have his head held high as he has served the Angels well.  He changed the mediocre and somewhat losing culture to one that had many fans expecting to be a perennial playoff team which was not the case before he arrived in Anaheim.  His team’s style of play and never say die attitude made it easy for Southern California fans to get behind the team as the Angels drew 3,000,000 plus fans for 16 straight years during Scioscia’s reign.

Next. Sizing up Potential Managerial Candidates

Here’s to you Sosh for a job well done.