Los Angeles Angels: Final footage and interviews from Spring Training
MLB Network’s 30 clubs in 30 days special rolled into Los Angeles Angels camp the day before Major League Baseball suspended Spring Training amid the outbreak of coronavirus.
Just before Major League Baseball announced the suspension of baseball operations, MLB Network spent a day with the Los Angeles Angels in what turns out to be some of the final footage we will have of Spring Training. Since there won’t be much baseball content over the next several weeks, we figured we would summarize the special for those who weren’t able to tune in.
The two MLB Network reporters at Angels camp were Harold Reynolds and Robert Flores, both conducting multiple interviews with hitters, pitchers, and coaches.
The first interview was with manager Joe Maddon who seemed excited to be back with the Angels, a team he has previous ties with. He talked about having players get a natural sense when it comes to playing the game, rather than just relying on video and analytics, which he thinks will benefit the club overall. It seems he’ll integrate a good blend of both aspects into the game.
He said gaining the players trust was the first thing he worked on when he got the job. He wanted to create a family culture around the team and grow closer to each player, which is why he created something called “an identity wall” that gets players interactive and lets them express themselves with the rest of the team. Just based on the interview, Maddon showed that he really enjoys being back as the manager of the Halos and wants to create a positive environment with the players.
Mike Trout was certainly the talk around the camp, both for obvious reasons and the recent news that he will soon be a father. Viewers got to catch a glimpse of how the superstar center fielder tries to keep the clubhouse loose with funny jokes and pranks, like the one he pulled with the help of Justin Upton on Harold Reynolds (video below).
Trout seems to know that he’s developed into one of the leaders in the clubhouse. A key area he wants to focus on this season is staying healthy (Trout’s 2019 season ended early due to foot surgery). Overall, the interview showed that Trout has become one of the leaders on the team, as he demonstrated with one of the first player tweets following the news of MLB delaying the season.
There were a handful of other quick interviews with players such as Julio Teheran, Justin Upton, Andrew Heaney, and Andrelton Simmons. Teheran’s biggest piece that stood out to me was that he understands the Angels are counting on him to give length in the starting rotation, and he told Robert Flores that he prepares for the season a certain way to remain productive throughout the season.
Following a late start to Spring Training, Justin Upton learned to keep things simple after suffering from injuries last year. He is excited to play with such a talented lineup in 2020. Andrew Heaney spoke highly of his new manager, Joe Maddon, because he doesn’t try to get in the way of others work ethic unless he sees the need for improvement. Andrelton Simmons is focused on improving his offensive numbers and one way he will try to do so is through experience and trying to learn from teammates such as Pujols, Trout, and Upton.
Albert Pujols sat down with Harold Reynolds to reflect on his time being a Cardinal and the transition coming to the Angels. He went over the joy of being able to mentor Mike Trout and the other players as they looked to him for guidance and he seemed excited to give it to any player in the organization. Pujols really enjoys playing with Ohtani and credits his work ethic. Finally, he was asked about new manger Joe Maddon and he told Harold that he is reminded of his old manager, Tony La Russa, in terms of their philosophy and keeping the clubhouse loose during stressful times. It seems Pujols enjoys being one of the teachers in the clubhouse and a leader that many players look up to, his work ethic and teachings will be a key role throughout the season.
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Finally, towards the end of the show, MLB Prospect guru Jonathon Mayo interviewed rising stars Jo Adell and Brandon Marsh about what camp has been like so far. They both seemed to enjoy getting to work with current Major Leaguers. They discussed their unique friendship and how they push each other when one of them isn’t doing good. These are two of the rising superstars the Angels have in their minor league system, and I have made a case that they need to remain part of the organization, neither of them belong in a trade package. The chemistry between the two of them would work really well in a clubhouse run by Joe Maddon, and having Mike Trout mentor them as they are learning would be something truly amazing.
After the Adell/Marsh interview, Jonathon Mayo discussed the state of the Angels farms system, noting that while it is one of the weaker systems, ranking it 26th, there are still players that fans and coaches should keep their eye on as they work towards making it to the big leagues, obviously including Jo Adell and Brandon Marsh.
Overall, this was a very exciting look into Angels camp and what the players are doing throughout camp and their outlook on the season. The interviews all show that these players care about one another and the emphasis on being a family in the clubhouse is an important one.
Bringing in Joe Maddon seems to have created a positive vibe among all players and they seem to trust his knowledge and experience going forward in the hopes of him leading them to a championship season. All the players seem to feed off each other in some way or another, as we saw in each interview, the players bring up someone else that has helped them get ready for the season. MLB Network did a great job of bringing the fans closer to the players and it turned out to be the final look we will get of the Angels this spring.